Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Eco-systems’

Five Amazing Trade Show Exhibit Specials

September 3rd, 2013 COMMENTS

This fall, Classic Exhibits and Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits pulled out all the stops. You’ll discover some of our most exciting exhibit designs at special prices. Click on any display in the Specials Gallery to see the details.

Five Amazing Specials:

#1 Our Biggest Savings Ever on Quadro EO Pop Up Displays

All Quadro EO Pop Up Display are on sale through October 31.  The Quadro EO Self-locking Pop Up has been a favorite of distributors for five years, and now we’ve make it even more irresistible. Whether you order the frame with fabric end caps, with fabric panels, or with graphic panels, they are all on sale for the next 60 days.

#2 Get Port\Land iPad Kiosk Cases at a Promotional Price

The innovative Port\Land iPad Kiosks are already a hit with your customers. Make sure to include the portable case with wheels on the order. The TF-701 cases are discounted from $199 to $165. The rolling case includes the die-cut foam and reusable jigging you’ve come to expect from Classic Exhibits.

#3 Special Savings on Select eSmart Displays

This is a first! eSmart Displays have never been sale before. And not just any designs, it’s 10 of the most popular inlines. If you have not spent time in the eSmart Gallery before, you’re missing a lot. Cool designs at competitive prices. Not to mention so GREEN that Kermit would be jealous.

#4 $200 Bonus on Aero Portable Table Tops

There’s no sexier table top than the Aero Portable. It’s got all the curves, vivid tension fabric graphics, and portable assembly. For anyone wanting to make a visual impact with a “no tools” table top, the Aero Series is the #1 choice. Choose from six of our most popular designs.

#5 10% Sale on Sacagawea Portable Hybrids Plus a Cell Phone Charging Station FREE (where applicable)

This special blows the doors off any previous Sacagawea promotion. Not only are ALL Sacagawea Hybrids on sale, but we’re including a FREE Cell Phone or Tablet Charging Station on those kits with workstations. You have to see this to believe it. You already know that Sacagawea is the VERY BEST AFFORDABLE Hybrid . . . Now it’s even better! Choose from 54 inline kits.

To view all the Specials, go to the Specials Gallery in Exhibit Design Search. Give us a call if you have any questions.

–Mel White


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


2012 “State of the Company” Letter from Kevin Carty

January 19th, 2013 6 COMMENTS

State of the Company

Kevin Carty, Classic Exhibits Inc.

2012 is in the books! The Oregon Ducks are the Fiesta Bowl Champs, and the Mayans left for the golf course rather than finishing their calendar.

The basics. Q1 and Q2 were huge for Classic Exhibits with increases of 19% over 2011. Summer started slower than usual, but finished OK leaving us at a 15% increase through 3 quarters. Then Q4. Oh Q4, how strange you were. October was the second largest month of the year. November was flat. December started out steady, but the last two weeks, with the holidays falling on Tuesday, were mostly silent. In the end, we ended the year with an 11% increase over LY.

The Mix

2012 was a tale of two seasons with one common thread — iPad kiosks! iPad kiosks sold throughout 2012 in unheard of numbers thanks to you. We started with two models in February. That quickly exploded into more than 18 iPad solutions. Aside from Sacagawea, we’ve not seen a product take off and grow so fast.

MOD-1338 iPad Kiosk

But it was the MIX that was interesting. The first half of the year we sold kits. And a lot of them! Be it a 10 x 10 SEGUE, a 10 x 20 Sacagawea, or a 10 x 20 Visionary Designs. You couldn’t walk by the Set-up Area the first six months without seeing a sea of kits.

All the while, we were designing more custom island designs. Some based on older Classic designs that needed updating, but most from scratch by our talented internal team, Mike and Katina, and by two outside contract designers.

The result. In the final six months of the year, Design and Production have been busy building more custom island and inline exhibits. And Design has been especially busy designing new island projects for 2013 Q1 and Q2 shows. Just recently, we were reviewing the builds currently in Production and the ones slotted for late January. Custom Hybrid Inlines and Island Hybrids seem to be the lion share of what we we’re seeing.

Having said that, kits are still our bread and butter. Kits are projected to hold steady in the first six months. All this adds up to a great Q1 for us and for you.


Like 2011 and 2012, 2013 should be another growth year for our Retail build business. That is in large part due to your design teams reaching out into that segment and bringing these unique projects our direction. It’s been a great fit for our capabilities and a healthy layering to our normal trade show builds. This segment of our business, which gets processed and project managed through a different path than our trade show orders, follows a different cycle from our traditional business. This allows us to add capacity and volume without adding expenses. In other words, it’s a “win-win” for Classic and for our Distributors.

New Employees

Katina Rigall joined the Classic Design team in January of 2012. She has become a great face for the department while bringing exceptional design vision and talent.

Jeff Garrett joined the Classic Project Management staff in 2011 actually, but in 2012 moved from Set-up Instructions to a full-time Project Manager. The addition of Jeff’s personality and his attention to detail has given a great boost to an already exceptional team of PM’s at Classic Exhibits. To replace Jeff, we hired Cynthia Geddis, who has transitioned into that role seamlessly.

Jen LaBruzza joined Classic Exhibits in June 2012. She joined as the Western Regional Sales Manager. Her impact was felt immediately. Not just with in the network of distributors, but also internally at Classic. Her bright outlook and approach to business is refreshing, and her customers love her! But we all knew that would be the case.

Tony Bennett joined Classic Exhibits in 2012. Many of you worked with Tony in the past on Exhibit Design Search, but was on a contract basis. Somehow, Mel talked him into joining our crazy family permanently, and we are very grateful. I get comments from distributors weekly that Classic now has someone on staff to help with web-related needs. And Tony is a pro in that arena, especially when it comes to Exhibit Design Search and working with Classic distributors on their websites. It’s a service were proud to offer to Classic Distributors.

SKU (Shared Knowledge University)

Shared Knowledge University

Thanks to the 60 plus distributors who participated in onsite training at Classic Exhibits. We held two SKU sessions: one in April and a second one in September. SKU attendees were immersed in Classic Exhibits, Exhibits NW, ClassicMODUL and Eco-Systems Sustainable over a two-day period. The SKU program combines hands-on product training as well as classroom training.

We will host two SKU sessions in 2013. Please stay tuned for the dates and make plans to attend. Not only will you leave having a better sense for Classic and its family of companies, but you will also get to understand the true meaning of “Portlandia.” [Keep Portland Weird]

Custom House Partnerships

A big focus for us in 2012 was partnering with more Custom Houses as their inline, small island, rental and extrusion provider for their in-house clients. As in much of business, relationships are the key. Mel, Reid, Jen, and Jim Shelman did a great job forging new and reinforcing existing Custom Partners for Classic Exhibits this past year.

The Classic Town Calls were created in 2012 as a quarterly webinar to talk about the previous quarter and what to expect next quarter.

Kudos to Mel on this. The Town Calls are designed to be an hour long “checking in” from us to you and from you to us. It’s a really helpful way to connect off the show floor and out of the normal course of business and see what’s going on. Our goal is to provide nuggets of content that you will find useful selling Classic products and running your business in general. And, to get “immediate” feedback from you on trends and issues.

In addition to the Town Calls, Classic conducted educational webinars throughout the year on Hybrid Displays, New Designs Trends, Rental Trends, Exhibit Design Search Tricks and Tips, and Social Media.


ClassicMODUL expands yet again! The latest ClassicMODUL depot opened in August in St Louis, MO. The new operation provides not just raw metal access to builders in the Midwest and parts of the East, but also provides CNC bending like our NW facility! This is a HUGE addition for Tom Jones and his staff, giving them an even broader reach and capabilities.

ClassicMODUL also modified its Pricebook in 2012. If you have not taken the time to review the new prices, please do. In conjunction with having material in virtually every part of the USA (Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, and West Coast), saving you shipping dollars, the prices of many extrusions and accessories dropped a bit as well. Contact Tom if you have any questions or projects you would like to compare against your existing provider of engineered aluminum extrusions.

Classic Rentals

Island Rental Exhibit

Jim Shelman and James Sharpe, along with their great staff, should take a bow for another strong year in the Rental Division. Their success reflects their willingness to take on new challenges and innovative designs that other suppliers reject as “non-rental.” We expect the Rental Division to continue its double-digit growth this year as more and more Classic Distributors turn to hybrid rentals as a viable and cost-effective solution for their clients.

Thanks guys for all your hard work

Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits

In 2012, Classic Exhibits acquired an even larger share in this great company. While all Marketing, Sales, General Management, and Accounting are in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Production and Project Management has shifted to our facility in Portland. Tim Hanley is the Project Management Lead onsite at Classic and another project manager has recently been added. We expect Eco-Systems Sustainable sales to continue to grow at a rapid pace.

Much of Eco-Systems prosperity has been the result of their innovative designs. They have a unique vision on hybrid displays, one very different from Classic. They added a new Director of Design, Lisa Koskela, in 2012. Her eye for design and creative sense is continuing to chart a great course for Eco-Systems along with Eric Albery’s focus on relationship sales. We are very excited and proud of our relationship with their group.


Classic participated in three major events in 2012:  EXHIBITOR, the inaugural E2MA Conference, and EDPA ACCESS.

EXHIBITOR Show was nothing short of spectacular. As a company, it was clearly our best presentation in 20 years. We showed off not just our inline creativity, but also our large scale island capability. Thanks to those who attended EXHIBITOR and stopped by to see us on the floor and at our hospitality suite. It was a pleasure seeing you and hearing your thoughts on the industry. Your input makes a big difference in how we plan our future.

The E2MA Conference was in July in Chicago. This was the first event for the new formed association, a marriage of the former TSEA and the EACA. Jim Wurm and his entire group did a terrific job of providing compelling content. But more importantly, they did a great job of listening and then taking what they heard and applying it to the association’s mission moving forward as evidenced in their recent publishing of “The Rising Costs of General Service Contractors Services” study. Very well done!

EDPA ACCESS. My favorite event in so many ways. I once again left ACCESS 2012 inspired by my peers and by the direction of our industry. I truly believe that there continues to be an “out with the old and in with the new” push in our industry which is much needed. And EDPA and all its members seem united in moving forward in a positive direction.

One more event that I would like to reflect on from 2012 . . .

On September 23, 2012 “The Club” rode . . .  Club 815 Powered by the EDPA Foundation. It was a motley crew of exhibit industry folks, and one stepdad (mine), who joined together to raise money for Mike Swartout, our Design Director at Classic Exhibits. And of course we were supported by you through your well wishes, prayers and donations. We raised a very large chunk of much needed money for Mike and his lovely wife Janet to offset their rising medical bills.

And yes, we rode up a several multi-mile hills with a steady 45 mph head wind with gusts up to 75 mph on occasion. While I have thanked all the men and women who rode with me, I want to thank you for making that event an opportunity to help out a family member in our industry. You did amazing work.

Onto 2013 and let’s get excited about it. The simple fact is that we are on a slow recovery from the recession, but we are recovering a bit at a time.

Thank you for your support of Classic Exhibits, ClassicMODUL, ExhibitsNW, Classic Rentals, and Eco-Systems. We could not do what we do or put food on our families plates without your support and trust in us daily. So on behalf of Classic Exhibits Inc., thank you for a great 2012!

Here’s to an exciting and profitable 2013 together!!!!

Kevin Carty
Vice President
Classic Exhibits Inc.


What’s Going On?: Word on the Street — July 4th thru July 8th

July 10th, 2011 COMMENTS
What's Going On

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Lots of Exciting News

This week, I’d like to recap some recent press, promos, and blogs. There’s a lot going on in the world of Classic. We’re relentless . . .  but that’s one of the many reasons you love us (and why we love you).

Recently, Classic Exhibits/ClassicMODUL participated in a feature article for Exhibit City News. The article was an interview with three manufacturer representatives about aluminum extrusion trends. Take a look and tell us what you think. It’s more interesting than the topic would lead you to believe.

If you missed it, we have a groovy Summer of Love promotion going on right now. Otherwise know as the “Booths with Benefits” Special.

Get a FREE 22″ LCD Monitor with the purchase of any Sacagawea Hybrid unit with a workstation between now and August 31, 2011. Yeah Baby Yeah!!

If you would like the “native” file of this promotion so you can re-brand it and send it to your customer email list, you can download it from this location. Now is a great time to build excitement for those fall shows.

And lest we forget . . .  Lt. Colonel “Big Daddy” Reid Sherwood (inside joke) was recently featured in a great piece by Jeff Abramson from MaxYourImage on current Exhibit Trends. Very well done and spot on!

MaxYourImage: New Display Ideas from Reid Sherwood

Classic Exhibits participated in an Open House at Atlantic Exhibits in Philadelphia in early June. We weren’t content to collect business cards from the attendees. Instead, we decided to collect jokes. The winning joke won an Amazon Kindle. To see a compilation of the best and lamest jokes, view the YouTube post.

Finally, you might enjoy reviewing a timeline of Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits, created by Eric Albery, the VP of Marketing and Business Development. The timeline highlights many of the important events that have shaped Eco-Systems, including the development of many eco-friendly first materials and product lines.

Eco-systems Timeline

The Eco-systems Sustainable Visual Timeline

Have a safe and restful weekend.

–Kevin Carty

Five Months into a Great Year: Word on the Street — May 31st thru June 3rd

June 5th, 2011 COMMENTS
Five Months into a Great Year!

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Five Months into a Great Year!

So how have the first  months been for you and your company?

At the Classic Exhibits family of companies, I am delighted to report that 2011 has been different . . . and good . . . and surprising. And not just in terms of sales, but also in terms of product development and overall economic recovery.

In Q1, we posted our second largest quarter in the company’s history. A BIG thanks to our dedicated distributors for your sales efforts. You made it possible.

We had several real standout projects in the first five months that deserve a mention.

  • Comcast/Xfinity demonstrated our ability to design, build, and install a large retail interior project. For photos and a project history, see last week’s WOTS blog.
  • Boston Scientific was a great example of showing an old dog new tricks. 🙂 You would have been amazed to see the final project. We took an Intro Fabric Panel System and dressed it up with accessories normally seen on Visionary Designs Hybrid Systems.
  • Display Supply and Lighting’s EXHIBITOR 2011 exhibit. It’s probably my favorite display of the year to be honest. It really highlighted the use of TSP Profiles from ClassicMODUL, SEG fabric from Optima Graphics, and custom programmed LED lighting from Display Supply and Lighting. Take a look at the video we posted on our website. It is worth seeing (even if you’ve seen it before).
The Easy Button

Staple's Easy Button

And many, many more. In addition to the customized kits, there was a steady stream of standard and non-standard hybrids, an intriguing mix of modified counters and workstations, and then a rather bizarre mix of Aero Overhead and Freestanding projects. And, Aero Table Tops came back with a vengeance (you gotta love those high tech and medical companies).

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the amazing growth of Eco-systems Sustainable as well. Kudos to their whole team of course, but I would especially like to acknowledge the great design and marketing  by Michael McCord and Eric Albery. They really have helped to set Eco-systems apart from any of their competitors. Take a look at just one terrific example:  a very custom 10 x 10 for Google.

Exhibits Northwest Portland and Seattle have both seen a tremendous growth in 2011 as well. They started strong with CES in January by working with local companies and Classic distributors on new builds and rentals. But even beyond January, they have embraced new channels within their existing markets. The Comcast order by Tyler Poage and the Malarky order by Laura Magdalen are great examples.

Last but not least, ClassicMODUL. They started the year with the addition of a new Southeast Extrusion Depot (in Birmingham, AL).  Tom Jones, our CM guru, has really pushed hard to increase business in the retail and architectural markets. Not that ClassicMODUL is new to those markets by any means, but corporately we have been pushing to increase aluminum extrusion volume outside trade shows in 2011. Well done Tom!

As we head into June and July, traditionally slower sales months, all of the Classic companies plan to focus on the development of new products, services, and market opportunities. Often, it is the “unique” opportunities you bring us that guide us to develop those new products, service, and markets. So please don’t hesitate to bring new or unique ideas our way.

Thanks again for your support. On behalf of the entire Classic team, I hope you have a safe, enjoyable, and rewarding summer.

Be well!

–Kevin Carty

Classic’s Green Initiatives: Word on the Street — May 16th thru May 20th

May 21st, 2011 COMMENTS

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Classic’s Green Initiatives (What You Should Know)

So, you may be saying, “Well it’s about time!” But not so fast.

Over the past three to four years, we have witnessed a lot of companies  jump, or should I say “belly-flop,” into the Green/Sustainable movement. In doing so, many have looked foolish by attempting to make “Green” a marketing ploy rather than a responsible business plan. I’m sure you’ve seen many of the claims. My favorite was the exhibit manufacturer that claimed their lunchroom was a green initiative since many employees ate there rather than drive to a fast food joint.

As a result, we have opted not to market a green plan that is not real. Instead, we have taken real steps to become a more responsible business when it comes to recycling and being a steward of the environment.

Granted, we’ve had help. As many of you know, we acquired ownership in Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits last June. But even before that, we had a very close partnership with Eco-systems where we provided manufacturing expertise to Eco-systems, and they, in turn, guided us toward more sustainable manufacturing processes.

Again, this has been a learning process for Classic Exhibits — one we are still learning almost daily. We still have a long way to go, but our Production and Administrative employees are clearly passionate about it. Make no mistake, we will continue to become more and more environmentally conscious. But understand one thing. It’s unlikely we’ll refer to Classic as a “Green Company” anytime soon. Because we are not. For exhibit solutions that are 100% “Eco-friendly,” we encourage you to turn to Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits, the industry leader in sustainable displays.

Here are a few of the Green/Sustainable changes in our manufacturing process over the past few years.

recycle, reuse, reduce

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce

1. Eco-fi Fabric

Classic uses Eco-fi fabrics, which are made from recycled soda bottles, for many of our fabric needs. Whether it’s on Quadro Pop-ups, Intro Folding Fabric Systems, Euro LT Modular panels (backsides), or the wood crates that we line with fabric and completely jig for your displays.

2. Glues

Classic primarily uses 3M’s Fastbond 3000, a water-based adhesive. It’s a replacement for many of the standard glues of the past which were not only unsafe for the environment, but also did not work as well.

3. Metal Recycling

You can’t be the leader in hybrid exhibit manufacturing and MODUL aluminum extrusions without metal drops. Nearly every order creates drops whether it’s Aero Overhead Hanging Signs, Visionary Designs Hybrids, Sacagawea, or specialty work on our CNC mill. We work with a local company called Metro Metals. They pick up our drops for recycling and pay us for the metal.

4. Aluminum Extrusions

We are very fortunate to work with a local aluminum extruder that believes in using as much regrind aluminum as possible in their billets. So much so, that they are the only extruder we know that certifies the recycled content of their billets with a 27 percent post consumer minimum! Combine that with the fact that they recycle their own drops off the extrusion press (post industrial) and you get a level of recycled content that often exceeds 70 percent.

5. Sheet Goods

Like others in our business, we use a lot of sheet goods:  Sintra, Lexan, Styrene, Coroplast, Black Foam, Acrylic, Laminate, and certainly Wood.

On the plastics, we developed a program with a local company, Denton Plastics, where they pickup our drops and recycle it into reusable pellets. With a simple series of labeled drop bins, our shop staff has someplace other than the trash to throw even the smallest pieces of laminate and acrylic scraps. Which leads me to the next item . . . .

6. Regrind Cases and Black Foam

All of Classic’s roto-molded cases  are made from 100% regrind plastic. The beauty is that the plastic pellets used to make our regrind cases are supplied by Denton Plastics, the same company that recycles all of our sheet good drops (except the wood of course). So, the drops we produce are actually in some cases recycled into pellets that are then used by our local roto-molder to make our cases. Pretty cool and a fast reclamation of goods.

In addition, the die-cut foam packaging you’ve come to expect and love from Classic is made from recycled content. The next time you receive a Sacagawea or a Perfect 10 and open a roto-molded case (regrind plastic), unpack the MODUL aluminum (recycled content), and admire the packaging (recycled foam), you’re witnessing our commitment to finding green solutions.

7. Wood

Classic has many local options for recycling our wood drops as well. All of which, like the plastics, get ground down and then sold for re-use in either recycled sheet goods or other recycled wood products.

8. Cardboard and Paper

Recycling cardboard and paper has always been easy. We’ve been recycling all our paper products for years.

So rather than send out press releases about how we encourage carpooling, or how our systems are reconfigurable, or how we offer a substantial rental program, all of which make us green somehow, we’ll continue to take it one positive step at a time and learn from our suppliers, our employees, and from our partner Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits.

Be well.

–Kevin Carty