Peter‘s Corner: What could it mean for Brazil‘s stone branch that the trade fair in Vitória is being shifted to São Paulo by its owner Veronafiere and given the new name “Marmomac Brazil“?

Flavia Milanez, CEO of Milanez&Milaneze, and Matteo Gelmetti, Vice President of Veronafiere. Photo: Veronafiere

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For the stone companies in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo (ES), it must have been like for the Italians from the province of Verona in the – fictitious – case that their Marmomac was shifted from Verona to, for example, Milan and renamed. Because the Vitória Stone Fair in ES, the most important such event in South and Central America, will in the future be held in he city of São Paulo and will be called “Marmomac Brazil.“ This was announced by Matteo Gelmetti, Vice President of Veronafiere, and Flavia Milanez, CEO of Milanez&Milaneze. The venue was the 1st day of the fair in Vitória (January 30 – February 02, 2024).

The Vitória fair‘s website lists the date and location of the new show: February 18 – 20, 2025, in the Distrito Anhembi. There is a vast event area.

A press release by Veronafiere explains the reasons for the step: “This rebranding and strategic repositioning has two objectives: continue to expand the Vitória Stone Fair and consolidate its leading role in the natural stone industry in Central and South America also and look into new business opportunities in North America, the leading importer of ornamental stone from Brazil.“

And Maurizio Danese, CEO of Veronafiere, is quoted: “Combining this (Marmomac’s) brand with our trade fair event in Brazil will enable us to create new synergies between the two events, in terms of both cross-marketing and incoming operators, by exploiting Marmomac’s large global community.“

Veronafiere’s activities in Brazil include the Cachoeiro Stone Fair, the Mec Show, and the Wine South, the counterpart to the world‘s leading wine fair Vinitaly in Verona.

On the Vitória fair’s website, officials of the stone sector comment on the news: Ed Martins from the regional stone association Sindirochas said it will “take (our industry) even further“, and Tales Machado from the national association Centrorochas welcomes the “new opportunities“ that the cooperation with Marmomac will bring.

Vitória is the capital of the state of Espírito Santo and is a good 700 km south of the new location of its trade fair.

Espírito Santo is the center of Brazil‘s natural stone extraction and processing sector: from there, more than 80% of the country‘s stone exports go overseas.

São Paulo, on the other hand, is the giant of consumption and contacts: 12 million people live in the city alone. The Grande São Paulo metropolitan area is estimated at 21.5 million and can be compared with centers in Asia.

São Paulo city is home to the Revestir trade fair, which takes place every year in March and is Brazil‘s most important showcase for interior design and decoration. It attracts many exhibitors from the stone sector.

The fact that Vitória has a port on its doorstep, but the port of São Paulo is 100 km away in Santos, should not be a real problem for potential exhibitors in Anhembi, as they are familiar with transportation by road: in the past, the port capacity in Vitória was always insufficient and some of the stones for the USA had to be transported to Santos by truck.

The Cachoeiro Stone Fair remains in ES. It was modernized last year with government funds and given more attention internationally.

Entrance to the Vitória Stone Fair 2024.

However, the removal of the Vitória Fair means more than just a massive loss of status for ES, as Brazil’s stone sector is facing a strong challenge due to climate change: the exotic quartzites, which are currently the bestsellers on the global markets, are processed in ES, but mined in the north, mainly in the state of Ceará.

From there, they go to ES for processing and then back north to the customers.

In Ceará, however, or more precisely in its capital, Fortaleza, efforts have been underway for several years to ensure that processing remains local. The Fortaleza Brasil Stone Fair (FBSF) was created for this purpose; the new port, including the free trade zone, also aims in this direction.

However, the FBSF initiative has not really been successful so far: it has hardly been successful to attract exhibitors and processors from the south to the north.

However, as soon as consumers in the USA pay more attention to the ecological footprint of imported products, the north of Brazil could suddenly develop as a new hub for Brazil’s stone sector.

Remind you: before ES, states like Rio de Janeiro and others were the centers of the branch.

So is doomsday mood the order of the day in ES? Not at all.

Firstly, Brazil itself is a promising market; so far, it has been insufficiently developed by domestic stone companies.

Secondly, the southern hemisphere does not only have oceans. In Australia, for example, Italy, China and other exporters from the north have conquered profitable markets. And: in Africa, there are countries with a middle class and rich people.

Vitória Stone Fair: announcement

Veronafiere: press release (Italian)