Trade Show TalesBlog

Word on the Street — December 28th thru January 1st

January 3rd, 2010 5 COMMENTS
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Ten Reasons I’m Glad It’s 2010

Happy New Year! I hope you had a joyous and safe celebration with your family and friends.

I don’t know about you, but I am not a big one for New Year’s Resolutions. Nothing against those of you who do make resolutions, but mine are usually broken by January 4.  

I am, however, very hopeful and excited as we step into 2010.

10 Reasons:

#1 – As mentioned by several people at the EDPA Conference in December, 2009 sucked! It can go nowhere but up from here. 🙂

#2 – As an industry, we seem more united than ever. That might sound strange to some, but with the advent of social media sites like LinkedIn, people seem to have an avenue to express concerns, issues, and successes more readily. And they are using it! If you follow the groups and discussions, you see that for the most part we all have the same goals to improve our industry. Even some of the most traditionally “taboo” topics are being discussed. Keep it up. Whether we agree or not is not really important . . . rather, what’s important is keeping the issues out in the open for discussion, learning, and change.

#3 – As a company, Classic Exhibits Inc. has deepened its relationships with customers throughout the tough times of 2009. Sometimes, when the going gets tough it causes strains on relationships. Last year, it proved to bond us together even tighter. When you are all in the same boat together, you might as well join together and find creative ways to trudge through it, making sure we all survive!

#4 – Product Development. Ours actually grew in 2009 and is poised and ready for 2010. We created several new products in 2009 — some that were entirely new, such as Sacagawea, as well as a bevy of new kits within our existing product lines such as Magellan Miracle and Magellan MOR.

#5 – New Products. As you will soon see, we are launching a new line in early 2010 (Segue). Stay tuned as we lauch this product in stages.

#6 – Classic’s Production Team. Many of you have heard me brag about our Production staff. They are incredible. Most of our core production employees celebrated their 10th year with Classic this past year. Ten Years! While I think that says a lot about Classic as company, more importantly, it gives me great comfort knowing that day in and day out that we have a crew of professional, dedicated, and quality-driven individuals producing our customer’s exhibits.

#7 – Shared Knowledge. We focused all year on collecting and collating important details of exhibits sold in the past as well as all exhibits sold in 2009. In return, if you look at Exhibit Design Search, you will see the benefits. Many of the kits shown now include links to the Set-ups, Graphic Dimensions, Set-up Videos, Photos, and much much more!

#8 – Rentals, Rentals, Rentals! Jim Shelman and his team continue to do an amazing job creating unique rental options that provide something for everyone and for every budget!

#9ClassicMODUL Connecticut Location. With a year under our belt (and a few bumps and bruises along the way), we are poised to service all your East Coast raw metal needs. Thanks to Tom Jones and his team for their continued dedication to refining this operation.

#10 – Customer Service and Project Management. Tim Hanley and our talented project managers spent their free time throughout 2009 focused on the “Shared Knowledge” theme. They worked on creating databases of CAD drawings, set-up instructions, and other details that will allow us to meet your day-to-day needs more efficiently.

In about two weeks I will release my annual State of the Company letter. It will highlight our plans and goals for 2010, reflect back on the lessons learned from 2009, and chart our plan of attack for 2010 from all levels — Production, Design, Customer Service, Marketing, and Sales.

What are you thoughts as we move into 2010? I would appreciate hearing your insights.

Have a safe and restful weekend!

–Kevin Carty

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5 Responses to “Word on the Street — December 28th thru January 1st”

  1. mel says:

    Kevin —

    Adversity teaches you who are your friends, your acquaintances, and your enemies. Fortunately for Classic, we have a lot of friends — suppliers, distributors, and employees. All too frequently, distributors told us they wanted to send their orders to us because they knew they could count on us and they wanted the business to go our direction.

    On behalf of everyone at Classic Exhibits . . . our sincere thanks. We appreciate it and we will continue to earn your business, your trust, and your friendship in 2010.

    Sometimes the Golden Rule actually works!


  2. Name Tags says:


    I, too, am looking forward to 2010. I can relate to the last 9, but number one is the main reason!!! Here’s hoping things get turned around soon… Sounds like you’re well on your way…

    Here’s to 2010

  3. greg says:

    I see lots of signs out there, but mostly the difference is how WE perceive this next year. Thanks for getting the ball rolling, people need to walk on the other side of the road to get a different perspective. I really enjoy the positive thoughts, goes well with the espresso.

  4. I see 2010 as the beginnings of change in the trade show model. Because not all industry stake holders are on board yet, it’s not going to get done in the next year. But I see attendees AND exhibitors voting with their feet and not showing up at events that have pricing models that promote cost shifting to outrategeously high drayage rates or allow bundling of services by General Contractors at the expense of whole trade show floor who will pay for the discounts offered.

    Face to Face will still be the preference of both the exhibitor and attendee for a variety of reasons. Among them education, networking, job hunting, head hunting, trend analysis and for some, the need to get out of the office for 2-3 days to a resort destination.

    The trade show model will begin it’s evolution and believe it or not, change here in the US. Education will takes its preferred place in the form of transparency. The low key deals will start to go away like a large show from McComrmick Place. People will start to look up, like Mayor Daley and say, “hey, we have to stop gouging people”.

    Strong industry veterans will gather together and stand up to promote the New Trade Show World Order. It’s already begun and the revolution will not be televised. Look for that maybe in 11. But it will be done with common sense ideas and not lawyers and lawsuits.

    New, smaller and socially conscious General Contractors will start up and those already in place will be recognized for their politically correct business models. Show organizers may be slow to get on board as they figure out a new way to change their business and pricing models that shifts costs back to where they belong in an effort to be “transparent” to their bread and butter, the exhibitors and still be able to pay the bills. (or turn a profit depending on the type of organizer) New exhibitors, in larger quantities, with more visually appealing displays filled with new products and services spurred by reasonable exhibition costs will attract more attendees eager to find a better solution for their firms. (I’ll admit that last bit is probably 90% dream/10% reality)

    I also believe that early 2010 will shake out more business failures as money and cash flow dries up and hope for a faster than expected recovery wanes. The result is that for some, flat business growth will be a positive in 2010 because of the cost reductions performed in 09. Great companies will survive and change, good companies will bring rates and profit margins down. Average companies will disappear from the landscape. Quality and Customer Service among those surviving will increase and become a standard part of the business model offerings. The consumer or buyer will stand to benefit from these increased benefits and reduced costs. Cash will still be king and the windfall for those who still have it. Those who do survive will be forever changed and better for it heading into the new future. A place our parents told us about, when they told us to save our money when times were good and use it to buy when times are bad.

  5. Kevin Carty says:


    very well stated and accurate.

    I agree with you that their certainly is still some shakeout that will take place. Too many companies out there that have been simply too focused on right now…and no thought given to 12-18 months out. I fear that will prove to be a fatal flaw between now and the end of 2010 for some long standing organizations in our industry.

    I see the partnerships that are being built in the industry, where the suppliers and manufacturers have a much stronger presence and voice. Show managers are now in a position where the “have” to listen.

    The most appealing aspect of what I have been calling this new “Rat Pack” (The New Trade Show World Order as you call it) is that they are all Customer Service focused companies. There is a solid desire to stand-up, be heard and drive true change in the way business is done within the Tradeshow and Events industry. For our customers benefit!!

    I am proud to say that Classic considers themselves as a part of this new “Rat Pack”.

    For those companies that have prepared properly, time is on our side. I agree that 2010, if flat against 2009, will be a success. And that 2011 will prove to be the year when the floodgates begin to open more and more.

    Thanks again for your insights Dave!

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