OPEI Launches Equip Exposition, Opens New Offices in Louisville

Building on four decades of success, the industry’s leading tradeshow will have a new look and feel in 2022

Equip Expo Office Ribbon Cuttingsm
Opei Shield Cmyk

GIE+EXPO will be rebranded and relaunched in 2022 as Equip Exposition, under full ownership of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), evolving the industry’s largest tradeshow and starting a new chapter for the event while reinvesting in its host city of Louisville.

“We’re excited to announce this evolution of our industry-leading tradeshow,” said Kris Kiser, president of OPEI. “The opening of our new office shows the investment our industry has in the event and in its long-standing location of Louisville. With OPEI bringing the management of the show wholly under the association’s umbrella, it was time to re-envision the event while honoring its long history.”

As of 2022, OPEI is taking over 100% ownership of the show, managing it out of the new office space in Louisville.

“We want to thank the city of Louisville,” Kiser said. “Our 40 years here has been sound. The management of the show is coming in house, the association that owns the show will take 100% ownership in 2022. We are going to manage it here, so we're creating this office and we've gotten this Kiser and OPEI board chairman Tim Duncan each thanked the City of Louisville, state of Kentucky as well as Warren Sellers and Sellers Expositions for managing the show for 40 years and the ongoing partnership.

“The city of Louisville, Louisville tourism, the state of Kentucky has always been a great partner of ours,” Duncan said.

Concurrent with the launch of Equip Exposition, the OPEI Board of Directors and Kiser, joined by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet Michael Berry, and other invited guests, cut the ribbon on new show offices on Main Street Tuesday night.

Berry congratulated OPEI and thanked the organization for continuing its ongoing partnership with the city and the state and for being part of the resurgence of tourism.

“Tourism, I don't have to tell any of you, has been challenged during the last 17 months,” he said. “Everybody says ‘oh, we're going to come roaring back, let's go out and find new business.’ While that's important I must salute our partners because we not only going after the new business, but we keep hopefully our friends who have been here for 40 years happy with what they are seeing as well.”

The show has an economic impact on Louisville of more than $20 million, has 20-plus acres of newly renovated outdoor demonstration areas, and more than a thousand exhibits. It co-locates with Hardscape North America.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer also welcomed OPEI in opening of the new office space.

“In so many ways tourism really sets the tone for a city and the type of shows we bring to the city as well,” the mayor said. “To us, this is kind of like the ultimate partnership, when you’ve got a great customer that's been here for decades and says, you know what, we're going to open up an office in your city.”

Echoing the state and other city representatives, Fisher thanked OPEI for its ongoing commitment to Louisville. He also presented Kiser with a proclamation in recognizing OPEI’s past and future contributions to the city.

“One of the reasons we chose this building is that it speaks to what Louisville was in the past and where it's going to go into the future,” Kiser said. “It's a beautiful new modern interior space in an historic building.”

According to show lore, back in 2007, show chairman Dan Ariens, was quoted as saying that GIE+EXPO was the 10th largest show in the nation and how the most successful shows across the world are in the same location year after year.

As of 2019, the show was the sixth largest in the United States according to the Gold 100. It attracts more than 20,000 attendees hailing from all 50 U.S. states and 54 countries.

“For those of you who may not realize sort of the impact of this, you think about who their (OPEI) members are, and they come to this office, throughout the year giving us opportunity to book even more business,” Cleo Battle, president of Louisville Tourism said. “This is bigger than just an office.”

Ariens himself acknowledged the tale from 2007, recalling how show management had considered the move.

“We said you know the best shows really do stay in one location, they have consistency, they have brand, they have a purpose,” he said. “As Louisville has become a better destination this show has become a better show. Forty years ago, it was brand new today It feels like a new show starting for another 40 years.”

Plans are already underway to expand education opportunities and enhance the attendee and exhibitor experience in Louisville: •  Trace Adkins will headline the concert series  •    David Feherty will give the opening keynote •    Landscape Management magazine, Bob Clements International, and the Professional Grounds Management Society will host a series of educational workshops  •    The TurfMutt Foundation will launch the first-ever Mulligan’s 5K and Fun Run in downtown Louisville

“Equip Exposition is where the landscape changes, and is the place for landscape contractors, outdoor power equipment dealers, distributors, and manufacturers to connect, learn, and grow,” Kiser said. “The tradeshow remains the best place to connect with your peers, network, and gain a competitive business edge. We’re excited to evolve the show and can’t wait to see you in Louisville October 19-21 next year.”