I live in a wonderful little town, Floral Park, on Long Island, right on the border of Queens and Nassau Counties. I was raised on the Queens side but have lived for nearly an equal amount of time now on the Nassau side. In this unique two-sided situation, Floral Park always finds itself on the cusp of very big and very small cultural, political and sociological situations.

A local restaurant (on the village main street of Tulip) tinkers with a few items on its menu. The town’s Facebook page erupts. Giant plans for a massive sports arena, shopping complex, new Long Island Railroad Station and hotels begin on the grounds of Belmont Thoroughbred Race Track, partially bordering Floral Park. The town’s Facebook page erupts. And gigantically more often than not, the best solution as I see it seems to come not from the political hierarchy in charge of the town’s eventual position in any given matter but more so from the community addressing the situation and status on social media, and on local print letter pages covering the town’s position on the given matter.

All this by way of noting I’ve just returned from Expo West in Las Vegas (yesterday!) and although I experienced an amazing show based on encounters via numerous vendors and events, it is truly the actual showgoers (in their variety of eyecare professional personas) delivering the root of what makes this Optisphere so incredible and what it might take to make its state and status jump forward even more so. And those rich sources of advice and consent and dissent roll right through discussions at the show, and in subsequent posts on so many of the numerous optical-related Facebook pages I peruse before, during and after the show.

Just this morning I was able to read enlightened scenarios on a range of subjects such as trade show locations, booth costs, product developments, retail pricing, lab-love (Want to know what that is? My suggestion is you… slight hint here… Ask The Lab Guy on Facebook!) and the future of brick and mortar.

I honestly feel that by its very name, a “trade” show needs to trade up every single time it meets in order to address its audience and deliver a show to goers. I’m wondering if the planners involved in optical exhibitions need to open their minds up even further to the energizing power of their actual showGOERS. There’s a wealth of priceless information out there in my favorite little Opti-Town, and the only way to truly suss through it is to keep a sharp ear open to all of our fine citizens.

James J. Spina
[email protected]