Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for February, 2012

Our Final Pre-EXHIBITOR2012 Video

February 29th, 2012 3 COMMENTS


EXHIBITOR2012 is less than a week away, and Tim Patterson, the intrepid “Tradeshow Guy” reporter, made a surprise visit at Classic. Up until now, we’ve held our cards pretty close to our chest regarding the booth design and graphics. However . . . being coy was no longer an option with Tim planted in the setup area asking questions.

Here’s your chance to see the structure about midway through assembly. Kevin and Mel discuss the concept in more detail. You are invited to see us at booth #1645 where you can meet Tim and Marlys Arnold, the trade show marketing gurus. They’ll be there between 11:30 – 12:30 on Monday and Tuesday.

We’ve packed our booth and it’s on its way to Las Vegas. See everyone there.

Look for Tim’s video and blog reports from the show. If you are there, you’ll recognize him — he’ll be wearing a hat with the fake “Press” badge. 😉

–Mel White


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or

Three GREAT Articles and One Video: Word on the Street — Feb. 20th thru Feb. 24th

February 25th, 2012 COMMENTS
EXHIBITOR 2012 Teaser Video, Part Two

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Good Reads. One Silly Video.

With EXHIBITOR 2012 looming, this has been a hectic week. Not only are we working on the final touches for our EXHIBITOR booth, but we are also processing a TON of orders! Not sure if you found yourself on the Peek-A-Booth cams this week, but if you did, you know what I mean.

A new Account Exec. from Bay Area Exhibits visited us this week for training. At about 3 pm he said while looking at very full setup floor, “So this is all stuff that has to ship this week?” To which I replied, “No, those are all orders that go out tomorrow. This morning there were 15 more that already shipped.”

Suffice to say…we are very busy (and happy and thankful). 🙂

As busy as we are, Mel and I both try to find time to read blogs, newsgroups, and industry articles. There were some great ones this past week, so I wanted to share a few with you.

Trade Show Drayage The first is a blog post by Lowell Nickens from Shopforexhibits. Lowell is an industry veteran with experience as a general contractor, a display manufacturer, and a distributor. Lowell addresses “Material Handling or Drayage” from a different perspective. Check it out. It’s thoughtful and well done. Great job Lowell!

A Definitive Guide to Understanding Trade Show Material Handling

Next is Chris Griffin who owns Trade Show Supply. Many of you know Chris. He’s another industry veteran with experience as a trainer, distributor, and show labor contractor. He writes about the “30 Things that Conspire to Destroy Your Beautiful Trade Show Experience.” Very sage advice.

30 Things that Conspire to Destroy Your Beautiful Trade Show Experience

Last, is an article from Inc. — “8 Qualities of Remarkable Employees” written by Jeff Haden. You may be surprised by what he considers remarkable employees.

8 Qualities of Remarkable Employees

I love this article, mostly because I see all of the qualities in our team at Classic Exhibits Inc. #1 and #4 happened on Friday when Charlie Shivel (Project Manager) come to my office singing the praises of our Milling Department Lead, Igor Yakovenko. Charlie wanted me to know how great Igor is because he clearly wants to do what’s best, and in this situation it meant taking off his “Milling Lead” hat and helping out in a situation that clearly had nothing to do with his day-to-day job duties.

Great stuff!

In closing, if you have not seen Part Two of our teaser videos for EXHIBITOR, check it out. I have a sneaking suspicion that my EPIC idea of edible graphics has been nixed. I’d blame Mel, but his ideas got nixed as well. Expect Part Three later this week.

Looking forward to seeing you at EXHIBITOR 2012.

Almost forgot . . . Be sure to check out the MOD-211 iPad Insert video on the EXHIBITOR New Product Showcase page (scroll to the very bottom).  Or you can see it on Exhibit Design Search.

–Kevin Carty

p.s. If you scrolled down this far, I’m adding one more article as a bonus. This is a much longer read (41 pages): Reading about the Financial Crisis: A 21-Book Review. It’s a fascinating review of 21 academic and journalistic books about the financial crisis. As the author Andrew W. Lo states, “No single narrative emerges from this broad and often contradictory collection of interpretations, but the sheer variety of conclusions is informative . . . .”

Classic Exhibits: EXHIBITOR 2012 Video — Part 2

February 22nd, 2012 1 COMMENT

From Tim Patterson (a.k.a. the Tradeshow Guy):

“Still on the track of what the heck Classic Exhibits is up to for EXHIBITOR 2012 (March 4-8, 2012 at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas). I made another quick visit to their manufacturing facility this week. The result? A disagreement among the bigwigs, a rescue by a new designer, and the ‘inside scoop’ (perhaps!) from a Russian . . . ”

EXHIBITOR 2012 Classic Video: Word on the Street — Feb 13th thru Feb. 17th

February 17th, 2012 8 COMMENTS
EXHIBITOR 2012 Teaser Video

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

EXHIBITOR 2012 Video

Here’s a video about our booth, the first in a series leading up to the EXHIBITOR 2012 Show. We’re working with Tim Patterson, otherwise known as “The Tradeshow Guy.” You’ve probably read his wonderful blog, This video reveals two concepts, one proposed by me and the other by Mel White, our VP of Marketing and Business Development.

Mel’s idea is stupid. Mine is brilliant. Let us know what you think . . . and feel free to share.


  1. We will host a Distributor Appreciation Reception on Tuesday, March 6 beginning at 3:30 in Mandalay Bay. Please stop by our booth (#1645) on either Monday or Tuesday for the location. We are hosting this reception in conjunction with Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits.
  2. Marlys Arnold, author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, will be in our booth on Monday and Tuesday from 11:30 to 12:30. She’ll be happy to discuss her book, trade show marketing, or any other questions you may have about trade show training.
  3. Tim Patterson, a.k.a. The Tradeshow Guy, will be in the booth as well to discuss Tim is the guru on all things social marketing when it comes to trade shows. Tim will also be video blogging and tweeting throughout the show.
  4. In addition to our booth, there will be approximately 6-7 Classic Exhibits display builds on the show floor. We’ll be happy to take you on a tour and show you the designs — both rental and purchase.

–Kevin Carty

Smarter, Faster, Cheaper Solutions for your Trade Show Program

February 13th, 2012 COMMENTS

Recent Trade Show Trends


Earlier this month, I attended a Distributor Open House where over 200 customers came to see the latest exhibit trends and services. I was fortunate to participate in a 45 minute panel session entitled Smarter, Faster, Cheaper Solutions for your Trade Show Program. I thought I’d share those trends with you. The first five (Show Floor Trends) came from an Independent Labor Contractor. The next five or so (Design and Manufacturing Trends) came from Classic Exhibits. The last five (Smarter, Strategic Behaviors) came from the Distributor.

Let me know if you would like more information. Just send me an email, and I’ll connect you with the appropriate presenter(s).

Show Floor Trends

1. The Importance of Taking Immediate Action When You Receive Your Show Manual. (In order to Maximize Discounts)

2. The Top 5 Operating Cost Budget Busters to Watch — Freight, Labor, Drayage, Rigging, and At-Show Additions.

3. Exhibitors are providing shorter lead times to display house vendors, and it’s costing you more money on the show floor. (A foot soldier’s perspective from the front lines)

4. Thirty Things on the Show Floor that Conspire to Destroy Your Beautiful Trade Show Experience.

5. Understanding General Contractors, Exhibitor-Appointed Contractors, and the Labor Unions.

Design and Manufacturing Trends

6. The New Kid in town is Hybrid Exhibits. They offer more than Traditional Portables (Banner Stands and Pop-ups) while approaching the Look and Function of Custom Exhibits.

7. Tension Fabric is the BIG Beast in graphics. Fabrics dominate the show floor with vibrant colors, lighter weight, durability and small packing.

8. Versatile Engineered Aluminum is the BACKBONE of most design centric inlines. It looks great, can be shaped, is durable, and plays well with custom wood construction or basic banner stands.

9. Customized design is no longer for the 1%. You can tailor your exhibit space with the help of extrusion, fabric, and computer aided design without a six-figure budget.

10. Packaging, Assembly, and Sustainability have come a LONG, LONG way. Most exhibits now are easy to assemble, pack smaller, and include post-industrial and post-consumer materials.

10a. Don’t forget rentals. Rentals have gotten OH SO SEXY. Take a look. You’ll be surprised how rentals have shed their MOO-MOO for Upscale Designer Wear.

Smarter, Strategic Behaviors

11. Begin to plan the show with the end in mind. Create a Trade Show Marketing Plan that includes Pre-Show, At-Show and Post-Show Marketing.

12. Establish Specific Objectives. What do you really want to get out of the show and how do you get it?

13. Technology awareness and possible sharing. Who/what synergies are available to use at the show as a resource?

14. Secure Qualified Leads that will generate sales after proper follow-up.

15. Train and Schedule Staff. Your staff needs to effectively convey your sales message and ensure the booth is staffed properly.

15a. Create a WOW Exhibit that attracts people and conveys your brand in the best light.

–Mel White


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or