Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for May, 2024

ECA Legislative Action Day

May 31st, 2024 COMMENTS

Gina Porcaro Reports:

ECA Legislative Action Day on May 30 did not disappoint! I must commend the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) team for their flawless execution of this day on The Hill. We couldn’t have done this without you!

The Michigan team met with staffers for Representative John Moolenaar, Representative Debbie Dingell, and Senator Gary Peters. There were two specific asks . . .

Improve Visa Processing times to enable international business travel to the US specifically for previously vetted and low-risk nonimmigrant applicants. To be clear, this is not an immigration issue we’re talking about. It’s about bringing buyers into the US for tradeshows and events for commerce. Everyone we met with was shocked by the Visa wait times. As an example, if you are trying to get a work Visa in Mexico City the wait time is a staggering 849 DAYS! Crazy, right?

The second ask was related to Future Workforce Development – while higher education is important, not everyone is on the path to a 4-year degree and not every position requires this either. Also, for every three people entering our industry five are exiting, which is kind of scary. We asked for bi-partisan support of The Pell Grant Eligibility Expansion & Program Expense Eligibility Expansion. Basically if both of these pieces of legislation are passed, it would enable us to use the Pell Grant money and your 529 savings for job training, certifications, trade schools, and licenses.

At the end of the day, we felt that our requests were heard and considered. And that they would work to implement them. It was pretty amazing!

Katina Rigall Zipay Reports:

I was part of the Oregon Delegation which met with the staff of Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Jeff Merkley, and Representative Lori Chavez-DeRemer.

Jim Wurm from Exhibitor-Appointed Contractor Association (EACA) was my fellow Oregon Delegate. Senator Wyden’s office had the PDX airport carpet so of course Jim and I had to do the foot selfie. 😉

The asks for all 50 states were the same as what Gina described, and all my meetings were productive as well. The staff was engaging and interested in what we had to say. They were mostly unfamiliar with the trade show and event industry when we started talking, but very sharp and quick to pick up on the significance of our economic contributions. Both at a business level and in providing good job opportunities for individuals.

For more information about the LAC Meeting Outline and Talking Points, contact Gina Porcaro or Katina Rigall Zipay. For details about the bills and some quick industry stats, please see the two graphics below.

ECA Michigan Overview
ECA Oregon Overview

Tech Conferences & Trade Shows: An Exhibitor’s Guide

May 31st, 2024 COMMENTS
tech conferences

The impact of tech conferences and trade shows extends far beyond the attendees.  Businesses can leverage these events for networking, innovation showcases, and staying ahead in the competitive tech landscape. Trade show exhibits play a crucial role in these events, providing a platform for businesses to display their products and services.

Technology touches every industry, from medicine to insurance and from oil exploration to home appliances. While this article focuses on tech conferences, it’s important to remember that technology impacts everyone who participates in a conference or trade show. Not just IT or software or consumer electronics. 

The Rise of Tech Conferences and Trade Shows

Tech conferences and trade shows have always attracted crowds. And for good reason. They allow tech professionals to stay informed, network, and be part of an ever-changing landscape. The emergence of AI, for example, has accelerated the need to stay informed about the latest trends. Here are 4 reasons tech conferences continue to be popular:

  1. Evolving Tech: Technology is constantly evolving, and conferences offer a chance for professionals to stay current on the latest trends, tools, and innovations. Attending talks and workshops allows them to learn from industry experts and thought leaders. 
  2. Networking:  Tech conferences bring together people with similar interests and backgrounds. This creates a valuable space for professionals to connect, network, and build relationships. These connections can lead to job opportunities, collaborations, and learning experiences.
  3. Innovation:  Conferences are frequently a launchpad for startups and new ideas.  Technology companies use them to showcase their products or services to a wider audience, potentially attracting customers and investors. Additionally, conferences feature talks and discussions on emerging technologies, which can spark inspiration for future innovations.
  4. Community:  Tech conferences aren’t all just lectures. Many offer interactive workshops, hackathons, and social events. These events build a sense of community within the tech industry.

In addition to technology companies, agencies have consistently had a presence at tech trade shows. For example, at Nvidia’s PPU Technology Conference in San Jose, CA, several agencies attended and spoke about how the growth of AI could change the advertising industry. 

In an article from Digiday, Stepan Pretorius, CTO at WPP, said “the excitement with generative AI is an opportunity to partner more closely with tech providers to build proprietary tools that set each holding company apart from the competition…. With trends of AI, agencies have realized that they need to partner with foundational technology providers, whether that’s infrastructure or software or foundational model providers.

Emerging Trends from Tech Conferences 2023

By 2023, most Technology Conferences had fully recovered from the pandemic with both exhibitors and attendees returning in record numbers. It also meant that exhibitors were eager to show their latest and greatest products and hype them. The first group focuses on emerging trends not only at tech conferences but also at trade shows in general. The second group highlights trends specifically from tech conferences in 2023. 

General Tech Trends:

  • AI Integration: There’s a big push to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into all aspects of technology. This includes AI-powered features in video conferencing (backgrounds, noise cancellation, transcription), virtual assistants for event management, and even personalization of event experiences through mobile apps.
  • Immersive Technologies: Virtual Reality (VR) is being explored for creating more immersive meeting and conference experiences. Imagine feeling like you’re in the same room as colleagues across the globe! Augmented Reality (AR) is also on the rise, potentially adding a new dimension to product demonstrations or presentations.
  • Security and Privacy: As technology becomes more integrated into our lives, conferences are placing a strong emphasis on security and privacy features. This includes facial recognition for streamlined event security and data privacy measures to ensure user information is protected.
  • Hybrid and Virtual Events: The pandemic has normalized virtual and hybrid events. Conferences are looking at ways to improve the technology behind these formats, such as enhanced live streaming and more interactive features for remote attendees.
  • Sustainability: There’s a growing awareness of the environmental impact of technology. Conferences are exploring ways to make their events more sustainable, such as using eco-friendly materials and reducing paper waste.

These are just a few of the trends emerging from tech conferences. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovation in the years to come.

Tech Conference 2023 Trends:

  • The Rise of the “Phygital” Experience: We’ll see a continued focus on blending physical and digital experiences. This could involve using gamification elements in conferences to boost engagement, incorporating interactive AR experiences in booths, or offering virtual reality tours of new product launches.
  • Developer Relations: Conferences are increasingly catering to developers by offering workshops, hackathons, and dedicated networking events. This helps companies attract and retain top tech talent.
  • Democratization of Knowledge Sharing: There’s a move towards more open-source knowledge sharing at conferences. This could involve making presentations and talks readily available online or hosting workshops where attendees actively participate in problem-solving.
  • The Human Touch: While technology is taking center stage, there’s also a growing recognition of the importance of human connection at conferences. Expect to see more focus on fostering meaningful interactions, creating opportunities for collaboration, and promoting mental health and well-being for attendees.
  • Ethical Discussions Regarding Tech: Conferences are likely to delve deeper into the ethical implications of new technologies such as AI bias, data privacy concerns, and the impact of automation on jobs.
  • Bridging the Skills Gap: There’s a growing need for skilled tech workers. Conferences may offer workshops or training sessions aimed at helping attendees develop in-demand skills or learn about career paths in the tech industry.

These trends reflect not only the evolution of technology itself but also the changing needs and priorities of attendees and companies in the tech space.

Planning Ahead: Top 12 Tech Conferences 2024

These are just a few of the many great technology conferences that take place in North America and the World each year. Depending on your interests, there’s sure to be a conference out there that’s perfect for you.

#1. International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – Las Vegas, Nevada (January): This is the world’s biggest consumer electronics and technology trade show. It showcases the latest innovations in consumer electronics, including TVs, smartphones, appliances, and more.

#2. Mobile World Congress (MWC) – Barcelona, Spain (February): This event focuses on the mobile phone industry, with major phone manufacturers like Samsung and Huawei showcasing their latest devices. It also covers other mobile technologies like 5G and mobile apps.

#3. South by Southwest (SXSW) – Austin, Texas (March): This massive event covers a wide range of topics, including technology, film, music, and education. It’s a great place to see the latest tech trends and hear from some of the biggest names in the industry.

#4. Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo – Various locations (throughout the year): This event is geared towards IT professionals and features keynotes, workshops, and exhibits on a variety of IT topics.

#5. RSA Conference – San Francisco, California (May): This is the world’s leading cybersecurity conference, where experts gather to discuss the latest threats and solutions.

#6. Computex Taipei – Taipei, Taiwan (May): While not in North America, this event focuses on computer hardware and components, and major North American manufacturers like Asus and Acer showcase their latest products here.

#7. E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) – Los Angeles, California (June): This event is all about video games, with major game publishers like Sony and Microsoft announcing their latest games and consoles.

#8. National Association of Broadcasters Show (NAB) – Las Vegas, Nevada (April): This event focuses on the broadcast industry, with exhibits on everything from television production to radio broadcasting.

#9. Black Hat USA – Las Vegas, Nevada (August): This is one of the world’s premier cybersecurity conferences, focusing on offensive security techniques.

#10. AI & Big Data Expo North America – Various locations (throughout the year): This event focuses on artificial intelligence and big data, with presentations and exhibits from leading companies in these fields.

#11. IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) – Berlin, Germany (September): This event focuses on consumer electronics and home appliances, with major manufacturers like LG and Siemens showcasing their latest products.

#12. HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) Conference & Exhibition – Orlando, Florida (April): This event focuses on healthcare IT and features exhibits from major healthcare technology companies.

Planning for Your Trade Show at Tech Shows

Whether you’re a novice to trade shows or a seasoned veteran to tech shows, the key to a successful tech trade show is simple: Planning, Preparation, and Execution. Which, to be honest, is a lot of work… and it should be. For many companies, their trade show expenses may represent as much as 30-40% of their entire marketing budget. So, doing it right is important. 

Don’t be shy about asking for assistance from a trade show professional before showing at tech shows.. If you’re working with an exhibit house, they’ll have a team eager to assist you with identifying your tech show goals, creating an actionable strategy, and executing it successfully.  

In the meantime, here are some articles to get you started: 

  • Trade Show Planning: A Step-by-Step Guide
    • Trade show planning is crucial for businesses to maximize their return on investment (ROI) or return on objectives (ROO). A clear and comprehensive plan ensures that companies maximize their sales opportunities while minimizing costs (and stress). 
  •  Your Guide to Designing a Custom Trade Show Booth
    • Forget about how your custom exhibit is going to be built or what materials will be used. Those details can come later. It’s all about the why, what, who at this point. On its most basic level, custom simply means that it’s custom or customized to your exhibit marketing needs.
  • Managing Your Trade Show Budget
    • There are multiple ways to manage your trade show expenses with a little planning and some assistance from an experienced trade show professional. Don’t be afraid to tap into that expertise. You’ll find that they want you to get the biggest bang for the buck and be wildly successful with your trade show marketing. 
  • Exhibition Design Essentials: Tips, Strategies, & More
    • Exhibition design doesn’t begin and end with money, mass, or even beauty. Knowing who you are, who your customers are, and what you’re trying to achieve will always give you an advantage. Award-winning exhibition design begins and ends with creating a valuable and memorable experience for attendees that goes well beyond a large hanging sign or colorful graphics. 

5 Examples of Tech Trade Show Booths

tech shows

VK-5198 | Island Exhibit: Exhibitors often feel they need an elaborate, all “bells and whistles” design, when a straightforward exhibit would be more appropriate. The VK-5198 is an excellent island design complete with large fabric graphics, high visibility, and practical accessories. 

tech trade shows

VK-5187 | Island Exhibit: The VK-5187 has multiple backlit double-sided towers connected to backlit single-sided canopies. Surrounding the towers/canopies are custom counters, genius bars, charging tables, and demo stations.

tech conferences 2023

GK-2988 | Gravitee Inline: The GK-2988 is a sophisticated modular design in three configurations, available for purchase or as a rental. It features clean, contemporary lines with storage, LED lighting, vibrant fabric graphics, monitor mount(s), and casual seating.

tech conferences 2024

RE-2128 | LED Lightbox: This rental design features three themes. Theme #1 — Elegant custom reception counter(s) with vinyl graphics, locking storage, and RGB Programmable LED accent lights. Theme #2 — Large LED lightboxes with tension fabric graphics. And Theme #3 — Multiple monitors for demos of products or services.

 tech trade show booths

ECO-4053 | Sustainable Backlit Island:  The ecoSmart Island Exhibits are design-driven, reconfigurable, and high-impact.  Many islands can easily be reconfigured into 10 x 10 or 10 x 20 displays for smaller shows.

Dominate Tech Conferences & Trade Shows with Classic Exhibits! 

You don’t have to be an exhibitor or a tech industry guru to attend tech conferences and trade shows. Tech conferences are ideal for exploring new ideas and sparking creative possibilities for any business. At Classic Exhibits, we design and build exhibits, large and small, for a wide range of industries. What we build for SEMA, the show for professionals in the auto aftermarket, may be relevant to Natural Products West, the trade show for natural or healthy products. 

For 30 years, Classic Exhibits has been designing and building creative custom solutions for our Distributor Partners and their clients. As North America’s largest private-label exhibit manufacturer, we have the unmatched capability, capacity, and creativity to create 3D projects ranging from 10 x 10 inline displays to 60 x 80 double-deck islands. Find success on the trade show floor with an exhibit that reflects your marketing message. For more information, see and explore Exhibit Design Search or request a meeting with a Classic Distributor Partner.

Trade Show Attire: What Not to Wear

May 28th, 2024 23 COMMENTS

trade show attire

Trade shows are all about making a good impression, so what exhibitors wear matters. However, “What to Wear” is often the last checkbox on their trade show checklist. But it shouldn’t be. More than anything, trade show attire should be a conscious decision, one that mirrors your trade show strategy. It doesn’t matter if it’s formal and conservative, business casual, branded clothing, or thematic (think western wear, beach clothing, or outdoorsy). Leaving that decision to chance rarely goes well for any exhibitor.

Your trade show attire also matters to your staff. They want to know what is expected, not only during the show but also when meeting with clients before and after show hours. That doesn’t mean that everyone will agree, particularly when choosing branded apparel. Not everyone has to wear a polo or khaki pants, but everyone should wear complementary clothing that matches the booth theme or strategy.

The Importance of Professional Trade Show Attire

Your exhibit is part of a comprehensive marketing strategy to maximize your impact at the show. If that strategy doesn’t include a Trade Show Attire component, then you’ve missed a critical opportunity to promote your brand, your culture, and your theme. 

Trade show attire is important for eight key reasons:

  1. First Impressions:  At a trade show, you only have a short window to grab someone’s attention and make a positive impression. Professional attire shows you take your business seriously and are worth talking to.
  2. Brand Image: Your clothing is an extension of your brand. A polished, put-together look reflects well on your company and the products or services you offer.
  3. Credibility and Trust:  People tend to do business with those they perceive as competent and trustworthy. Sloppy or confusing booth attire can undermine that trust and make your company seem less credible.
  4. Building Relationships:  A friendly and approachable demeanor is important at trade shows. The right attire can help project that warmth and openness, making it easier to strike up conversations and build relationships.
  5. Confidence:  Feeling polished and put-together can do wonders for your confidence level. When you look good, you feel good, which translates into a more outgoing and engaging presence at the show. This can be especially helpful for overcoming nerves or shyness in these fast-paced environments.
  6. Team Cohesion:  A coordinated team look (even if it’s not identical outfits) can create a sense of unity and professionalism. This can be particularly impactful for smaller businesses trying to establish themselves.
  7. Safety and Functionality:  Depending on the trade show and your role, certain attire choices might be more practical. Closed-toe shoes are ideal for navigating crowded spaces and protecting your feet. Avoid loose clothing or dangling jewelry that could get caught on displays or equipment.
  8. Standing Out (Strategically):  While dressing professionally is key, a touch of strategic individuality can help you stand out in a positive way. This could be a pop of color in your accessories, a unique name tag design, or a conversation starter piece incorporated into your outfit.

What Not to Wear to a Trade Show 

Navigating the Do’s and Don’ts of trade show attire can be confusing. But you don’t have to be a member of the exhibition fashion police to spot these trade show faux pas. Wear what you want if you’re an attendee, but as an exhibitor, you may want to consider these practical, time-tested suggestions.


Rule #1 – You want to look your best, so you buy new shoes. Who hasn’t made this mistake? They look great, but by 2 pm on Day 1, all you can think about is how much your feet are throbbing in pain. By Day 3, your blisters have blisters.

Rule #2 – There’s a balance between attractive and professional and casual and comfortable. Find that balance. Even if you have carpet and padding in your booth, you are probably not used to standing for hours and walking on concrete floors.

Rule #3 – Take a little initiative and shine those puppies. Or at least get them shined at the airport while you’re waiting for your plane. It’s cheap even with a generous tip.

Rule #4 – The belt is supposed to match the shoes guys! A brown belt with black shoes? Your mother would be appalled. Socks should match too.

Slacks, Dresses, Blouses, and Skirts

We all pretend we haven’t gained weight. But we have. Don’t wait until 7 am on the first day of the show to discover your clothing doesn’t fit. Unless I missed something important in Biology class, blood flow is important. Buttons and zippers are amazingly strong, but even they will eventually cry “Uncle!” – often at the most inappropriate times. Tip: If you feel the need to make “discrete” adjustments more than twice a day, you are probably wearing the wrong size.


Rule #1 – Anything you would wear to the beach, yoga class, house painting, hunting, jogging, fishing, or a play date with your toddler on a rainy day in the park is probably inappropriate. Obviously, there are exceptions, depending on your business model. However, professional does not mean formal. Dress like you are the distant relatives of the wedding couple, not the couple themselves. In general, it’s a good rule to dress at least one step above the trade show attendees.

Rule #2 – Here’s the easy way to decide on logo corporate apparel. If it looks great at a college basketball game, it looks silly at a trade show. I don’t care if it’s the latest high-tech, super-duper sweat-wicking material. There’s nothing wrong with corporate apparel. Most companies will have their employees in shirts, sweaters, blouses, etc. with the company logo but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Tasteful, subtle, and clever will attract more attention than garish.

Rule #3 – When you shop for corporate apparel, resist the urge to go cheap. I know. You are only wearing it for three days so why pay more? Because cheap clothing looks cheap and it looks even cheaper when embroidered. Plus, you want your staff to be comfortable and confident. Nothing undermines that more than ill-fitting, tight, baggy, or translucent clothing.

Rule #4 – Men’s clothing is designed for men. Women’s clothing is designed for women. Don’t buy men’s polo shirts, t-shirts, sweaters, and vests and give them to women. They will hate you for that and will refuse to wear it. I know. I made that mistake and am still hearing about it.

There are exceptions to every rule, but in general, just remember there’s a reason why Fortune 500 executives don’t wear golf shirts and skinny jeans to negotiate multi-million-dollar deals.


Do you remember the dirt cloud that surrounded Pigpen in the Peanuts cartoon? We all know people who douse themselves in a scent cloud. Scents should be alluring or soothing. They are less effective when they elicit migraines or seizures in others, Tip: Some advice on how much to apply – use no more than one free sample from the magazine.


Wear what you want. There are no rules, just a word of caution. Expensive, heirloom, or bulky jewelry may not be the best choice. Trade shows are all about handshakes, hugs, and distractions, all in an unfamiliar location where jewelry can get lost, damaged, or stolen.


Finally, whether male or female, pockets are a must. As an exhibitor, you need pockets for business cards, pens, trinkets, breath mints, etc. I’m not talking about a safari jacket with 37 pockets, but wearing a jacket, slacks, or skirt with pockets will make your life much easier in the booth.

what to wear to a trade show

What to Wear to a Conference vs a Trade Show

Before diving into “What to Wear to a Conference,” let’s review the difference between a typical conference vs. a trade show. First of all, it’s not black and white. Either one can include the other. However, in general:


  • Conferences: Focus on information exchange and professional development. They feature keynote speeches, workshops, panel discussions, and presentations on industry trends, research, and best practices.
  • Trade Shows: Primarily about showcasing products and services to potential customers and building business relationships. They feature booths from companies, product demonstrations, and opportunities to network with industry professionals.



  • Conferences: The desired outcome is for attendees to gain knowledge, new skills, and valuable connections within their field.
  • Trade Shows: The goal is to generate leads and sales, and establish business partnerships.


Think of a conference as a classroom where you learn from experts, and a trade show as a marketplace where you explore different vendors and potentially make purchases.

As discussed before, your trade show attire as an exhibitor may be dictated by your company’s trade show marketing strategy. It can change from show to show depending on the audience, but it’s generally prescriptive for everyone. 

At a conference, particularly as an attendee vs. a presenter, what you wear will depend on four factors:

The Show
Expectations of what to wear vary depending on the industry and the conference. For example, the ALA’s Annual Conference (Association of Legal Administrators) may have a more formal dress code expectation, whereas The Car Wash Show Show and Conference may have a more informal vibe. Even at casual conferences, like the Experiential Designers and Producers Association annual event, there’s a black tie/dress event on the last night. There are also shows where a specific uniform is appropriate, such as military shows. 

Your Company’s Clothing Guidelines
What you wear at a conference may not always be your choice. Your company or organization may prefer you wear business or business casual. Or logo wear. If you are unsure what to wear, check with the show organizer and your executive team.  

Your Style and or Cultural Preference
What you wear at the conference may come down to your personal preference. It can be as simple as that. However, your personal preference may be dictated by cultural norms regarding dress both for men and women. For example, West African women attending a conference may wear a pagne, a colorful wraparound skirt. An  Indonesian male may choose to wear a batik shirt with short sleeves considered informal and long sleeves more formal. 

The Events at the Show 
Even at casual conferences, like the Experiential Designers and Producers Association annual event, there’s a black tie/dress event on the last night. What’s appropriate at the educational sessions or the speaker events may be different from the meals and receptions. Again, when in doubt, ask a colleague who has attended before or contact the show organizer. 

trade show dress code

Creating Your Own Team Trade Show Dress Code or Guidelines 

So, what’s the most important thing to consider when drafting/creating your trade show dress code or guidelines? That’s easy! The people who will be attending the trade show and staffing the booth. Yes, there’s a lot more to consider, which we’ll detail below, but all that doesn’t matter if your team isn’t on board with the decision of what to wear. They have to be comfortable and confident and buy into your trade show goals and strategy. If not, then it’s a bit like dressing a six-year-old for the first day of class. If the child is unhappy, then it makes for a miserable day… for everyone. However, unlike a six-year-old, you have a much better chance of presenting the options if there’s a clear and thoughtful strategy. 

When drafting your dress code or guidelines, consider the following: 

Your Graphic Theme, Corporate Culture, and Experiential Objectives
While those are a lot to consider, all three should be the foundation of your decision. Participating in a trade show isn’t an excuse for a vacation. It’s a business event with a purpose and a goal (typically to increase sales). Treat it with the same attention to detail you would invest in creating/reviewing an annual budget. It’s that important. 

Level of Formality:
Industry-standard: Is your industry typically formal (suits), business professional (dress pants and blazers), or business casual (slacks and collared shirts)? 

Comfort and Practicality:
Trade shows involve a lot of standing and walking. Ensure footwear is comfortable and clothes allow for movement. Consider the climate and venue. Will it be hot and crowded, or cool and air-conditioned?

Branding and Professionalism:
Make sure attire reflects your company’s brand image. For example, a tech startup might have a more relaxed dress code than a financial services firm. Clothes should be clean, ironed, and wrinkle-resistant.

Additional considerations:

Company Logo: Will employees wear logo shirts or branded accessories? If so, consider appropriate logo wear specifically designed for women and men. 

Cultural Sensitivity: Be mindful of cultural norms around dress code, especially for international events.

Feedback and Fashion Faux Pas from the Floor

Let’s be honest. Everyone has their own opinions about trade show attire dos and don’ts. And those opinions are evolving in a post-pandemic environment. However, the basics still ring true. Clean, comfortable, and appropriate shoes are a must. Unisex clothing rarely gets rave reviews from the trade show staff. And when it comes to jewelry and cologne, a little goes a long way. One final piece of advice (from experience). Don’t forget to bring a belt. Having to purchase a $145 belt from a designer store in a Vegas casino is a painful lesson.  

My sincere thanks to the fashion-forward exhibitors for their suggestions, some of which cannot be printed without an R or X rating. Suffice to say that the term “athletic wear” was a contentious topic.

What did we miss? Add your “What Not to Wear” suggestions and comments. 

For 30 years, Classic Exhibits has been designing and building creative custom solutions for our Distributor Partners and their clients. As the largest private-label exhibit manufacturer in North America, we have the unmatched capability, capacity, and creativity to create 3D projects ranging from 10 x 10 inline displays to 60 x 80 double-deck islands. 

Find success on the trade show floor with an exhibit that reflects your marketing message. For more information, see and explore Exhibit Design Search or request a meeting with a Classic Distributor Partner.

What did we miss? Add your “What Not to Wear” suggestions and comments .

–Mel White

Additional Articles:

What Smells? The Top 10 Trade Show Odors
Love on Aisle #600 — Trade Shows and Events
Trade Shows as First Dates

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


Summer Fun in Portland, OR @ Shared Knowledge University

May 7th, 2024 COMMENTS

Never been to Portland or to the Classic Exhibits manufacturing facility? Hey, we’re not judging (well, maybe a little). Now’s your chance.

Join us for Shared Knowledge University on August 8-9. Whatever your role — owner, designer, project manager, account executive road warrior, or all five — you are welcome to “share” your love for trade shows.

Visualize two days of training and entertaining with the Classic Exhibits Crew, Industry Partners, and fellow Classic Distributors. It’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys. If you don’t understand that reference then substitute your favorite video game. Bottomline — You’ll learn a lot and have a blast while doing it.

Contact Gina Porcaro or Harold Mintz, your Regional Sales Managers for details on attending SKU. Registration capped at 40.

If Harold Mintz Handed You $1 Million Dollars

May 3rd, 2024 COMMENTS

Harold Mintz in a Tutu

If I, Harold Mintz, was your tutu wearing Fairy Godfather and handed you $1 million dollars, what would you do with it? This generous gift would come with one condition. You must spend 100% of it on your business. What would you splurge on?

Many of you have already gotten this question from me because I often ask it during my Distributor visits.

Below are your Top 10 answers (in reverse order). Do you recognize your response?

10. It’s a Schvitz-a-thon out there! Our shop is an oven for at least 4 months of the year. With the bay doors open and fans swirling you could still roast a chicken in the shop. We’d bring in some sort of air conditioning to make life more tolerable for our employees.

9. I’d bring back our showroom. We eliminated our showroom years ago so we could create additional set-up/staging areas. While necessary, we still miss the impact that our showroom had on everyone who saw/experienced it. It was our silent salesperson. 

8. Our website is ancient. We’d upgrade it immediately.  The first thing we’d do is engage with a professional developer to assist with revamping it. We know Prospects and Customers often go to our website, but we are underutilizing this blockbuster sales tool.

7. Add to our rental inventory. Our current rental inventory is ancient and sparse so we don’t offer rentals as much as we would like. We can’t do everything, but it would be nice to handle basic inlines and islands.

6. We’d boost our social media presence. We don’t post on social media as much as we should. We post large, cool jobs but forget about all the other tidbits that Clients and Prospects might appreciate. I’d hire a dedicated social media expert.

5. I’d invest in an LED tile inventory. Backlighting was/is hot. Just about everything going out the door these days has backlit graphics. LED is coming on strong. I’d acquire the tiles and the A/V experts necessary to travel with them.

4. Graphics. We’ve flirted with the idea of bringing in our own graphic production for years but never pulled the trigger. It requires a level of expertise and volume outside our current scope. That said… the influx of cash would allow us to dip our toes in the water or in-house graphic production.   

3. I’d boost employees’ salaries across the board. Everyone took a hit during the COVID Pause. When their salaries were cut, their work ethic increased. They treated this company as if it were their own. We owe them. 

2. More storage space. Our current storage space is full. We make good money on our active clients, and if we had more space, I could fill it with those types of clients. Cha-Ching!

And the #1 comment I hear when “giving away” $1 million…

1. We’d add more employees. I’d use a chunk of the money to find and hire a new batch of employees in all areas – PMs, Sales, Design and Production. Especially PMs.

What would you do with a $1,000,000 gift from me? Share in the comments.


For 30 years, Classic Exhibits has been designing and building creative custom solutions for our Distributor Partners and their clients. As the largest private-label exhibit manufacturer in North America, we have the unmatched capability, capacity, and creativity to create 3D projects ranging from 10 x 10 inline displays to 60 x 80 double-deck islands. 

Find success on the trade show floor with an exhibit that reflects your marketing message. For more information, see and explore Exhibit Design Search or request a meeting with a Classic Distributor Partner.