Las Vegas is the ideal showplace for a leader in toys, novelties and gift-shop items
Daniel Boone may have name recognition in most circles, but at the twice-yearly ASD Las Vegas trade show for consumer goods, it’s his younger brother Squire whose name predominates. In March and August, a company based in southern Indiana that is named after him, Squire Boone Village, takes over 14 booths at the two trade shows, which each attract some 45,000 professional buyers. They eagerly sample the company’s line of rock crystal candy, soap, candles and other novelties that wind up in the gift shops of zoos, aquariums, science museums and the like.
Squire Boone Village is owned by Rick Conway, who originally tried to turn it into a tourist attraction after inheriting the Indiana property from his father. After several years, he switched direction and decided to make his living wholesaling gifts and souvenirs.
Conway started his Squire Boone Village line of gift-shop products in 1983. It took off a couple of years later when Nielsen Expositions (now Emerald Expositions) acquired ASD Las Vegas and devised new ways of doing business. Squire Boone Village is now a global enterprise that wholesales toys, souvenirs and gift items to more than 10,000 outlets. It is also ASD Las Vegas’s largest exhibitor, occupying more than 1,400 square feet of booth space.
In the highly competitive toys and gifts sector, where success demands constant innovation and improvement, Las Vegas remains a key component of Conway’s marketing strategy. He counts on major trade shows like ASD Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Souvenir and Resort Gift Show in September to give his wares the visibility they need.
Conway likes to entertain his extensive sales force at a hip tapas bar called the Firefly, at the iconic Battista’s Hole in the Wall, and at MGM Grand’s convivial beef haven, Craftsteak. “Las Vegas makes working a trade show so easy,” says an admiring Conway. “It’s the most accommodating city I know.”