The recent announcement that a major bike industry trade show will come to Portland next year has put a wrench in ongoing efforts by the PDC and Commissioner Sam Adams’ office to woo the popular North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) to Stumptown.
Don Walker, the man behind the NAHBS, told me in a phone conversation this morning that he was “heartbroken” when he heard the news.
“It breaks my heart because I saw the potential of Portland hosting the show…right down to the bar where the band would play and the hotel I would stay in.”
Just last week, Walker was in town to scout potential locations and meet with city officials. On Friday he joined a gathering of local bike builders in Southwest Portland hosted by Andy Newlands of Strawberry Bicycles.
In attendance were many local builders along with Maria Thi Mai, senior policy director for Commissioner Adams and Jennifer Nolfi, bicycle industry liaison at the PDC.
in Southwest Portland last Friday (10/27)]
From L to R: Andy Newlands, Natalie Ramsland, Tony Pereira, Joseph Ahearne, Don Walker, Ira Ryan
I spoke with Don at that party and he seemed nearly 100% sure he would bring his show to Portland. He said, “From what I’ve seen today, I could see that NAHBS could be hosted in Portland.”
However, now that’s an impossibility because Walker refuses to play second fiddle to a larger show and he would have to compete for exhibitors.
Walker called me this morning to express his disappointment:
“This recent announcement by Eurobike has completely ruined any chance of NAHBS coming to the Pacific Northwest.
We are a stand-alone event and I’m not willing to be in a market where there’s already an industry show. We’d be known as ‘that other show’ and I see that a major negative.”
Walker added that many of his potential exhibitors can only afford one show, and he has already confirmed that at least one of his existing exhibitors is being courted by Messe Friedrichshafen (the company behind Eurobike).
Walker will now re-focus his game plan and choose a city on the east coast. His short list includes Allentown and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Washington DC, and Baltimore Maryland.
According to Walker, he has already sent an email to his contacts at the PDC and Commissioner Sam’s office but has yet to hear back from either of them.