Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Classic Exhibits’

Classic’s Annual Watermelon Spittin’ Contest and BBQ Potluck

August 21st, 2023 COMMENTS

It was a summer day like any other… until it wasn’t. So many questions… “I’ve never done this before. How am I supposed to spit?”

Temperatures all week were flirting with 100 degrees. It has been toasty. But when came Friday, the day of Classic Exhibits Annual Company Potluck, the barbecue gods heard our pleas… the temp dipped to a beautiful 84 degrees with light breezes to cool one’s brow.

With Chef Boy R Kevin behind the grills pushing out burgers, dogs and veggie patties, the company stuffed itself on traditional picnic fare. With the noshing complete, it was time to unfurl the Official Seed Spittin’ Tarmac and begin launching watermelon seeds.

The slight breeze was fickle, sometimes coming in on your face and other times gently cooling your back. Choosing when to spit was just as important as choosing the perfect seed.

The rules are clear and simple:

  1. Each Spitter gets 2 (two) spits.
  2. There is a toe line. DO NOT CROSS.
  3. To be registered as an official spit the seed must come to rest atop the tarmac. If it is off the tarmac, that’s a DQ (disqualified spit).

Let there be spit. As the initial spitters began to launch their seeds, it was clear that records would soon be falling. While the breeze was minimal it was just enough to lift an average spit to a good spit status while a fairly good spit could be elevated to Olympic Spit Repute.

I shall keep you waiting no more. Here are the results:


Women’s 2023 Champs

  • 1st Place/Gold Medal        Gail C             16’-7 1/8”
  • 2nd Place/Silver Medal     Edie A            15’-7”
  • 3rd Place/Bronze Medal   Gergana H    13’-11”

Men’s 2023 Champs

  • 1st Place/Gold Medal         James S         50’-0”
  • 2nd Place/Silver Medal     Kevin C          39’-3”
  • 3rd Place/Bronze Medal   Ted C              29’-11 ¾”

Yes… you read that correctly. James’ spit of 50’ was unbelievable. It was outrageous. It didn’t just have distance – of which it had plenty. But it also had accuracy keeping his seed on the 60” wide tarmac a massive 50’ away from the toe line.

In the 40 years I’ve been hosting Watermelon Seed Spittin’ Contests, I’ve never, ever seen a seed launched that far and that accurately. It was a spit for the ages. Those in attendance will be telling grandchildren about the spit heard round the world.


Women’s All-Time Champions

  • 1st Place/Gold Medal         Jen L               23’-9”
  • 2nd Place/Silver Medal     Lindsey C      19’-7”
  • 3rd Place/Bronze Medal   Gail C             16’-7 1/8”

Men’s All-Time Champions

  • 1st Place/Gold Medal         James S         50’-0”
  • 2nd Place/Silver Medal     Kevin C          39’-3”
  • 3rd Place/Bronze Medal   James Z         35’-3”

Best Worst Spit Champion

  • Stefania T     5’-10”

Introducing Backlit Symphony Portable Displays

July 31st, 2023 COMMENTS
LED Lattice Lights for the Backlit Symphony Portable Display

You made the Symphony the gold standard for portable modular displays with tool-less assembly, (8) frame shapes and (17) upscale accessories, like iPad Clamshells, Monitor Mounts, Literature Holders, and Lockable Counters.

Now, as Emeril LaGasse would say, “It’s time to kick it up a notch!” Introducing Symphony Backlit Portable Displays with three elegant 10 ft. and 20 ft. designs: SYK-1050, SYK-1051, and SYK-2039. All include SEG fabric graphics, LED lattice lights, fabric reflector, and portable roto-molded cases with wheels. Need a workstation counter or floating graphic? The complete Symphony Accessory line attaches to the backlit versions too (same as non-backlit).

For details, visit Exhibit Design Search on the Classic Exhibits website.

SYK-1050, SYK-2039, and SYK-1051

SYK-1050 Backlit Symphony Portable Display
SYK-2039 Backlit Symphony Portable Display
SYK-1051 Backlit Symphony Portable Display

Trade Show Staffing: Assembling the Right Team

June 30th, 2023 COMMENTS
Trade Show Staffing

Trade show booth staffing should be easy. Tell the sales team to go to the show. Then invite someone from marketing or perhaps a go-getter from customer service. Ignore accounting, engineering, operations, and senior management. Easy peasy. And yet…

Consider this. Trade shows are expensive, chaotic, overwhelming, and confusing. They’re also an excellent venue for introducing products and services, meeting new clients, and generating business. Getting it right requires setting goals, creating a strategy, completing a  list of tasks, and bringing the right team. The team matters. 

Unfortunately, most trade show booth staffers don’t have a clue why they’re spending 5-6 hours a day for three days in their company’s exhibition booth. Fortunately, it isn’t hard to create an All-Star Booth Staff. It simply takes planning, communication, and discipline. 

Key Considerations for Trade Show Staffing 

Trade shows are a battlefield with winners and losers. On that battlefield, strategy and implementation outperforms brute strength every time. What are the goals? Is everyone clear about them? At a minimum, there should be a strategy and planning “booth camp” meeting before the show. Then, there should be alignment meetings every day before the show opens. Some companies even have meetings after the show hall closes to review leads, answer questions, and prepare for the next day.

When it comes to your trade show staff, you get what you tolerate. When you expect more, your team will rise to the challenge. Set clear expectations, communicate your goals, plan your strategy, and manage the environment, the days, and your post-show communication. It’s not easy, but your team (and your boss) will sing your praises when it’s “Go Time!”

8 Key Responsibilities for Any Trade Show Booth Staff 

  • Generate Leads
  • Collect Data
  • Build Relationships
  • Promote Your Brand
  • Increase Sales
  • Improve Customer Service
  • Create a Positive Reputation
  • Learn about Customers, Competitors, and the Industry 

Trade Show Booth Staffing Rules 

Rule #1: Knowledge 

Not every booth staffer needs to know everything. Collectively, however,  the team needs to know everything and know who’s the expert about every subject. The expert should be able to answer questions about that topic, as well as explain the features and benefits of your products or services.

Rule #2: Goals

Set clear goals for your booth staff. What do you hope to achieve by participating in the trade show? Then provide your staff with training on your products or services. This should include a thorough overview of your offerings, as well as any recent updates or changes.

Rule #3: It’s Not Over Until It’s Over

Provide your staff with feedback throughout the training process. This will help them to identify areas where they need improvement and make sure that they are on track to achieve their goals. Pre- and post-show staff meetings keep the team focused on the goals and address any concerns. 

Rule #4: Explore 

It’s not just about what’s happening in the booth. Give them time to explore the show floor, check out competitors, discover new suppliers, and meet with attendees at social events. 

Rule #5: Have fun! 

Attending a trade show should be fun, and trade show booth staff training should be a positive experience for everyone involved. Make sure to create a relaxed atmosphere where your staff can learn and grow.

trade show booth staffing

What to Look for in Trade Show Staff 

Who should be there? That’s easy. Bring employees who know the products or services, who have charismatic people skills, who are personally invested in results, and who participate in pre-show planning or post-show implementation. Two out of four doesn’t cut it. A trade show isn’t a vacation. It’s a strategic investment. Your sales team may check all those boxes, but don’t be afraid to look for superstars in other departments who want to be at the show, understand the products and services, and will WOW! attendees. 

In any pack, there are always the stragglers, the injured, and the just plain stupid. You can ignore them and allow them to be food for your competitors, or you can deal with the problem. The staffer who arrives late sweating tequila and lime, reeking of three cups of espresso, better have a good reason, like entertaining your key client until 4 am. Same with Susie Smartphone or Standing-on-the-Sidelines Sam. This isn’t a soccer tournament for 8-year-olds where everyone gets participation ribbons. It’s a competition where sales, money, and jobs are on the line. Everyone has to pull their share. At tough love companies, the Susies and the Sams get sent home via Greyhound with loose change for vending machine sandwiches.

Trade Show Event Staffing: How to Prep Your Team for Success 

What they know is important. What they do with that knowledge is critical. You want the information dream team in your booth. Whatever the question, there’s someone there who has an answer, can get an answer, and lives to share that information. 

Just knowing stuff isn’t enough. Each staffer must capture every sweet, savory nugget of information the attendee shares. Everyone thinks they’ll remember that game-changing conversation from Day 1. By Day 3, they couldn’t tell you their own spouse’s middle name even if you gave them the first three letters.

Trade shows are exhausting physically and mentally. There is zero chance you’ll remember the details even if you have an eidetic memory. Honestly, the lead retrieval system doesn’t matter. What matters is having a system your group understands and follows. You can’t be a namby-pamby about this. There should be consequences for not adhering to the information capture process.

Trade Show Staffing Strategy & Consulting with Classic Exhibits! 

Booth staff training is an important competitive advantage. Yet, most companies ignore it or simply go through the motions. It’s not automatic. The same energy that went into designing the exhibit, creating the graphics, completing the forms, and arranging the travel and lodging should go into training. It doesn’t happen on its own and well-prepared exhibitors will always own the show floor over their lazy competitors. 

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 to assist with any project. Contact us today whether you need an inline rental display, a double-deck island exhibit, or a contemporary kiosk rental. At Classic, we’re not just different. We’re better.

A Trade Show Exhibitor Walks into a Bar

June 21st, 2023 COMMENTS
An Exhibitor Walks into a Bar

A Trade Show Exhibitor walks into a bar and says to the bartender, “I’ve never been in a bar before, but a friend suggested I try the 20 x 20 Booth Space.”

“That’s a very popular drink,” says the bartender, “especially with my regular customers. The 20 x 20 Booth Space costs $34,000. If you are interested, I have some questions.”

“That seems very expensive,” the Exhibitor replies, “but I’m new to this so why not. What questions do you have?”

“First of all, do you want the Top Shelf liquor or the Bottom Shelf liquor for your 20 x 20 Booth Space?”

“What’s the difference?” asks the Exhibitor.

“Alcohol does the heavy-lifting or work in a drink, and the Booth Space requires several liquors. It’s not optional, but you do have choices on the quality. Top Shelf liquor has the most experience, having aged from 10-20 years. The quality is exceptional and the taste predictable. My best customers always ask for their favorite brand by name. The Bottom Shelf liquor can be cheaper, but it’s also raw, unfiltered, and unpredictable. I’ve received Bottom Shelf liquor aged less than a day, which is a little scary.”

“OK, I’ll have the Top Shelf then,” says the Exhibitor. “I don’t want surprises.”

“That will be an additional $8,000,” the bartender replies.

 “What? The Booth Space drink doesn’t include the liquor?” asks the Exhibitor.

“Oh no, it’s extra. You’ll also need to decide on the mixers — like grenadine, club soda, vermouth — along with the fruit juice and slices, the straw, and an umbrella. Those prices are a la carte and will need to be purchased from the bar. You’re not allowed bring any of those in here.”

“How much are those?”

“Prices range from $1000 to over $10,000. Here’s something you’ll find amusing. Sometimes, I don’t know the prices when I’m mixing the drink, so I charge you after you’ve already finished it.”

“Anything else?” says the Exhibitor.

“You’ll be happy to know that we don’t charge for the glass. That’s included, but we do charge for the weight of the glass, bringing you the glass, taking it away, and then bringing it back to you.”

“Well, that shouldn’t be too expensive, right?”

“Actually” says the bartender sheepishly, “It’s not cheap, and the price can vary from week-to-week and depends on the size of the glass. Cocktail glasses are less expensive than highball glasses. Margarita glasses are the most expensive.”

“So, what are we talking about pricewise and why does the glass fee cost so much?”

“For the 20 x 20 Booth Space drink, I would estimate $12,000 to $15,000. Maybe more. Honestly, the glass fee isn’t really about the glass or my bringing it to you. It covers the building rent, the furnishings, my salary and benefits, the carpet, the other employees you don’t see, and even our annual Holiday Party. It’s really a slush fund for everything else.”

“I had no idea a drink could be so expensive,” the Exhibitor replies. “It seems like a complicated way to run a bar. I’d still like a drink, however. Are there any cheaper options?

“Of course! You might be interested in the Show Rental Special. It comes in multiple sizes and flavors, and you don’t pay for all the extras we discussed before.”

“That’s great!” exclaims the Exhibitor. “Tell me more.”

“OK, do you see those tables over there? Earlier today, we had a large crowd that drank for hours. They were a rough bunch and did considerable damage. However, they left a lot of unfinished drinks. You can have any of those drinks for a reduced price but don’t mix them together. We don’t know how to charge for anything other than standard drinks.”

“Is that really an option? Who would want that?”

“Oh, you would be surprised. People come to bars for lots of reasons. Many come because they don’t know where else to go so they order whatever is the cheapest. They’re looking for the fastest, easiest, and simplest choice, even if it means drinking a Show Rental Special that someone ordered a few days ago. Honestly, we don’t even bother to clean the glasses anymore. Fortunately, we make lots of money on those customers so we’re not complaining.”

“My head is spinning,” says the Exhibitor. “Please tell me there’s a drink for someone like me who wants to come to a bar, drink from a clean glass, and pay one or two of the charges you’ve previously mentioned.”

“There is,” said the bartender. “We have customers who order the Portable/Modular. Generally, it’s a straightforward drink, although there are creative options for those with more sophisticated tastes. The other drinkers in the bar may turn up their nose when you order a Portable/Modular, but I run a no judgement bar so those customers are always welcome. I’ve learned they often order the more expensive drinks when they come back, if I treat them right.”

“I’ll have one of those,” the Exhibitor replied. “Is there one that doesn’t require a glass and comes in its own container?”

“Yes, but now you’re killing me financially. Next, you’ll be saying you’ll want to bring it into the bar from the outside. How’s that going to work?”

“Hey, I appreciate all the helpful advice. I don’t fully understand the business model, but you seem to be doing well. Does anyone ever complain? And who do they complain to?”

“That’s the beauty of this business model,” says the bartender. “They bitch and moan all the time, and I smile, pretend to care, and go about my business. Fortunately, they rarely speak to the right people because those people are somewhat invisible. They’re in charge of all this, but they don’t ask too many questions or seek advice.”  

“One last question. Does anyone ever come in the bar, chat with your customers, and never order a drink?”

“Yes, my customers are good about telling me when that happens, and I escort him or her out of the bar. They usually come back, and I must be more persuasive, if you know what I mean. Sadly, there’s always someone who wants to hang out in a bar, pester my customers about their life, and not buy anything.”


Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufactures portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including Symphony Portable Displays. 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

A Professional’s Guide to Sustainable Exhibits

June 1st, 2023 COMMENTS

If you’re reading this article, then you’re already an excellent candidate for a custom eco friendly exhibit. You may be personally committed to green materials, or your company may have a sustainability initiative. Either way, it’s a positive choice. In this post, we’ll explore what sustainable means when it comes to designing, building, and shipping a “green exhibit.”

Historically, trade shows have not been eco-friendly. There’s the “build and burn” philosophy in some parts of the world where exhibits are abandoned after one use. There’s also the tremendous waste created before, during, and after a show – like packaging, paper, wood, foam, and fabric signs, and flooring. Fortunately, about 15 years ago, show organizers, general contractors, and builders took a (somewhat) more enlightened approach with the goals of more eco-friendly trade shows.

You Can Make a Difference with Our Sustainable Exhibits

As an exhibitor, you can make a difference, and that difference doesn’t have to cost more or compromise your design or marketing goals. Green display materials such as Eco-board, ReCo, and FSC wood products are smart choices that are comparable to non-sustainable materials in performance, look, and feel.  However, none of that matters if you can’t get the design and the features you need in your exhibit.

Thankfully, since 2007, Classic Exhibits has been designing modern ecoSmart Sustainable Displays for our clients ranging from islands to inlines and counters to charging tables. There are hundreds of options and a wide range of designs. 

Why Choose Eco-Friendly Exhibits? 

  • Contemporary, Dynamic Designs
  • Environmentally Friendly Materials
  • Fulfill Your Company’s Sustainability Initiative
  • It’s an easy choice.  There is no downside to going with an Eco-friendly Exhibit.

How Are EcoSmart Displays Sustainable Trade Show Exhibits?

Every Eco-Systems Exhibit starts with sustainable materials. These include:

  • Aluminum Extrusions: 70% recycled content and aluminum is endlessly recyclable.
  • Forest Stewardship Council Wood Products: Certified grown and harvested sustainably.
  • Laminates:  Greenguard Certified.
  • Adhesives:  Water-based, low or VOC free (Volatile Organic Compounds).
  • Eco-Board: Biodegradable polystyrene.
  • ReCo Board:  100% recycled plastics.
  • Eco-Glass: 100% post-industrial recycled acrylic or plexi-glass. 
  • Fabric Graphics: 100% post-consumer material including dye-sub SEG backlit graphics.
  • LED Lights: Lightboxes, accent lights, stem lights, and downlighting.
  • Shipping Cases made from recycled plastics and 100% recyclable when no longer needed. All wood crates are made using FSC Wood.
  • Reusable Packing Materials Made from Recycled Foam

In addition, Eco-Systems exhibits are manufactured in Portland, OR at a sustainably managed facility.

Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits from Classic Exhibits

OK, But Will My Eco Friendly Exhibit Look “Green”?

Do you mean funky, crunchy, or recycled-looking? It can but most exhibitors want a sustainable exhibit with a contemporary look and feel. In other words, no one knows it’s “green” unless you tell them. That applies to 10 ft, 20 ft., islands, and accessories.

10 Eco Friendly Exhibit Examples

Here are some examples from the 200+ kits in the ecoSmart galleries.

Eco Friendly Island Exhibits

Eco Friendly Exhibit
  • ECO-4022:  This modular design, with 10 ft. and 20 ft. inline options, has bright LED Lightboxes, reception counters with locking storage, and even a spacious interior conference room
sustainable exhibit
  • ECO-4055: An elegant island with product shelving and showcases. This design comes with curved headers and a monitor option.
Sustainable Exhibits
  • ECO-4094:  This open design with seating and a reception counter is cost-effective as a purchase or a rental.
green exhibit
  • ECO-4071:  The custom modular design is perfect for the exhibitor with an aggressive show schedule that includes 10 ft, 20 ft., and island booths. The ECO-4071 is easy to reconfigure and includes sustainable options like LED lights, graphics printed on recycled materials, and an aluminum structure. 

Sustainable Inline Exhibits

Sustainable Trade Show Exhibits
  • ECO-1071: Modular and customizable, the ECO-1071 makes it easy to demonstrate products or services on the show floor with casual seating, counters, and rotating tablet displays.
Sustainable Trade Show Exhibits
  • ECO-2060: Big, bold graphics make this an enticing exhibit. There’s even a full-size closet for product samples, coats, purses, and briefcases.
Eco Friendly Exhibit
  • ECO-2113: The perfect balance between backlit graphics and extensive shelving. The curved display counters put your products front and center on the aisle.
Eco Friendly Exhibit
  • ECO-1038-B:  Backlit and beautiful, the ECO-1038 shines with backlit graphics, locking closet storage, and a practical reception counter. Need more space? The ECO-1038-B easily reconfigures to a 10 x 20 with even more storage and backlighting.

Sustainable Exhibit Accessories

Green Exhibits Accessories
  • ECO-42C Reception Counter:  The contemporary design, backlit graphics, and raised plex countertop will attract attention, but it’s the FSC wood, LED lights, and recycled acrylic that make it sustainable. 
sustainable trade show accessories
  • ECO-22C Pedestal:  Attracting shelving options on the aisle are like unicorns. People talk about them but no one can find one. The ECO-22C is the ideal solution for featuring products “front and forward” at a trade show with six adjustable shelves.

How Much Customization is Available with Green Exhibits?

In short, we’ll build whatever you want. The online galleries are idea generators where you can see what’s possible, and mix and match designs to fulfill your specific marketing needs. For example, we have clients in the natural foods industry. Most want a bright and colorful exhibit with extensive shelving and storage, plus convenient counters for sampling. They also need a reconfigurable sustainable exhibit since their shows vary from local tastings when a 10 ft. booth is ideal to an industry show in Las Vegas, Anaheim, or Boston where only an island will do to handle the crowds, meetings, and press conferences.

When it comes to an eco-friendly display, there’s no reason to limit your vision. The materials are comparable in price to non-green materials and have the same construction flexibility.

Eco Friendly Trade Show Exhibit

Is There an Ultimate Sustainable Exhibits Option?

Looking for the ultimate sustainable exhibit for your trade show program? Don’t buy it. Rent it. Rental displays made with sustainable materials are a win-win. They’re constructed with eco-friendly materials, including aluminum, FSC wood, and recycled graphic fabric and substrates. 

Custom rental exhibits are quickly becoming the greenest of green choices for exhibitors who want to make a difference. Many rental exhibits are built with the same materials previously mentioned, come in a variety of sizes and designs, and can be customized for any exhibitor — even from show to show. Rentals give exhibitors the ultimate flexibility to change their messaging without the hassle of ownership.

An eco-friendly rental from Classic Exhibits looks identical to a purchased exhibit. Just imagine your beautiful island display with large LED lightboxes, big overhead signs, conference and meeting rooms, and workstations at a price 40% less than a comparable purchased display.

Rental Island Exhibits | Rental Inline Exhibits | Rental Counters and Accessories

Because rentals are used again and again, as long as the components are functional and attractive, they are more sustainable for the exhibitor and the builder. Plus, at Classic Exhibits, when components can no longer be used, we recycle them – wood, aluminum, and plastic. That may not always happen when an exhibitor decides to dispose of their purchased display.

To view all of the rental designs, click on Rentals or Exhibit Design Search. Or start a conversation with a Classic Exhibits professional about designing a one-of-a-kind custom rental display.

–Mel White


Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufactures portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including Symphony Portable Displays. 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