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Ste Marie aux Mines 2012 ?

Posted by Roger Lang  
Yue Tutt December 16, 2011 11:37PM
I agree with David Von Bargen. As well in Europe, the traditional local mineral & fossil shows are mostly ran by mineral clubs or organizations which are non-commercial. So that the dealers and visitors benefit from the club arrangement.

For some one can read German, here is a forum weblink regarding the topic of sainte-marie 2012:;topicseen#new
It seems to be that most of the people there are supporting Sainte Marie.

By the way,
Why should we make that much headach around this topic here at all ???
Look, if in 2012 there had been only one show place in Sainte-Marie like we have it for ages,
no dealer would even be keen on or pushing for relocating to somewhere else.
Now, only becuase that there are two places offered by fact, lots of people seem to be stressed and confused!
To me, everyone shall simply make his own decision.
It's so simple: STAY or leave, just rock & support the show you like most!
Honestly, a number of dealers I know are very clear in their mind, they go to a show for business, friends and customers.
They ignore individuals trying to put pressure on them.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/17/2011 09:49AM by Yue Tutt.
Luiz Alberto Dias Menezes, Fo. December 18, 2011 01:20AM
David, I am referring to the satellite shows at Tucson and Denver, where most of the specimens for normal collectors are traded; on both places the Main Show are run by the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society and the confederation of mineral clubs with great competence and success, but the minerals I need to purchase there to sell to my customers in Brazil I normally cannot obtain at the Main Shows, the prices are normally much higher than can be obtained from dealers at the satellite shows.

At Munich and Sainte Marie aux Mines who is looking for top quality specimens would find them easily at the International Mineral Pavillion and at the Theatre, but will have to pay premium prices for them; who wants to buy good minerals at affordable prices should better look at the normal booths or tents, and at Denver and Tucson the normal collectors and dealers would make their purchases mostly at the satellite shows, run by show promoters.
Michel Ambroise December 28, 2011 02:54PM
Good to read all your comments and opinion about Colmar versus SMM.

I wonder what will be the reaction of customer obliged to share there time between the two show..!!!!!!
I hope they will come with two time more money than what they plan.....
Unfortunatly, there is only one things to do before june; is to wait......
Rick Turner January 03, 2012 04:14PM
IMHO, if this 'split' in the show eventually leads to a situation where we have a Tucson-style distributed show here in mainland Europe, then I think that we will all benefit greatly. The overall event will continue to get bigger and more diverse, and that will create the same sort of benefits that Tucson has in terms of diversity. In the short term, the abrupt increase in available 'show space' will allow more dealers to participate, and if there is empty space this will cause the cost of a stand/table to fall, which will then attract back more of the smaller dealers - many of whom have dropped out in recent years due to spiralling costs. Additionally, the show centre in Colmar has facilities that would allow events such as talks and workshops to take place - something that was sadly lacking in the past.

Personally, I think that these changes will be no bad thing.

The one true danger is that people will start to pull out (us collectors and buyers as well as the dealers). That would be bad and we would risk sending the whole thing into terminal decline, so it's up to us to support both shows - irrespective of which dealer goes where in the immediate future. In the short term I have no doubt that there will be a lot of heat and light but we need to either ignore this or look past it. Change is always unsettling and so there will be lots of talk, some angry words, and probably some arm waving too. Just as there was in Tucson back in the 1990s when something similar happened there too. The overall result at Tucson was .... wait for it..... growth in the size of the show, and little more. The rest of the world went on just as it had done before, and hopefully that is what will happen here in France too.

Assuming that a collapse does not happen, then I can see the event ending up pretty quickly with Colmar as the 'core' location and Ste Marie as one of the major satellites. The intervening distance is not a problem - after all, it takes about the same amount of time to drive from the Innsuites in downtown Tucson to say the Westwood Resort in the northern suburbs, and nobody bats an eyelid at doing that trip (even though there are relatively few dealers at the Westwood).

Incidentally, I have always stayed in Colmar when going to Ste Marie in the past - better hotels, plenty of good restaurants, stores and other facilities, and no problems with parking and so forth. Nice town, and well worth a visit.

Happy New Year to all, and I hope that 2012 brings you all success and prosperity.

Rick Turner
Harjo Neutkens January 16, 2012 01:53PM
There are two full page interviews about next year's show in MineralienWelt. One with Michel Schwab, and one with Claude Abel (the mayor of SMAM).
Jonathan Levinger January 24, 2012 04:20AM
As it often happens big dealers will tray to be at both venues to catch as many buyers as they can. Smaller dealers and those that specialize in certain type or locality minerals are probably going to stay in SMAM expecting more traditional clientele to visit there first. If the two organizers are smart they would co operate and make this in to a two locality Europe's super show.
Up to now only few more money oriented dealers are turning their back on SMAM and saying without any proof that every one will do the same. My guess is that SMAM will have a bumpy ride for a year or two and if they learn how to manage the show properly it will keep on as a main show. If they do not do it right they will be out in two to three years.
Alfredo Petrov February 20, 2012 11:30PM
To update this discussion: The german magazine Mineralienwelt announced that the number of dealers deciding to move from Ste Marie aux Mines to Colmar was not sufficient to be viable and the move to Colmar has been cancelled. So the agony of indecision about whether to move or not is no longer necessary - perhaps good news for many dealers and visitors - and the show will remain in its traditional venue, the picturesque ex-mining town of Ste Marie. It remains to be seen how the new organizers (the mayor and his team) will deal with the problems of overcrowding and parking, but I'm sure we all wish them good luck in their endeavour.
Stefan Koch February 21, 2012 12:57PM
Here's a link to the original article (in german language): mineralienwelt
Armin Sorg (2) February 21, 2012 01:58PM
And a link to the site of Règne Minéral (in french language):
Philippe Russo February 21, 2012 02:51PM
Great news ! SMAM is unique, history and atmosphere will prevail
Owen Lewis (2) February 21, 2012 04:15PM
Well, I booked my room yesterday - in Colmar. Getting in on the TGV on the Thursday p.m. and leaving on the Sunday about midday. Depending on the vibes, that could give me a day and a bit at EuroMineral and over half a day wandering about in Ste Marie as well.

On the basis that the majority of the (much enlarged) number of stands will be in Colmar, those organising the Ste Marie show might do well to organize a shuttle bus service between the two sites (about a 30 mile drive through pretty wooded hills). and sell bus seats in advance though their (under construction) web site. Otherwise, only those with cars are likely to do both shows.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph February 21, 2012 04:16PM

If you didn't read the earlier message, the Colmar show appears to have been cancelled. There will only be the show at Ste Marie-aux-mines now
Alfredo Petrov February 21, 2012 05:38PM
The Colmar organizer himself has confirmed that the new show in Colmar is cancelled:

So we are back to the traditional scenario - A single show, in Sainte Marie aux Mines, but under new organisers. Everyone, I'm sure, is nervously waiting to see how it will work out, but the traditionalists are happy.

A little shrinkage would probably be good for the show, as it had grown so big that driving and parking were becoming a headache. I hope the new organisers come up with some creative solutions to the problems, like perhaps frequent shuttlebus service to Selestat station? I'm surprised that this was not done in the past, although there is a public bus between SMaM and Selestat, which runs mostly almost empty even during the peak of the show (thereby proving that Europeans are as much addicted to the convenience of their cars as Americans are, despite protestations to the contrary).
Joan Kureczka February 21, 2012 05:44PM
Perhaps they could arrange much more parking on the outskirts of town, and then run frequent shuttle buses to and from the lot. It's been a while since we've gone, but even 5-6 years ago the parking was difficult unless you arrived quite early.
Tomasz Praszkier February 21, 2012 05:57PM
Big shame for me. Michel made that show as a international even and made it really world-class.
Michel - thank you for all this years!

I have nothing against new organizers (I do not know them) - I just thought that we owe something to Michel...


"Spirifer" Geological Society
Peter Slootweg February 21, 2012 07:30PM

You should not be ashamed for defending something you believe in. And i think you are right about the fact that Mr. Schwab did put up a great show all those years and the mineral community should be grateful for that. We will see what the new organizers come up with to relieve the current problems. I'm looking foreward to see it for myself and enjoy minerals, people and great food as usual.

Tomasz Praszkier February 21, 2012 07:42PM
I am not ashamed, I just think that this is a pity :-) Sorry for my English....

"Spirifer" Geological Society
Owen Lewis (2) February 21, 2012 08:39PM
Jolyon wrote:

If you didn't read the earlier message, the Colmar show appears to have been cancelled. There will only be the show at Ste Marie-aux-mines now

No, for whatever reason, that news was not screened to me when I read in and posted to the thread. Too late to change my booking though, which is pre-paid.. Bus rides, I guess..... Saves hassle with the parking anyway :-) And as someone else said, Colmar is picturesque and the restaurants are good.

More to this story to come I think. How one cancels a hall like the Colmar Expo at just 4 months' notice might be 'Only with difficulty and expense'!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/21/2012 10:03PM by Owen Lewis (2).
Alfredo Petrov February 21, 2012 08:42PM
Owen, Since SMaM never did have enough hotel space for all its visitors, there were some participants sleeping in Colmar every year anyway. With any luck, you might be able to carpool with someone else staying in Colmar.
Owen Lewis (2) February 21, 2012 10:00PM
Thanks for the good thought. In fact, I've a couple of friends who say they will be driving over though whether staying in Colmar or closer to SMM is not yet clear as they are also meeting up with chums from Luxembourg. So I may not be as bereft as I might have been.

Anyway it should be a happy couple of days with minerals, gems, beer and gossip MINDAT evening gatherings in la petite Venise?.

I just found this on the web-site It's always sad to see a business go down. ....Tammany Hall.... or, as the French have it, 'plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose'.
Jean-Marie Claude February 22, 2012 06:34AM
This is a Democratic victory! These are the exhibitors who made the choice. Nothing to add except: long life to exposure to SMAM

C'est une victoire democratique ! Ce sont les exposants qui ont fait le choix. Rien à ajouter sauf : longue vie à l'exposition à SMAM
Andrea Sansoni February 22, 2012 01:59PM
It looks like a battle to appropriate a successful business from the old organizers of SMAM was fought and won.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph February 22, 2012 02:26PM
There is nothing to be happy about here. Whether you support the attempt to move the show to Colmar or not, the people who have run the show for many years are no longer involved in it, and they will be missed.

Yue Tutt February 22, 2012 10:12PM

Lapis Magazine - today, in three langueges
Udo Behner February 23, 2012 12:27PM
Colmar cancelled !

That´s what I have heard from various sources and I also got an email from the organizers around Michel Schwab.
Some claim this to be a victory but where there is a victory there are also loosers.
According to Michel Schwab four people will loose their jobs may be some of them will be hired by SMAM ?
I feel sorry for Michel Schwab which I knew for a long time as reliable and hard working show promoter.
There is a notorius German dealer who claims on his web site that "Napoleon" got defeated and he wishes also a revolution to take place in Munich.
Well you need to be some kind of a "Napoleon" to run a show with almost 1000 exhibitors from whom everybody seems to know better how to run the show in his/her way.
I do not need a "revolution" in Munich. I might wish a revolution in Tucson since greed and price gauging of hotel owners and show promoters are pushing the nerves of exhibitors there to a limit.
Yes in modification of an old saying "Never change a winnig location" the majority of dealers did not want to move to the new place ad hoc.
With the alternative now jump or die they preferred to stay with the old place.
Its true that SMAM has reached it limits there is no further growth possible. But why do you want to grow ? Do we need 50 or 100 more exhibitors from Morocco 50 or 100 more Chinese dealers ? Do we need carpets, wood carvings, artsy craftsy stuff ?
The future of SMAM is in improving quality of dealers and getting the problems of logistics and traffic eased a little bit.
The city of Sainte-Marie is listening to the dealers and proposals.
However it will not be as easy as during the last years. No leaning back and expecting "Napoleon" to take care for everything.
When we as the the majority of dealers "won" the "war" for SMAM we also have now a great responsibility to keep the show going which is in our best interest.
So your input is needed but not only talk and ideas but also real work.
To ease logistics and transport for customers/visitors I volunteered for example to borrow my 2 pallet jacks and a nice transport cart to the show where everybody may borrow them to bring home the treasures.
In the other years I kept my pallet jacks and my transport cart locked up and borrowed it only to special friends and customers.
With now the city running the show its a great chance that they do not look at the first place to maximize the profit but promote the benefits for exhibitors and visitors.
As it was said that in Sainte-Marie there is not enough capacity in the restaurants to feed all the exhibitors after the show
hours, they now think about opening the main restaurant on the show premises until evening hours.
The city already contracted with some private companies to use their parking lots during the weekend for visitors.
Parking lots which have been locked up during the past years.
So SMAM will stay mostly at is was but with changes to the better.
See you during the summer in Sainte-Marie-aux-mines !

Udo J.A. Behner alias "mr.bismuth"
Tomasz Praszkier February 23, 2012 12:48PM
Problem why Colmar failed is not number of exhibitors in SMAM. Battle wasn't "democratic". New SMAM show have governmental money and do to care to loose for a few years. Euromineral was a private company with private money. They didn't have big money "for loose" for few years.
Until January number of people who signed to both shows was bigger in Colmar than SMAM. But risk was too big for them - financial risk. if they would be supported by governmental money than there would be no problem.
This is important to understand why SMAM won.
Anyway this is a fact so we should wish them everything best now.

Best regards

"Spirifer" Geological Society
Owen Lewis (2) February 23, 2012 03:24PM
Indeed, They should be wished the fairest of winds. However, without knowing the extent of the social funding procured by the town authorities to subsidise this event, it's medium term future must remain unclear.

I'd guess that its future will depend on the town's ability and will to invest in in the infrastructure needed to support a 700-1,000 exhibitor 4-6 day event with up to (say) 50,000 visitors+ in that period, keeping all in safety, comfort and an enjoyable environment. History does not give reason for much optimism here. Wanting the revenue such a show brings to a small community is one thing; doing what is necessary to keep the show located in the town is something else.

From the point of view of exhibitor's (and vistors?) a two-venue event at SMAM and Colmar (at different pricing levels for the exhibitors at each) would seem to have much to recommend it. It could remove the constraints and difficulties that are likely to continue if the show remains in SMAM alone. But.... it would be at the cost of a high percentage of the possible revenue presently entering the town's coffers being paid into the Colmar community instead.

We shall see what happens. Nothing dramatic in 2012 I'd guess - but the future for (say) 2014-15 is very hard to see clearly. Mr Schwab's misfortune may be one of mistaken timing rather than of mistaken principle.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2012 03:29PM by Owen Lewis (2).
Udo Behner February 23, 2012 04:24PM
To Owen :

Yes I think Michel Schwabs "shipwreck" may be due to bad timing, may be also due the possibility that the political establishment in the region was not all in favour for him but for shure its due to the lack of getting intelligence about the thoughts of the vendors regarding the move to Colmar.
Not until the end of the SMAM show in 2011 there has been nothing but rumours about the possible move of the show to Colmar.
Then more or less unofficialy (you had to been able to take a look in the local newspaper) it got clear that 2014 would be the year. There was no official information for the vendors so far.
(Again I have to remind the way of information was granted to the vendors of the Munich Show when it moved from the Theresienhöhe in the inner city to the outskirts at the new fairground at the former airport out in the middle of nowhere. The year before the move they organized a bus tour to the new fairground under construction !)
And of course there was never ever something like a questionaire like "would you like the show to move to Colmar or better stay in Sainte-Marie ?".
I guess however if there would have been a question like that without any further information, the vast majority would have voted for SMAM just because mankind is conservative and likes things to stay as they have been all the time before.
Then with a sudden twist just before the Munich show the move should take place already in 2012.
If the city expelled Michel Schwab or he run away and closed the door behind him for ever - I do not know - there are two different stories told.
So what did you expect, that all the dealers sing hallejulja and follow the prophet into the promised land ?
But as we say in Germany, thats snow from last year.
We need to look forward to make the best in the new situation.
The city did a lot to improve the infrastructure in the past, like the renovation of the old factory to get the "Val-Expo".
There is still a lot to do but looking forward to have the show now for many years to come and with taking in some more direct revenue from the show it can be done.
The mayor and the city council would be completely stupid not to improve the show and answering the needs of the vendors and visitors. As easy as the majority of the vendors was in favour of SMAM they may change their mind if the situation in SMAM gets unfortunate for them. The fairground in Colmar is still there.

Udo J.A. Behner alias "mr.bismuth"
Jolyon & Katya Ralph February 23, 2012 05:01PM
The best thing SMAM could do to improve their show would be to have out-of-town parking with coach service into the town.
Tomasz Praszkier February 23, 2012 05:14PM
And build a few hotels :-)

"Spirifer" Geological Society
Owen Lewis (2) February 23, 2012 05:19PM

Yes, yes and yes :-)

We can imagine but do not know the undercurrents and pressures that have led to recent events, which include, crucially, the reluctance of sufficient exhibitors to commit early to a 2012 show in Colmar to secure its financing.
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