Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for June, 2009

Introducing Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Trade Show Displays

June 17th, 2009 COMMENTS
Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Trade Show Displays

Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Trade Show Displays

I’m just old enough to remember the skits where an actor would portray both a man and a woman by painting half their face as a man and the other half as a woman. Depending on the dialogue, the actor would show the audience one side or the other and often would wear a half suit and half dress costume. It seems silly now, but I’m smiling as I write this because the skits were entertaining, creative, and economical (one actor – two roles). 

As budgets tighten, particularly exhibit budgets, exhibit managers expect displays to perform multiple roles. Unfortunately, most exhibits are much better as character actors – portable or modular or custom but not custom portable (for example).    

If you are familiar with Classic, you already know about Perfect 10 and Magellan, two innovative hybrid systems in the $5,000 to $12,000 price range. You clearly like these hybrid displays, judging by our sales over the past 18 months. Recently, you asked for an even more economical solution, something starting around $3100.

Introducing the Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Series

For too long, trade show exhibit buyers have had to choose between price and design and portability and upscale features. Not anymore. The Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Series offers exhibitors contemporary hybrid design with aluminum extrusion and large format tension fabric graphics at a great price. 

If you are considering a pop up display, why not consider a Sacagawea instead for about the same price? The Sacagawea display takes about the same time to assemble, packs in portable roto-molded case(s) with wheels, and offers more flexibility with counters, workstations, and re-configurability. With Sacagawea, you can start with a 10’ x 10’ exhibit and expand to a 10’ x 20’ as your show schedule and budget grows. Because the system is constructed with durable aluminum extrusion and lightweight tension fabric graphics, your display will evolve as your trade show marketing program changes from year to year.

See the entire Sacagawea Series in Design Search including  (17) 10’ x 10’ kits and (7) 10’ x 20’ kits. Prices start at $3100.

Sacagawea VK-2104 Portable Hybrid Display

Sacagawea VK-2104 Portable Hybrid Display

Travel Well, Travel Smart, Travel Light. Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Displays.

–Mel White

Contest Winners for “Defining Interconnectivity” Post

June 15th, 2009 COMMENTS
TS2 Contest Winners

TS2 Contest Winners

First of all I wanted to thank everyone who submitted entries describing “Interconnectivity.” All were very pertinent and well thought out.

Secondly, I want to announce the two winners who will receive a full conference pass to TS2 in Chicago:

  • Valerie Danger from Nstein
  • Delel Chaabouni from Dubai World Trade Center

Congratulations to you both! I look forward to seeing you at TS2.

As a reminder to the rest of you, TS2 is happening July 20 – 23 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois.

Please stop by and visit the Classic Exhibits crew at booth #601 (right at the entrance).  

Kevin Carty

Word on the Street — June 8th thru June 12th

June 12th, 2009 COMMENTS
Word on the Street

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

If you are like me, you find yourself talking to your exhibit industry peers to see “what’s up” in their world and in our industry. So, at the recommendation of others, I am going to write about what I am hearing each week and post it every Friday by noon. I look forward to your comments and feedback.

Week of June 8th thru June 12th

Budgets Looking Up Heading into 2010! 

That was the title of an article an industry friend sent my direction on Monday, and it really set the tone for the week.

In our business, we have seen a big spike in activity in design and quote requests so I thought i would make some calls and see if this was true for others. I spoke to some traditional Portable/Modular/Hybrid Distributors, Custom Houses, and a few suppliers of carpeting, lighting, and transportation services.

Their response confirmed our trend. With the exception of two companies, which said they are still hearing crickets rather than phones ringing, everyone else said that business has begun to pickup over the past two weeks. In addition, the projects seem real and have some meat. Not just “pie in the sky” speculative projects.

Everyone, myself included, is careful to mention that there has NOT been a comparable spike in sales, just in design and quoting. Which tells me that some money is being freed up for later summer and fall shows. The sales they are seeing right now are for refreshed graphics for existing exhibits and/or alternative “value” based exhibit options. At Classic, for example, we just introduced the Sacagawea Hybrid Series which has seen a lot of activity.

The other really consistent fact that all companies I spoke to confirmed was that their rental business is up anywhere from 25-50% over last year. Stands to reason right?!?!

They all agreed that May, June, and July will be spent getting back to basics. Making calls to as many people as possible. Keeping your company’s name out in the forefront is paramount during uncertain economic times like these. And for those who survive . . . the last thing you want to struggle with down the road is name recognition.

As I muddle and learn my way through this weekly blog thing, I encourage you to send me topics or questions that you would like feedback on. I would be happy to ask around as I make my calls each day and/or as I visit customers.

Talk to you all soon

Be Well

Kevin Carty

Tips for a Successful Exhibit Installation & Dismantle

June 10th, 2009 2 COMMENTS
Trade Show Installation and Dismantle

Trade Show Installation and Dismantle

The trade show floor can be like operating in a foreign country. However, if you follow a few basic tips, you can successfully and economically navigate the Installation and Dismantle waters of your next show.

1. Choose a Quality Labor Partner

  • Consider national coverage so you have consistency
  • What is their reputation for integrity and performance –ask around
  • Price – While cost per hour is important, keep in mind that comparing the rate of an independent contractor to a general contractor (GC) is not comparing apples to apples.  Independent contractor labor is typically far more efficient, thereby resulting in few hours billed 

2. Complete the Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Letter  (EAC Letter)

  • Check your exhibitor services manual for the due date.  This is typically 30 days prior to the show – but can be as much as 90 days
  • Complete the form, send it to the show contractor and send a copy to your labor contractor
  • If it is past the due date, call your labor contractor. They may be able to work it out with the show

3. Choose the Right Shipper

  • Choose an experienced trade show shipping partner
  • Price – Do not compare the price of shipping with a van line (point to point transportation) to that of a common show carrier (consolidates loads, breaks down skids, rough ride).  They are not equal.
  • Label each item on a skid separately.  Skids sometimes get broken down

4. Pre-Plan

  • Complete all service orders well in advance (electrical, carpet, hanging signs, material handling, etc.) to get best rates
  • Electrical – Be sure to include a dimensioned layout of where the electrical should go, along with an orientation for your booth (include surrounding booth numbers)
  • Send copies of all service orders to your labor partner


Why Retail Managers Should Get More Respect

June 2nd, 2009 1 COMMENT
Retail Management

Retail Management

Are you a current or former manager in a retail business? Do you work in a clothing, shoe, or discount store? Are you managing an electronics, jewelry, or specialty shop? Stand proud. Chances are you don’t get much respect, but you should. Yes, you have a thankless job with terrible hours, mediocre benefits, and a paycheck that barely covers rent, utilities, and the Value Meal Deal. But you work hard. You motivate and train other employees to excel. You are nice, even when others are not nice. You are responsible — day after day, sale after sale, policy change after policy change.  

For All Those Reasons and More I Respect You. Here’s Why.

For seven years, I worked as a sales and training manager in a department store. I was young, not teenager young, but late 20’s early 30’s young. I had a college degree (in English), but no real management or customer service experience. I had worked in a bank in the IT Department and in a sub shop, and taught for awhile, but, frankly, I was drifting. I didn’t really have a career in mind. Then one day I was offered a sales manager job at a large department store. It was kind of a fluke actually, but I needed a job and I took it. I’m glad I did. I can’t image doing what I do now without that background, without that training, and without that guidance from thousands of employees, managers, and customers over those seven years. So, here’s my take on why retail managers should get more respect.