Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for June, 2014

Who Doesn’t Like Free Money?: Word on the Street — June 23rd thru June 26th

June 28th, 2014 COMMENTS

FoundationLogoEDPA Foundation Scholarship Fund

So, I know your kids are out of school for the summer, and the last thing you want to think about is next year’s school year. But let me challenge you to take a few minutes to do just that.

Aside from being on the Board of Directors for the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association (EDPA), I also sit on the EDPA Foundation Scholarship Committee. It’s a  committee that I have been apart of for five years and feel very strongly about.

The EDPA Foundation Scholarship Fund was created in 2004 to award scholarships for families of industry members to help pursue a college/university education. The EDPAF Scholarship Program applications are now being accepted for the 2014-2015 school year.


Scholarship Application

Any family member of an individual working in the exhibition industry, who has graduated or will graduate high school and has accepted attendance at an accredited 2 or 4 year college, university, or technical school, is eligible to apply. Please follow this link and complete all application requirements by the deadline of JULY 25th.

Click here for

To qualify, each student must have a GPA of at least 2.8, submit an essay, provide an intended course of study at a university, a financial statement determining financial need, and share financial responsibility while in college. Winners are determined on a weighted point system. Awardees must maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, or equivalent, and provide a certified college transcript at the end of the school year.

For more details, visit our EDPA Foundation website ( or contact the EDPA Foundation Scholarship Administrator Melissa Nemitz at or (203) 899-8491. All applications must be postmarked by Friday, July 25 to be considered.

This is free money! And college is expense, so please make sure to take a few minutes and apply if you or one of your family members qualifies.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Be well.



Recorded Version of the Exhibit Design Search Webinar

June 27th, 2014 COMMENTS

Capture_EDSTwice a year, we conduct an Exhibit Design Search webinar. The title always changes, but it’s always a “Tips, Tricks and Techniques” session on how to use EDS more effectively. Typically, I don’t record it because, well, I forget. I’d love to give you a better excuse, but I can’t. This time I remembered.

The session is 45 minutes, about normal for a webinar. If you struggle with how to navigate EDS like a rock star, then I would suggest watching it. You may already be the Mick Jagger of EDS. Who am I to judge. Me? I’ve dominated the EDS rock and roll charts for eight straight years, and I still uncover lotsa new stuff each time.

The webinar is book-ended with a slide show. The first half is a quick overview of EDS.  The second half (which everyone seems to love) summarizes the differences between all the Classic Exhibits Hybrid lines. If you have ever struggled to explain what makes a “Sacagawea” different from a “Magellan,” then this is the perfect cheat sheet of all cheat sheets.

The webinar is first (in YouTube). The slide show is below that (in Slideshare). Share your thoughts, good or bad, in the comments.

There are no cats, no one gets hurt, and there are no celebrities. Sorry.

Full Webinar (on YouTube)

Slideshow (on Slideshare)


–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



Does Your Mirror Lie?: Word on the Street — June 16th thru June 20th

June 20th, 2014 2 COMMENTS

We ALL Do It

Classic Exhibits_August_8Every morning we look in the mirror. If we are honest, we ask ourselves, “Does what I see in the mirror match what my colleagues, family, and friends see in me?”

Before you think I am going on some sort of Freudian rant, I am not. But, as business professionals, we face this question every day. Take Nordstrom for example. Nordstrom has always viewed itself as a leader in Customer Service. And as I write this, I would say that the public mostly agrees. But there was a point when the Nordstrom Family stepped away from the business, and, after a small period of time, they realized that their self-perception no longer matched their public perception. Once they owned it, they got back on track to being a company known for outstanding Customer Service.

In business, this can be extraordinarily challenging. We are here to grow our businesses — both top line sales and bottom line revenue. In order to do so, we need to market and evangelize our businesses. And admittedly, sometimes we find ourselves relying on smoke and mirrors. It’s human nature to want to be all things to all people. But it’s a slippery slope.

The Naked Truth

A few years ago, we made a very conscious decision at Classic Exhibits to do the unthinkable, the most uncomfortable thing in the world in many ways. Namely, pull back the veil in a very aggressive fashion. Become transparent and expose who we really are. Now I don’t pretend this was earth shattering, but I will say from the perspective of someone who has been at Classic longer than anyone else (20 years in July), it was a bit nerve racking in the beginning but cathartic and gratifying in the end.

Classic Exhibits Main Entrance

Classic Exhibits Main Entrance

Five years ago, Mel and I were the company Road Warriors, traveling 3-4 months of the year (not including industry shows) to spread the Classic word. And it was effective. And to this day, many of you can attest that Reid and Jen are equally, if not more successful. But for me and Mel, we took a step back from traveling and decided to encourage more customers to visit us in Portland. The approach included Shared Knowledge University twice a year as well as scheduling distributor visits every couple of weeks for individual training, client previews, or tours.

Again, nothing earth shattering on the surface, but by doing so, we knew all perceptions (good and bad) would be thrown out of the door the second someone walked into our facility. And a whole new perception would be created. What would that be? Would it line up with who we had been telling people we were in the past? What would people think when they saw the entrance really is just a small red door on the SW corner of the building that opens into the Production?

Well I am writing this because of one comment that I have heard from attendees at every SKU, ranging from customers who have been distributors for 17 years to only a few months. What do they say? “You are exactly who you said you were.” I even had one person say, “You were not kidding all these years that you are a manufacturer … and that’s it. I was sure that I was going to walk into the showroom you always claimed you didn’t have.” My answer, “Well, we do have a showroom. It’s the biggest showroom in the industry. It’s our 75,000 sq. ft. manufacturing space.” 🙂

By far, the highest compliment we receive is about the “Classic Family.”  For years, I have bragged about “The Team.” Bragged about how close we all are, how long we have all been together, and how much we care about the business and meeting our customer’s needs. But nothing compares to hearing customers and vendors comment on the “Shared Atmosphere” at Classic Exhibits. It’s who we are.

As I approach my official 20 year anniversary at Classic, few reflections are quite as sweet as our decision to “Bare It All.” Naked is good.


I hope you all have a great weekend with your families.

Be well.


2014 Red Diamond Congress | July 28-31

June 17th, 2014 COMMENTS

Building Bridges in the Exhibit & Event Industry

The 2014 Red Diamond Congress (RDC), the third annual meeting of the Exhibit & Event Marketers Association, takes place July 28 – 31, 2014 at the Oak Brook Hills Resort in Oak Brook, Illinois. The RDC brings together all of the major players from the exhibit marketing industry to engage in thought leadership, best practice exchanges, and education aligned with business and marketing metrics and strategy.


Why RDC?

The E2MA is a community of exhibit and event marketers driven to benchmark the business value of face-to face marketing events and explore new tools, new technologies, and new techniques that can optimize face-to-face marketing. By facilitating discussions among all industry stakeholders about those issues, the E2MA’s Red Diamond Congress is dedicated to develop actionable ideas and solutions that can provide for industry growth and success.

While there are many other outstanding exhibit and event industry conferences, almost all are organized to address the needs of a single stakeholder group, and are often absent the input of key players in the exhibit and event industry. The E2MA Red Diamond Congress (RDC), by design, is a true congress of industry stakeholders that invites input from all points of view and values the collective experience of all industry professionals, no matter what segment you represent or what role you play. For in the final analysis, while it takes many different stakeholders and interest groups to produce a successful event – there is no “they,” there is only “us.”

Register NOW.

An Outstanding Program Mix

RDC_banquet_awardsThe RDC program will advance top level discussions and facilitate deep examinations into the issues that challenge us while cultivating conversations that can build better bridges of collaboration and partnership between:

  • Marketing and Sales
  • Exhibitors and Show Organizers
  • Show Organizers and Facilities
  • Contractors and Unions
  • Official Contractors and EACs

The Exhibit & Event Marketer Association invites its members, and all industry stakeholders – exhibitors, show organizers, facility management, exhibit service companies, general contractors and union personnel – to take part in this landmark event, our 3rd Annual Conference, at Oak Brook Hills in Oak Brook, IL. This is your opportunity to be part of an event where the most vexing challenges are addressed and actionable solutions are devised. The E2MA Red Diamond Congress will include:

  1. Keynote presentations from industry and marketing thought leaders
  2. “E2 Talks”, thought provoking briefs from industry innovators
  3. Case Studies, a thorough examination of new event models
  4. CME Educational programs, obtain credit toward your certification
  5. Workgroup Roundtables, show professionals collaborating on challenging issues
  6. New Product demonstrations
  7. Face-to-Face Connections, one-to-one appointments and Focus Group sessions
  8. Team Challenges, fun-filled friendly competitions between industry stakeholders
  9. And, much more!

Register NOW for the E2MA Red Diamond Congress. I’ll see you there.

–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


New SEGUE Sunrise Video (Without All that Yakety Yak): Word on the Street — June 9th thru June 13th

June 14th, 2014 COMMENTS
Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

A Sunrise in 31 Seconds

Last week, you saw a video where Mel White discussed the seven features and benefits of the Sacagawea Hybrid System. This week, Katina Rigall, our designer extraordinaire, takes center stage. Katina shows you how to assemble the SEGUE Sunrise, and unlike Mel, she doesn’t need six minutes and all that yakety yak.  In 31 seconds she’ll show you why the Sunrise has become our most popular 10 ft. hybrid display under $4000.

  • No Tools Assembly
  • Silicone Edge Graphic(s)
  • Engineered Aluminum Extrusion
  • Lightweight, Durable Design
  • Portable Case with Wheels

A generous thanks to Glenna Martin, our Graphic Design Manager, for her video editing and production.

Happy Father’s Day (if you are  reading this on Saturday).

Be well.