We are so excited to finally have live, in-person grooming shows again! The last Barkleigh show was Groom Expo West in Pasadena back in February of 2020.
I remember there being talk at the show of a virus outbreak in China, but we never imagined it would end up affecting the whole world the way that it did.
As a company, Barkleigh Productions, and the industry as a whole, had to make quick adjustments. Groomers had to deal with shut downs and changing entire processes pertaining to how they ran their businesses. For Barkleigh, we knew immediately that we needed to make education available online.
For a few years we had been talking about creating a larger virtual presence for education, but the pandemic forced us to make it our biggest priority. As a form of proof of concept and general practice, we started by offering five certification courses for free to a limited number of groomers in April of 2020. We quickly learned that groomers were starved for continuing education. And I felt very comfortable that our staff was able to effectively produce it.
In the past year, we have conducted six World Grooms. We’ve also hosted Groom Expo and All American Grooming Show online, as well as a few stand-alone certificate courses. This was only possible through the support of the groomers that attended and companies that exhibited in the virtual trade shows.
We were surprised at how many groomers who never attended a show were interested in continuing education. I figured most of our online attendees would be the groomers who previously attended live shows. It actually ended up being the opposite. It was exciting to open up new education opportunities to those groomers and to get them more actively involved in the industry. Some have even stated that since they have been exposed to continuing education, they want to now attend live grooming shows.
Barkleigh will continue to offer online seminars for those that prefer that format and for those that just can’t get enough education.
Of course, for most groomers that have attended a grooming show, there will never be anything quite like the in-person experience. There seems to be a different energy level to being in an audience watching a live demo. And of course, nothing can take the place of touching and sampling a product. But, the most important aspect of a grooming show is getting to spend time around and build relationships with other people in the grooming industry.
With shows finally starting back up, here is a quick look at all the Barkleigh grooming shows coming up in 2021. Perhaps find the ideal one for you and treat yourself to a well-earned reward for getting through this past year.
PetQuest will be our first show back. It takes place at the Roberts Center in Ohio June 17-20. It is the most dog-friendly facility used for a grooming show. PetQuest has a laidback, casual vibe. Many groomers find this to be their favorite show because it tends to be more of a social show. It seems to be easier to start casual conversation with other groomers.
Probably the most unique show is the Northwest Grooming Show in Tacoma, Washington July 8-11. The hotel alone makes the show worth it. The Murano Hotel is adorned with a museum-worthy collection of glass art from around the world. Each floor was designed by a different artist. Tacoma is located a short drive from Seattle.
Groom Expo West takes place in Pasadena, California July 22-25. It is the second largest grooming show behind only Groom Expo in Hershey. Coming out of the pandemic, for some this might be the perfect excuse to take a much-needed trip to Southern California.
The All American Grooming Show takes place August 12-15 in Schaumburg, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. Started by grooming industry legend Jerry Schinberg, it is the longest-running grooming show and the birthplace of creative dog grooming. It also has a unique hotel that makes the experience more interesting.
Groom Expo is the world’s most prestigious grooming show. With more vendors, attendees, classes and events, it is the biggest in every way. It also hosts the Barkleigh Honors Dinner and Awards Show. Groom Expo takes place in Hershey, PA September 9-12.
The New England Grooming Show takes place in Sturbridge, Massachusetts October 6-10. From the historical town to the hotel itself, everything about the show can be described as quaint. The show is one of our smaller shows in terms of vendors and attendees, so it is ideal for any groomer that wants a calmer and more relaxing experience.
Intergroom takes place at the Meadowlands Expo Center, just outside of New York City, October 21-24. Intergroom is the third largest grooming show, by attendance. Intergroom hosts a World Championship Competition and the one-of-a-kind Rising Star Grooming Competition.
For more information on any of these events, go to www.barkleigh.com/shows