After several years of attending AmericasMart in Atlanta, I was thrilled to attend a new-to-me wholesale market: Las Vegas Market!
We had so much fun seeing how Las Vegas Market compares to AmericasMart, connecting with vendors, and meeting up with members of Master Shopkeepers. Read on for what I learned at Las Vegas Market, my tips for retail owners, and how this market experience stacked up against our tried and true favorite in Atlanta.
This one caught me by surprise! In my mind, the Vegas market wasn’t very big. However, Las Vegas Market is 5 million square feet! It’s definitely smaller than Atlanta’s AmericasMart (7 million square feet), but it was still much bigger than I expected.
The first morning we went to the market, I made a rookie mistake that I’m blaming on jet lag. I forgot about the shuttles to the market! Instead, we took an Uber.
The city of Las Vegas has strict rules about where Ubers can and cannot pick up/drop off passengers, so we had to walk to another area to get an Uber AND get dropped off a short walk away from the market.
Ultimately, it wasn’t a big deal, but it wasn’t nearly as convenient as a shuttle!
If you’re staying at a hotel with shuttle service, ask the concierge for pick-up information. We got a very helpful flyer. The shuttle dropped us off much closer to the market, and at the end of the day, all the shuttles were lined up with lots of signage.
Shuttle service going to the market ended at 11 AM, while service from the market was from 4 PM to 7 PM. It was super easy to use and free!
Navigating the Market
Las Vegas Market has four buildings: an expo center and buildings A, B, and C.
I went to Las Vegas Market with my friend, Maureen, who owns The CoLab in Lakewood, OH. We started by visiting the temporaries, which were all located in the expo center. It was easy to navigate, and we appreciated that all the temps were in one place!
When we walked into the expo center for the first time, it was so fun to see Maureen’s reaction. She was in awe and so excited to explore! It reminded me how incredible a market event can be for new shopkeepers (or, in this case, a new market as seasoned shopkeepers!).
Because Las Vegas Market is a newer facility than AmericasMart, it did feel more modern and fresh. There was lots of open white space, which I appreciated. A fellow shopkeeper remarked, “it doesn’t feel cave-like, like AmericasMart,” and she hit the nail on the head.
In addition, the escalators felt safer at LVM than AmericasMart—if you’ve ever seen the AmericasMart escalators at the end of a busy day, you know what I mean!
Another shopkeeper mentioned a lack of restrooms. I didn’t feel like there were too few restrooms, but there was definitely a lack of clear signage to direct us to the restrooms!
There were hundreds of temporary vendors in the expo center, but three, in particular, stood out.
This family-owned business started with their 11-year-old daughter, who’s now a college student. Mom and Dad mostly run things now, but it was so nice to hear their story!
Maureen and I loved their packaging. Good packaging makes such a difference to wholesale buyers! If you’re a maker, please invest in your branding and packaging.
We loved this Nashville-based brand’s candles and custom packaging!
Near Modern Disaster
All of the cards from this vendor were funny and cute! We enjoyed chatting with Sam, the designer, and learned that she custom-designed the font she uses on all her cards.
Compared to AmericasMart, some of the showrooms in Las Vegas did feel smaller. The merchandising displays didn’t have the same wow factor because of their smaller scale. Aside from that, though, the showrooms were very similar.
The Las Vegas Market did have free wifi. The volume of people meant that the service wasn’t always great, but it did work (and I appreciated having it!).
Many shopkeepers asked me if the vendors at Las Vegas Market are the same as at AmericasMart. The answer is, I really don’t know! I’d need a full spreadsheet to compare the two.
Of course, there were some familiar faces, but there were also plenty of brands I’d never seen before. If I had been there as a buyer, there would have been plenty of vendors to choose from.
Food and Beverage
Just like AmericasMart, the food situation at Las Vegas Market was a bit disappointing. The lines were long, the food was expensive, and they were often sold out of a lot of the menu.
Food trucks were outside the main entrance, but I was too cold to go outside (I’m a freeze-baby!).
If you’re going to market, I recommend connecting with the reps and vendors you buy from regularly. Many of them have food tickets, and some larger showrooms will serve a hot lunch. If so, you can make your schedule around that to make sure you’re fed.
Another nice perk was the complimentary happy hour on some of the floors. It might not have been on every floor, but it was usually close to the escalators from 4-6 PM. I think the market itself hosted this as a treat for all the buyers.
Master Shopkeepers Happy Hour
Speaking of happy hour, we hosted a Master Shopkeepers event at the lobby bar of the Circa Hotel! Connecting over a cocktail or mocktail with group members was so much fun. Market days can be long and exhausting, so I’m always appreciative when members connect in person and talk shop.
I was worried that the bar at Circa would be too loud or obnoxious with the casino right there, but it was perfect! It was a small group, and we all sat on these swanky sofas and stools for a few hours. It was really fun.
Which Market Do I Prefer: ATL or LVM?
Throughout my time in Vegas, several shopkeepers asked me which market I preferred, AmericasMart in Atlanta or Las Vegas Market. And the answer surprises me—I think I prefer Las Vegas Market! I just really enjoyed the overall vibe.
However, we’ll still attend AmericasMart because of the proximity, time zone, and size. We can drive there in a pinch, don’t get jet lag, and there are more vendors and bigger showrooms.
Next, I hope to go to Dallas Market! I’m not sure I’ll make it this year, but it is on my “To Travel” list.
- Shopkeeper Shoutout: D.B. Imports
- Tools of the Trade Resources Guide
- Episode 154: My Personal Takeaways From AmericasMart 2023
- Join Master Shopkeepers, the only territory-protected, community-focused mastermind for brick-and-mortar business owners
- [06:10] Size
- [07:33] Transportation
- [09:47] Navigating the Market
- [12:24] Temporary Vendors
- [14:11] Showrooms
- [15:48] Internet Access
- [16:01] Vendors
- [17:08] Food and Beverage
- [18:56] Master Shopkeepers Happy Hour
- [20:16] Which Market Do I Prefer: ATL or LVM?