For those of you who leave AirVenture before the final Sunday, and that is 97% of you, you may not be aware that the final day of the show is unofficially known as Vendor Bonding Day. There are few airplanes and visitors remaining on-field and even fewer who are conducting serious business. Sure, we may be called upon to give directions to the last remaining ice cream vendor or asked if so-and-so showed up this year, but that’s about it. So we pass the day doing what we haven’t been able to do all week; leave our own booth and visit with fellow vendors. It’s a ritual and that ritual played out again this year. It’s a ritual most vendors would gladly give up to be on the road toward home, where the business of supporting new and existing customers and advancing new business has been piling up for over a week.
The kit-building industry is populated by small businesses with limited time and staff. Every July those resources are directed toward displaying at AirVenture and that effort, for most kit plane vendors, takes key staff out of their day-to-day role to support the show effort. As I write this, many vendors are still wending their way home, towing trailers filled with airplanes, literature, and booth accoutrements. The exhausted staff will need to unpack when they get home and then begin catching up on the last 10-days of accumulated work. I’m sure they will all be happy to be back home, back to normal, and I’m sure they all appreciate your patience and understanding as they work hard to catch up on the day-to-day work that had to be put on hold. I think we can all agree it’s worth giving up two weeks of normal customer service for the greatest homebuilding and aviation event in the world.