NEW YORK–Leonard Rogers, a trade show executive and founder of the Gourmet Housewares Show, died from cancer on May 18. He was 84.
In a long career in trade fair and real estate management, Rogers served as president of National Fairs Inc., a trade show management firm, and as a vice president of George Little Management, which purchased National Fairs in 1986.
In 1976, he started the International Gourmet Products Show, now called the Gourmet Housewares Show. Sensing a trend in cookware and other kitchen-related products, Rogers started the show as an 80-booth representative show and in a very short time had filled the Moscone Center in San Francisco with the biggest names in the industry.
“I will always be grateful to him for bringing me into the trade show business,” said Susan Corwin, vice president of GLM and show manager of the Gourmet Housewares Show. Corwin joined the start-up show organization at Rogers’ urging and was soon “totally hooked.”
“He’s the man who taught me about sales, marketing and [the importance of] relationships,” Corwin said. “All of us in the gourmet housewares industry owe him a debt of gratitude.”
In his retirement, Rogers worked with the International Executive Service Corp., and assisted agencies in Armenia and Egypt in organizing trade fairs and exhibits to promote local business and private development. At the time of his death, he was chair of the Residents’ Council of Kendal on Hudson, a continuing-care retirement community in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.
Rogers is survived by his wife of 64 years, Barbara; three children, Jane Black of Armonk, N.Y., Elisa Legg of Ridgewood, N.J., and Thomas Rogers, of Bethesda, Md.; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.