In a business climate that is increasingly favoring commercial projects over residential installations, this year’s NeoCon World’s Trade Fair welcomed a record number of show goers with commercial work on their minds. The 39th annual exhibition of commercial products and services brought 52,632 interior designers and facility managers to the Merchandise Mart in Chicago earlier this month, an increase of about 4 percent. Additionally, show organizers noted that a record 420 products were submitted for the annual Best of NeoCon awards.

Few of those on hand at the show were surprised with the record turnout and increased participation. Jim Jolly, ceo and chairman of commercial carpet maker and longtime NeoCon exhibitor J & J Industries, said the industry event has been a top destination for his business for 30 years. “If we had choose only one show each year, it would certainly be NeoCon,” he noted. “No other event has the national attendance and brings out the key specifiers along with contract dealers and end users like NeoCon does.”

John Edelman of flooring and upholstery maker Edelman Leather said that the quick pace of the show ensures he “never feels like he’s wasted a dime” at the event. “We are always busy every second of every day,” he added.

Show organizers noted that with the residential market cooling, the commercial side of the industry is searching for new ways of doing business and strengthening its customer base. This was evidenced by a record 46 percent increase in the number of industry people pre-registering for seminars and education courses. “NeoCon has become the platform for launching new products and gaining inspiration for next year’s big idea,” said Mark Falanga, senior vp of NeoCon show producer Merchandise Mart Properties

NeoCon 2008 is set for June 9-11, 2008 at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. For more information, visit or call (800) 677-6278.