Trade Show TalesBlog

Let’s Reminisce: Word on the Street — June 6th thru June 10th

June 12th, 2011 3 COMMENTS
Let's Reminisce

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Let’s Reminisce

This past Friday, I found myself thinking a lot about the past. During the day, I did an internal training session on the Intro Folding Fabric Panel System for our Project Management team. And then later that evening, I attended a graduation party for a family friend’s son who just finished high school.

Both really got me thinking about how time flies and all that has happened over the years in my personal as well as in my business life.

I’ve been in the trade show industry since 1994. To me that seems like a long time, but I’m not even forty. Whenever I find myself chatting with other “experienced professionals” in our business, there will be a point where we reminisce about the companies and products we sold or competed against that are no longer in business (or no longer a dominant force). Many were great products or companies that for whatever reason either took a wrong turn or we don’t hear from them in the North American marketplace any longer. Who knows why, and I have no desire to throw stones.

During our internal training on Friday, I actually caught myself a couple times, slipping back into my old sales spiel. The spiel would have included comparisons to these companies.

Here are just some of the companies/products that I remember:

  • Channel Kor [purchased by Intex]
  • TigerMark [purchased by Intex]
  • Intex Exhibits – Panelflo and FastPack
  • Maxxatrak
  • Outline Exhibits
  • Exposystems  USA [purchased by ExpoDisplays]
  • Marler Haley
  • Pro Exhibits Inc.

What companies/products do you remember and what are your positive memories about them?

Have a safe and restful weekend.

–Kevin Carty

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3 Responses to “Let’s Reminisce: Word on the Street — June 6th thru June 10th”

  1. Mel – the first line I rep’d in 1986 was Panelglide, from Chicago. Pat Spatz, nicest guy in the world. It was a similar system to Outline, with metal hinges and the like (Yikes)! Those big bulky plastic cases on casters… needed to be young to schlep those babies around. Next was Professional Displays, a popup. I think I STILL have some of those frames in my rental stock, they take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. When Pro changed frames (I hated their new one) we followed it to Featherlite, who had bought the right to use the frame. I still have a bunch of their units as well. We bought Radius for awhile, until we duplicated it ourselves. The manufacturers we rep now are still doing well, Classic included, and the journey continues. What a long, strange trip it’s been!

  2. It’s interesting that 37% of those on your list were taken out of the market by just one ego! Hmmm, looking at the rest of the list, do you think that might have been a common denominator?

  3. Don Johnson says:

    I’ve enjoyed your trip to the past. I can remember long before my Expand days, I started my display company in Sarasota, FL. back in 1996. Since I could’t afford to be a Skyline, Nimlok or Nomadic dealer, I had cobble together a line of display hardware.

    SD Modular with their Arise Pop Up got me into the business, along with Marc Bric plastic framing system ( I sold one with 4/C digital graphics for $1,500. My first table top). They are still around. The Arise? George is gone, but I did see the SD name on a sign somewhere along 95 in the Miami area.

    My biggest shock was when I had this great 10′ (Arise pop up) with a full graphic wrap of a couple on some beach in Paradise at a Chamber Show and no one paid any attention. They were all looking at Norm Thomas pulling a graphic up and down from an Expand QuickScreen. I would never have believed that right then and there my life would change. I have spent the last 12 years or so selling retractable banner stands.

    And yes, it is amazing of how many friends we have among our competitors. Makes going to Exhibitor fun.

    One name left out was Robin and Christer of Ad Box. They were friends from day one. It was sad to hear of Christers passing last year. Robin will always be a true friend to everyone in the industry.

    Don Johnson
    SE Regional Manager
    Expand International of America.

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