Mpls. Convention Center Sees Increase in Attendance

The center's five biggest consumer shows saw attendance increases ranging from 6 percent to 26 percent compared to last year's attendance.

The Minneapolis Convention Center has had a positive year so far, with its five largest public consumer shows seeing increases in attendance, according to an announcement made Tuesday by Meet Minneapolis.

The five shows-Minneapolis Boat Show; Minneapolis RV, Vacation & Camping Show; Minneapolis Home and Garden Show; Twin Cities Auto Show; and Northwest Sportshow-all saw jumps in attendance ranging from 6 percent to 26 percent from last year. The shows all took place at the center between January and April.

Attendees also spent more on purchases at the shows, indicating increased consumer confidence compared to recent years, Meet Minneapolis said.

“Boat dealers at the Minneapolis Boat Show saw sales . . . that they hadn't seen in years,” Jennifer Thompson, manager of the Minneapolis Boat Show and the Northwest Sportshow, said in a statement. “At our recent Northwest Sportshow, attendees were booking trips with resort owners again, the fishing tackle retailers had one of their best shows in years, and boats and RVs continued to sell.”

Retail sales at stores located at the Convention Center, such as Dunn Bros Coffee and Kelber Catering, were also up; increases ranged from 11 percent to 38 percent from last year's sales.

“After two to three years of staying in and saving, Minnesotans are ready to get out and do things,” Katie Smith, director of sales and marketing at the Minneapolis Convention Center, said in a statement. “Consumer confidence is up, and attendance and sales numbers only reinforced this trend.”

Meet Minneapolis is a not-for-profit, member-based association that promotes the Minneapolis area as a venue for conventions and meetings, and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination. Founded in 1987, the organization's 40-member board includes several area businesspeople, six city council members, one Hennepin county commissioner, and the mayor of Minneapolis.