Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for March, 2013

Happy Easter: Word on the Street — March 25th thru March 29th

March 31st, 2013 COMMENTS
Happy Easter: Word on the Street -- March 25th thru March 29th

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

This past week has been nothing short of chaotic! Good chaotic mind you.

The week following EXHIBITOR Show is always nuts, unless you did something really wrong. 🙂 Seriously, we have been amazed by the feedback coming off the show. And trust me, we have been working very hard on the follow-up. We came home from Vegas with nearly double the leads from any other prior show. It’s quite humbling to be honest.

What a pleasure to get to know some of the new folks and to re-engage with those distributors who we have not worked with for sometime. As one person from East Coast said to me,”We’re back baby! And by that, I mean the industry feels alive for the first time in a long time.”

I could not agree more. While we have been feeling positive for a while now, it is refreshing to hear it from you as well.

So all that busy talk to say, my blog is short and sweet this week. Because quite frankly, it’s Easter Weekend and I am (hopefully like you) spending all my time hanging with family, extended family, good friends and neighbors celebrating. Especially after the past week working very long hours.

Side note: I am 40 now so its been a while since I participated in an Easter Egg hunt, but I do have 6 year old twins, and my lord, they have four hunts this weekend. I swear I remember only having one! But it is fun.

I hope you all have/had a great Easter Holiday at home, with friends, at church, or wherever you spent your weekend.

And thanks again for ALL the great comments and feedback you shared with our team the past week.

Be well and Happy Easter.

Kevin Carty


Siegfried, Hamilton, and Melvis — EXHIBITOR Review: Word on the Street — March 18th thru March 22nd

March 24th, 2013 1 COMMENT
Siegfried, Hamilton, and Melvis -- EXHIBITOR2013 Review: Word on the Street — March 18th thru March 22nd

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

It’s Vegas Baby

Why would you expect anything less than seeing famous people, staying out too late, and being apart of the BEST show of the year?

And the title is true. We saw Siegfried at dinner with his entourage. I saw George Hamilton at the airport on the way out of town, And I see Melvis everyday. 🙂

We are all back from EXHIBITOR2013. What an amazing event this year . . . like past years. But there was something extra special about this year’s event, something in the air. Optimism — albeit still cautious. But optimistic nonetheless.

What’s hot? For those who missed the show here is a short recap of what is hot in the industry. And what your vendors and colleagues were showing

1.  Technology, Technology, Technology. Everything from massive touch screens to the smallest of tablets being used to drive client content such as e-document stations, interactive kiosks, and large screen fabric projections that interacted with the user.

The message was . . . communicate your message to your clients based upon their specific interests in formats that appeal to them.

2. Design is back! Not to offend any of our great friends and competitors or ourselves for that matter. But after four years where budgets drove the ship, it was great to see the industry (like our clients) in full dress ready to shine brightly! Well done to everyone who exhibited.

3. Classic Exhibits is clearly your iPad Headquarters and the innovative leader in Hybrid and Modular Solutions. Not to sound arrogant, but we made a huge splash with four new 10 x 10 displays as well as our large 20 x 30 main structure. It was impressive, an an exhibit where we saw constant traffic all three days of the show. And, while last year was a spectacular show for us, we had more leads in Day #1 this year, then all of last year.

Some Other Highlights

The Classic Exhibits Distributor Hospitality Suite — What a great time as always! Thanks to everyone who attended. We appreciate the time you spent visiting us and getting caught up both personally and professionally. I know your time is precious during the three days of EXHIBITOR, so we really do appreciate you stopping by. It’s always great to spend time with the Classic Family of Distributors, more accurately, friends!

The EDPA Portable/Modular/Hybrid Summit — Thanks again to the EXHIBITOR Media Group for giving us a spot on the show floor for the summit this year. It really made a difference! According to Jeff Provost from EDPA, “We nearly tripled the number of attendees from any past summit.” Thanks to those who attended.

The summit focused on what was happening “In the Trenches” of the Portable/Modular/Hybrid segment this year and from the last quarter of 2012. Our panelists, representing Design, Graphics, Builder/Distributor, Systems Distributor, and I&D, provided their perspectives.

The overall message was that things are looking good. Sales are up and design is clearly driving sales, gratefully! But also, along with great design and more complex “system” builds comes the need for better details, better instruction, longer set-up and dismantle times on the floor etc. My thanks to the following people for their unbiased reports from their markets. The post meeting comments spoke highly of the panelists.


Greg Beach from Atlantic Exhibits, Katina Rigall from Classic Exhibits, Anita Mitzel from GraphiColor Inc., Chris Griffin from Tradeshow Supply, and David Brown from Optima Graphics.

I would also like to thank Jay Burkette from ExpoDisplays. Jay provided not only great insights from what he has seen, but also assisted me in presenting the summit.

At the end of the day, my lasting impression was the show and our industry is ALIVE! It felt great. It felt like we were there to show our best. And we all did. As you can see from the pictures below.

Thanks for spending time with us in booth #1637. We appreciate it. Based upon your comments and feedback, we appear to be headed in the right direction to serve your needs throughout 2013. But, as always, it’s a moving target so let us know if we miss the mark.

To the Classic staff, take a bow please. You were key in making this year’s event a success. We had a lot of staff there this year, and they all took turns working the booth. However, I would like to mention four people in particular for their contribution.

Jen LaBruzza and Laura Magdalen — Great job on the Hospitality Suite. I know it’s a large undertaking and you did it perfectly. And Laura, you can sling a cocktail better than any pregnant woman I have ever seen.

James Sharpe and Nate LaBruzza — Spectacular job setting up and tearing down the booth. I am always impressed by what you do to get us “Show Ready.” Thanks for everything!

Last but not least, no show can happen without the help of your key vendor partners! Brumark for flooring, Cort for furniture, Optima Graphics for all the graphics, Glenna Martin for the graphic design, Tradeshow Supply for the I&D, and EliteXpo for shipping. Thanks once again making Classic shine.  We choose our partners very carefully and are proud of our relationships.

If you were in attendance at the show, tell me what you thought. What was your favorite booth? What trends did you see that stuck out? What didn’t you like?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback on EXHIBITOR2013

Have a great weekend.

Kevin Carty



EXHIBITOR Show 2013 — It’s Showtime!: Word on the Street — March 11th thru March 15th

March 17th, 2013 COMMENTS
EXHIBITOR Show 2013 - It's Showtime!: Word on the Street — March 11th thru March 15th

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

It’s Showtime!

EXHIBITOR opens on Sunday March 17 with sessions and meetings. Then the show floor opens Monday morning at 11:30 am.

We have been onsite since Friday morning setting up the Classic Exhibits Inc. booth (#1637). James Sharpe and Nate LaBruzza from Classic Rentals have done a stellar job with the amazing help of the Trade Show Supply I&D team to get the booth “show ready.” Great work men!

Classic Exhibits Inc. will be showing not just the large build that is our main structure, but also four 10 x 10 exhibits, multiple iPad kiosk solutions (see the New Product Showcase and VOTE), and internal lighting components for lighting SEG fabric graphics on ClassicMODUL profiles.

It really is a beautiful presentation. Follow the Classic Exhibits Facebook Page for photos all week.

While in Vegas for the week, please attend these great events/meetings.

1. The Optima Graphics Hospitality function Monday at 3:30 pm after the show breaks. It’s a great chance to support our great graphic partner as well as catch-up with old friends.

2. The EDPA Portable/Modular/Hybrid Summit on Tuesday at 3:45 pm in the back right area of the show hall near Concessions. Learn what’s happening in our growing segment of the industry.

3. The Classic Exhibits/Eco-Systems Sustainable Distributor Hospitality Suite on Tuesday from 3:30 – 7 pm in one of the beautiful Vista Suites at Mandalay Bay. Please stop by the booth Monday or Tuesday to get the suite number. We’re looking forward to seeing you  there for some good old fashioned networking amongst friends in the Classic Exhibits Network.

Like I said — It’s Showtime! Travel safe and see you all soon.

Be well.

Kevin Carty



Trade Show Ethics 201: Word on the Street — March 4th thru March 8th

March 10th, 2013 3 COMMENTS
Tradeshow Ethics: Word on the Street -- March 4th thru March 8th

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

As I write this, we are 10 days from the opening of our industry’s premiere event — EXHIBITOR2013. It’s no secret, if you know me on any level, that I LOVE the EXHIBITOR Show. The folks at EXHIBITOR Media Group do an unparalleled job of organizing and promoting it every year. And I, as well as everyone at Classic Exhibits, take tremendous pride in participating.

But every year I get frustrated by two problems that inevitably happen at EXHIBITOR, as well as other trade shows. While I won’t say these problems are epidemic, I will say they are very real problems that should be addressed. I am not blaming EXHIBITOR Media Group. To the contrary, it is incumbent on exhibitors to curb these problems.

Suitcasing and Outboarding

If you’re unfamiliar with these terms, let me explain. Suitcasing is the “selling from the trade show aisles without having an exhibit.” Outboarding is “taking meeting space at a hotel near the convention venue and using it for hospitality/demos/meetings/competing events.”

Now before you say, “People in glass houses Kevin” . . . Yes, Classic does sponsor a hospitality suite every year from 3:30-6:30 pm on Tuesday. As do other companies. But there is the big difference. Classic and other companies hold our events during a time when there are no “EXHIBITOR sponsored” events, like the Opening Reception. The idea being, we are respectful not to interfere with the events that the EXHIBITOR Media Group has invested money, time, and effort into on behalf of the exhibitors and attendees. Plus, we are a paid exhibitor. That’s an important distinction.

But others, sadly, do not show the same regard for the show’s management — year after year. Instead, they blatantly ride the coattails of EXHIBITOR2013 to draw people to their own private event. And they do so under the guise of creating a Partner Event that somehow is supposedly beneficial to exhibitors, attendees, and show management. I would respectfully disagree. Unless you’re in Iowa, if it smells like “you know what,” it’s rarely fertilizer.

Who’s to Blame?

Some of the blame falls on show management. They could nip this in the bud by creating an event or gala event on Tuesday evening that recognizes the “Best of the Best” over the past year. Or that integrates the Sizzle Awards. The now defunct TS2 did something similar, and it was always a highlight of the show.

But some of the blame rests on our shoulders, the exhibitors and attendees. If we did not sponsor and attend such events, they wouldn’t succeed. And, they wouldn’t benefit from all the hard work and money the EXHIBITOR Media Group has invested in drawing the attendees and exhibitors to Las Vegas. Yet, when I see the list of sponsors, I am honestly dismayed.

Suitcasing on the other hand can be curbed by exhibitors. Nothing frustrates me more than to be working our booth and have some one pitch their product or service, someone who is not an exhibitor. The condensed EXHIBITOR hours make every minute valuable and when someone distracts me from speaking with distributors, partners, or potential customers, I resent it. They are effectively stealing my time, time that we paid dearly for.

By comparison, Classic invests somewhere in the ballpark of $125k to participate in EXHIBITOR. That includes booth space, the display, I&D, airfare/hotel/meals for staff, marketing, entertaining, etc. Yet, this same individual who is pitching me their product may have invested as little as $100 to get a badge to attend the show for one day.

Might I suggest that, as a group, we make a concerted effort this year to send a message to these Suitcasing individuals.  First, do not allow them into your exhibit space. Second, get their name and company and report them to show management.  Third, do not buy their products or services. If they really want to or have a product or service worth selling, then they should take a space in the show.

Ethically Challenged

Having said all that, I recently came upon an article in LinkedIn that really floored me. This article was published by Inc. Magazine. You too will be surprised by the encouragement of the author to participate in the unethical practices of Suitcasing and Outboarding. And should any of you be subscribers to Inc., think twice about giving them your advertising or subscription dollars.

These links take you to the article and a response to the article. Be sure to read the response and the comments which are more entertaining than the original article:


I look forward to seeing you in Vegas, and hope EXHIBITOR2013 is a great success for all!

Be well.

Kevin Carty


Be Our Sweetie. Win an iPad Kiosk from Classic Exhibits.

March 7th, 2013 COMMENTS

Win a MOD-1314

Win a MOD-1314 iPad Kiosk for Easter

The Easter Bunny told us to create an iPad Kiosk contest. So we did . . . Frankly, no one at Classic had the guts to tell the Easter Bunny, “No.”

We’ll make this easy. Go to the Classic Exhibits Facebook page, do the obligatory “Like” (which tells us you’re sweet on us). Then on the Easter Bunny Contest post, share what is your favorite Easter candy and why. You are not allowed to choose Peeps. Peeps are gross. Any other candy is fine.

On Monday, April 1, the day after Easter, we’ll choose a winner from all the entries. No, this is not an April Fool’s Joke. The calendar just worked out that way.

All the entries will go into a hollow chocolate bunny, and we’ll select a winner for the MOD-1314. If your entry is particularly creative, you “may” get an extra entry. Don’t like those rules? Complain to the Easter Bunny.

For the Classic Facebook Page, CLICK HERE.  And be our sweetie!

–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