QUINCY -- At the very least, the Kohl Wholesale fall food show is always a palatable pleasure.
The 170 vendors tucked inside the Oakley-Lindsay Center on Wednesday created a sovereignty of sustenance, ranging from a commonwealth of fine cuisine to a monarchy of munchies.
Once again, it proved to be the ultimate entree of eats.
The six-hour experience provided vendors to showcase a wide variety of new menu ideas and new products to potential customers.
And if the World Series of food concept -- hey, remember it's October -- is not appealing enough, there is always a catchy theme attached to each of the Kohl's fall and spring culinary extravaganzas.
This year's fall show was "MagiKOHL," showcasing wizards and mirrors. That followed such past themes as "LocoKOHLmotion" and its railroad-inspired backdrop and "Rock ‘N Kohl," which boasted a pop music flavor.
"We've been doing this close to 30 years, and it never gets old," Kohl President Matt Ehrhart said.
Ehrhart said one of the pleasures provided by these shows is meeting so many "new and different people" each year. Another plus is being able to connect vendors with potential clients in face-to-face fashion. Neither the fall nor spring shows are open to the public, only to vendors and potential food industry customers. Each year about 2,500 work their way through the Oakley-Lindsay Center during each of the shows.
Eric MacLeod of Coloma, Mich., who works for Coloma Frozen Foods, said the Quincy show is one of the farthest distances he will travel -- but it's well worth the mileage.
"The direct interaction with (potential customers) is important," MacLeod said.
Kohl's spring and fall food shows are the company's largest marketing tools and attract customers and vendors from across the Midwest. The shows provide an up-close-and-personal opportunity to not only taste a wide variety of food items but also make contacts.
Mike Schmitt of Capital City Fruit in Norwalk, Iowa, is a longtime participant in the Kohl shows.
"This provides an excellent access to buyers," Schmitt said. "It also allows us to get firsthand feedback."
Michelle Leavitt of Acosta Sales and Marketing in St. Louis thinks she has been coming to Quincy for about 20 years. She, too, says the personalized relationships she can build at an event the size of the Kohl show can prove invaluable.
"The face time is important," she said.
Tim Scherer of St. Cloud, Minn., was representing Baker Boy, which was introducing a variety of pastries.
"A show like this gets us out in front of (our potential) customers," he said. "We can talk with 300 people at this one show, as opposed to trying to call that many on an individual basis."