SAN ANTONIO — Larry Schur, President and COO of All Baby & Child (ABC) since its inception 17 years ago, has spent 47 years in the juvenile products industry — 28 of those producing events. His wife Elizabeth started in the industry at the ripe old age of 7. She and her family owned Baby Fair in San Antonio, Texas for more than 30 years and she helped Larry power the National Independent Nursery Furniture Retailer’s Association for 11 years.
During that time, ABC Kids Expo ranked in the TSE Gold 100 10 times and made the TSE Fastest 50 in 2013, while ABC Educational Conference & Trade Show ranked in the TSE Fastest 50 three times.
The couple will begin the next phase of their journey in January as founders of Event Management Group, providing consulting and event management to the trade show and events industry.
Larry Schur recently shared how the industry has changed during his lengthy career —for better and for worse.
“My first job while I was in college was as a buyer for a major department store chain in downtown Chicago,” he said. “It shows you how one decision in my life at age 21 launched a whole career in the juvenile products industry.”
When he applied for the job, he was asked if he preferred a position as buyer in the notions (sewing) department or the baby department. “I knew nothing about either one, so I selected baby. And the rest is history.”
Schur watched the annual trade show for that industry mushroom from a few dozen manufacturers to over 3,600 booths in 1 million square feet of exhibit space.
Amazon and big-box retailers changed the competitive landscape dramatically. “The backbone of the industry has remained independent retailers. While an enormous number have closed in the past five-plus years, the survivors have learned to adapt and provide unique services and products.”
On the positive side, the changes beckoned in a new era of innovation, to the point that each year at ABC there were 250 to 300 new companies and inventors showcasing their products and concepts.
“Almost all of them were parents or parents-to-be with a new idea to help make life easier and save time,” he said. “From a few dozen companies in the industry to thousands worldwide today, it has been a real challenge keeping up with everything that is new and innovative.”
Starting in January, the Schur’s will channel their energies toward providing consultative and management expertise to help organizations of all sizes restart events during the coming year.
“Elizabeth and I have been producing events that range from full-blown large trade shows to educational conferences, as well as board meetings, for 28 years,” he said. “We know all the ins and outs of producing events.”
Reach Larry at (210) 328-8301 or firstname.lastname@example.org