I spent last week in Chicago, IL at the 2010 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition. As the evangelist for Solid Cactus, I had the pleasure of working the booth and talking with current and prospective customers about the various eCommerce design services Solid Cactus offers.
This was the first time we publicly exhibited Solid Cactus eCommerce, our all-in-one shopping cart and marketing platform and it was very well received. We also extolled the virtues of our other services including call center & virtual office, eCommerce marketing and Yahoo! Store design and programming.
I had the opportunity to meet many of our customers, some who have been with us since the very beginning including Mike Eldridge of SafetyGlassesUSA.com, Nacho Hernandez of MexGrocer.com, Doug Van Harren of TriangleCables.com, “Candy” Pam from BlairCandy.com, Liz Broussard from ClassicCharms.com and many, many more!
I also got to spend time with some other Yahoo! Store developers including Eric from EY Studios, Dan and George from King Webmaster and Kevin from Ventura Web Design. In this competitive world in which we live, it’s great to see that guys like us can all get along!
Joining me in the windy city was Donna Talarico, Beth Hartman, Joe Palko and Greg Kosicki from the Shavertown, PA office and Peter Heming from the Barrie, ON, Canada office. When the six of us weren’t working the booth, we sampled all the culinary offerings of the city.
Monday night we hit Gino’s East and took on their famous deep dish pizza. Honestly folks, I wasn’t impressed. I thought the crust tasted like a corn muffin, but the sauce and ingredients that made up this soupy pie were good. We didn’t have to wait in line, but I was told that normally there is a wait.
While on the subject of pizza, I thought we should give another Chicago pizza spot a second shot. So on Wednesday night we went to Giordano’s. We were all in agreement that Giordano’s deep dish pizza was better than Gino’s. The crust was more of what I was expecting and it wasn’t as soupy at Gino’s. The highlight of the evening at Giordano’s was when 47 year old Greg Kosicki was carded in order to enjoy a Sam Adams. Unfortunately, he left his license in his wallet at the hotel. Luck, and a little persuasion, was on his side as he eventually was given a cold bottle to enjoy.
Being in Chicago, we just had to go and seek out a great steak house. Our choice was the Chicago Firehouse Restaurant which is just what the name implies – a steak house in a remodeled, historic firehouse. Albeit a bit on the expensive side, the steaks were great, the service was attentive although it was pretty loud. I think we all agreed that this was the best dinner of the week.
On our last night we decided to go for some Italian so we hit the Italian Village which is located in a “complex” which holds three other theme restaurants. Dinner was your standard Italian fare… nothing too spectacular and nothing to complain about.
A lot of people have asked me, “how was the show?” Honestly, compared to previous year’s shows, I felt attendance was down. I remember being at Internet Retailer and the aisles were so crowded you couldn’t walk down them and there were lines of people at booths waiting to talk with company representatives. I didn’t see this at all this time around, which was disappointing. While the promoters said it was record attendance, I find room to argue. However, leads appeared to be more qualified and with the slower pace of things, you had more time to spend talking to visitors in the booth.
Next year, the show is in San Jose, CA. Since I don’t take flights that are over 3 hours long, it will take me 2 days to get there, so if I’m a little late you’ll know why!