Created on Thursday, 08 January 2015 08:06
It happened and it seems to be a permanent division of Polish stone branch scene. This is how we can summarise the fair events we were present at in Wrocław and, shortly after, in Poznań. In our report from KAMIEŃ and STONE fairs we are wondering about likely scenarios in the future.
Let us start from some historical facts. Till 2008 it was the branch fair in Wrocław which had international aspirations. In the years 2009-2013 it was the fair in Poznań. In its short history Kamień-Stone fair had a high reputation and was treated as the biggest business event in stone branch in Central and Eastern Europe in spite of the fact that since 2011 the number of both exhibitors and visitors has been getting lower and lower. A result? First, a boycott of Kamień-Stone 2013 fair by Confindustria Marmomacchine (an association that represents leading Italian companies) and shortly after the information from the director of the Group of International Products of Poznań International Fair that the November edition of the fair was held for the last time and from now on we are going to meet at Stone event together with participants of the Trade Fair of Church Furnishings, Liturgical Objects and Devotional Items Sakralia as well as the Funeral Fair Memento.
Behind the scenes people were talking about causes of terminating the contract by Poznań International Fair with Geoservice-Christi which has organised KAMIEŃ stone fair since 1991 and co-organised it with Poznań International Fair since 2009. Could organisation of Jarmark Kamieniarski in Wrocław (as a competitive event) be a reason for that? Or maybe the reason was more plain? When you don’t know what it is all about, it is usually about money. We all know this proverb and, because of that, we should not go into details. Both organisers have not been commenting on this since this “infamous divorce”. Last year we met twice and this autumn will be the same – more about this at the end of this report.
TO POZNAŃ AFTER WROCŁAW
The capital cities of Stone Branch Fair were Wrocław (6-8 November 2014, the Centenary Hall) and Poznań (26-29 November 2014, Poznań International Fair). It is said that never too much of a good thing, but how was it in reality? Regular visitors of Poznań-based event noticed the absence of many famous companies. For example, we have long been accustomed to high quality of making business contacts at M + Q company. An elegant stand which looked like a pub was perfect for making business contacts in a comfortable atmosphere. What made the company not join other exhibitors at STONE 2014?
- To be honest, we didn’t exhibit our offer because I just couldn’t decide which event to choose. We were, however, present at both fairs as visitors. It is too early now to say if we will exhibit our offer in Wrocław or in Poznań. I think that taking part in both of them will be ineffective – reveals Michał Nowak, the General Director of M + Q Polska and Stone Connection Polska.
It is easy to see that not only M + Q had problems to choose which fair to go to. Let us compare these two events. Wrocław attracted about 4,500 visitors and 130 exhibitors whilst in Poznań there were 5,000 visitors and 110 exhibitors. In total, these two events were attended by nearly 10,000 visitors and 240 exhibitors. It is not bad, especially if we recall statistics before the “divorce” (6,000 visitors and about 160 exhibitors during Kamień-Stone 2013 fair). Not mentioning the fact that the attendance at STONE 2014 fair might have been made bigger by participants of Memento and Sakralia fairs, it is a twice smaller exhibition space (only 5,000 square metres) that draws our attention. Less impressive stands is one thing. A stonemason from Katowice shared an interesting comment with us. The opinion of a person who was present at both fairs seems to be right if we want to sound out opinions of small companies in our branch.
- In Wrocław it was just intimate. It is like coming back to tradition and meetings with friends at poor (not very representative) stands of stone shops. I came back home on the same day with some details I bought. One day was enough because there were just a few manufacturers of machines present there. Poznań was not much better because there were no medium-priced machine suppliers there and those expensive ones were not engineers’ latest products. It was a good idea, however, in my opinion, to combine this event with funeral and sacral branch fairs. It appears to be a sensible move in the times of ruthless competition . I asked a few people about it. The result? If this event had been devoted to stone branch only, I wouldn’t have gone to Poznań – said Grzegorz Krasoń, the owner of “Mendecki” stone plant.
Let us remind one thing, by the way. It was the stands of Chinese manufacturers of segments, blades, pads and other accessories that attracted most visitors to Kamień fair.
- In Wrocław the most sought after blades with diameters of 800, 600 and 400 mm were selling like hot cakes. The fair price was attractive, because it was about 100-150 (25-35 euros) lower. We are satisfied with this event because many stonemasons came to Wrocław. In Poznań our stand was visited by slightly fewer customers and the first day was, actually, a disaster – recalls Siyu Liu, the director of the Polish branch of Hubei E-Xin company.
It was in Poznań where we could see most new products, but most of these products could be seen at the stands of ... Sakralia and Memento fairs. Tombstones and tombstone borders made of granite-quartz conglomerate (CARBO-SAN), stone-glass coffins with interior lighting (Kamieniarstwo SJENPOL Janusz Sołtys), a wireless electric switchboard BRE 256 (Tugal company) – the last one was awarded the Poznań International Fair Gold Medal and might be interesting for specialists of old building renovations. And what about our pavilions? Those who visited Herbeć showroom could see wide range of applications of Winckelmans tiles.
- Combining three events gave us a chance to present unique floor tiles for sacral buildings – say representatives of the company.
Those who were looking for new products must have paid attention to the SMERALDA machine family.
- Among many partners of this company there is a new manufacturer, an Italian company MGI Technology, which specialises, most of all, in different types of stationary bench saws, frequently used both in stone companies and on construction sites – informs Andrzej Bukalski from MC DIAM sp. z o.o.
- Basing on its long experience the company introduced many solutions which have not been applied in machines of this kind before, such as roller guides which ensure the biggest precision and smoothness of head movement.
Another thing that was drawing attention of many visitors was waxed concrete, which is cement-based levelling compound in the range of over 50 colours (BETON-CIRÉ). This product goes beyond standard canons of natural beauty, but, as we found out, it is very popular among flooring specialists.
World premiere in Wrocław
Let us come back to the first (in chronological order) event. The business meetings which took part at stands were complemented by an extensive programme of events which accompanied “Kamień and education” fair. We could, for example, listen to lectures delivered by graduates of the Department of Mining and Geology of the Technical University in Wrocław. In their papers we could find a lot of interesting and practical knowledge about, for example, rock excavation techniques. There were also other meetings dedicated to professionals. Michał Firlej from Stone Consulting was trying to explain complexities of stone-related directives. Sławomir Mazurek from JASA studio, on the other hand, was talking about secrets of anchoring systems. “Michelangelo students” from the technical secondary school of terrazzo work and artistic stone work in Sandomierz presented their skills at the Centenary Hall. Thanks to the artistry of Jerzy Zysk, a sculptor, we were given a chance to admire the process of making a work of art out of a raw stone block. During the last day of STONE fair all the visitors were offered free, professional interior design consulting services of Pogotowie Projektowe (design emergency).
Yes, we did see some spectacular debuts, mostly at the stands of those exhibitors who, shortly after Wrocław ... moved to Poznań. Chronologically, however, it was at KAMIEŃ fair where we could see the latest WaterFire machine for precise polishing of countertops, tables, stairs and narrow passages. We also had an impression that the Centenary Hall was full of people who hadn’t appeared at both events so far.
- In Wrocław we could find our regular exhibitors, but there were also those who had not appeared at stone fairs for some years – says Marzena Kantor, the director of Geoservice-Christi. – There were also companies which exhibited their offers for the first time, for example Zkusebna Kamene a Kameniva laboratory from Czech Republic and Unikom – Prom from Ukraine, a manufacturer of granite blocks.
New offer of granites presented by GB United, which is now an official representative of one of the biggest Spanish mining companies, attracted attention of many visitors. Among many small stands we could also see ... a jeweller who was presenting his own innovative method of placing photos on stainless steel.
- I have been working on the tombstone subcontracting market for half a year. I got encouraged to take part in this event by replies I received after organising a mailing promotion. Then I started sending effects (samples) of my technology, so I decided to participate in both events – says Jacek Zamaryka from Jastrzębie-Zdrój.
And in Poznań…
Let me say a few words more about STONE fair. The program of fair-related events was very extensive, too. The training entitled “EU means for 2014-2020”, a workshop for young designers, a photo exhibition... – during four days of the fair a unique MTP logo shaped mosaic bench was made. The fair was also accompanied by another edition of “Master of Sandblasting” competition, organised by ABRA company and our magazine. Mr. Krzysztof Parol from EFEKT company sandblasted a tombstone in the best and fastest way and won the competition.
- We’d like to thank all who visited our stands, both at KAMIEŃ and STONE fairs. We are happy that our new products attracted your attention. New valves which allow for sandblasting with every type of abrasive as well as automatic tables for sandblasting Autoblaster CNC have already found their buyers – says Tomasz Czekaj from ABRA.
Business is business
Finally, two comments and a very suggestive concept. The organisers of Wrocław based event learnt their lesson (after problems with Jarmark). Poznań-based fair, on the other hand, is very professional and attracts media.
- Both projects are a step forward and we are positively surprised with them. The situation seems to be clear – there are two organisers of trade fairs on the Polish market which compete against each other, just like stone entrepreneurs do. It would be perfect, of course, if there was just one event, held, for example, every second year (like the fair in Nuremberg). I would like to see our branch exhibiting its offer on a bigger scale because the fairs could be an important point on the agenda of the companies situated east of Poland. And I would like to pre-empt the following question: Should a branch organisation like ZPBK be in charge of reconciling parties or showing the only one good event? Why should it be like this? The market should decide about it. Let invisible hand of the market work! – Tomasz Żółkiewicz from Tempus Polska Sp.J. summarises both events.
We begun our report from absentees. Not all wanted to reveal the cause of their boycott or waiting for what would happen. It is hypothetical, but maybe our companies (wholesalers, manufacturers and suppliers of equipment), like Verona stone centre and Affi post-industrial areas, will start organising internal events whose dates will be correlated with the dates of KAMIEŃ or STONE trade fairs? It is, for sure, a good idea from the point of view of entrepreneurs whose outlets are not far from Wrocław or Poznań.
- As in previous years, I invited our customers to M + Q store in Poznań at 6 Hallera Street. We prepared a 1,000 m2 hall in which we had pleasant meetings and had some fun, but our guests could also familiarise themselves with our stone offer, including new products that entered the market this year, that is Platinum TD and Oceanic. Our customers also learnt about the history of our company – says Michał Nowak.
There are, for sure, more ways of expenditure rationalisation and exploitation of economies of scale. Preparations for next KAMIEŃ and STONE fairs may be a kind of hint for us. Wrocław invites us on 5 – 7 November whilst Poznań on 18 – 21 November. As we can see, the time interval between those two events will be even shorter this year. This is not a good news for employees of companies which, again, would like to be present as exhibitors at both events. Excluding media, there were no more than a dozen of them! We all know too that organising stands for manufacturers and suppliers of large stone machines requires a massive logistic effort. Cold calculation of our accountants will tell us more. After all, while two fight – the third one wins.