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Future history

December 1st, 2019 / By: / Editorial

On Sept. 12, 1912, 14 manufacturers of canvas and awnings from the central part of the U.S. met at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver to form a new trade association: the National Tent & Awning Manufacturers Association. By 1915, membership had grown sufficiently that the group decided to form a central executive office to coordinate its activities. The new president of the organization, W.K. Jacobs, owned the Minnesota Tent & Awning Company, located in the Endicott Building in St. Paul, Minn. The office for the association was located in the same building. 

One of the purposes of the new headquarters office was to house the association’s new national trade magazine, the National Tent & Awning Manufacturer’s Review. At IFAI Expo 2015 in Anaheim, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Review—which has had several names throughout the years, but has always been the Review.

When IFAI Expo visited Boston in 2012, celebrating the 100th year of IFAI, we spent our first night there listening to election returns, with Mitt Romney’s election night headquarters across the street. Next year, on the eve of another presidential election, we’ll celebrate IFAI’s third centennial event, as IFAI Expo itself reaches the century mark (we’re counting from the 1918 conference in Detroit, but there were two years during WWII with no show held). Starting with the January 2020 issue, I’ll be turning the last page of the magazine into a “Future History” report, tracing the history of IFAI Expo as it evolved along with the specialty fabrics industry, decade by decade. 

And for the rest of the magazine, in the coming months we’re also going to be taking a hard look at what we cover editorially, and how we cover it. Our editorial mission, although personally
I can only attest to the last 20 years of it, has always been centered on:

• Helping our readers do their jobs better and make their companies more successful. This includes everything from global supply issues and industry trends to the latest new products and services to the details of how to build a better product.

• As a corollary to that, to provide readers with ideas about other possible products and markets for potential expansion.

Ultimately, our goal on the Review is to be the voice of IFAI and the industry, bringing together readers in dozens of different markets with hundreds of different products as members of one industry, with common issues and needs. 

Periodically (pun intended, sort of), we undertake reader research to make sure that we’re giving you what you need in this magazine, to keep Review meaningful and useful for the next 100 years.  

Any suggestions?