Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for January, 2011

Word on the Street — January 24th thru January 28th

January 30th, 2011 COMMENTS
History Repeats

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

History Repeats

I hope you had a great week both professionally and personally.

Is it just me, or do you too find yourself feeling overwhelmed with business-related tasks right now? Whether it’s quotes, new orders, expansion, marketing, etc. Whatever it may be, you need an extra five hours every day to accomplish everything on your list.

This week alone, we were busy with new orders and new projects. And that doesn’t include what’s flowing through the Design Department. The shipping schedule is healthy. For me personally, as I write this on Saturday morning, I am whipped. This week included working on EXHIBITOR Show details, the new ClassicMODUL Southeast location launch, the revised pricing for Classic Exhibits, several Eco-systems projects, as well as some unusual quotes and orders.

It feels like it was an overwhelming week, but I know that’s not true. It’s more of getting back into the normal swing of things after the holidays. Even though we had a very strong finish to 2010, it’s always slower by comparison to January, February, and March.

And after 16-plus years, you would think I’d be used to this and not feel overwhelmed, but it seems to happen every year regardless of how conscientious I prepare. Trust me, I am not complaining! This January has proven to be a strong month, and many of our long-term plans from the past year are finally taking shape.

I have to remind myself that this is how it is every year. Same thing happens after July rolling into August.

I spoke to a few of you this week, and one person in particular called me on Wednesday morning. As I picked up the phone and said “Hello”, what I heard was “Is it just me, or is this the busiest the industry has been in the last 10 years?” Of course that is not true, but I know what he meant.

Compliments to the Classic Exhibits Project Management staff. We had a meeting Friday morning, and they have done a great job handling the ramp up in business. Thanks!!

As we roll into February, please be on the look out for many exciting bits of information and news regarding the upcoming EXHIBITOR Show 2011, the opening of the ClassicMODUL Southeast Depot, and of course clever promotions from Mel White for the spring.

Hope you all have a great and restful weekend. Stay busy!

–Kevin Carty

Tightwad Tuesday Specials

January 26th, 2011 COMMENTS

Tightwad Tuesday Specials

Some Customers Can’t Resist a Bargain

Look for these Retail Specials every Tuesday in February and March.

Feb. 1, 8: Purchase an LTK-1001 Pedestal for $850 retail with any Hybrid or Modular Display kit
Feb. 15, 22: Take 15% off  any Sacagawea Portable Hybrid kit
March 1, 8: Take 10% off any Visionary Designs Inline kit (excludes SEGUE Sunrise)
March 15, 22: Get an EO-01 Table Top FREE with the purchase of any Quadro EO or Quadro S 10 ft. or 20 ft. Pop Up kit
March 29: Take $200 off any Workstation or Kiosk kit under $2000. Take $350 off (retail) any Workstation or Kiosk
kit over $2000

The Official Rules:

  1. Tightwad Tuesday Specials are available only on the dates listed.
  2. You must submit your P.O. on Tuesday – Not Wednesday or Monday.
  3. Standard kits only (because you’re not really a tightwad if you want a modified or custom kit).
  4. Standard lead-times apply.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Word on the Street — January 17th thru January 21st

January 23rd, 2011 COMMENTS

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty


This past week, I spent a lot of time in coffee shops working on pricing. Whenever we look at price changes, I typically check out of the office for a few days and work remotely. That way, I can concentrate exclusively on raw material prices and how those increases affect our designs.

So last week, I camped in three Starbucks, of which there must be several hundred in Greater Portland. Starbucks, as you can imagine, is a microcosm of any community and Portland is no exception. I grew up in Portland, and even to a native like me, it’s a little different! Both good and bad. I should have taken photos. I saw every brand of cereal come into Starbucks those three days.

After getting home on Friday, I was flipping through channels and saw a teaser ad for a program on IFC called Portlandia (to be broadcast later that night). It’s a new show about the uniqueness, again good and bad, of Portland and Oregonians. So I hit the DVR  so I could watch it later. Portlandia stars Fred Armisen from Saturday Night Live and Carrie Brownstein from the band Sleater-Kinney (a favorite NW band of mine).

Keeping Portland Weird

Only in Portland!

I watched it the next day, and clearly recognized it as a satire of Portland. Satire by it’s very nature embellishes and exaggerates, but Portlandia was spot on in a lot of ways, especially the scene with the bicycle delivery person and the scene at the library with the hide-and–seek teams.

It got me thinking. Is this what people really think of us? Even if in an exaggerated way? And the answer is, probably yes. And that is OK. If nothing else, it really shows the beauty of the city.  At least what I consider beautiful about the city itself. And the people, well, let’s just say this, there is a motto in Portland — “Keep Portland Weird.” That philosophy certainly comes through for better or worse. [see the NY Times article which appeared today]

Anyway, back to the price change. It is coming. It will begin to roll out in mid February through the end of month. You will be happy to know that there are some products that are going down, some that are staying the same, and yes many that are going up. All in all, the increases are moderate, particularly when you consider that we haven’t increased prices for almost three years and on some kits decreased prices during the recession.

On another note, you’ll see a promotional e-broadcast next week called Tightwad Tuesday. If you grew up in the 1980’s, you will remember the same marketing idea for movies, where you could see a movie at a discount on Tuesdays. This promotion will be much the same (but without the movies) and feature discounted prices in February and March.

Lastly, a sincere thanks for your kind emails about the 2010 Annual Letter. If you have not had a chance to read it, we’ve uploaded the letter into the Trade Show Tales blog. See the link for a summary of business last year and a window into new products and programs in 2011.

Thanks as always for the continued support and business. Hope you had restful weekend.

–Kevin Carty

Annual Letter from Kevin Carty, VP of Sales

January 19th, 2011 1 COMMENT

Kevin Carty, VP of Sales

Happy New Year!

Thank you very much for your continued support of Classic Exhibits, Exhibits Northwest and ClassicMODUL! The Classic Exhibits Inc. team appreciates your orders, suggestions, and support.

As a company, we weathered the economic storm of late 2008, 2009, and early 2010 by introducing new designs, improving our customer service, and making strategic purchases. Our 2010 sales increased 20 percent. All things considered, we’re happy with that increase, and based on conversations with many of you, your sales have improved as well. Excellent!

SEGUE Launch

We ended the year on a high note by launching a new SEGUE system – the Sunrise. All SEGUE hybrid displays feature Silicone Edge Graphics. The new SEGUE Sunrise is an inexpensive exhibit for customers who want a high-class, high-quality display that expands to a 10 x 20 inline. It’s competitively priced (starting at $2575 retail) and engineered for simple, no-tools assembly. It’s the perfect alternative to a pop up.

Sunrise VK-1905

Speaking of portable hybrids, Sacagawea sales have been off the charts. Clearly there is a HUGE market for inexpensive hybrid displays. Go figure . . . introduce a simple, lightweight, hybrid design at a competitive price and it sells like cherry snow cones at the state fair.

Rentals Rentals Rentals!

Kudos to Jim Shelman and his crew at Exhibits Northwest in 2010! Their dedication to providing creative yet affordable rental options meant that a lot of Classic Distributors did very, very well this year. 95 percent of all rental orders were creative hybrids, ranging from 10 x 10’s to Double Deck Islands. Amazing stuff! And while they offer rental kits, nearly half of all orders were new designs or kit modifications.

Eco-sytems Sustainable Exhibits

In June of 2010, we announced our partnership and ownership stake in Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibitsthe Leader in Sustainable Exhibits. We are proud to put our name side by side with a display company that shares our core values. Eco-systems’ innovative displays are designed by Michael McCord using ClassicMODUL profiles as its backbone. We encourage you to contact Eric Albery or Tim Morris if you have not worked with them. No one knows sustainability better than Eco.

Marketing Efforts

Those of you who know Mel White, our VP of Marketing and Business Development, know that his mind never stops. This past year was no different as evidenced by some of the great things he developed and implemented in 2010.

Peek-a-Booth:  It’s not just a catchy name, but an effective webcam tool at the fingertips of every Distributor and End-user alike. With Peek-a-Booth, you can preview booths live as they are constructed, and with the pan and zoom capabilities, you can see and critique the final set-up. Be sure to contact your Classic project manager about how to access the two webcams on your next order.

Exhibit Design Search Changes/Improvements:  This is Mel’s baby! And it shows in the constant tweaks and improvements he makes to this amazing web-based tool. Last year, Mel, with the help of Edie, Anne, Charlie, Wade, Bob, Tim, and Mike, added videos animations, photos galore, and even more graphics dims and set-up instructions. In addition, Exhibit Design Search now includes Eco-systems designs, flooring options from Brumark, and even more products from Optima Graphics. Expect to see another gallery by Q2, featuring products from a well-know industry supplier.

We encourage you to browse through Exhibit Design Search. You will be amazed by the comprehensive nature of this online tool. I wasn’t sure it could get much better . . . boy did it ever! Give Mel a call if you haven’t added Exhibit Design Search to your website.

Webinars:  Last year, we dipped our toe in the water on webinars. This year we’ll dive in head first. In 2010, we conducted sessions on Tips and Tricks of Exhibit Design Search in addition to sessions on Social Media and Blogging (hosted by Tim Patterson). Expect a webinar on Classic Hybrid Displays in Q1, which will present the features and benefits of Visionary Designs, Sacagawea, Magellan, Perfect 10, and SEGUE.

Trade Show Tales Blog

Blog:  We started blogging in late 2009, but in 2010 we took it to the next level. Trade Show Tales was initially centered around my weekly column, “Word on the Street,” but the blog has really grown far beyond my ramblings. It now includes Mel and Reid’s ramblings! Ha! Seriously though, it really has become an effective tool for communicating product and service updates and the pulse at Classic every week. Thanks to those “Twits” and “LinkedIn” folks out there for posting, reposting, and tweeting the blog postings so frequently. Not to mention all the comments we receive. Please keep them coming in 2011

Industry Boards and News

On a personal note, I am delighted to announce my appointment to several industry posts. I was appointed/elected to the EDPA Board, the Exhibitor Show Advisory Committee, and the HCEA Advisory Committee. I am honored by the appointments, and committed to improving our industry.  Thank you for the opportunity.

Speaking of shows . . . EXHIBITOR is our next big event. And I hope you are ready. We have two very exciting things on tap. First of course is our stunning exhibit design for the show. I personally can’t wait to share that with you all as soon as we flesh out all the details. Secondly, is something I will just refer to simply as “THE EVENT.” Stay tuned, we have something really fun in store in partnership with several strategic partners. Be patient. There’s more to come.

On another note, as the Advisory Board Chairman for the TS2 Show, I am deeply saddened by the announcement to cancel the event for 2011. While I understand the decision and support it in many ways, as someone who has been doing this for 16 plus years, I am nevertheless disappointed. As a company, Classic fully supports the plan to “re-tool” TS2 and re-launch it in 2012. TS2 has always been a very successful event for us.

Vendor Partners and ClassicMODUL

Visionary Designs Island

I know this sometimes feels like a bit of a love fest when I talk about our partners, but there is good reason. Like in life, a business is only as good as its people and the companies it surrounds itself with. To that end, I want to extend my gratitude to Brumark, EliteXPO, Display Supply and Lighting, Momentum Management, and most importantly Optima Graphics. Thanks again for helping make Classic and its network of distributors the best. You are all a huge part of our success.

Big news from ClassicMODUL. In early February, ClassicMODUL will officially open its Southeast USA Extrusion Depot! I am very excited about the opportunities this presents for ClassicMODUL, Classic Exhibits, and our customers in the Southeast. More to come when the depot opens in February.

Before signing off, I would be remiss if I did not mention the CMT docu-drama my friend and co-worker Reid Sherwood has endured once again this past year. He and his family experienced a 3rd house fire in the course of approximately 26 months. Unreal! In all honestly, I truly admire the way Reid, Vickie, and the girls have endured over the past several months. It has been truly inspiring to see how they banded together during such difficult circumstances. However, I do have one favor to ask of you all. When you see Reid next, please comment on his new cologne, “Ode de SOOT.” Tell him it smells good. The poor guy is self conscience enough as it is.

Cheers to a great 2011. See you soon.

Kevin Carty
Vice President of Sales
Classic Exhibits Inc.

The NEW SEGUE Sunrise Portable Hybrid

January 18th, 2011 COMMENTS
SEGUE Sunrise Hybrid Display

You Don't Need No Stinking Pop Up!

Imagine this . . .

You’re at a trade show holding a fistful of qualified leads. It’s the last day, the last 10 minutes before the show closes and you’re tired. You’re ready for dinner, a drink, and a quiet, relaxing evening.  But first, you have to dismantle and pack your 10 ft. display.

No problem. You have a SEGUE Sunrise.

Introducing the SEGUE Sunrise Portable Hybrid Display — the World’s Only Tool-Less Display featuring Silicone Edge Graphics (SEG). The engineered aluminum frame assembles with attached knobs in about the same time it takes to assemble a pop-up display.

The Sunrise features lightweight MODUL aluminum and large format tension fabric graphics. Choose from (3) 10 x 10 and (3) 10 x 20 designs.

Prices start at $2575 retail for an upscale, portable hybrid display. Best of all . . . It’s manufactured by Classic Exhibits, the leader in portable/modular hybrid displays.

SEGUE Sunrise with Silicone Edge Graphics

SEGUE Sunrise with Silicone Edge Graphics


  1. Attractive Hybrid Design
  2. Engineered MODUL Aluminum Extrusion
  3. Large Format Silicone Edge Graphic (7.5 ft. x 7.5 ft)
  4. Attached Knob Assembly (no tools!)
  5. Optional Wings in Two Shapes and 7 Colors
  6. Portable Case Options

See all the SEGUE Sunrise Displays in Exhibit Design Search, the world’s largest database of exhibits and accessories.