Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Heartland Fall Forum - Cleveland, OH

Heartland Fall Forum, Cleveland, OH
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When I began this journey and this blog it was with the intent of featuring strictly independent bookstores.  I can count on one hand the number of times I've strayed from that.  This entry will be one of those times for a couple of reasons.  1) Booksellers, owners, and managers need to hear about the Heartland Forum Event I attended and, 2) They also need to know about BINC, The Book Industry Charitable Foundation that can assist those same people in times of crisis.  If you work in a bookstore and have never attended your regional trade show, move it to the top of your "to-do" list.  I would strongly recommend this for your professional and personal growth in the business.  Once you attend, you'll never want to miss it again.  It will knock your bookstore socks off!

The Heartland Fall Forum is the annual regional trade show for the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (GLIBA) and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association (MIBA).  This reminds me of teacher conferences I've attended that are so important for professional development, networking, re-charging your battery, renewing friendships that are so good for morale boosting, sales strategies, new products, and a host of other benefits.  I discovered long ago that teachers and booksellers have much in common.  For me to be afforded the opportunity to be a part of this conference/trade show was indescribable.  I renewed friendships with so many fantastic bookstore people I've met on my journey and met new ones who I want to visit in their store.  I especially enjoyed one of the professional development sessions I attended, "Dealing With Difficult Customers."  I wanted to find out if it was anything like dealing with difficult students!

And then there was the grand ballroom of exhibits, the trade show.  New books, publishers small and large, authors, and bookstore people everywhere.  Kit S., the BINC programs manager told me I would be in heaven and she was right.  For someone like me, a bookstore customer, this was one of the pinnacles of my journey.

I never could've done this if it weren't for Kit and all the terrific people at BINC.  Just like the bookstore people they serve, they were all equally nice.  If there is a larger gathering of darn nice people anywhere I'd like to know where it is.  Kathy B. development director, reeled me in at the awards ceremony along with Kate and they kindly took me under their wings for the festival.  These ladies along with Jenny, Lorie, Pam, and others made my experience as grand as my bookstore visits.  My only disappointment was they didn't tell me to wipe the drool off my chin from being surrounded by all the books and all the great people!

If you're in a bookstore and don't know about BINC, find out about it for yourself and others at your store.  They can provide emergency assistance for yourself and /or your store if you're in desperate straits.  Health emergency costs, natural disasters, living expenses, scholarship opportunities (they helped fund the Heartland Fall Forum experience for some of the booksellers) and MUCH more.  They are a valuable resource you can call on anytime when you are in need.  And the people who will help you are top notch.  Heck, they helped me enjoy a great bookstore experience just by getting me into this event.  Check this event out next time, booksellers.  You will not be disappointed.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt.

One of the entrances to the historic Renaissance Hotel in downtown Cleveland, the location for the three day event.  The event site rotates each year so if this distance was too far, make sure you find out where next year's is held.  

There are easel display boards everywhere and there is also a program of events available with your registration.  

The HFF is fortunate to have a great group of sponsors.  

Lots of rooms like this one that host the many educational and informational sessions.  

The grand ballroom, the day before the vendors and exhibits set-up.  Consider this a "before" picture.  

Same room and view as above but filled with lots of new ideas, new books, wonderful people, and much positive energy.  

Just a portion of the Macmillan Publishers display area, a day before the event.  Those boxes will be unpacked, set-up, and offer lots of new books to browse, most of them yet to be released.  

Overview of the Gold Ballroom where the events ceremony was held.  Awards are presented to authors, organizations, and booksellers to name a few.  

Some of the BINC brain trust accepting the award.  Pam, the executive director is speaking.  Behind her from L-R:  Kate, Kathy, Sarah, and Lorie, the foundation president.  

Congratulations to BINC on their award for all their great work with bookstores and their people.  An incredible honor for me to be there.  

I ran into people like this everywhere.  Judith K. from Scout & Morgan Books in Cambridge, MN.  

Booksellers, you may not think you have a safety net, but you do.  

If so, BINC can help.  

Display of new games available for independent bookstores.  

One of the new games, this one looks good.  

Another new game.  There is a session at the event where you can sit down with other booksellers and play the new games, a great way to try them out.  

This is an overview from the balcony of the trade show floor in the grand ballroom.  

An apt statement.  

Cannot thank these ladies and the entire BINC team enough for the invitation to experience this wonderful event.  With Kate in the middle and Kathy on the right, two of the fine folks you'll meet when you get to know BINC.
Thanks for a great visit.

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