ENK LEAVING THE PLAZA FOR PIERS AT 55TH STREET
Byline: Janet Ozzard
NEW YORK — Elyse Kroll is checking out of the Plaza.
Kroll, president of ENK International, is moving her high-end women’s, men’s and accessories trade show business out of the midtown hotel to a new site at the Show Piers on the Hudson River.
Kroll has held her shows, including the Fashion Coterie, Designers Collective and Accessorie Circuit, at the Plaza for the past seven years. But for the last two years, she said, she’s been looking for another venue.
The move involves a switch to a booth format for all ENK exhibits. Kroll also indicated that she plans to eliminate weekend dates for her future shows.
ENK’s first pier show will be the Accessorie Circuit in May.
“I have seen every possible space in New York City, from the most obvious to the most absurd,” said Kroll Friday. The Piers won out for a few reasons: the size, the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Hudson River, the trade-show-friendly management staff and, she said, “the challenge.”
“I am trying to do what I couldn’t do in a hotel,” she said. “I had so many restrictions. I love the Plaza, but we had one freight elevator for all the exhibitors.”
It’s also a matter of keeping ahead of her competition. Although Kroll uses a jury to select lines for all her shows, she said there are still many lines she’d like to include, but doesn’t have the space to accommodate.
In addition, several smaller trade shows, featuring designer-to-contemporary-priced women’s apparel and accessories, have sprung up in the last five years and are held around the same time as Kroll’s 10-year-old Fashion Coterie. But Kroll said that with larger space, she’ll be able to admit more exhibitors that might otherwise go elsewhere.
“While it’s not as convenient to go to the Piers, it’s more convenient to go to one place and do all your shopping there than to go to 14 shows on one weekend,” she said.
Kroll has hired Joanne Mohr as group show director. Mohr had held the same title at the former trade show company Conference Management Co., which produced the Fashion Accessory Expo (FAE) at the Pier before moving it to the Jacob Javits Center last year.
“She’s going to take us through this,” said Kroll of Mohr. “She’s had tremendous experience with these kinds of shows.”
However, the drawback of the Piers is the location, on the Hudson River at 55th Street across the West Side Highway. Previous apparel trade shows held there, such as FAE, haven’t thrived in the location.
That doesn’t intimidate Kroll, who said that she’s attending to every aspect of the move, including providing shuttle buses from midtown and making sure taxi services know about the shows.
“The flower show is there, the antiques show is there, the gift show is there, and you can’t say those aren’t successful,” she said. “The show has to be made a destination, and that’s what I’ll do.”
She said ENK plans to produce runway shows and seminars and set up top-notch restaurants so buyers won’t have to leave for lunch. In addition, there will be lounge areas and a full business center with phones and fax machines. In warm weather, Kroll added, there will be outdoor dining overlooking the river.