ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Natural Products Expo West has been postponed. New Hope Network, the Boulder, Colo.-based producer of the annual trade show, said March 2 the event will be rescheduled and expected to announce a new date by mid-April.
More than 3,600 brands planned to exhibit at Expo West, which was to be held March 3-7 in Anaheim with an expected attendance of more than 85,000. Mounting concerns related to coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on travel restrictions triggered a wave of cancellations among retail buyers and exhibiting companies beginning Feb. 28. On March 1, New Hope said it expected a 40% to 60% drop in attendance but had planned to proceed with the show, based on guidance from health officials.
The following day, more than 300 exhibiting brands had pulled out of the event, and entrepreneurs and industry professionals on social media urged New Hope Network to cancel or postpone Expo West. By the end of the day, New Hope, a business of Informa Markets, announced the decision to reschedule.
“As with all our events, it was the intention here at Expo West in Anaheim, to follow official guidance from local authorities and to listen to the voices of the community we serve and support, in order to maximize the health of the industry,” said Fred Linder, group president of New Hope Network, in a March 2 update issued to all participants. “Today, it is clear the majority of those voices are saying they want Expo West but not this week. And so we are being guided by that majority in postponing the show.
“We will be working closely with all our customers and partners across the industry to identify a new date for the show later in the year and providing the service and support to deliver the connections and experience everyone expects from Expo West and the New Hope Network.”
Natural Products Expo West is now expected to take place prior to summer in Anaheim or a “suitable alternative location.” New Hope said it plans to work with exhibitors and attendees on future credits and support, setting up a $5 million rebate fund to assist small businesses “who are the heartbeat of this community.” Natural Products Expo East remains scheduled for Sept. 23-26 in Philadelphia.