Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for March, 2017

10 Big Trade Shows in North America | April 2017

March 30th, 2017 COMMENTS

10 Big Trade Shows in April 2017
Spring has officially sprung, and we’re hopping into April with another BIG trade show month. This month features coffee to craft brewers, and furniture design to architects and broadcasters. There’s something for everyone.

PROMAT 2017, Apr. 3 – 6, 2017, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL

ProMat is where manufacturing and supply chain professionals go to find their X – that unknown quantity that will take their supply chain to the next level of success. ProMat 2017 is the one show where attendees will see in person, in action the best solutions and innovations the industry has to offer and meet the leading providers face-to-face. As a bonus, a ProMat badge will get attendees into Automate 2017 where they’ll find automation solutions they need to make operations work more profitably.

SAE International World Congress Experience, Apr. 4 – 6, 2017, Cobo Center, Detroit, MI

At WCX17: SAE World Congress Experience practical meets potential. The premier talent in the automotive and mobility industry converge to address current challenges, discover new avenues of exploration, and explore the promise of the future of transportation engineering in an interactive experience. More than 200 exhibitors – including OEMs, suppliers, and technology companies – will be exhibiting at WCX.

Coverings, Apr. 4 – 7, 2017, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL

Coverings is the largest tile and stone show in North America with nine miles of the latest trends and exhibitors from over 40 countries. The show floor at Orange County Convention Center will feature 1,100 global exhibitors showcasing the latest tile & stone innovations. From Live installation demonstrations and tours of the show floor, to networking events and segment-focused Appreciation days, Coverings will be packed with things to see and experience.

Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America, Apr. 10 – 13, 2017, Washington, D.C.

The 34th Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America will return to the nation’s capital. It is presentment annually by the Brewers Association and is the craft brewing industry’s leading event, and the only one that serves both brewpubs and packaging breweries.

BrewExpo America is the main trade show for American craft brewers providing the opportunity to connect customers, leaders, and more than 775 vendors in one location in the national and international brewing arena. The trade show sets the stage for exhibitors and buyers to develop profitable business relationships and helps brewing and brewery restaurant professionals encounter the latest and best products and services that industry vendors have to offer.

Global Specialty Coffee Expo, Apr. 20 – 23, 2017, Seattle, WA

The Global Specialty Coffee Expo has everything for everyone in the coffee world. Roasters and Retailers can attend and have the opportunity to exhibit their products on the show floor, network with the industry’s decision makers, and further their professional careers by participating in the SCA’s numerous lectures, labs or certificate programs. Food and Beverage professionals can attend to view the industry’s most innovative and cutting edge coffee products, learn about integrating specialty coffee into their existing business plan, and easily make purchasing decisions face to face on the show floor.

Coffee Enthusiasts of all professional backgrounds can attend to participate or watch the coffee competitions, mingle with like-minded attendees at receptions and lunches, or learn more about the art of cupping, brewing or roasting in the educational programs.

Artexpo New York, Apr. 21 – 24, 2017, Pier 94, New York, New York

Each year thousands of art industry insiders flock to the Artexpo New York in search of the art and artists that will shape trends in galleries worldwide. Hosting more than 25,000 avid art enthusiasts annually, Artexpo New York is the largest international gathering of qualified trade buyers—including gallery owners and managers, art dealers, interior designers, architects, corporate art buyers and art & framing retailers.

High Point Spring Market, Apr. 22 – 26, 2017, High Point, NC

The High Point Spring Market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, bringing more than 75,000 people to High Point, North Carolina, every six months. Serious retail home furnishings buyers, interior designers, architects, and others in the home furnishings industry can be found in High Point twice a year because if you can’t find it in High Point…it probably doesn’t exist. Currently there are 180 buildings with a combined 11.5 million square feet of show space. There are 75,000 attendees each market, more than 2000 exhibitors, with 100+ countries represented.

FDIC International, April 24 – 29, 2017, Indiana Convention Center & Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN

There is no other event like Fire Department Instructor’s Conference (FDIC) International.  The FDIC “Experience” is hard to convey in mere statistics, percentages and words. You’ll hear many of our past attendees talk about the “hallway conversations”, “life-long friendships”, and the power of this event to recharge the passion. In 2016 there were 780 exhibitors interacting with 32,439 attendees. 1,403 were international attendees from 59 countries. Also in 2016, TSNN named FDIC International was named #39 of the top 250 Fastest Growing Trade Shows in 2016.

NAB Show, Apr. 22 – 27, 2017, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV

The result of these once distinct fields of media, entertainment and technology are converging and becoming something far greater than the sum of their parts. That’s the M.E.T. Effect – and it’s redesigning the very nature of how we live, work and play.

This cultural phenomenon is fueled by internet connectivity and integrated systems, opening up limitless opportunities. Behavior and business have merged to redefine workflows and revenue streams. Corporate alliances are forming and development teams are working vigorously to fill consumer demand for more digital content and immersive experiences. NAB Show is where global visionaries convene and where this phenomenon comes to life.

The entire digital ecosystem attends the Show, including Broadcast, Digital Media, Film, Entertainment, Telecom, Post-Production, Academia, Mobil, Houses of Worship, Advertising, Military, Government, Retail, Security, Sports, Live Events, Online Video, IT, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and so many more.

AIA Conference on Architecture, Apr. 27 – 29, 2017, Orlando, FL

Every year, the AIA Conference on Architecture attracts thousands of architects and design professionals—a collection of talented and visionary individuals who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for all people in all communities. Nearly 800 leading building product manufacturers are bringing their best architectural products and materials to the expo so attendees can experience what’s new, next, and cutting edge.


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


2017 Portable Modular Awards at EXHIBITORLIVE

March 22nd, 2017 COMMENTS

EXHIBITOR Portable Modular Awards 2017

Occasionally, we get to “Toot Our Own Horn.” At EXHIBITORLIVE, Classic Exhibits had six finalists for the EXHIBITOR Portable Modular Awards. Our most ever. We won two:  Best Inline and Best Use of Graphics. Here is background on each winner from an article that will appear in EXHIBITOR Magazine.

Best Inline

Exhibitor: Spirion LLC (formerly Identity Finder LLC)
Design/Fabrication: Classic Exhibits Inc.
Design: ProExhibits
System: Classic Exhibits Inc.
Event: RSA Security Conference, 2016
Budget: $20,000 – $39,000
Size: 10-by-20 feet

Bathed in Spirion blue and accented by a pop of orange across the top, the SuperNova lightbox featured nothing more than text proclaiming the product name and three benefit statements. By selecting a mere 13 words with maximum impact, Spirion communicated its key messages in a glance — and managed to wow visitors and judges alike.

In the words of one juror, “Spirion’s space is proof positive that one powerful graphic can deliver an effective message. Elaboration is unnecessary — and often functions as a powerful foe capable of fouling even the most skillful design.”

Best Use of Graphics

Exhibitor: Classic Exhibits Inc.
Design/Fabrication: Classic Exhibits Inc.
System: Classic Exhibits Inc.
Budget: $80,000 – $149,000
Size: 20-by-30 feet

Throughout the space, graphics comprised mostly grey-and-white line drawings of trees and apples, with delicate curls and curves used to craft the intended images. Accompanying text such as “It didn’t just fall from a tree. Introducing Gravitee One-Step Wall System” suggested the new product’s evolution.

The apple imagery comprised both line-drawn, neutral-colored fruit as well as full-color versions, whose shades of red, yellow, and green popped against the otherwise neutral palette. In addition, a roughly 10-foot-tall tower at the front of the space featured a tree illustration along with apple images that sporadically lit up, courtesy of imbedded LEDs.

Our thanks to Katina Rigall, Classic’s Creative Director, for all her work submitting the PMA applications. A very special thanks to Glenna Martin, our Graphic Design Manager, for her award winning design, which we loved so much that we used an updated variation on our 2017 booth. And finally, a huge pat on the back to the project managers and production associates at Classic Exhibits who managed and built these exhibits. There’s a reason why Shared Success is our #1 core value.

Finally, our sincere appreciation to Classic Distributors for your support and business. It means so much to us!

–Mel White


A Fun Video of EXHIBITOR 2017 with Classic Exhibits

March 17th, 2017 2 COMMENTS

If you were at EXHIBITORLIVE, you already know. It was amazing! So many upscale designs and clever promotions this year. We’ll share details in a future blog (once we fully recover), but we thought you might enjoy this fun video edited by Glenna Martin, our Graphic Design Manager.

See anyone you recognize?

Thanks to the Classic Team at the show and back in Portland for making our EXHIBITOR experience special. A big hug to all the Distributors who visited our booth. A thumbs-up to Eco-Systems Sustainable for their partnership. And finally, a special nod to our Designers for our two Portable Modular Award winners:  Best Inline (10×20) and Best Graphic Design. Katina, Kim, Kevin S. and Glenna — You Rock!

–Mel White


Kevin Schuhl | My First Six Months at Classic Exhibits

March 10th, 2017 2 COMMENTS


It’s a Whole New World

There are many things that I have done for more than six months. Many tangentially related to the design of trade show spaces and structures. For example, building scenery, painting sets, designing and producing environmental graphics. What I have not done (until now) is work for any organization for anywhere close to six months. As Ariel said in the Disney version of The Little Mermaid, it’s a whole new world.

My wife and I decided to move to the West Coast from the Upper Midwest. A return journey for me. A new one for her. No plan, no place, just a realization that it was the right time. Since I’ve never worked in a similar situation to Classic Exhibits, my perspective has more to do with large life changes vs. a job career.

My background and skill-set led me to Classic via a placement agency. After a few meetings with Mel, Kevin, and Katina and a mock-up later, I was hired as a Designer in the Design Department.

Has it been all sunshine and roses? Not quite. Working with a large group of people is different than working for oneself. Things that you take for granted working solo require more attention in a group.

Like communication, where everyone needs to be on the same page. I am still trying to find the appropriate level of email redundancy. I spent a week reminding myself that when I write “Good afternoon, Projects” that the Projects email is a recipient (thank you to those distributors who took the time to respond with “Are you sure this went to Projects? I don’t see them listed”). And it’s not just what I communicate. It’s how I communicate to ensure it reflects the values of the company. I have to remind myself that it’s coming from Kevin Schuhl who works at Classic Exhibits.

Every single day I work on various design projects. Then move on to the next one. And after six months, there are occasionally surprises when I walk through the shop. As a Designer, my work gets tossed over the fence to Customer Service for a quote. As a result, I don’t always know when a design becomes an order. Then, lo and behold, there is a backlit L-shaped counter being photographed that not only seemed like a long shot to be produced, but ultimately was produced with the same placeholder graphics used in the original design.

For example, Gravitee kits have food-based graphics, a decision by Marketing to differentiate it from other lines. So it should not have been surprising that one of my first designs was purchased by a food-based company.

Not every design is successful. I’m learning. There was that unique approach to a charging station kiosk that looked great on the screen but didn’t quite function as expected on carpet. Or an elegant curved wall designed for multiple booth configurations that didn’t make the cut as a 10×10. Thankfully, we get the opportunity to address and correct these flaws.

In the end, I am here to draw pictures. It’s something I’ve done my entire life. I had no idea one could study experiential design in college; yet, I now have the opportunity to apprentice under a designer who did just that. When you think about the people and processes involved from taking a rendering to a structure that will travel to shows, events, or even in lobbies, you start to understand the benefits of working in concert with others toward one goal.

That sums it up for me. I am generally a curious person, always looking for something new, always looking to learn. I have arrived at a place where I can use inherent, lifelong skills and experience while still exploring new arenas, learning how to navigate from people who have been there, and hopefully contribute something in the process.

My wife also reminds me that it doesn’t hurt that Classic happens to be a place where people seem to genuinely get along and are able to take the work seriously, without taking themselves too seriously. The culture matters. Inside the main entrance, there is a large backlit graphic that describes the company’s Shared Success philosophy. If you’ve ever read it on Classic’s website, I can assure you that those values, from my experience after six months, are reflected in the company.

Let me know if I can assist your efforts. I look forward to working with you on your next project.

Kevin Schuhl

Your Women in Exhibitions Meeting at EXHIBITORLIVE

March 9th, 2017 COMMENTS

Women in Exposition Meeting at EXHIBITOR

Monday, March 13 | Mandalay Bay Palm F, Level 3

Calling ALL women in the exhibition industry! The Women In Exhibitions (WIE) meeting will be held on Monday, March 13 at 5 pm at Mandalay Bay – Palm F, Level 3. Please join us as we network and build key relationships with other women in our industry.

This year, we will discuss our progress over the past 15 years, and what YOU want from WIE as we move forward. Bring your ideas! There is no shortage of challenges for us and the industry.

If interested, please do two things:

  1. Join the WIE Group on LinkedIn.
  2. Let others know who may not receive this email. No need to RSVP.

If you would like to chat with me before the meeting, I’ll be in booth #1645. I am excited about EXHIBITORLIVE this year. Our booth will feature Gravitee, SuperNova lightboxes, and charging stations of all shapes and sizes. And the graphics are jaw dropping thanks to our Graphic Design Manager, Glenna Martin (who will be at the WIE meeting as well).

I look forward to seeing you in Vegas and hearing your suggestions for the 2017 Women in Exhibitions meeting.


Katina Rigall Zipay