TACCOM 2020: Organizer Fred Pellegrino Discusses His Bold Plans
Exclusive Q&A with the host of Canada's biggest gun show.
TheGunBlog.ca — It’s impossible to talk with Fred Pellegrino without feeling excited about the future of Canada’s shooting community.
Pellegrino is the owner and organizer of TACCOM, the Tactical & Competitive Sport Shooting Show.
The September 2019 edition was the first and largest expo of its kind ever held in Canada.
It filled tens of thousands of individuals and families with optimism as we grappled with the governing Liberal Party threatening to order mass gun confiscations/incarcerations against us.
This year’s show promises to be even better, as the political threats grow even stronger.
TACCOM Is Different
Many Canadians are familiar with gun shows at the local target club or community centre, with mostly amateurs and enthusiasts selling mostly old gear.
They form an essential part of Canada’s gun culture.
TACCOM is different.
It’s the world’s top brands and the country’s top retailers displaying new gear in a major expo centre.
TACCOM vs. F.O.C.
Pellegrino is also the owner of Firearms Outlet Canada Inc., one of the country’s largest independent gun shops, but he didn’t mention the company during our conversations about TACCOM. The store and the show are separate entities, he said.
The Q&A below is based on our phone calls in late 2019 and January, and an e-mail this week.
TACCOM 2020 Snapshot
- 11-13 September 2020
- Toronto International Centre
- 155,000 square feet
- Family friendly, open to all ages, no PAL required
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Q&A With TACCOM’s Fred Pellegrino
The show quality will be immensely greater than 2019, with many more of the largest and most recognizable manufacturers added to the roster and the majority of last year’s participants requesting additional booth space.
TACCOM 2020 will be the best opportunity ever made available to the Canadian market to see the best and newest the industry has to offer. This is not your grandfather’s “gun show.”
This is a convention, held in a professional facility with catering, hotels, and industry professionals. We are striving to become SHOT of the North and it’s happening faster than planned.
How many people are you expecting this year?
We are expecting at least 25,000+ guests this year.
What’s your motivation for TACCOM?
To give the industry a voice and a place to congregate, share ideas, network, and grow.
To offer a SHOT Show experience to Canada and its consumers.
To unify the industry and its participants once a year in the spirit of lawful gun ownership.
What kind of response are you getting this year versus last year?
Last year required a lot more work to build, as most of the challenge was selling vendors and guests on an idea of something that hadn’t happened yet.
This year, the challenges are focused more on logistics, trying to accommodate the expansion and placement requests of many of our vendors.
Cold calls are unnecessary. As soon as booth space opens up on the live floor plan, vendors from across the world book them up. Reservations are booked daily.
Some people are concerned about Trudeau’s planned gun confiscations and prohibitions, and are holding off purchases. What do you say to them?
The concerns and hesitation are real, but giving up now only empowers the government to move forward and do more.
The government works for you. You vote not only with a ballot, but with your dollars and your collective voices.
We’re putting on the best show in Canadian history on September 11, 12, 13, 2020. This is a great opportunity to unite the industry and its participants under one roof in a true and real showing of peaceful, law-abiding gun ownership.
For me, until the government tells us what they’re doing officially, it’s business as usual. As with the other 50,000 people working in the firearms industry, orders are already up for 2020.
There is no time for speculation.
Website, Phone App, Hotels
You’re excited about the new tech and new features. Can you share some of the highlights?
We needed a new, robust website that provided all pertinent information for exhibitors and attendees.
We created the TACCOM website to be easy to use for those who have booked with SHOT Show and the NRA Show in the past, in an effort to make the vendor sign-up process more familiar and attract better talent from the United States.
A2Z software ensures vendors have a simple way of booking their space on the TACCOM Show floor.
We’ll also have a phone app with an interactive floor plan, showing the exhibitors, special announcements, show specials, time-sensitive contests, etc. Exhibitors will be able to market and communicate directly with attendees.
ONPeak is taking care of our hotel-booking system for TACCOM attendees. They have decades of experience securing best rates and offering a seamless booking procedure for the vast majority of big shows in North America, including SHOT Show.
The TACCOM Magazine will be available in July. This year’s issue will offer 80 pages. We have made some upgrades and enhancements to this year’s issue. You will not want to miss the chance to get your hands on this collector’s piece.
The prize booth was one of the busiest last year. In response, we have increased the square footage this year to 1,600 square feet. More space means more prizes, better prizes, and a lot more stuff you can walk away with. Make sure to stop by the prize booth for your chance to win something at the TACCOM 2020 Show!
Ticketing, Family Pass
Ticketing will be serviced through TIX123. They are one of the largest ticketing companies in North America and have serviced shows such as the Canadian International Autoshow.
Due to its immense popularity last year, with thousands of tickets sold, and with much more on display this year, the Three Day Pass will most certainly be available again this year.
A Family Pass will be made available this year to our guests. For two adults and two kids, $50 will get you in for two days, and $65 for three days.
A referral program is available to guests/attendees as well as to vendors this year. When you purchase a ticket, you’ll get a referral code that you can share with other people to buy tickets. The more tickets sold through your referral code, the more points you accrue. The guest with the most points at the end of each month will win a special prize!
Retailers and organizations will accrue points towards monetary compensation and will not be entered into the draw. You can support your local gun store in this way.
Buying Guns at TACCOM
How can people buy guns at TACCOM?
The most frequently asked question last year was whether or not guests could purchase firearms at TACCOM.
We have a section dedicated to this question on the Attendee FAQ on the website.
In short, you can as long as you have a valid PAL/RPAL, and only from a retailer.
We have a strict policy where no guns or ammunition can leave the show, so you will have to have the firearm shipped to you or picked up at your local gun store. All non-PAL/RPAL items can be taken with you.
How do you see TACCOM’s future?
The ultimate goal would be that this show, one day, takes up the whole International Centre, which consists of 500,000 square feet of space.
Every manufacturer, distributor, retailer, industry representatives, and media outlet will want to be there.
Every company calling Canada home will be there. I’m trying to create a show so large in scope and scale that it’s the one event in every gun enthusiasts’ mind that you plan for a year in advance.
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