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Long-Running Trade Show Coffee Fest Acquired by Urban Expositions

A corner of the trade show floor at the recent Coffee Fest Chicago at Navy Pier. Coffee Fest Facebook photo.

Coffee Fest, the 25-year-old coffee industry event series, has been acquired by Urban Expositions, a Trumbull, Conn.-based trade and consumer event production company owned by London, England-based Clarion Events.

The financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed, but it became official June 8 just prior the recent Coffee Fest Chicago event. Under the watch of president and show manager David Heilbrunn, Lifestyle Events Inc. launched Coffee Fest as an events group in 1992, producing its first Coffee Fest trade show in 1998. Since then, there have been more than 50 Coffee Fest shows throughout the United States, most recently including three shows per year in the East, West and Central regions.

The upcoming Coffee Fest Portland, Baltimore and Denver events will all be under the new ownership, although in a letter to Coffee Fest attendees and sponsors, longtime Coffee Fest vice president Erika Lowery said there will be few operational changes. She added that Heilbrunn will be assisting with the transition.

“As far as Coffee Fest operations are concerned, we are still here and the Coffee Fest office will remain headquartered in the greater Seattle/Tacoma area,” she wrote, noting that the acquisition had been in negotiations for six months. “The staff you have come to know and love is still running the show and will continue producing great events.”

Lowery said Coffee Fest plans to continue to hold three events each year in rotating cities, with a first joint event coming to in the fall of 2018 with Urban Expositions’ International Restaurant and Foodservice Show of Los Angeles.

Urban Expositions currently operates 36 trade or consumer shows in various segments, including gift, souvenir, art, airport, foodservice, specialty retail, gaming, automotive and lifestyle. The company’s restaurant and foodservice events are operated out of its Kennesaw, Ga., office.

“We are pursuing strategic opportunities to grow our business, and specifically our foodservice and hospitality sector. These shows perfectly align with the profile and growth potential we were hoping to add to this portfolio,” Urban Expositions President and CEO Craig Dooley said in an announcement of the Coffee Fest acquisition. “We are proud to welcome the Coffee Fest team to Urban, and are looking forward to working with them to build upon the successful track record that they have firmly established with these shows. By working closely with these veteran team members, we will continue to strengthen and enhance the business and professional growth opportunities these events deliver to the marketplace.”