In 2009, the SCAA Board of Directors and staff made a decision to actively pursue a regular home for our annual Event for a variety of reasons. Hoping to capitalize on the extraordinary negotiating environment of the time due to the economic crisis and recognizing the benefits of having an anchor city, we undertook a search for a suitable location that could accommodate all of our unique needs for hotel selection, meeting space, available dates and convention center services, as well as a city that was attractive to our attendees. The net result of this search was a very compelling offer from the Washington State Convention Center and the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau. We are currently planning to locate the annual Event in Seattle in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018, pending final negotiations and signed contracts. The SCAA Board has reserved 2016 and 2019 for the Event to be located in the eastern half of the US pending successful negotiations with a suitable venue. At this time SCAA does not have a letter of intent or other pre-contract agreement for additional years in Seattle, but the WSCC is holding space and dates as a courtesy for 2020 and 2021.
Locating in Seattle for the years described above will provide a huge savings to the Association. It’s important to remember that SCAA is a non-profit, which exists solely for the benefit of its members. 100% of the money we save by locating in a city who is so motivated to have us can be used to make coffee education and barista competitions more accessible to more coffee professionals, to research and develop coffee quality and standards, and to make our annual Event better and less expensive for those who wish to attend it. We can also use money we save to increase our web presence, giving people who can’t travel to our Event access to our community. Unlike a for-profit entity where additional revenues enrich the shareholders or owners, in our case all windfalls pass to the members in the form of increased services and activities.
The Board and staff of SCAA are confident that a longer term arrangement will have many benefits to the organization, attendees and exhibitors, and we have carefully considered all of the pros and cons to such an arrangement before seeking proposals from a number of cities. It is not uncommon for an event such as ours to find an anchor city, and you need look no further than the National Restaurant Association or NASFT Fancy Food Show for successful examples.
To address some of the concerns put forth in a recent letter to the SCAA membership, we believe that multiple shows can thrive in the current business environment. No one show can claim ownership of a geographical location, and our decisions were based on what would yield the most advantageous outcome for our members.
We ask that our members consider the huge savings and other benefits as mentioned above when assessing the situation. This decision has been made with the best intentions for our membership, attendees and exhibitors, and there has been no intention to negatively affect any other organization due to this move. We welcome your comments, concerns, or shows of support to firstname.lastname@example.org.