Loyal partners from the early days: IAW and EDCO each celebrated an anniversary this year


The International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports celebrated its 30th anniversary this year and one of its biggest and most long-standing exhibitors also celebrated an anniversary. There is every reason to extend our best wishes and review the 40 year success story of a special trade fair partner.

Looking back on the early days of EDCO, Jac Adriaanse relates how in 1978 a small garage saw the start of a company that now runs a global trading operation. With a staff of only two – Adriaanse and his wife – the company expanded and now employs over 300. Whereas in those days EDCO distributed products such as cuddly Smurfs or truck pennants for sale in petrol stations, the company now has a portfolio of over 20,000 products and imported almost 11,000 shipping containers of merchandise in 2017 alone. A new company site under development close to Eindhoven airport will provide over 18,000 m² of office space and boast a new showroom. Due to its proximity to the airport it is an ideal location which will be a stopping point for visitors from all over the world.

Over the past 10-20 years few European companies have succeeded so well in meeting the demand for trend-led items, accessories, promotional products and merchandise for the most diverse target groups. Jac Adriaanse understands the needs and lifestyle interests of a wide range of target groups. He first looked at the world inhabited by truck drivers and what they needed in their cabs. Often far from the comforts of home, they wanted to make their life a bit brighter. In the early days, EDCO sold only accessories for cars and trucks exclusively at petrol stations. This unorthodox business model was initially dismissed by others but EDCO’s sales performance soon silenced them. Jan Adriaanse, who joined EDCO in 1984 and is now head of distribution, has visited countless trade fairs and insists that nothing is more important in this sector than convincing customers with an appropriate array of products and an event where orders can be made on the spot. EDCO serves a wide range of target groups and is ideally placed to respond flexibly to trends, special events and seasonal demand. For instance, as a global player it is easier to respond to Europe’s heatwaves by ordering large numbers of electric fans.

For EDCO the IAW was something of a godsend and vice-versa: the company has been represented at the event since its inception and it is one of the biggest exhibitors. EDCO benefits greatly from the countless contacts and buyers attending the event. At the same time EDCO’s presence is extremely important for the IAW as the company is a strong and experienced partner. The company’s involvement demonstrates to the business sector that this event is important. There are winners on both sides. EDCO and IAW share the same goals and challenges – keeping up with changing market demands and constantly monitoring the latest trends and ideas.

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