THE WSA SHOWWorld Shoe Association (WSA) is currently the largest footwear trade market in North America. Its twice-yearly show at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and Sands Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, pulls in more than 26,000 attendees and the cream of the footwear manufacturing industry. In short, WSA is the ultimate, must-do trade show for the multi-billion dollar footwear industry.
So, how did the WSA Show get to be "The Big Show?" Its history speaks of humble beginnings...
The association first surfaced more than 50 years ago in Los Angeles, California, as part of a new organization known as the West Coast Shoe Travelers Association. This group incorporated two years later in California as the Western Shoe Associates with the purpose of "promoting a higher standard of ethics" and "encouraging a spirit of cooperation" within the growing footwear industry.
WSA flourished as a regional market during the ensuing years and boasted a membership of 500. As the shoe industry grew and America's appetite for fashion increased, the need for a larger trade show came with it. By the 1980s WSA was turning into a national presence as one of the premier markets for the trade, and it was fast outgrowing its Long Beach, California home.
The show moved to the Los Angeles Convention Center in 1987 and then hit the big time in 1989 when it moved its still expanding show to the convention capital of the world, Las Vegas. Now known simply as "The WSA Show," this market takes over 1 million square feet of exhibit space at the Sands Expo, Mandalay Bay Convention Center and The Venetian Hotel.
The Show grew further in 1999 when the Sands Expo and Convention Center expanded its facilities an additional 105,000 square feet. With a waiting list for entry into the country's top market, the timing could not have been better.