Dec 3, 2019
Smoky Mountain Gift Show records attendance increase in November

Smoky Mountain Gift Show, that offers top-name souvenirs, resort gift lines, and innovative tourism products, wrapped up its 2019 edition in November, bringing more than 3,500 industry professionals together in Gatlinburg.

This year’s event featured more than 300 companies, including more than 50 new to the show. The assortment of both unique and well-known brands showcased gifts, souvenirs and exclusive products based on industry feedback – to top buyers from theme parks, museums, zoos, aquariums, premier tourist destinations, and national, state and local parks. Many of these companies displayed their newest launches in the Product Preview Area and two were recognized for Best New Product and Best Made in America.

“The #1 reason buyers come to Smoky Mountain Gift Show is to see what is NEW! The Product Preview Area is always a busy destination on the show floor and a perfect place to showcase the industry’s newest designs,” commented Christina Bell, show director. “We are thrilled to announce that P. Graham Dunn captured the show’s Best New Product for its American-made inspirational art, home décor and gifts. And Starz Puzzle, received the Best Made in America product for their unique design and highly diverse wooden puzzles, which were a favorite among retailers at the show.”

Best New Product

Inspirational art, home décor and gifts from P. Graham Dunn

Best Made in America Product

Wooden puzzles from Starz Puzzle

Spotlight Awards

Clarion Events celebrated the recipients of the Spotlight Awards that recognize the souvenir/resort industry’s companies, organizations and individuals who truly stand out in categories of leadership, career achievements, and best practices. The winners were nominated and selected by their industry peers and chosen by the Clarion Events jury panel in the following categories:


Recognizes an individual or company that truly embodies the spirit of partnership as demonstrated through efforts ranging from community involvement to personnel enrichment. Congratulations to the buyer recipient Tommy Brown, St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis, Missouri and our exhibitor recipient American Gift Corporation.


Recognizes a family-owned business that exemplifies solid values, business qualities and best practices. The panel recognized The Clark Family for the popular gift/souvenir shops they own throughout Port Aransas, TX, including, Robin & Robert Clark, Padre Islander, Wendy & Bruce Clark, Islander, and Cassandra Clark, the Connoisseur as well as the exhibitor recipients, Mike and Rene Galer, Prairie Mountain.


Recognizes an individual who embodies the true spirit of friendship. Congratulations to Donna Steakly, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Dallas/Ft Worth, and Dan Shoemaker, Kalan LP.

“We are thrilled to celebrate and recognize everyone’s accomplishments at this year’s event” explained Lisa Glosson, vice president, gift & souvenir portfolio, Clarion Events. “You could truly feel the love and livelihood of the industry at the Spotlight Awards Reception and that continued throughout the whole event.”

MATCH! program

Now in its second year, MATCH! continues to receive favorable feedback as a time-saving way to discover new business partnerships. The MATCH! program generated 235 highly curated meetings for suppliers and retailers. As part of the program format, MATCH! provided participants with pre-scheduled, guaranteed meeting opportunities with new customers, based on mutual categorical interests – further allowing both parties the chance to meet with customers that they may not have met on their own time at the show.

In conjunction with the exhibit hall and MATCH! appointment setting programs, the Smoky Mountain Gift Show hosted a number of special events and amenities for buyers. The show partnered with the Zoo & Aquarium Buyers Group (ZAG) to host Made in America Buying Tours. In addition, the event offered a new tour this year, Zootique Buying Tour. Buyers visited vendors on the show floor and learned tips and strategies on how to merchandise and sell animal themed products in their stores.

The Smoky Mountain Gift Show will return November 4-7, 2020 to the Gatlinburg Convention Center. For more information, visit

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