XBIZ Retail Expo Winds Down

LOS ANGELES — Several attendees on Friday were still buzzing about Larry Flynt’s inspirational address in the Stone Rose Lounge on Thursday, when he reminded everyone that free speech is not something to be taken for granted.

Mile High Media maintained a strong Expo presence with its booth space that was promoting its complete slate of video products that includes branded lines such as Reality Junkies, Sweetheart Video, Sweet Sinner, Doghouse Digital, Hardcore Parody and Male Reality, among others.

Mile High vice president Jon Blitt, who made the trip this week from his home in Montreal, told XBIZ he would soon be announcing an edgy new feature line that will further showcase the vision of writer-director Nica Noelle, already a regular shooter with the company.

Other exhibitors such as Samtin Releasing’s Director of Sales Jeff Widmer and GVA-TWN’s Operations Manager Scott Bowman enjoyed a casual Friday of business in the main hall.

Widmer, who traveled to the Expo this week from the Samtin Releasing/GVA headquarters in Cleveland, told XBIZ their presence was “good exposure.”

“Any time you get everybody in the same room like this business evolves from that,” Widmer said. “This industry is tight, it always has been.”

“It’s good relationship building,” Bowman added. “It was nice to see a lot of our vendors out here and talk with them.”

Widmer said he wanted to raise awareness this week about the companies’ easy-to-use online ordering system as well as their various video brands that continue to be strong movers in the special interest niches.

With the tagline “the special interest specialists,” Samtin releases eight titles a month from its Sticky Video, Shooting Star and Black Magic video lines that cover everything from BBW to 40-plus, to black fetish content.

One of Sticky’s most popular DVD products is the “Being Naughty Alysha” reality series that is up to its 18th volume and features naughty MILF Alysha and her real-life exploits.

“You really get to see a day in her life in these movies. It’s something that isn’t already produced and that’s what makes it special,” Widmer said. “She’s a gorgeous girl and what you see is real.”

For retailers of adult novelty products, the XBIZ Retail Expo presented the opportunity to check out new product releases from top manufacturers with a scaled-down approach that zeroed in on establishing connections rather than elaborate booth setups.

The Sofitel’s seminar rooms that had served attendees of top digital media conference XBIZ LA days earlier were transformed into an exhibition hall overnight.

Exhibitors on the main floor included manufacturers and distributors of a wide range of sensual products, including sex toys, sex enhancers and lingerie, from industry leaders such as Eldorado Trading Co., Avelli, BeaMonstar Products, Liberator, Alexander Institute, The Screaming O, Rene Rofe and Sportsheets.

Exhibitors in the 10th floor suites of the luxurious Sofitel Hotel also showcased a diverse mix of products and enjoyed a higher level of closeness with attendees that stopped by to check out their goods.

Biatta Intimates’ Robyn Peniasian, who held down the fort in the lingerie manufacturer’s suite, said she was looking forward to seeing how many of the connections established at the show would pan out after the event.

Retailers that visited the suites were treated to their own VIP suites that offered complimentary snacks and refreshments, as well as breath-taking views of Hollywood and a comfortable place to relax and take it all in.

The highlight of the XBIZ Retail Expo was the lineup of valuable panels and seminars that educated, entertained and opened the doors to the exchange of innovative ideas to strengthen the retail business.

Leaders of the most respected, popular adult retail chains offered useful advice on how to maximize store profits in the Best Practices seminar that included Castle Megastore’s Mark Franks, Hustler Hollywood’s Theresa Flynt, Good Vibrations’ Joel Kaminsky, Adam & Eve’s Bob Christian and Peekay’s Phyllis Heppenstall. While the Selling Pleasure Products panel of leading manufacturers offered a forecast on what to expect from them in the next year.

All the way down to the show’s final panel, which advised on legal hot button issues impacting adult retail, the XBIZ Retail Expo indulged the needs and concerns of the retail industry — and attendees responded.

“The XBIZ digital media conference and its newly added retail conference make up the leading annual event of the digital adult and now retail industry world,” Castle Megastore said.