The Northern Michigan Gift & Souvenir Show is a wholesale trade market. Its exhibitors are gift and souvenir manufacturers, their representatives and other independent reps. Visitors to the show are retail store owners or their buyers placing orders in quantity on the wholesale level to be shipped at a later date.
Registered with the State of Michigan as a non-profit organization, the show's exhibitors are the organization's members by virtue of paying their booth fees.
The show is held once annually - traditionally the third Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of April when Easter does not conflict.
Each year, five members are elected by the membership to serve as a governing Board of Directors who enforce the By Laws of the organization.
The show hires a show services subcontractor to oversee daily management of the organization and show.
The Northern Michigan Gift & Souvenir Show was started in 1953 by the promoter of the former Detroit Gift Show and a small group of forward thinking Manufacturers' Representatives who wanted to accommodate their customers in the northern reaches of Michigan by bringing a wholesale market to their doorsteps.
The show's first home was the Park Place Hotel in downtown Traverse City from 1953 to 1963. In that period of time, it grew out of this facility and moved to Boyne Mountain Resort in 1964 and 1965 while the Mountain's sister resort, Boyne Highlands was being built.
Once completed and on line the beautiful Boyne Highlands golf and ski resort in Harbor Springs became the show's home from 1966 to present day. At Boyne Highlands for the last 40 years the show has enjoyed a rich history with both buyers and reps. Retailers gather at the Highlands each year to not only do their purchasing for the busy summer tourist season ahead but also enjoy the camaraderie of their peers and reps and, as time would have it, share old stories.
The show enjoys a reputation of mixing business with pleasure. Most buyers do not merely visit the show, do their buying and just leave. Most buyers opt to stay a night or two at the unique resort and spend evenings mingling with their reps in the lodge's picturesque dining room and lounge. Cocktail parties with live entertainment are arranged each year to help set the tone.
Most of these reps and retailers have known each other for many years and treat one another like family more than business acquaintances. As new generations come in to the industry this infectious tradition continues to steep - on a "first name" basis.
Sometimes referred to by many as "the Boyne Show" for short, this event has taken on a persona of its own and is to many of us who hold it closely to our hearts, much more than the sum of its parts.