Medical Mart Backers Thank Community

August 28, 2007



August 27, 2007 – Cleveland Proponents of the Medical Mart today thanked the community for supporting the proposal to make the Medical Mart and combined convention and trade show facility a reality. 

An effort to force a ballot issue on the project recently failed due to a lack of support. Supporters of the Medical Mart said the ballot issue would have delayed or possibly even prevented the project.  Efforts can now be concentrated on finalizing an agreement to ensure that the Medical Mart does indeed come to Cleveland.

“Now we can proceed undistracted in an attempt to strike an agreement that will bring the Medical Mart to Cleveland to further capitalize on our area’s growing health care and medical industries,” said Fred Nance, chairman of the Greater Cleveland Partnership. “The resulting benefits to our city, county and region will be deep and ongoing.”  

“We believe that Cuyahoga County residents realized the great potential the Medical Mart holds for the community. They understood that we needed to move swiftly on this opportunity and they rejected the effort to put the project to a time-consuming vote that would have delayed the Medical Mart and possibly even killed it,” Nance said. “In today’s competitive marketplace, we can’t always take as much time as some would like to make decisions. The fact that Cleveland now has a confirmed source of financing to make the Medical Mart happen gives us a big advantage over our potential competitors from around the country.” 

Nance said the real work begins “now to make this transformational project happen.” 

“The weeks and months ahead will require much effort as we finalize the agreements necessary to bring this project to fruition. We will undertake consistent efforts to seek community input and share information so that the potential of this initiative can be maximized.”

He indicated that more details on timetable and process would be available later this week.

Nance also conveyed the appreciation of Cuyahoga County Commissioners Tim Hagan and Jimmy Dimora, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and the hundreds of volunteers and supporters who contributed countless hours to the “Shot In The Arm” campaign, including representatives from the Mayors and Managers Association, organized labor, the hospitality industry, the business and arts communities and many others.  

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Attracting Bioscience and Medical Device Companies

August 22, 2007

In today’s Crain’s Cleveland Business it was announced:

“Tom Sudow will lead a collaboration between Team NEO and the Cleveland Clinic to attract bioscience and medical device companies to the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center.”

The opportunities just keep growing for Cleveland to become the leader in medicine and healthcare. Sadly, I continue to hear how difficult it is becoming to get qualified individuals to stay in Cleveland to work.  Our local hospitals recruit some of the best and brightest for their residency programs.  Ohio’s colleges continue to educate intelligent individuals.  Yet we find ourselves in a position where, exceptional jobs and opportunities are here, and our brainpower is leaving.  The topic of this week’s City Club Speaker Series is Crisis in the Healthcare Industry: Recruiting Adequate Workforce in Northeast Ohio with Dr. Toby Cosgrove, Tom Strauss and John Sideras.  In order to address these problems, the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, MetroHealth System, Southwest General, Louis Stokes VA, and Summa Health System have formed the Northeast Ohio Health, Science and Innovation Coalition (NOHSIC).  Cleveland has the healthcare infrastructure to be nationally recognized as evidenced by this effort, and hopefully the community will continue to support the efforts of these organizations to grow our economy.

It is encouraging to hear of the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center and of the 2007 Medical Innovation Summit taking place right here in Cleveland this October.  It would be great to have facilities that would allow more meetings of this caliber to come to Cleveland. 

Lorelei Sugano
CVB Of Greater Cleveland

Support swells

August 20, 2007


The voters know what’s at stake. This growing list of supporters know that the Medical Mart is the convergence of our strengths.

And Cuyahoga County residents are also making their voices heard.

Here’s what other supporters have said:

  • I have been a long-time researcher into and writer about Cleveland history. Cleveland‘s greatness came from a willingness by invidividuals to invest in its future. I most strongly support an increase in the sales tax to bring about the exciting prospect of a Cleveland Medical Mart and new Convention Center. – James, 7/19/07

  • My company (Gebauer) is very interested in learning more about the Medical Mart as we are Medical Device manufacturers with a long presence in Cleveland. We are very much in support of the concept. – John Giltinan, 7/20/07

  • Our organization, AIG, is a HUGE supporter of Cleveland. We employ 125 people downtown and even more in Independence. The building of a Medical Mart would be GREAT for the city and great for our business. Our plan is to grow our employees here in Cleveland to 150+ and the Medical Mart would help us make the case to our corporate headquarters that Cleveland is indeed “Alive and Kicking”. You have mine and AIG’s support 100%!. – John Hammond, AIG

  • Right project, right time, right area! As an international economic development consulting firm working with overseas biomed companies, we see this project as crucial to the area’s regional economic development efforts. – Howard, 8/3/07

  • I believe the Medical Mart is definitely what Cleveland needs. As a student of hospitality management in Las Vegas, NV I’ve seen the effect of convention business. When I’m done with college, I hope to return to a Cleveland thats on its way back to prominence. I hope to help develop that hospitality business that would get a kick start with a Medical Mart. – Dan, 8/3/07

  • I have been a national tradeshow manager for over 30 years the last 15 with Philips Medical Systems here in Cleveland. I have watched lesser cities develop and thrive as a result of developing their convention business. The Medical Mart and Convention Center is the best thing Cleveland could do for the city. This should be a regional effort. – Jan, 7/19/07

Vocalize your support here. 

Amanda Marko
Greater Cleveland Partnership

Why a convention center when new convention centers in other cities are struggling?

August 20, 2007

Last week we hosted media executives for a discussion about Medical Mart.  A portion of the discussion was devoted to the business of convention centers and how the Medical Mart would differentiate Cleveland from all of the other new convention centers.  Because of the growth in the medical trade show and convention business, Cleveland would have a guaranteed stream of business, helping it to buck the industry trend.

Some research suggests that building a convention center is a loss leader, or a bad investment for a city.  And it’s true, there are an abundance of new convention centers in cities that experience all four seasons, including Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Washington, D.C..  These are general, all purpose convention centers and Cleveland would certainly be competing with them for the same tier two conventions.


The Cleveland convention center advantage would be the Medical Mart.  With a health care themed convention strategy, Cleveland could latch onto the strongest performing convention sector.    Medical-related conventions are seeing an increase in attendance over other kinds of conventions.


And an increase in the number of exhibitors.


And an increase in revenues.


Cleveland has already invested in the amenities that other cities envy–stadiums, Rock Hall, Science Center, House of Blues–and soon perhaps a Medical Mart.  This would give Cleveland a competitive advantage over other cities. 

Amanda Marko
Greater Cleveland Partnership

How does a Medical Mart work?

August 17, 2007

The Medical Mart would work similarly to other Mart properties throughout the country.  It would be a permanent showroom facility for medical manufacturers who currently travel to several medical tradeshows each year and can afford to purchase a permanent space in the showroom.  This would allow these major manufacturers the ability to build out state-of-the-art exhibits, beyond what they are able to do affordably when traveling to various tradeshows throughout the country.  The idea would then be to bring various medical meetings and tradeshows to Cleveland.  While medical manufacturers would still be required to travel to other tradeshows throughout the year, this would allow them to show off their best state-of-the-art exhibits to a rotating group of meeting attendees annually while saving money on travel, set-up and tear-down of their exhibits.  Additionally, each medical meeting would have the opportunity to utilize temporary exhibit space within the exhibit hall of the new Convention Center.  For the many smaller manufacturers of medical devices, biotechnology and biomedical products located regionally and in Northeast Ohio, this would allow them exposure to a national marketplace by setting up temporary exhibits at meetings as they relate to each product’s niche or specialty.   With this set-up, exhibits can range in size and scope from the smallest of catheters to full operating rooms or MRI’s.

Based on MMPI’s presentation, “In analyzing the 571 tradeshows, we recognized the important role that the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve and other major medical assets in Cleveland can play through personal leadership.

It is fairly easy to quickly identify 15 tradeshows in which Cleveland Clinic executives sit on the board of directors of associations, and are therefore in a great position to influence the location decisions for these associations’ annual tradeshow.”

The Cleveland Clinic, University Hospital, Case Western Reserve University, SUMMA and Metrohealth will all play an important role in the success of this project, both by driving medical meetings to Cleveland with whom they have an existing relationship, in addition to providing a level of input and expertise regarding the high-tech equipment displayed in the Medical Mart showrooms.  People from around the world already visit the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital to see beta-test versions of the latest equipment in action.

Expoweb’s article State of the Exhibition Industry: Medical and Healthcare states “The forecast for this sector continues to look positive. There’s currently an increase in biomedical research generating a plethora of new drugs and medical devices — all of which are ideally suited to be marketed at exhibitions. There’s also a healthy demand for educational sessions in which doctors and scientists can learn the latest techniques and exchange ideas.”

The Medical Mart, in conjunction with a new Convention Center, would take advantage of the existing strengths of the Medical and Healthcare meetings sector.

Lorelei Sugano
CVB of Greater Cleveland

The Cuyahoga County tax burden

August 16, 2007

In 2004, with the formation of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Cleveland was declared “on the edge.”  Three economic development organizations merged to form the GCP in an effort to create efficiencies (reduce redundancies) and focus the resources of the business community on the serious issues confronting the region. 

One of the major issues cited in the strategic plan that was created to guide the new Greater Cleveland Partnership was the tax burden on the citizens of the region.    While Ohioans enjoy a low cost of living, tax reform was one of the first areas where the GCP achieved success. 

Joining with the Ohio Business Roundtable, the Greater Cleveland Partnership advocated for sweeping reform of Ohio’s business tax structure.  In late 2005, Governor Taft signed the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) into law.   This reform–the first in 75 years—ushered in a modernized tax code in Ohio that not only provided relief for Ohioans, but also created incentives to business growth and job creation. In October 2006, the Ohio Business Roundtable did one year in review.  The Ernst and Young analysis found that the tax reform, which is being phased in over a few years, is working.   

According to the report:

“By using the tax burden ration to compare Ohio with other benchmark states, Ohio will have the 13th lowest tax burden among all 50 states after the changes are completely phased in.”

Details about the CAT can be found here.

Amanda Marko
Greater Cleveland Partnership


Mayors from Cuyahoga County suburbs support Medical Mart

August 16, 2007

The county’s suburban mayors are set to announce their support for Medical Mart.

Deborah Sutherland, Mayor of the City of Bay Village, went with us to Chicago this week—she was the only elected official to make the trip.  She is joined by about 40 other mayors from the county who recognize that the cost of the sales tax increase outweigh the benefits the job creation benefits.

View a complete list of supporters at

Cleveland City Council Members Support Medical Mart/Convention Center Project

August 15, 2007

17 of 21 Cleveland City Council members have voiced their support for the Medical Mart and Convention Center project and corresponding quarter of a percent sales tax increase for Cuyahoga County. They join many suburban area mayors throughout Cuyahoga County in their support and understanding of the positive impact this project can have on their communities. Additional employment in the hospitality and healthcare sectors, a more vibrant downtown and a growing tax base of downtown businesses are all considerations for supporting this project. To view a list of government, corporate and civic supporters, go to

The vote for the quarter of a percent sales tax increase to support building a convention center has been made by the County Commissioners we ourselves elected. It is each individual in Cuyahoga County’s right to sign a petition if they would like to try to push this to a vote, however, please educate yourself on the project before signing anything. If you are in favor of the project, then your County representatives have already voted on your behalf and the project will move forward in the fall, assuming that the sales tax increase does not get pushed onto the ballot in March. If the residents of Cuyahoga County have to wait until March to vote on the sales tax increase, progress on the project will be stalled for seven months giving competing cities an edge and potentially killing the project entirely. If you would like to learn more about the state of Cleveland’s current convention center, and why this is an important project, please visit

Lorelei Sugano
CVB of Greater Cleveland

Visit to Merchandise Mart

August 15, 2007


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We just got back from a quick trip to Merchandise Mart in Chicago that’s worth sharing.

About a dozen CVB staff and members were in Chicago this week for a conference of society executives.  These are people who help decide where the Association of Such and Such and the Professional XYZ Organization will have their annual meetings.  Some 6,000 people were in town for this conference our CVB was working the crowd to let them know that there’s hope for a new convention center in Cleveland.  That news was met with warm responses from groups who have always wanted to have meetings in Cleveland but haven’t because the facilities aren’t adequate, or groups that have had meetings in Cleveland in the past and would like to come back when there is a space that can accommodate their growing conference.

With a delegation of CVBers already in Chicago, we took the opportunity to bring Cleveland media to the Merchandise Mart and some other facilities in Chicago to show them what might be in store for Cleveland.  Plain Dealer, WKYC, WTAM, WOIO, WEWS, WCPN, and FOX 8 all made the trip.

It was impressive to see the permanent showrooms and display areas.  We’re not talking about booths and folding tables.  The showrooms were built-out and changed frequently to highlight new products. 

The purpose of the trip was to see what is envisioned for Cleveland.  We visited three locations in Chicago and were told that the Cleveland Medical Mart would be a hybrid of: 1.) permanent showrooms, like at the Merchandise Mart; 2.) trade show space, like at Festival Hall the Navy Pier; and 3.) high tech conference center facilities at the University of Chicago.

Photo captions: 

1.) Media tour of the Merchandise Mart.  More than a 100 of the current exhibitors sell to the medical field and many have expressed interest in having a presence in the Cleveland Medical Mart.

2.) We walked the perimeter of only two floors of the Mart–each floor is about a 1/4 mi.  The showrooms are beautiful.  Each one is built out.  We were in a section of office furniture and the showrooms looked like offices, conference rooms, board rooms, work stations and waiting areas.

3.) The outside of the Merchandise Mart.  It has a plaza in front to accomodate the buses and cabs that are constantly bringing visitors to the Mart.

4.) University of Chicago Graduate School of Business conference facilities–something like this would incorporated into the Cleveland project.

Amanda Marko
Greater Cleveland Partnership

Responses and Great News

July 25, 2007

I’ve realized it’s probably easiest to post answers to several questions that have come up recently, questions I have answers to, here, for everyone to read.

For a list of medical meetings for 2007, visit  I searched for 2007, and returned 705 meetings.  It is up to the meeting planner to submit the meeting to the database, so this is not a complete list.  Of those, I counted about 170 that are meetings that will not be considered based on being associated with a particular state or institution/locale.

The number of full-time employees in Cuyahoga County who are employed by Travel and Tourism was 69,200 in 2005 and has increased from 48,828 jobs in 1994.  This number comes from data provided by Longwoods, International and Rovelstad & Associates.  Further information on the economic impact of tourism on Cuyahoga County can be found at  Additional jobs beyond the hospitality industry are sustained/created with conventions and meetings, including various convention services, A/V, Lighting, exhibitor management, motorcoach/charter rental, equipment rental, unique venue rental, etc.

The ExPact Study from 2004 explains the methodology for determining the direct spending impact of meetings and conventions.  DMAI is working with DK Shifflet and Associates on an updated Convention Spending Study that will be released this fall, providing the most current data.

Also, the PriceWaterhouseCoopers study that was conducted in 2005 to review the potential of a new convention center is available online.  This study does not reflect the impact of a Medical Mart or targeting medical meetings as a result, for the new convention center, nor does it reflect current US dollars.

Excerpts from State of the Exhibition Industry: Medical and Healthcare:
“The medical and healthcare industries remain strong as a result of an aging population, longer life spans and modern medicine. Exhibition activity reflects that strength, as the sector’s index score grew at a CAGR of 4 percent from 2000 to 2006. CAGR scores for net square footage and revenue increased 5.4 percent and 4.1 percent respectively from 2000 to 2006. The overall index score in this sector increased 3 percent from 2005 to 2006, fueled by an 8.1 percent year-over-year increase in the revenue.

The forecast for this sector continues to look positive. There’s currently an increase in biomedical research generating a plethora of new drugs and medical devices — all of which are ideally suited to be marketed at exhibitions. There’s also a healthy demand for educational sessions in which doctors and scientists can learn the latest techniques and exchange ideas.”

Lastly, this is a busy week for Cleveland.  The CVB is playing host to several meeting planners, group travel planners and media this week in a Familiarization tour, to show off Cleveland’s many assets.  This includes a Travel Expo taking place at the convention center on Thursday.  Also this week, CBS Morning Show is in town, taping live from in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum from 7-9am on Friday, July 27.  Please feel free to make your own homemade Cleveland+ sign and you could win Browns or Indians tickets.  They will be showing segments from various Cleveland locales during the show, and these segments will be available on their website as well after the show.

Lorelei Sugano
CVB of Greater Cleveland