CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Auto Show draws large crowds on day three of the event at McCormick Place.
Next up for the convention center: The Inspired Home Show, formerly known as the Housewares Show, which has been canceled for the past two years due to COVID.
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CBS 2’s Tara Molina works for Chicago and reports that while things seem to be getting back to normal, there are still a lot of restrictions. These are restrictions some are putting in place as they return for the first time since the pandemic began.
The Inspired Home Show kicks off the first week of March, after a two-year absence. You may recall they were the first major show to be canceled in the United States.
The 500,000 square foot Honey Can Do in Berkeley, employing more than 200 people, began as a small booth showcasing their storage and organization products at the Inspired Home show in 2008.
“It literally started from there. These are our first encounters with many major retailers,” said Steve Greenspon, International Housewares Association and CEO of Honey Can Do.
So it’s safe to say that CEO Steve Greenspon knows the impact of the show on retailers around the world. Now a board member of the International Housewares Association. He said after two years of forced cancellations, they were delighted to be back at McCormick Place in March.
“The Inspired Home Show, also known as the International Home and Housewares Show, is the largest show held annually in the city of Chicago,” he said.
And it has strong security measures in place. Regardless of any future changes with the state and city, they require vendors and guests to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result to attend.
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“For masks, we will follow local protocol,” Greenspon said.
With travel restrictions in place, he admitted that some international vendors and visitors will be absent from this first show.
“Attendees from Asian countries, where we normally have a huge presence at the show, this year it’s going to be very low,” he said.
But despite this loss, the expected impact is enormous. With the Chicago Auto Show right now, a McCormick Place spokesperson said it has a busy schedule.
With 152 events scheduled and an estimated attendance of $1.6 million and an estimated economic impact, for the state and city, of $1.9 billion.
It’s a welcome boost after major pandemic losses. Since March 2020, more than 230 events have been canceled at McCormick Place, costing the city an estimated 3.4 million attendees and nearly $3.1 billion in economic impact. Greenspon said he was happy to be part of the return.
And those shows mean a big boost for downtown hotels, still recovering. According to a McCormick Place spokesperson, since March 2020, more than 230 events have been canceled, costing the city approximately $3.4 million in attendees and nearly $3.1 billion in economic impact.
“We had a great reopening and things are looking great for the year ahead. Between July and the end of the year, we hosted 77 events with nearly 675,000 people and an economic impact of over $500 million,” said Cynthia McCafferty of Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. “As for the calendar year, we have a strong schedule with 152 events, an estimated attendance of 1.6 million and an estimated economic impact of $1.9 million.
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Some of the upcoming shows include the Chicago Dental Society (late February), Star Trek (April), the National Restaurant Show (May), and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, also known as ASCO, in June.