Byline: David Grant Caplan

NEW YORK — The meteorologists and weather forecasters put a damper on the inaugural Fashion Avenue Market Expo, causing it to shut down early, much to the chagrin of some exhibitors.
The FAME show, produced by Business Journals Inc., began last Saturday at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan and was scheduled to wrap up Monday. But as media reports forecasted “a storm of the century,” the show’s organizers, Business Journals Inc., shut down the apparel and accessories event Sunday afternoon — a day ahead of schedule.
At about 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, show officials began walking through the show floor and informing exhibitors that it would not complete its three-day run because of a winter storm that was predicted to reek havoc Sunday evening and Monday across the Northeast.
“The safety and well being of our retail attendees and exhibitors is of paramount importance and that is why we felt compelled to close FAME [Sunday] afternoon, based on information we had at that time,” Business Journals president and chief executive officer Britton Jones said in a statement.
Jones added that exhibitors will be offered a discount on the next FAME show, scheduled for Aug. 4-7.
“Because weather is something we cannot control, we buy insurance for potentially severe situations as this,” he said in a statement. “While we have yet to settle with our insurance company, it is our full intention to accommodate our exhibitors with an adjustment on future FAME shows.”
The blizzard never quite materialized, at least not on Sunday or Monday. The show — produced by Sam Starr, who for the last 28 years produced the International Fashion Boutique show — was scheduled to close at 6 p.m. Sunday, attendees were scarce and many booths were shuttered by 4 p.m.
Some exhibitors, who said business was brisk on Saturday followed by a lackluster Sunday, said Business Journals reacted prematurely.
“I am very upset because we were doing significantly well,” said Galina Deverman, a sales representative with exhibitor Luly K. “I think they should have stayed open and let whoever wanted to open, open.”
Vivienne Miranda, a sales representative with Sebastopol, Calif.-based Pantropic, said she was “very disappointed” the show ended early because she failed to meet her sales goal.
“We had the idea that this would be a great show,” she said Sunday, while packing her wares into a cardboard box. “We didn’t even get nearly close as we had hoped+and now that I’m hearing the storm is not going to be until late Monday night, I’m really upset.”
Pat Dhawan, vice president of New York-based junior firm Fashion Spy, said “You can’t really win with the weather,” but he would have preferred if the show ran its course.
“It would have been great to have another day — the show didn’t meet our expectations, but it wasn’t a total loss,” he said. “Even if it was open tomorrow, I don’t think people would have come.”
Allen Gauthier, vice president of sales for Montreal-based jeans company Hollywood, was less upset than his counterparts.
“I’m not really happy, but it’s not a situation we can really control,” he said, while packing away pairs of low-rise jeans.
Gauthier said the show’s early closing will “put more pressure on people to have more market trips” in coming weeks since many buyers shied away from attending the show.