Bozeman Business Boom: Tradeshow vendors plan to weather the summer without events

BOZEMAN- Brick Bound is a leatherwear company, owner Matt Saporito survives off of trade shows and craft fairs.

Heading into the summer, which would normally be the busy season, right now what could happen- that's up in the air.

“I started with making stuff for myself because it’s kind of tricky to buy good stuff for guys,” Saporito said. 

Saporito is Montana leather smith he makes homemade bags, wallets, and suitcases using 100% steer leather. 

“I kind of want to bring back the old school approach to business,” Saporito said,  “quality simplicity, something you could rely on- something you could pass down to your kids or grandkids something that will be there for life.”

Saporito is part of a multi-billion dollar industry. He doesn’t have a storefront, he makes his sales all summer long craft fairs and trade shows.

“Summer is definitely my busy season and I rely on it heavily for the continuation into the fall,” Saporito said, “through the winter I need to make sure that I have accrued enough money to get me through the beginning of the year, summer is what I have only relied on to make sure that happens.”

According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research,  the U.S. economy will be impacted by $14 billion to $22 billion due to cancel events across the country and close to 80% of scheduled tradeshows and exhibition events were canceled which is forcing local businesses in Bozeman to get creative.

“So basically what I’ve been thinking,” Saporito  said, “people are stuck at home so maybe I should focus on home goods.” 

Matt is now making bookshelf’s, chairs, and even handles for doors. He like so many vendors are turning to the internet to move products and continue to make a livelihood.

“It’s a little nerve-racking having all of these shows either being postponed or canceled,” Saporito said, “They are expensive to get into, you don’t always get your money back and the longer this drags out the more concerned I become.”

Saporito's business is heavily dependent on tourists coming to Montana in years past he’s been very successful at tradeshows. He’s nervous this summer but has hope.

“It’s been nice to have that access to all of these folks, who come and go and it’s a great way to get my name out there nationwide,” Saporito  said, “So it is great to be here it’s really nice to have a new set up, visitors, every week.”

To learn more about Brick Bound you can follow this link.

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