The Greater New York City Metropolitan Area (includes north Jersey and south Connecticut) was lacking a major gem & mineral show of international stature. To address this need, fossil seller Lowell Carhart, his sister Christine (a fossil preparator), and their little brother Russell ("the team") embarked on a two-year development program in which exhibitors large and small were recruited to participate in a major new show in a new untested market. The result was the 2012 debut of the first annual NJ Gem & Mineral Show with 115 exhibitors and 6,000 attendees. From that modest beginning, growth momentum was achieved that forced a move to a 2.5x larger venue able to accommodate up to 600 dealers in the future.
A huge venue is important, as the team's goal is to create the largest gem & mineral show in the USA, and the second largest gem, mineral, fossil destination outside of Tucson, AZ. Why does size matter? A major show attracts exhibitors from across the USA and the world which results in a lavish array of gems, jewelry, fine minerals, fossils, dinosaurs, meteorites, crystals, amber, petrified wood, turquoise, gold nuggets, opals and so much more. And often, the miner, prospector, or manufacturer himself is the one doing the selling, so buyers can get the lowest price possible. More exhibitors in turn attract more visitors, which feeds the cycle of attracting yet more exhibitors. This growth benefits both exhibitor and visitor alike.
The 2013 show dwarfed the 2012 show with 271 exhibitor booths and 10,230 visitors during the three days of April 12-14, 2013. Advertising was expanded with full-page ads in every issue of all three major industry magazines throughout the year and 2x more billboards. The special exhibit increased 17x in size to 35 wall-cases from museums and 18 private collections. Exhibitor booths increased in size but dropped in price, and all were carpeted and backed with 8' elegant black drape. The Junior Ballroom was converted into a *stunning* UV mineral room featuring the largest exhibit of ultra-violet minerals outside of the Franklin and Sterling Hill mineral museums. The Main Ballroom was transformed into the Fine Mineral & Gem Gallery for 15 of the top mineral dealers in the world. And for those who needed a rest from all the activity, the 100-seat cafeteria inside the venue served surprisingly good food that was fairly priced.