Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for January, 2021

The Future 100 | 2021 by Wunderman Thompson

January 26th, 2021 COMMENTS

Each January, I eagerly await the Wunderman Thompson Future 100 Trends Report. The free downloadable PDF is a comprehensive summary across 10 categories like Culture, Food and Drink, Retail, Health, and Finance. This year, it also includes forecasts from 21 industry leaders. I encourage you to download it.

According to Emma Chiu, Global Director at Wunderman Thompson, “The need for brands to plan ahead, understand consumer behaviors that
will stick, and employ creative innovation is more important than ever. ‘The Future 100: 2021’ previews 100 bitesize trends and changes to track this year.”

Wunderman Thompson

Temporary COVID-19 Vaccination Rooms | 4 Purchase or Rental

January 26th, 2021 COMMENTS

We know you are sick and tired (😉) of COVID-related solutions. Like sanitizer stands, safety dividers, and the temporary medical rooms shown below. We are sick and tired of them too… but to be honest, these PPE solutions have sustained us and many of your colleagues for months. No one’s getting rich but having them available in your bag of tricks sometimes comes in handy.

We hope your community doesn’t need these Temporary COVID Vaccination Rooms, but if they do, we’ve got you covered whether it’s for purchase or rental. Plus, we’re happy to customize them for specific situations.

Temporary COVID Vaccination Rooms
Temporary COVID Vaccination Rooms
Temporary COVID Vaccination Rooms

Rental Exhibits Q&A: 12 Questions about Renting a Trade Show Display

January 15th, 2021 COMMENTS
Rental Questions and Answers from Classic Rental Solutions

Rental exhibits have become as popular as leasing a car. It’s no longer just an economic consideration. It’s also about design flexibility and convenience, such as no storage. As we ramp back up after the Coronavirus pandemic, Classic Exhibits is predicting that rentals will lead the way.

If you’re considering a rental exhibit for an upcoming show, be sure to ask your vendor the right questions.

Do you know what’s included and what you’ll need to plan for? A lot of companies offer rental exhibits, but few offer true rental programs that cover all of the bases for you. No one wants to be hit with surprises, especially with things that could affect your exhibiting experience, or bust your budget.

Here are some questions and answers you’ll want before moving forward with a successful rental exhibit project.

Rental Exhibits Questions and Answers

Question: Will I own the graphics if I rent an exhibit design?

Answer: Yes, the graphics are purchased. This is an important distinction, especially when comparing a rental vs. a purchase. When you rent, you only rent the hardware, not the graphics.  However, if you re-rent the same exhibit and reuse your graphics, you can subtract the cost of the graphics, making the second rental less expensive.

Question: Does it ever make sense to combine some rental components with an existing exhibit that we already own?

Answer: Many exhibitors blend rental components with their existing exhibit. For example, your exhibit may include the main structure, like a tower and a conference room. Renting the workstations, kiosks, or other accessories will allow you to mix and match components depending on your show requirements. In addition, it allows you to “test-drive” components to see if there’s a long-term need.

Question: Do rentals offer more design flexibility and less hassle?

Answer: Yes, with rentals you can literally change your exhibit design for every show. Plus, you will never have storage costs or staging issues to deal with.

Question: Are multiple show discounts available for rental exhibits?

Answer: Yes, many rental exhibit suppliers offer discounts for multiple show commitments depending on the show dates and locations. It is definitely worth asking about.

Question: How will I be assured of a high-quality exhibit and that the graphics will fit correctly?

Answer: Always ask for examples and references. Professional rental suppliers will provide you with detailed staging photos and/or a live video preview before the exhibit ships to show. For larger island designs, consider scheduling an in-person preview.

Question: Is I & D (installation and dismantle) typically included with rentals?

Answer: Some vendors offer full turnkey services. Either way, remember that there’s a cost to I&D whether it’s a line item or buried in the cost of the rental. Always cover this and any other services you want with your rental supplier.

Question: If I choose to use my own labor company are clear setup instructions typically provided.

Answer: Yes, most exhibit companies provide setup instructions. However, some are better than others. Make sure you see examples from past projects to make sure they are detailed and complete. Also make sure that they provide detailed diagrams and staging photos, and that someone from production is available 24/7 to answer a call with questions during the setup. Sometimes a quick call can save hours of labor on the show floor.

Question: How will I know that everything is packed up and included in the shipment?

Answer: It’s best to use a vendor that provides a complete inventory list with all of the components checked off by the production team as they pack the crates before shipping. Ideally, they will provide packing photos that show each layer of components in every crate(s). You need to be confident that every part and component is packed and ready to go when the labor team starts the setup.

Question: When I rent an exhibit, am I responsible for damages that may occur during the set-up or take-down? If so, what is typically considered wear and tear versus outright damage?

Answer: Rental vendors usually understand that their exhibit components are going to suffer some normal scuffs and scratches. With that said, when the scuffs and scratches turn into gouges and holes, there’s often a repair or replacement fee to cover costs. But if the exhibit vendor provides the installation and dismantle service, any damage fees would more than likely be paid by the labor company.

Question: For multiple show rentals, do rental companies offer storage services if I choose to reuse the same graphics?

Answer: Yes, a lot of companies do offer storage services. Many will store the graphics at no charge if there’s a commitment to re-rent the same exhibit design for a future show or shows. Always determine what you would like to do with the graphics before shipping the exhibit to the show. If you decide to take the graphics with you after the show, you may need to request special packaging. This won’t be necessary if you make arrangements to ship them back with the exhibit.

Question: Am I responsible for coordinating the round-trip shipping of a rental?

Answer: Your exhibit vendor usually offers shipping services, but most are flexible about shipping arrangements.

You will definitely want to discuss whether it makes more sense to go direct to the show or to the advanced warehouse. There are multiple scenarios to consider when making this decision. It often depends on how many days there are between the advanced warehouse deadline and the show date. The rental period (or time the vendor allows the exhibit properties to be out) also comes into play. Review all of this and make the appropriate decisions based on your specific show.

Question: How much customization is typically offered with rental exhibits?

Answer: It is virtually impossible to walk a show floor today and identify which exhibits are rental versus purchased. Most rental designs have some customization, and many are custom designed for specific companies and specific shows.

Quite often, a few custom elements added to the design can give the entire design a custom look even if it’s as simple as some colorful laminated workstations, shelves, or a reception counter. Custom laminated soffits and backlighting are also nice touches that are inexpensive and well worth the investment. As a bonus, if you re-rent the same exhibit, your second rental will most likely be less expensive, since your first rental covered the cost of those custom components.

For more information about rentals, contact Classic Exhibits ( or browse through our extensive rental galleries of Islands, Inlines, and Accessories. We’ll design to your specifications!

State of the Company 2021 by Kevin Carty

January 15th, 2021 COMMENTS

Click on the Letter to Download the PDF Version

State of the Company Letter by Kevin Carty Page 1
State of the Company Letter by Kevin Carty Page 2
State of the Company Letter by Kevin Carty Page 3

Expressing Your Gratitude: Finding the Positive in 2020

January 7th, 2021 COMMENTS

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” —William Arthur Ward

Back in October, we launched monthly Classic Conversations Groups as a way for Classic Distributors, Suppliers, and Partners to discuss common concerns. Each group includes 15 to 20 participants, who meet via Zoom or Teams for an hour each month. Kevin, Jen, Tom, Harold, Jim, and Mel serve as moderators for the groups.

In December, our topic was “gratitude.” Specifically, “What are you grateful for considering all the upheaval and uncertainty in our industry?” The responses, quite honestly, are both humbling and inspiring.  

We thought you would enjoy reading a small sample. Some quotes have been condensed but the intent and meaning wasn’t changed. For the sake of privacy, we didn’t include any names. Just the quote. We hope you find them uplifting (and entertaining).

Please share what you’re grateful for in the comments. We would love to hear from you.

37 Gratitude Quotes

“I’ve appreciated the slowing down. As husband-and-wife business partners, we’ve had time to walk the dogs in the morning since March… to be introspective… and to enjoy more family time with our daughter who’s senior in college and our son who’s a senior in high school.”

“I’m happy to be in our industry. I’ve been in it for 30 years. I’m grateful for the government support we’ve received, particularly for how fast they moved with PPP in the beginning and the extended unemployment benefits for myself and my employees.”

“…The time I was able to spend teaching my granddaughters French via Zoom meetings.”

“I’m glad Classic organized these meetings. I think they are really useful spiritually and for my business.”

“I’ve been able to drop my daughter off and pick her up from school each day.”

“I wish I could build a time machine and go back to 1994 and tell myself to quit whining because it isn’t going to get better than this.”

“I started with this company a year ago. I am grateful for the new owner who has been nothing but gracious through the entire process. I am so happy and excited to be working here and look forward to growing with this team.”

“I am grateful for being healthy, that we’re still working, and that we have a place to go to every day. Over the past few months, I’ve had time to reassess my business and what’s important to our clients and where our focus should be as we move forward.”

“Thankful for Classic and everything they’ve been doing the past 9 months to keep us informed and engaged.”

More Quotes

“Thank God for STORAGE!”

“Grateful for the small victories and the time I’ve been able to spend with my family.”

“Grateful for the time to nurture family and friend relationships. It’s allowed me time to learn more about what’s happening in people’s lives.”

“I’m grateful for my wife. While I deal with graphics and exhibits everyday, she works in a long-term care facility. Daily she is dealing with life and death. Every day she puts those people ahead of herself and her health and safety. It’s been very humbling for me to see.”

“Thankful to still be working and to still come in each day and turn the key.”

“Grateful for the time to accomplish a lot of the tasks we normally could not. Feels good to complete stuff that you have procrastinated on forever.”

“Grateful for the health of my family. Grateful to have conversations like this so that we are not alone during this time… to know that we are not the only ones going through these challenges.”

“I feel lucky to work with a group of people who are really industrious and enthusiastic.”

“I appreciate the compassion and enthusiasm that I have seen in the industry. I have a lot of friends in this industry… many who are on this call. I will never ever take them for granted again… because the support I have gotten from them has been tremendous.”

“I’m thankful that my family and I are healthy.”

Even More Quotes!

“While it’s been extremely difficult from a business standpoint, I have appreciated the time to reset and think through the most important things that I should focus on going forward.”

“I’ve been able to take daily walks with family members and get more exercise.”

“I am grateful I bought my company on February 14th, and I don’t mean that sarcastically but with honesty because I still have a future. I feel very, very grateful that I can rebuild this company in a way that’s going to be better suited for the next few years.”

“I’m reading more than ever and truly enjoying it.”

“I’ve been able to complete a lot of home projects that I never had time for before.”

“I’m very grateful for these calls. It’s so nice to be able to talk and share with others in our industry who are experiencing the same challenges.”

“Grateful for the time spent in introspection.”

“Grateful for the time and the slower pace to get healthier and more whole.”

“Grateful that I’m going through this at my age. I’ve still got 30 years to go.”

“Grateful for the life lesson, even though I’d much rather it had been a 4-month lesson.”

A Few More…

“Grateful for the change in perspective of how to work to live rather than live to work.”

“Grateful that our clients want to get back to live events just as much as we do.”

“Grateful that as a team we’ve been able to innovate to kept us afloat.”

“Grateful for the opportunity to get my creative juices flowing: writing and playing guitar.”

“Grateful for being able to see doctors and take the extra time to get healthy.”

“Grateful for the industry disruption to provide meaningful change to how we do things moving forward.”

“As a collective, our conversations over the past 8 – 10 months have been on a deeper and more meaningful level than at any other time in my career.”

“Grateful for this remarkable time to pause. Seeing fall in New England because I’m not traveling… it’s actually REALLY pretty.”


Classic Exhibits Extends our Best Wishes to Everyone in the Exhibition and Event Industry in 2021. Fingers Crossed! Stay Safe!

If you are interested in participating in a Classic Conversations group, please contact All are welcome.