Food for Thought

So, this sounds like one hell of a score. If it's true. The Chicago Tribune's reporting this morning that the Food Marketing Institute's trade show is leaving Chicago after next year. Sounds real sexy, right? Well, it does when you consider this stat:

"The trade show, one of Chicago's biggest for the past two decades, brought about 40,000 exhibitors and delegates from 130 countries to the city this week. Organizers said future conventions would rotate through various cities in search of a better deal and friendlier venue rules."

The FMI used to be held in Dallas, and Tim Hammonds, president and CEO of Washington-based FMI, says the show could move back here in 2009--or 27 years after it left Dallas for Chicago. And if it does come back here, this is what it could mean for the local economy: The Trib reports that FMI's biggest shows draw 70,000-plus people, and generates "as much as $100 million in overall spending over the course of a few days." Just watch: It'll end up in Arlington. --Robert Wilonsky

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