Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for March, 2022

Design Friday | The Classic April 2022 Newsletter

March 31st, 2022 COMMENTS
April 2022 Design Friday Newsletter

The Wall Street Journal reports investors showed little interest in the Flabby Daddy IPO, which tanked during its launch yesterday.

Kevin Carty, who will be returning to Classic Exhibits effective today, said, “I think investors were put-off by the 27 times I said ‘moobs’ during the press conference.”

Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye!

Flabby Daddy Founder + CEO

Dear Distributor Family, 

It has been my great pleasure to work with you all these years. But like all good things, my tenure at Classic is ending. Why? Simple really. COVID stress put 25 lbs. on my body, and in a recent effort to shed the unwanted weight, I started doing 6-minute abs. Sadly, it failed miserably, so I thought, “Why not embrace this Dad Bod of mine?”

I’ve created my own clothing line called “Flabby Daddy.” Flabby Daddy Clothing comes in both denim and khaki colors, and is designed to accentuate the Dad Bod — moobs and all. Plus, Flabby Daddy announces the return of corduroy shorts and the mesh half-shirt (with your favorite college logo). The mesh half shirt and corduroy shorts (order two sizes too small please) were created to show off the full Dunlop waistline acquired through years of pre- and post-meal snacking. 

BTW — I have forgotten you all already…so don’t ask for money. Peace Out!

–Kevin Carty


“Angry protests over the changing of Design Monday to Design Friday has forced Classic to reconsider its decision. “We don’t want anyone to get hurt,” said Mel White. “Effective immediately, we’re reverting back to Design Monday and urge protesters to release the exhibit designers they’re holding hostage.”

The Real Reason Will Smith Slapped Chris Rock

Several months ago, Classic Exhibits hired Forrester-Yates, a national research firm to analyze our email marketing. Their comprehensive research included trade show industry trends, social media results, and conversations with Classic Exhibits Distributors. 

According to Forrester-Yates, 87% of Americans have a negative opinion of Monday vs. a 73% positive attitude about Friday. In addition, they determined that 81% of exhibit industry employees are hungover, high, or severely depressed on Monday mornings. Sadly, Fridays are not much better. 

Based on their recommendations, Design Monday will become Design Friday. You will receive it at noon on Thursday to maximize opens… and generally confuse you. Design Friday will include clickbait titles like:

  • I Can’t Believe This Happened to Me… OMG!
  • 24 Reasons Why Chicken Fingers are Healthy
  • Kim Kardashian Said WHAT about Kanye! 
  • 3 Colognes Designed to Make You Smarter
  • The Dark History of the Magic 8 Ball Revealed

Should you have any concerns, contact Forrester-Yates. We’ll be at a bar drinking.


An explosion and ensuing fire at a convention center in the Midwest, reminiscent of the Hindenburg airship disaster in 1937, has prompted Classic Rental Solutions to put the brakes on plans to switch to inflatable displays. Bystanders who saw the large island exhibit burn were heard to say, “Oh the Humanity!” Fortunately, no one was injured.

We’re Blowing Up the Rental Display Industry

We all love balloons. The bigger the better. Well, Classic Rental Solutions has embraced this concept by switching to inflatable exhibits. 

Inflatable Trade Show Rental Displays
More Air. Less Labor.

For nearly four years, we’ve been developing the perfect instant trade show booth technology. It hasn’t been easy and the technical challenges have been enormous, but we’ve persevered through pops, leaks, and an occasional explosion. What prompted this switch? As you may recall, about 10 years ago, a competitor introduced inflatable displays via a live video feed. We were gob smacked. Our first thought was, “We’re toast. Who wouldn’t want an inflatable display? How can anyone compete with this?” 

We didn’t have the resources to develop our version at the time… but now through the generosity of a billionaire investor with an interest in all things electric, we’re ready to “blow things up in the exhibition industry.” Every tabletop, inline, and island from CRS will now be an inflatable display with no compromises. Need shelves? No problem. Backlighting? Sure. Monitor mounts? Of course. Locking storage? We’ve got you covered!

We’re not quite ready to share renderings. Be patient… they’ll hit your inbox soon. Just keep checking (and checking).

BTW – We’d love to hear your suggestions for a product name. We considered “Wind… something” but that seemed silly. Send your suggestions to Jim Shelman.


Sadly, Display U Las Vegas has closed. The FBI reports that Jen LaBruzza has disappeared along with the tuition money. There’s speculation that she fled to the Isle of Man, which lacks an extradition treaty with the United States. In a note left behind, Jen said she’ll be in touch with friends and family once the money runs out.

The FIRST Practical Trade Show Degree: Display U Las Vegas!

Display University Las Vegas
Earn Your TS-BS Degree

Courses will be taught by Professor Jen LaBruzza. Required courses include:

Classic Exhibits is launching a one-of-a-kind degree program — “You Know You Work in Trade Shows When…”

  • How to flip the middle finger to the Trade Show Man by “carrying- in” your entire booth.
  • How to furnish your home with abandoned IKEA furniture and TVs.
  • Creams vs. Powders? What’s the best option for chafing and rashes on the show floor in Orlando. 
  • When to beg vs. bribe to get your freight delivered
  • How to construct a replacement exhibit with nothing more than PVC pipe, carpet tape, Velcro and zip ties. 

This TS-BS degree program will cost a cool $1,000,000 because drayage is now $10,000/CWT and lord knows someone’s gotta pay for it. Might as well be the exhibitors… I mean students. Please reach out to Professor Jen for details on this ONCE in a LIFETIME educational opportunity. 


In a last-minute shift, A-List actors are currently under consideration for the television series The Floor. They include Sam Elliot, Brad Pitt, Queen Latifah, and every actor from Reno 911.

Harold Mintz and Dave Brown are both shocked and insulted as they had been promised their big break. Stay tuned as this re-casting unfolds.

Is Hollywood Stardom for YOU?

The Floor Movie
A Star is Born

Ten years ago, I (Harold) was working in Los Angeles with Tom, one of Hollywood’s most successful movie directors. Tom, who had directed multiple blockbuster comedies, asked me if I had any good ideas for a television series. I told him that the trade show business would make a great backdrop since most people have attended a convention. Tom agreed and asked me to write the first few episodes because of my knowledge of the industry. 

The next day, I contacted industry icon Dave Brown and asked if he wanted to work on it with me. He said, “Sure!” and even gave the project its working title — The Floor.

Universal Studios green lit the project, and we penned the first three episodes. The responses were though the roof, but in Hollywood, nothing is real until someone yells, “Action!” Unfortunately, Universal chose other “more timely” projects and The Floor was shelved. 

Until last week! The studio contacted Tom at Shady Acres Entertainment and requested 8 episodes ASAP. 

Are you ready for stardom? Got any acting experience? You won’t need a union card since this is only the first season. If interested, please contact me at your earliest convenience with your reel (if you’ve got one) and contact info. Please send to

See You at the 2023 Emmys!


ECO-1121 Backlit Exhibit | April’s Lightning Deal!

Hands Down! At $14,499, the ECO-1121 is an amazing deal! We’ve cut the price dramatically so don’t pass on this offer. Your client may want to take two, perhaps even three.

ECO-1121 Lightning Deal
ECO-1121 Sustainable Exhibit

Supplies are limited (52 in stock). Custom crates will be marked with your logo (per your request).

FREE Shipping, Flooring, and OLEG Monitor to select Distributors. Click to see if your name is on the list.

No shoes. No shirt. No service. NO JOKERS!

Trade Show Design Support: Your Design Staff Will Thank You!

March 28th, 2022 COMMENTS

Trade show design

Trade Show Exhibit Design isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a specialized craft learned over years of training and projects. Some designers transition into 3D exhibit design after starting as graphic designers. Others begin in industrial design. Still others simply love the trade show industry and are naturally creative. They become successful exhibit designers by working with other industry professionals. 

For others, studying exhibition design starts by attending a college or university. Both  Bemidji State University in Minnesota and the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC offer either undergraduate or graduate degrees in Experience and Exhibition Design.   

Trade Show Design Requests

Trade Show Design requests come to us in a multitude of ways. Sometimes they’re simple napkin sketches. Other times they’re 3D CAD drawings complete with measurements, material specifications, and building recommendations. All are welcome… but the more details and directions a client or distributor provides, the more likely we’re able to hit a bulls-eye on the first pass. 

However, hitting the bulls-eye can be elusive when clients are unfamiliar with trade shows, don’t have well-defined goals, and are unsure of or unwilling to share their budget. The exhibit designer might as well be blindfolded, holding a plastic bat, and trying to crack open a pinata. When a designer has to guess, it almost always means multiple iterations. Iterations equals more time and more times adds to the cost. 

exhibition booth design

15 Important Exhibit Design Questions

Every designer wants happy clients who enjoy the process and are excited about the final product. That requires gathering information before any design starts. And while every project is unique and every designer different, there are questions common to any exhibit design project. The 15 Questions listed below may not be fit to every situation, but they’re an excellent tool to start the process. 

Design Questions 1-5

1.  Does your company have branding guidelines/logo or graphic files/website address?

2.  What size is the exhibit? Do you plan to reconfigure the exhibit for other shows? If so, what sizes?  

3.  What is the budget?  Still undecided about an exact budget? The next best option is a workable budget range. No exhibitor wants to be surprised with a beautiful booth outside their budget or underwhelmed by a booth designed for a lower budget.

4.  Purchase or rent? Or a combination of both? This assists the designer in choosing materials and designing to a specific budget.

5.  What physical properties does the exhibit need to have? For example, workstations, counters, slatwall, semi-private or private conference area, monitors, storage, etc? 

Design Questions 6-10

6.  What type of display has the client used in the past? What did they like or not like about the previous booth?

7.  Are there any materials or construction methods you prefer? Many experienced exhibitors have a strong attraction or aversion to specific materials.

8.  Are there any unusual dimensional restrictions? Some trade shows or events have unusual restrictions for the height of the booth or setbacks from the aisle. 

9.  Do you show product(s)? What are the dimensions and specifications? Will they require display cases, counters, shelves, hooks, etc.?

10.  Do you want a  portable, modular, or custom trade show booth? Or some combination. This will guide the use of materials, and casing  options.

Design Questions 11-15

11.  Who will assemble the display: show labor or your own team? 

12.  Do you have any images of design elements you like? Even if these “inspiration images” are not trade show related, they are very helpful. For example, architectural elements, finishes, colors, natural elements, retail environments, etc.

13.  Design due date? Typically, designs are completed within a week. However, every project and every client has their own timeline. 

14.  Show opening date? Creating the design and then building it depends on the time frame. Designers can make material selections which will go a long way toward meeting a three-week vs. a three-month window.

15.  Are there any descriptive words you use to describe your company? What do you want visitors to your booth to “feel” about your company? From “opulent” to “bad-ass,” we have heard some interesting descriptors, and this gives the designer the insight to craft a personalized, experiential space.

vendor booth display ideas

Are You Looking for Vendor Booth Display Ideas? We Can Help!

For any Exhibit Design Department, the busy season can be chaotic and stressful because good design takes time. But if you are a Classic Distributor, we have helpful solutions that will save you time and close your sales faster.

Exhibit Design Search (EDS). With over 1500 designs, Exhibit Design Search is the most comprehensive display site in the world. There are 32 galleries ranging from Islands to Inlines and Counters to Charging Tables. It contains purchase and rental solutions along with green/sustainable designs, hanging signs, tablet stands, hand sanitizer solutions, and so much more. 

EDS is a great place to start gathering ideas about features, capabilities and prices. Since every design can be customized, it offers the added benefit of mixing and matching designs.. Do you like the shelving from one design, the workstation from another, and the backlighting from a third? No problem. We’re happy to assist you with creating the perfect exhibit to meet the client’s trade show objectives. 

Photo Galleries: There are four photo galleries in Exhibit Design Search

These galleries are an outstanding place to see photos of actual design builds. The Past Five Days gallery is linked to kits in Exhibit Design Search making it easy to compare the rendering to the build.  

Exhibition Booth Design Support

At Classic Exhibits, we support Distributor Partners with design requests in several ways. 

  • Use us as your design staff if you don’t have in-house designers.
  • Use us as your overflow design staff when your internal designers are beyond their capacity.
  • Have us on phone calls with your clients. We are happy to be introduced as YOUR designer. Hearing what the client wants first-hand ensures the best design quickly.
  • All those nice-looking designs in Exhibit Design Search are available to you as 3D files. At no charge.

So the next time you need to create a 20×20/10×20/10×10 design in one day, don’t stress. We can easily show you ten different Classic designs with that capability. We’ve done the legwork, and these kits are ready to sell.

trade show graphics

Support with High-Quality Trade Show Graphics

Most Classic Distributor Partners have in-house or contract graphic designers. Here’s how we assist them with printing, file prep, and quality control.  

1. When it comes to choosing the right printers, we’re pretty picky. And we have multiple options. For most tension fabric graphics (SEG or Velcro), we process them in-house using our dye-sublimation printers. We do, however, use other suppliers with a long history of quality and reliability. For direct print graphics, we print both in-house and (mostly) at local printers in the Greater Portland area. 

2. Before your graphics go to the printer, they are pre-flighted by Classic Exhibits. This minimizes any mistakes and allows us to identify issues quickly and return them to you for corrections. 

3. Nothing leaves our facility without being staged and photographed. That means we see and inspect every graphic and ensure that the graphic fits perfectly. Whether it’s a purchase or a rental, EVERYTHING is STAGED. We’re happy (in fact eager) to share the photos with you once they’re available. Keep in mind however, these are staging photos in our shop and not show photos, which means the lighting isn’t ideal and the backgrounds may be messy or cluttered with other projects. 

Classic Exhibits and Trade Show Design

Classic Exhibits has been designing and building solutions since 1993. We’ve been honored as an Exhibitor Magazine Find-It Top 40 Exhibit Producers and an Event Marketer Fab 50 Exhibit Builders multiple times. Along with numerous Portable Modular Awards. 

With over 200 Distributor Partners throughout North America, there’s a Classic representative close by. Contact us today whether you need a durable hand sanitizer stand built to last, a rental display guaranteed to attract trade show attendees, or a custom 30 x 40 exhibit with all the bells and whistles. We’re not just different. We’re better.

Your Guide to Exhibit Furniture Rentals

March 24th, 2022 COMMENTS

Rental Furniture at Trade Shows

It’s 2022 and trade shows and exhibitions in North America have returned much stronger than many predicted. As a result, exhibitors, display builders, labor providers, and show organizers are busy, sometimes crazy busy. One segment that’s seen a surge in growth is exhibit rentals, both exhibits and furniture. Exhibit Furniture Rentals in particular have transitioned from a “maybe” to a “must have” for both inline and island booths. 

Trade Show Furniture Rentals

Why Should You Care About Exhibit Furniture Rentals?

Gone are the days of battered and basic furniture rental designs. Today’s designs are attractive, contemporary, and comfortable, and they are available in a variety of styles and colors. Rental furniture providers are committed to delivering quality products that are fashionable and pristine. Plus, their selection has improved, along with deeper inventories at most major convention and trade show venues. 

Exhibit designers and exhibitors have also gotten more comfortable with adding furniture to booths. The right furniture can make a huge difference in the overall design, transforming a “nice and functional” island into an upscale destination for show attendees. Just 5-10 years ago, exhibit designers were reluctant to add conference tables, upholstered sofas, even ottomans and accessories to a booth. However, there’s been a push to offer attendees a place to relax, chat, and conduct business within the booth and designers have responded. 

And it’s not just furniture. Trade show rental options include charging hubs, pillows, lamps, rugs, sanitizer stands, and even safety dividers.  

Trade Show Furniture Rental Trends 

The next time you attend a trade show or event, you’ll undoubtedly notice three trends:  large fabric graphics, lightboxes, and furniture. These are trends not exclusive to island displays. Inline displays, both 10 ft. and 20 ft., are embracing these trends with rental furniture being the most surprising. Not long ago, a café or bar table with chairs in an inline space was uncommon. Not anymore. Inline exhibitors have embraced seating in their booth with many including comfortable chairs and sofas to create a casual meeting area. 

Assuming rental furniture makes sense for your exhibit design, then what are the next steps? When possible, work with your exhibit designer. They have access to the designs from multiple furniture rental companies. They are also familiar with your booth design, graphics, and trade show marketing strategy. They can also assist you with ordering and scheduling the furniture to arrive in your space. 

Trade Show Furniture Rental Sources

Some exhibitors may consider ordering their rental furniture from the General Show Contractor via the show book or the GSC’s website. And that’s a good option. However, GSC’s typically have a more limited selection than would be available from your exhibit house. Then there’s the cost. There’s a common misconception that ordering from the GSC will be less expensive. It’s not. In fact, it’s often more expensive. Furniture Rentals are a convenient and cozy profit center for them. Expert Tip:  Start with your exhibit house and compare prices and service

Of course, you can always buy furniture and ship it with your crates or cases. Can you save money by buying the furniture? Perhaps if you spread the cost over 3-4 shows. However, you’ll need to include the cost of shipping, materials handling, and labor (if it needs to be assembled) and damage. For most exhibitors, it’s not worth the hassle or the meager savings. 

Exhibit Furniture Rentals

Popular & Affordable Rental Show Furniture 

Easy is good. Easy and affordable is even better. Classic Exhibits has two comprehensive galleries of trade show rental furniture (Rental Furniture #1 and #2). The galleries are organized by the categories shown below and include prices. No guesswork. No navigating through a complicated and confusing website. 

Review your options in each gallery. Then click to add them to a “My Gallery.” The My Gallery has a tool where you can email your selections to your exhibit house representative or send them to colleagues to review. 

Rental Furniture Gallery #1

  • Accent Chairs: Comfortable, casual chairs perfect when paired together and with and end or seating table. See the Malibu or Lena designs as examples.    
  • Soft Seating: Larger upholstered chairs, sofas, and sectionals with matching pieces. See the Emerald Velvet line as an example. Some include charging options. 

trade show furniture

  • Seating Tables: Cocktail, end, and side tables like the Geo Cocktail Table with a wood top and black metal base.  
  • Ottomans: Colors galore in these fashionable round, rectangle, and curved ottomans.
  • Accessories: A nice selection of safety dividers, rugs. pillows, lamps, stanchions, and lecterns.

Rental Furniture Gallery #2

  • Cafe Tables: round cafe tables come in both fixed (typically 30” high) and adjustable heights in a variety of colors and finishes. See model CECA-022 with countertop colors in gunmetal, green, orange, yellow, and black. 
  • Bar Tables: Similar to Cafe Tables but with a  height of 40-42”.  CEBT-036 is one of 18 designs 
  • Group Seating: Mostly plastic cafe table seating in a range of colors and styles. The Malba (20″ L x 20″ D x 32″ H) is a green or gray stacking chair.

event furnishings

  • Conference Tables: Primarily oversized rectangle tables with round options as well. Some come with power ports like the CECT-033. 
  • Conference Chairs: Mostly height-adjustable rolling executive or mid-back chairs with arms like the Cupertino Mid-Back
  • Office Furniture: Desks, shelving, bookcases, and whiteboards. 
  • Bars: Curved bars with or without accent lights. See the CEBR-002 Midtown Bar
  • Barstools: Stools for Bar Tables. 13 designs including the CEBS-019 in red, black, and white vinyl tops

Important Considerations About Event Furnishings

Design obviously matters but so does function and budget. Your event furnishings have a role to play in your overall strategy. Given the cost of booth space, you want every sq. foot to contribute to your goals and ROI

Conference Room or Meeting Space. Most meetings in a booth don’t happen by accident. They are scheduled before or during the show. There’s no reason for a conference room unless you already have a plan for a full schedule of meetings with clients. 

Casual Seating Areas. Guests in your booth will love these… so will the booth staff. If your product/service doesn’t require lengthy interactions with attendees and you anticipate a busy show, a casual seating area can be a distraction and create congestion. No one can resist a soft comfy chair, including your team. If they appear too relaxed, attendees will walk by and not engage your staff. 

Say Something.. If you are unhappy with your rental furniture choice or the furniture arrived dirty or damaged, contact the rental furniture provider immediately. They want you to rent again at future shows and will generally do whatever they can to make you happy. Sometimes that means replacing a damaged piece the second day of the show or even removing furniture you thought would be necessary (but actually added clutter to the booth).

Cleanliness. While you don’t own the furniture or furnishings, you are still being judged by it. It arrived clean but it won’t stay that way. Wipe down the countertops each day and brush off the crumbs. Attendees don’t want to sit down at your bistro table only to discover wet coffee stains and sticky raspberry filling.  

event furnishings

Exhibit Furniture Rentals with Classic Exhibits

Classic Exhibits has been designing and building solutions since 1993. We’ve been honored as an Exhibitor Magazine Find-It Top 40 Exhibit Producers and an Event Marketer Fab 50 Exhibit Builders multiple times. Along with numerous Portable Modular Awards. 

With over 200 Distributor Partners throughout North America, there’s a Classic representative close by. Contact us today whether you need a durable hand sanitizer stand built to last, a rental display guaranteed to attract trade show attendees, or a custom 30 x 40 exhibit with all the bells and whistles. We’re not just different. We’re better.


A Walk Around Natural Products Expo West

March 15th, 2022 4 COMMENTS
Natural Products West Expo

I joined Classic Exhibits in 2019 after a 10-year hiatus from the trade show industry. One of my first assignments was to walk Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim. I was tasked with reporting on how exhibit design had changed over the previous decade. As it turned out, I discovered that the basic rules of trade show design had remained constant — bright colors, bold lighting, and high contrast never go out of style.

Last week I walked the floor of Natural Products Expo West once again, and I couldn’t be more pleased to report that the place was jam-packed. Lots of exhibitors, lots of attendees, and lots of tasty little snacks to sample as I strolled the floor.

Attention Grabbing Exhibits

The first booth that grabbed my attention was a 10’ backlit booth (Rambler). I couldn’t help but stop and take it in.

Rambler Water at Natural Products Expo West

I LOVED how the backlit orange simply ignited the backwall. And the stacks of product along the sides of the booth showed their clean, crisp packaging while eliminating the need for significant storage cabinets – a serious challenge in a 10’ booth.

Bright colors kept grabbing my eyes demanding that I look their way.

Then I started noticing displays that put graphics against a black background. Anything on black jumps right out at you.

The same can almost be said for graphics with a white background. It’s hard not to look.

Lighting demands attention as well. Check out this booth. It’s hard to tell from the picture but the three lightbulbs shown as part of the “hanging lamps” are actually lightbulbs that have been inserted into the cut fabric. Bright lights, breaking the plane of the fabric. Nicely done.

Red Plate Foods at Natural Products Expo West

This one as well.

Vevan at Natural Products Expo West


I told myself that I wasn’t going to capture images showing examples of bad graphics at Natural Products Expo West. We all know when we see graphic designs that don’t work. No need to poke hard-working designers.

But wrinkles… wrinkles are not caused by designers. Wrinkles are easily fixable if I&D teams are prepared for them. And there is no excuse NOT to be prepared for them. I’ve done my best to crop out any identifying logos. I saw dozens and dozens and dozens of examples. PLEASE tell your I&D crews to be prepared. BOTOX YOUR BOOTH!

Wrinkled graphics at Natural Products Expo West

And lastly… This might just be the best booth I saw all day – MYNTZ

Myntz Breathmints

Harold Mintz (MYNTZ), Regional Sales Manager

Classic Exhibits has been designing and building solutions since 1993. We’ve been honored as an Exhibitor Magazine Find-It Top 40 Exhibit Producers and an Event Marketer Fab 50 Exhibit Builders multiple times. Along with numerous Portable Modular Awards. 

With over 200 Distributor Partners throughout North America, there’s a Classic representative closer by. Contact us today whether you need a durable hand sanitizer stand built to last, a rental display guaranteed to attract trade show attendees, or a custom 30 x 40 exhibit with all the bells and whistles. We’re not just different. We’re better. 

This is What Recovery Looks Like

March 11th, 2022 COMMENTS
What Recovery Looks Like for Classic Exhibits

Happy 2022 Classic Partners

I borrowed the “What Recovery Looks Like” title above from my friend Chris Griffin at CrewXP. As you know, we’re in the midst of a crazy, chaotic start to 2022. Busy is good and the Classic Family appreciates your ongoing support.

Normally, I would have written our annual “State of The Company Letter,” but this year I’m heading in a different direction. Basically… where we are and how we got here during the recovery.

The post-COVID restart began around mid-June and has been non-stop ever since. Has it been neat and tidy? Nope. There have been challenges along the way similar to those you’ve no doubt experienced in your business and personal life. Let’s address four of them.


Supply Chain Issues
Incoming Shipment of Aluminum Extrusion

Supply chain issues still exist and will continue to exist. But there are bright spots. Back in June and July, we rolled the dice and ordered MULTIPLE LARGE quantities of aluminum extrusion because the lead times had gone from 12 weeks to 48-52 weeks. That gamble has paid off.

In the past four weeks, we have received the equivalent of a three-month supply of extrusion from one of our vendors with another double order landing in the next two weeks. Those two orders, along with some smaller extrusion deliveries, mean we’ll have a healthy inventory for the next 6-9 months. Those profiles included Gravitee, SuperNova, Symphony, Eco-systems Sustainable, and the building blocks for our hybrid kits and accessories. In addition, we’ve seen extruders revise their 48-52 week projections down to 18-20 weeks.


The struggle is real. We selectively increased our prices last summer to reflect the increases in metal, wood, shipping, and plastics. Will there be future increases? Likely yes… but not across the board. For example, we just received another 7-15% price hike from our laminate vendors. We are evaluating how to blend those into our overall wood fabrication pricing.
No one likes surprises. We promise to be open and upfront about pricing. Let’s all cross our fingers (and hope) there will be decreases as the supply chain stabilizes.


Orders and Lead Times
Classic’s Job Board

KUDOS to YOU. Over the past year in our Classic Conversations Groups and in our email blasts, we have spoken about the need to prepare clients for the restart. The current trade show market requires planning weeks and even months ahead. Everything is taking longer — graphics, exhibit fabrication, shipping, materials, etc.

Thankfully, you have answered that call. I have shared with many of you that in my 28 years of doing this, I have never had meaningful sales visibility beyond 3-4 weeks. That’s always been our reality. Currently, we have visibility into early June because you are working with your clients to plan and prepare. Thank you!

At Classic, our PM’s and Designers are having that conversation on the front end. They’re letting you know, so you can tell your clients when we need the PO and graphics to meet parts, printing, and manufacturing timelines. In this way, we can hold production timeslots and better manage overall capacity.

Have we had to decline jobs? YES… but again thanks to you these have been mainly projects that would have been hard to do in the best of times.


Electrical Cabinet at Classic Exhibits
Electrical Cabinet

Classic is no different from anyone else when it comes to labor challenges, and it’s not for a lack of trying. Simply put, in baseball terms, we were batting about .130 in our hiring vs interviewing from June – November. That percentage has gotten MUCH, MUCH better in recent months. But it is still very challenging. Fortunately, we were able to retain our core team throughout the pandemic. Same leads in Production and Rentals. Same leaders in Customer Service and Design. As a result, our core institutional knowledge is still there and flourishing, and we expect to be back to pre-pandemic staffing soon.


ASK – Please continue to reinforce with your clients the need to plan. We’re in the business of designing and building successful trade show exhibits. That’s taking more time. What used to take 10-15 days is now taking 15-25 days for all the reasons mentioned.

Thank you from Classic Exhibits

THANK YOU for your continued partnership. The past two years have been HARD, but our partnerships have gotten stronger because of your support. Those conversations and unique sales opportunities kept us doing “something” during the pandemic. We are most thankful for your emotional support when everything was gloomy and the future murky.

We were already partners, but now we’re family. Like it or not. 😉

Hope to see you at either EMS or EXHIBITORLIVE. #whatrecoverylookslike

Custom Inline Lightbox Exhibit
Custom Inline Lightbox Exhibit

Classic Exhibits has been designing and building solutions since 1993. We’ve been honored as an Exhibitor Magazine Find-It Top 40 Exhibit Producers and an Event Marketer Fab 50 Exhibit Builders multiple times. Along with numerous Portable Modular Awards. 

With over 200 Distributor Partners throughout North America, there’s a Classic representative closer by. Contact us today whether you need a durable hand sanitizer stand built to last, a rental display guaranteed to attract trade show attendees, or a custom 30 x 40 exhibit with all the bells and whistles. We’re not just different. We’re better.