Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for March, 2011

Word on the Street — March 21st thru March 25th

March 27th, 2011 COMMENTS

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Exhibitor Show 2011 — #1455

Well this past week has been filled with final show prep at Classic Exhibits and a very full plate of new business.

The booth looks great! We are very excited to see your reaction to our “Home Away from Home.”

In all the chaos of final preparations, I always find myself loving the energy . . .  albeit crazy. Somehow running around like chickens with our heads cut-off dotting “i’s” and crossing “t’s” always seems fun to me. Whether it’s making sure all the graphics are just right, the electrical plan makes sense, or setting up final appointments for breakfast and dinner. The pressure the week before the big show is great if you ask me.

As I said before the booth looks spectacular. It shows a great mix of kits and custom capabilities at Classic.

I hope you all enjoy it and enjoy your time in Las Vegas this year. Be sure to stop by booth#1455 for directions to our Customer Appreciation Reception on Tuesday and for your complimentary drink ticket.

Amidst all the craziness, we are excited to announce the birth of two new future Classic employees this week: Jacob and Harper. Jacob is the new baby boy for Bob Beuhl and his wife Carmen, and Harper is the new baby girl for Tyler Poage and his wife Erin. They were both born this past week. Strong and healthy! From me and everyone else at Classic, we would like to congratulate both couples on their new beautiful additions.

Enjoy the show this week. I’ll be with you in spirit.

–Kevin Carty

ClassicMODUL Opens Southeast USA Extrusion Facility

March 23rd, 2011 1 COMMENT

ClassicMODUL Aluminum ExtrusionsClassicMODUL, a designer and manufacturer of aluminum extrusions and accessories, announces the opening of a Southeast USA facility.

The Birmingham, AL manufacturing and warehouse facility will stock select aluminum extrusion profiles for exhibit houses, retail designers, and museum display builders. The Birmingham facility along with the current Cheshire, CT facility serve as regional distribution hubs for MODUL aluminum extrusions.

Aluminum profiles and accessories currently unavailable in Birmingham, AL will continue to ship from Portland, OR.  With the exception of CNC bending, the Southeast facility can handle all manufacturing requests.

According to Kevin Carty, VP of Sales, “We are excited by this opportunity to better meet the needs of our clients on East and West Coasts and anywhere in between. Now with locations in the Northwest, Southeast, and the Northeast, ClassicMODUL offers much greater shipping flexibility than any other aluminum extrusion supplier. Choosing the right aluminum profiles was important, and we want to thank our distributors for their feedback. We feel confident that we have chosen the right location, the right partner, and the right group of extrusions. However, this is just the start. We will continue to add profiles to the Birmingham facility based on our distributor’s feedback and demand.”

For questions about availability or to place orders, contact Tom Jones at or 866.864.8686. For more information about ClassicMODUL, go to

Word on the Street — March 14th thru March 18th

March 18th, 2011 COMMENTS

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

It’s Showtime!  EXHIBITOR SHOW 2011.

It is that time of year . . . and if you have been “peeking” at Peek-a-Booth, you probably already know what a creative and exciting display we have in store for the show. It’s a  “Home” (of sorts) where you can relax and learn about all the great things happening at Classic Exhibits, Exhibits Northwest, Eco-systems Sustainable, and ClassicMODUL.

The Booth

We are in Booth #1455 this year — a dynamic 20 x 30 space that will showcase all the divisions of Classic Exhibits and its sister company Eco-systems. The theme is “Your Home” for Hybrid, Modular, Portable, Rental, and Green Exhibits. Be sure you stop by so we can take you on a tour on the latest and greatest from your friends at Classic.

Customer Appreciation Reception (Tuesday)

Classic Exhibits, DS&L, and Optima Graphics ReceptionOn Tuesday, we are hosting a party from 4-6 pm in the Eye Candy Lounge of Mandalay Bay. During show hours, please come by and get your drink ticket and then join us for some good old fashioned networking and downtime afterwords. The reception is proudly sponsored by Classic Exhibits, Display Supply and Lighting, and Optima Graphics. You can get your drink tickets at any of our partners during show hours. Quantities are limited, so come by our booths early.

The Optima Graphics Reception (Monday)

Make sure you come by Monday evening for this annual event which is always an excellent place to catch up with old friends and network. It is being held in Mandalay Bay, Islander Ballrooms D and E, after the show breaks until 7 pm. Classic Exhibits is a proud sponsor of this event as well.

One-on-One Meetings During the Show

If you would like to schedule time with one of us during the show hours, please email Mel White at . He is handling the scheduling for the meetings on the show floor. Take advantage of this one-on-one time!

Wondering what to expect at the show? Take a look at the blog posting Mel wrote last week regarding the recent ExhibiTrends event he attended. It is a great snapshot of what you can expect from the show overall this year.

Multiple Displays on the Show Floor

Classic Exhibits is very proud to have more than just our 20 x 30 island unit on the show floor this year. Please make sure to see our handiwork at our vendor partners booths: Cort Furnishings, Optima Graphics, DS&L, New Leads, EliteXPO and the EXHIBITOR Magazine display. Not only are they great partners of Classic, but we also built all or part of their exhibits for the show this year.

Portable Modular Summit (Wednesday)

EDPA will host the Portable Modular Summit again this year. This session will meet on Wednesday, March 30 from 9:30 am to 10:30 am in Tropics A-B of the Mandalay Bay North Convention Center (look for the NORTH Convention Center sign on the right side of the main entrance hallway, just past the Starbucks). For more information, click here.

On a personal note, for the first time in 16 years I will not attend the show this year. A combination of being busy with several large projects, being very busy at Classic overall, and managing some staffing changes requires that someone stay behind and manage the ship. So I will be doing that. I will miss seeing those who are attending and want to personally thank you as always for your continued support of Classic Exhibits.

Be well and have a restful weekend. I am sure you will need all the rest you can for your week in Las Vegas.

–Kevin Carty

The EDPA Portable Modular Summit

March 16th, 2011 COMMENTS

The EDPA Portable Modular Summit will return to EXHIBITOR 2011 after a 2010 hiatus.

This session will meet on Wednesday, March 30 from 9:30 am to 10:30 am in Tropics A-B of the Mandalay Bay North Convention Center (look for the NORTH Convention Center sign on the right side of the main entrance hallway, just past the Starbucks).

Fresh results from EDPA’s recent 2010 Portable Modular Survey will be summarized with top insights and data from the survey shared among the group. The full EDPA survey will also be available for purchase onsite.

A panel discussion moderated by Jay Burkette of ExpoDisplays will feature Bjorn Sao of Expand International, Lynn Reves of Nomadic Display and Mel White of Classic Exhibits Inc., and be followed-up by a Q & A discussion with everyone assembled.

Coffee, tea and soft drinks will be available. The EDPA Portable Modular Summit is sponsored by EXPODISPLAYS.

The meeting is FREE OF CHARGE to all current 2011 EDPA member companies. Non-member fee is $95.00. To reserve your spot, please contact Kimberly Wilson by March 24th @ or (203) 852-5698.

Bye Bye Pop Ups? Hello Hybrids!

March 9th, 2011 1 COMMENT

ExhibiTrends 2011

Distributor Open House

I attended a Distributor Open House recently, where the distributor invited customers to see the latest trends in trade show marketing (ExhibiTrends 2011). Over 20 exhibit-related companies participated, ranging from portable manufacturers to lead-generating companies, and from flooring suppliers to graphic providers. The event was well-organized and extremely successful.  About 300 current and potential customers walked the event.

I don’t know how many of your are planning to attend EXHIBITOR, but I thought I’d pass along my observations from the Open House since I expect (and hope) they echo what we’ll see in Las Vegas in about three weeks.

I spoke with about 90 end-users that day. For the most part, these folks had portable/modular displays and were considering newer options.

End-user Feedback:

  1. Several vendors, including Classic Exhibits, showed Silicone Edge Graphics and SEG displays. Most end-users had never seen this graphic treatment, but quickly understood how it worked and the benefits. We showed  the SEGUE Sunrise and the VK-1900 . . . two very different displays at two very different price points.
  2. The SEGUE Sunrise, in particular, appealed to those customers with pop up displays who wanted something new at about the same price and the same setup time.
  3. Knob-Assembly.  Here’s where I’m going to show my ignorance. Why is Classic the only display manufacturer with knob-assisted assembly for their portable hybrid lines, such as Perfect 10, Sacagawea, and Magellan? The end-users at the event loved it!
  4. Almost every customer interaction went like this . . .
  • The Look. They loved the curves of a portable hybrid, like the Miracle, MOR, and P10. Nearly everyone said it as a more custom, more high-end look than their current displays. Oddly enough, and I supposed I shouldn’t be surprised, there was no one design the group liked best. Their preferences were evenly divided among the six displays.
  • The Feel. Most had no experience with tension fabric graphics or engineered aluminum extrusion. It only took a minute or two for them to recognize the benefits once they touched the frame, the graphics, and the knobs.
  • The Price. Obviously, prices vary on our hybrid systems. These end-users saw a $3000 Sunrise, (2) $6500 Magellans, a $7500 Perfect 10, a $2000 SEGUE lightbox, and an $11,000 SEGUE. Here’s where I was surprised — No one balked, no one flinched, no one objected to the prices! After two years of hearing, “It’s TOO MUCH!”, it was a pleasure to see sanity return to the exhibit market.

Toward the end of the event, I walked the floor to see the other exhibits. I saw one pop-up, and it was for a lighting company. Not one display manufacturer was showing a true pop up. Optima Graphics had an Xpression, but I’m not counting that as a traditional pop up. Everything else was a hybrid, a modular, or a tube structure with pillowcase graphics. I’ll be curious, and I invite you to do the same, to count how many pop up displays are shown at EXHIBITOR.

Don’t misinterpret me. I’m not predicting the demise of the pop up. Goodness knows, we sell LOTS and LOTS of Quadro EO and Quadro S kits. However, we may be witnessing a tipping point in conjunction with the end of the recession. Customers who have deferred purchases for two to three years are back in the market. They are willing to spend money, however cautiously. When they purchase, they want something different. Something with most of the benefits of a pop up display, but without the ho-hum, been-there, done-that look. If those end-users are a guide to what we can expect to see at EXHIBITOR, then expect to see lots of interest in portable and modular hybrids, especially those that do more than simply mimic the look of a pop up.

Best of luck to everyone at EXHIBITOR. Please visit us at booth #1455. We’ll show you our latest island configurations, rental designs, Eco-systems Sustainable Displays, and, of course, the best portable and modular hybrids in the industry.

–Mel White