Little Rock Has Quilting Convention Covered in 2015

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Sep. 1, 2014 12:00 am  

Start your needles.

The Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock has stolen a national convention away from Columbus, Ohio: The 46th Annual National Quilting Association Quilt Show.

If that doesn’t make you warm and fuzzy, maybe this will: The NQA’s annual meeting has attracted average attendance of about 7,100 for the past two years, but the change of location is expected to generate a larger turnout, as the group had previously enjoyed.

And if you still aren’t wrapped up in it, consider this: The NQA is even considering moving its headquarters to Little Rock from Columbus.

So embroider the dates in your next sampler: June 18-20, 2015.

The NQA has signed a three-year contract with the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau and has a five-year right of refusal with the adjoining Marriott.

“We are delighted with our decision to move our Annual Quilt Show to Little Rock,” NQA President Marcel Miller said in a statement posted on Facebook. “The personnel at the Statehouse Convention Center, the Marriott, and surrounding hotel properties are enthusiastic about working with NQA to build a long-term partnership. The proximity of meeting and banquet rooms to the Convention Center display hall will make it quite easy for Quilt Show attendees to attend workshops, lectures and other activities associated with our show.”

Since the nonprofit’s first convention in Washington, D.C., in 1970, the convention has been held in Riverside, California, and Tacoma, Washington. In 2004, NQA relocated its corporate offices to Columbus, where the convention has been held for the past decade.

Vice President Margaret Powers said the convention has seen a decline in the number of attendees over the years. “Part of it had to do with finances,” she said. “We were looking for a place that would be financially attractive — Little Rock was great to negotiate with.”

Alan Sims, vice president of sales & services for the Little Rock Visitors & Convention Bureau, said Little Rock was identified as one of five cities that met the organization’s needs to be more centrally located and provide ample meeting rooms for its annual convention. The city competed with St. Louis; Oklahoma City; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina and Salt Lake City.

Sims is hoping to make the quilt show a long-term contract, like the American Taekwondo Association’s annual convention.

To be conservative, Sims said he is estimating about 5,200 hotel rooms. Over the course of the weekend, the NQA and their families are anticipated to bring $4.1 million in economic impact.

Talk about ROI: The CVB spent only $359 to convince the organization to bring its convention to Little Rock.

 

 

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