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The National Association of Consumer Shows Is Dissolving

Photo of National Association of Consumer Shows team

PORTLAND, Ore. — Founded in 1988 for the advancement of the consumer show industry and to further the growth and professionalism of those involved in the production of consumer shows, the National Association of Consumer Shows (NACS) will soon be non-existent. NACS members annually produce and host shows that use millions of square feet of public and private exhibit space throughout the United States and Canada. 

“The changing landscape of consumer shows, exacerbated by the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, has placed unprecedented strains on the viability of our organization. The financial sustainability of the National Association of Consumer Shows (NACS) has become increasingly challenging, and despite our best efforts to adapt and persevere, we have come to the realization that we can no longer continue in our current capacity,” a letter to NACS members and stakeholders states.

Some industry insiders have predicted an association shift, and this could be the start of things to come. Younger attendees are often skeptical about joining formal associations and this has made an impact on NACS. The Q2 2023 Freeman Trends Report asks about the trustworthiness of information sources. When asked of participants of all ages, professional trade organizations ranked as the second most trustworthy source with 68% saying they are extremely or very trustworthy information sources. When directed at today’s Next Gen Event Goer, between 20 and 44 years old, that number declines to 44%.

It’s a Family

“I have been a member for 20 years and have attended every convention except for one when my son was born. NACS is not just a group of people who get together once a year; it’s a family,” Jacqui McGuinness, NACS President and Founder of JBM & Associates, which produces the annual Charleston Boat Show and the annual Savannah Boat Show, said. “This organization has been very beneficial to many of our businesses. It has been a great run.”

The focus now is on a smooth dissolution process. NACS is also in talks with potential partners investigating any alternative options the association may have to provide services and benefits to its members.

Related. Trade Show Organizers and Events Industry Associations Look at Acquisition and Consolidation

“This decision has not been taken lightly, and we understand the significant impact it will have on our members, partners and the consumer show industry as a whole. For many years, NACS has served as a unifying force, bringing together a diverse array of consumer show professionals. We have strived to foster collaboration, innovation and excellence in the consumer show sector, and we are immensely proud of the achievements and progress we have made together,” the letter states.

There are 139 current members, down from 300, which was the membership at its highest. The association had its most recent convention in June in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Community Choice Convention Center.

“While the decision to dissolve NACS is undoubtedly a somber one, we hope that the spirit of collaboration and dedication that defined our organization will live on in the consumer show industry. We are immensely grateful to our members, partners and the entire community for their support, commitment and passion over the years. It is your unwavering dedication that has made NACS a vital part of this industry,” the letter states. “In closing, I want to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who has been part of NACS throughout its history. Together we have achieved remarkable milestones and forged lasting connections.”

McGuinness says the dissolution of NACS is a sign of the times. “The pandemic made an impact. We are seeing a lot of domino effects now,” McGuinness said.

Reach Jacqui McGuinness at

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