Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for the ‘Jim Shelman’ Category

2018/2019 Annual State of the Company Letter by Kevin Carty

January 19th, 2019 COMMENTS

An Interview with Jim Shelman, GM of Classic Rental Solutions

January 5th, 2019 COMMENTS

Interview with Jim Shelman at Classic Rental Solutions

Trade Show Rentals have undergone a seismic shift not only in design but also in sales. And, this trend will continue in 2019 and beyond. This week, we chatted with Jim Shelman, the General Manager of Classic Rental Solutions. So what should you expect as an exhibitor or a Classic Exhibits Distributor Partner? More of the same, which is a VERY GOOD THING. 

Q1. You’ve been in the Rental Exhibits space for over 20 years. What’s different now than say 6-8 years ago?

A lot of things have changed, but there are two things that really stand out to me as major changes. One, is the implementation of customization to rental designs. Almost every order we produce includes some element of customization to provide specific needs that exhibitors request during the design process. Today, it’s difficult to spot a rental design, versus a purchased design on the show floor.

The other thing that stands out are the reasons exhibitors decide to rent vs. purchase.

In the past, the primary reason to rent had more to do with only exhibiting in one or two shows per year, and if you were unsure of your long-term show schedule. The thought process was to test the waters with a rental, see how it goes, and purchase once you’ve committed to exhibiting in multiple shows per year. Now, it has become more about design flexibility, and perhaps not wanting to be stuck with the same design show after show. Or, maybe not wanting to deal with storing, shipping, or repairing a purchased exhibit.

Today, many exhibitors approach each show as a clean slate by working with new rental designs that match their specific show-to-show needs.

Q2. Classic Rental Solutions sales have increased year-over-year since 2010. Nearly 20% in 2018. Why?

There are several factors. With the risk of sounding corny, I’ll credit our team of dedicated people, and our incredible distributors, but I also think it’s because of our business model. We understand how important it is to be flexible, and to offer customized design services, and continuously add new custom designs to our rental gallery through our Exhibit Design Search feature on our website. And we’re committed to adding inventory as needed, to fulfill new opportunities for our distributors.

Classic Exhibit Rental Rewards ProgramAnother key factor is that we have the unique support from our in-house manufacturing professionals that produce new exhibits for our 200+ Distributor Partner Network. All of our rental components are produced right here, and we’re able to make last minute modifications.

I like to make it clear that we don’t just offer rentals, but that we offer a complete rental program. From start to finish, we have detailed processes that are followed by our production team and project managers. Every rental project gets staged and photographed before shipping. The highest quality standards are strictly enforced. We include setup instructions, and staging and packing photos with every order. After orders are returned, we provide a complete check-in report to close-out the project.

Several years ago, we implemented our Rental Rewards Program, which offers a reward discount of 2% of the total rental and graphics order when your exhibit returns without major damage and/or missing components. The program also offers two annual prize-drawings, and other rewards for our distributor network.

Q3. What are your biggest challenges headed into 2019? Biggest opportunities?

The seasonal nature of the trade show industry is always challenging. Everything hits at once several times throughout the year, which makes it challenging at times, but we plan and adjust accordingly. I’ve been doing this for a long time, so it’s never a real surprise, but it can hit at slightly different times.

2019 should be an amazing year for us. I would say that our biggest opportunities will be to continue to work on larger island design projects. We’re doing larger projects all the time, and I expect that trend to continue.

Another big opportunity that I’m anticipating is doing more large quantity component orders. We do large quantity orders for workstation kiosks, monitor stands, iPad kiosks, counters, and charging stations. Our large inventory, and willingness to add more, allows us to offer quantities that others typically don’t have available.

Trade Show Island Rental Exhibits from Classic Rental Solutions

Q4. What do you think the typical exhibitor gets wrong about renting a trade show exhibit?

Some of the newer exhibitors think that they are limited to standard designs, and they’re surprised when we start the design process and realize that we offer so much more than they were expecting.

Q5. What do you wish the typical Classic Distributor Partner understood about Classic Rental Solutions?

For those who aren’t aware and haven’t worked with us, I wish that they understood our full capabilities, and our design flexibility. And that we offer a complete rental program with nothing but high-quality “like-new” components. I want them to understand that we can offer something unique for their client base. Something that has proven to work successfully for distributors all over the country.

Q6. Have you seen more event-related rentals vs. trade show rentals? Are their more similarities or differences?

Yes, we ship a fair amount of event-related projects. In the last couple of months, we had multiple large quantity orders for charging stations. And last week we shipped (49) backlit counters to the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.

Q7. How has the Gravitee One-Step System impacted your rental options?

Our Gravitee Modular System has been a great addition to our rental program. It works extremely well for towers and conference rooms, but also for entire island and inline designs. It’s super-fast and easy to setup and disassemble, so it’s used as much as possible to save on labor costs. We see a substantial savings in time during our staging process here in our shop as well. We have a large inventory of standard and custom panel sizes, and we’ll continue to add to it.

Q8. Assuming you’ll be at EXHIBITORLIVE 2019, what are the three questions you want attendees or Distributor Partners to ask you about CRS?

Yes, I’m planning to be there, and here are three of many questions that I would welcome during our conversations.

  • How can Classic Rental Solutions assist us with our current rental program?
  • How do we get started working with Classic for our rental projects?
  • What are your customization capabilities?

I’m looking forward to the show, and I’d be happy to schedule meetings during, before, or after show hours.

You can contact Jim Shelman at jshelman@classicexhibits.com or at 503-345-0525 ext, 103. 

**********************************************

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, custom, rental 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 www.classicexhibits.com.

New Faces and New Designs from Classic Rental Solutions

December 23rd, 2017 COMMENTS

JessicaMarchant

Happy New Year!

We are celebrating with new faces, new designs, and a New Year promotion (coming in early January).

Classic Rental Solutions welcomes Jessica Marchant (No, she’s not French, but she does have a Southern accent). Jessica was kind enough to share a little about her roots, experience, and personality in this interview.

What is your home town?

Charleston, South Carolina

BeachComparisonBest part about South Carolina?

The beaches are beautiful. They’re very tropical and the water is always warm.

How do you like the Oregon coast?

[Laughs] No comment.

What brought you to the Northwest?

To be completely honest, it was pretty random. My husband traveled through Portland on a train and really liked it. He wanted to move somewhere with water, and I wanted to be near mountains, so it was a great compromise. Plus, we really like the Cascade Mountains.

How did you find out about Classic Exhibits?

I found out about Classic through Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits, when they had an available project management position. I was really intrigued by the design elements and was offered a position with the rental team.

Leon 2[2]What is your educational background?

I got my Masters in Design Management at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), which is the second largest design school in the world. There was a focus on branding and business strategy. While there, I was in the Research Club, which involved researching methods and emerging methodologies. John Malkovich was our guest speaker when I graduated.

What are a few skills you have attained that you’re bringing to the team?

Leadership qualities, problem-solving, and I am well-versed in design, to name a few.

What’s an interesting fact about yourself?

I rescued a hairless cat named, Leon (aka The Ladies’ Man or Lele).

What are you most excited about with joining the Classic Family?

I think I am most excited about having different projects and not doing the same thing over and over. I don’t like repetition. I like variety and working with different people.


Recent CRS Changes

RentalsIslands

Business is booming. And Classic Rental Solutions has refined our workflow procedures and inventory to make your life easier. We believe, as we hope you do too, that CRS provides the highest quality displays available on the market. It’s no accident that repeat business has been the key to our (and your) rental success.

Your clients never have to worry about their booth looking anything but perfect. Plus, they always have the added benefit of modifying their design for each show at a low cost. This helps them stay relevant to potential customers on the show floor. Ultimately, it’s all about HAPPY CLIENTS, show after show.

Classic Rental Solutions is thrilled to be a finalist (once again) for EXHIBITOR Magazine’s Portable/Modular Awards. The PMA’s will be announced at EXHIBITORLIVE in February, but you can vote for your favorite on the PMA People’s Choice page. Our thanks to TPS Displays Richmond for choosing us as their rental provider for the ForRent island. We encourage you to vote (and vote often).

Finally, we’ve GREATLY EXPANDED the Rental Gallery in Exhibit Design Search. Over 150 additions, all with both rental and purchase prices to make the comparison easier. If you haven’t seen our latest additions to the gallery, please sneak a peek. It’s gone from impressive to AMAZING.

Stay tuned for even more updates in 2018. We’re on an exciting roll.

On behalf of Classic Rental Solutions and the Classic Exhibits family, we wish you a Prosperous New Year.

Top 10 Trade Show Rental Designs

January 22nd, 2016 COMMENTS

blogheaderRentals
Rental Incognito

When I started in the this business, waaaayyyyyy back when folding panel systems and pop ups were duking it out for design supremacy, rentals were an afterthought. Really a non-thought. The Great Recession changed that. Rentals are now HUGE.  And CUSTOMIZED. And BEAUTIFUL. At least those from Classic Rental Solutions.

04_20_15_3_RentalI would estimate, and you can disagree, that 15-20 percent of displays at major trade shows are all or partial rentals. Yet, most attendees, exhibitors, and industry professionals would be hard pressed to tell the difference. To prove my point, I’ve chosen my favorite Top 10 Rental Designs from 2015. These are shown in Past 5 Days, our photo gallery. Some were taken during setup. Others from the show.

If you have time, I’d very much love to hear your thoughts about rental trends and rental designs. Leave a comment or send me an email. Enjoy.

Top 10 Rental Designs

  1. Alarm.com (See in P5D) — 30 x 40 Island with Laminated Sconces with Recessed Puck Lights
  2. Continental Building Products (See in P5D)  — 20 x 20 Island with 16 ft. Tower/Storage Room
  3. Chirotouch (See in P5D) — 20 x 40 Island with 16 ft. Towers, Double-Sided Bridged Header with/Pillowcase Fabric Graphic, and Dual Conference Rooms
  4. 06_15_15_5_RentalEmployee Screen (See in P5D) —20 x 20 Island (2) RE-1250 Counters, (2) RE-1230 Large Monitor Kiosks with Custom Planter Boxes
  5. NETGEAR (See in P5D) — Ballroom Product Showcase with (8) RE-1207 Counters with Custom Laminated/Tops, (32) Small Custom Black Laminated Product Shelves, and (8) RE-1229 Large Monitor Kiosks
  6. Adaptiva (See in P5D) — 30 x 30 Island with 14 ft. High Tower/Storage Room, (3) Custom Kiosks/with 42 in. Monitors and Sintra Graphics
  7. Spectrum Brands (See in P5D) — RE-9029 Island with Double Tower Structure, Lounge Lighting, (4)/Workstation Kiosks, Curved Bridged Headers, Large Monitor Kiosks, and (2) RE-1205 Large Curved Counters
  8. Beck Arnley (See in P5D) — 20 x 40 Island 12′ High Tower/Backwall with Tension Fabric Graphics/and 18′ Wide Backwall with Backlit SEG Fabric Graphic
  9. L3 Driver Safety Solutions (See in P5D) — Modified RE-9049 Island Includes Tower with Locking/Counter, (2) Double-Sided Graphic Kiosks, and RE-1205 Large Reception Counter
  10. Clear Story (See in P5D) — Island Peninsula Design (15 ft. High) with Tension Fabric and Sintra Header Graphics, 38″ High Return Walls, RE-1228 Counter, and (2) RE-1221 Pedestals

04_29_15_1_RentalSheesh! I almost forgot to include inlines which represent about 50% of our orders. We designed quite a few beauties last year. Here are a few:

  1. Alaska Communications (See in P5D) —  20 ft. RE-2030 Design with Wave Canopies, (2/ RE-1216 Connected Workstations, RE-1207 Counter, and RE-1205 Counter
  2. Blue Sky (See in P5D) — 10 ft. RE-1004 with Tension Fabric Graphic, Sintra Wing Graphics, and/(3) Halogen Arm Lights
  3. Schock Logistics (See in P5D) — 10 ft. SEGUE Hybrid Display with SEG Fabric Graphic, Halogen Arm Lights, and Frosted Wing Panels

Jim Shelman, GM Classic Rental Solutions
jshelman@classicexhibits.com


 

Classic Rental Rewards Winners

January 15th, 2016 COMMENTS

RentalRewards

It’s often the simple things that are the most rewarding.

Several years ago, the Classic Rental Solutions division had a problem. A large percentage of our returns were coming back with significant damage and/or missing components. We weren’t sure what to do, but we knew we had to do something. We couldn’t restock those components since our policy has always been “If it doesn’t look like new, we won’t ship it. Period.”

Distributor Rental Rewards LetterIn many circles, the obvious solution would be to charge for the damage. But we weren’t looking to be punitive. It’s kind of like insisting on guests clean your place the morning after the big party. Instead, we decided to  fix it with a positive rather than a negative program.

In July 2014, we launched Rental Rewards, a program designed to reward distributors for returning rental exhibits in good condition and without missing components. In other words, reward good behavior first, then, if necessary, charge for bad behavior.

As part of the program, Classic Distributors earn a 2% credit for every successful rental return. This credit is applied to their next rental project and is based on the entire invoice (excluding shipping and I & D supervision). After six credits, a 15% credit is issued toward their next rental. In addition, with every rental credit received, the distributor’s name is entered in a bi-annual Rental Rewards drawing for exciting prizes.

In return, we ask that distributors stress the importance of treating the rental components with a little extra care during installation & dismantle, and to pack everything securely, so it will arrive back at Classic in good condition. You receive Rental Rewards credits, and have the opportunity to win prizes. And we save money on repairs and replacement parts Win. Win.

Since its inception in July 2014, we have issued 207 Rental Rewards credits to 74 different distributors. We’ve given away 15 Amazon Gift Cards, and we just added a new exciting prize — RT airfare to Shared Knowledge University (SKU), our distributor training seminar.

DSCN5459December Winners — Amazon $150.00 Gift Card:

  • Lara Davie — ELITeXPO
  • Chase Howells — Frontline Exhibits
  • Michael Grossberg — Trade Show Emporium
  • Shannon Plaster — Exhibitus
  • Laura Magdalen — Exhibits Northwest

Shared Knowledge University (SKU) Airfare:

  • Exhibitus

Thanks to you, Classic Rental Solutions continues to grow by double-digits. Last year we added many new designs to our rental gallery, including islands, inlines, and a wide range of new charging stations. Watch for more exciting designs in 2016. And if you plan to attend EXHIBITORLIVE next month, please stop by our booth to see an exciting new product line. This line will be integrated into future rental designs. It’s incredible! And it’s a game changer!

Thank you for your continued rental business, and here’s to a super successful 2016.

–Jim Shelman and the CRS Team
Classic Rental Solutions