Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Exhibition’

Classic Exhibits Products + Services Summary Sheet

November 6th, 2023 COMMENTS

For years, we’ve joked that Distributors often describe Classic Exhibits based on their last order. We build “custom exhibits” or “portable displays” or “charging solutions.” Or we’re a “rental provider” … Which makes Jim Shelman very, very happy.

It’s not unusual to hear, “I didn’t know you did fill in the blank.” Which can be as simple as iPad Stands or as comprehensive as Sustainable Exhibits.

Core Products + Essential Services

To address this, we created a downloadable Products and Services Summary Sheet. Does it include EVERYTHING? No, but it’s close enough for fill in the blank.

If you’re wondering why there’s not an unbranded version, the answer is simple. This document is for you (Classic Distributors), not end-users. Franky, we don’t care if they know what we do. We only care that you know what we do. And now you do.

Please take a moment to download it. Let us know if you have an questions.

Classic Exhibits Products and Services Sheet
Classic Exhibits Products and Services Sheet

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 is a Trade Show?

July 24th, 2023 COMMENTS
what is a trade show

Have you ever told a colleague, friend, or relative that you’re attending a trade show and they look at you with a puzzled expression? It’s as if they’ve heard the word “trade show” before, but don’t quite know what it means. They may say, “Do you mean like the local RV and boat show or the holiday craft fair?” Yes… and no. 

Trade Show, as a term, is often used interchangeably with other similar words like conventions, exhibitions, conferences, trade fairs, symposiums, and expos. And while they are similar, trade shows, and in particular professional trade shows, have a specific definition.  Oddly enough, a trade show may include a conference, a symposium, and an expo, which only adds to the confusion. Let’s untangle this with both an official definition and a more loosey-goosey definition based on real-life experience.  

What is a Trade Show? 

A trade show is an exhibition organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products and services, meet with industry partners and customers, study the activities of rivals, and examine recent market trends and opportunities. Trade shows are typically held in convention centers or hotels, and they can last for a few days or even weeks.

There are trade shows for all sorts of industries, from technology to manufacturing to healthcare. Some of the largest trade shows in the world include the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, and the International Builders’ Show (IBS).

trade fair

Our Trade Show Definition 

For most companies and attendees, a trade show is an opportunity — both professionally and personally. It’s hard work with long hours and an unofficial vacation. It’s a chance to hang with colleagues, meet industry influencers, and check out the competition. There are educational sessions, keynote speakers, award ceremonies, and receptions. Good food. Bad food. And too much of both. Sore feet and not enough sleep. And the thrill of meeting a new client with a massive order for the right supplier. 

All too often, however, trade show exhibitors and attendees treat a show as a vacation and/or a party. They don’t prepare, don’t plan, don’t create goals. It’s a week away from the office on the company’s dime. And while they may recognize the show as a “sales and marketing” opportunity, they don’t actively prepare for it by engaging in pre-show marketing or contacting existing or potential clients before the show. To them, it’s an event and what happens happens. Hopefully something wonderful, but there’s no way to predict it. 

Those are the exhibitors and the attendees who report back after the show that “it was a waste of time.”  

What is the Purpose of a Trade Show

What is the Purpose of a Trade Show? 

Trade shows are perfect for learning about new products and services, meeting potential customers, and generating sales leads. They can also be a great way to network with other industry professionals.

If you are considering attending a trade show, you’ll need to make sure that the trade show is relevant to your industry. Second, you need to plan your visit carefully. This includes deciding which exhibitors to visit, who you want to meet, and how you want to spend your time. Third, you need to dress professionally and be prepared to network.

Here are five benefits of attending a trade show:

  1. Learn about new products and services: Trade shows are a great way to learn about new products and services available in your industry. You can see demonstrations of new products, talk to the people who make them, and get your hands on samples.
  2. Meet with potential customers and partners: Trade shows are a great way to meet with potential customers and partners. You can introduce yourself to people who are interested in your products or services, and you can learn more about their needs.
  3. Generate leads: Trade shows are a great way to generate leads. You can collect business cards, sign up people for email lists, and schedule follow-up meetings.
  4. Network with other professionals: Trade shows are a great way to network with other professionals in your industry. You can meet people who work for your competitors, suppliers, and customers.
  5. Learn about industry trends: Trade shows are a great way to learn about industry trends. You can hear from experts, attend seminars, and see what other companies are doing.

If you are considering attending a trade show, I encourage you to do your research and find one that is relevant to your industry. With a little planning, you can make the most of your time at the show and come away with valuable insights and contacts.

Exhibition Stand

What Are Trade Shows That I Can Attend? 

There are thousands of trade shows in North America and tens of thousands worldwide. Even the most aggressive exhibitor only attends a fraction of these. In reality, you’ll probably only attend trade shows relevant to your profession or personal interests. 

Before deciding which show to attend, either as an attendee or as an exhibitor, contact friends or colleagues who have gone to the show in the past. They’re the best source of information about whether the trade show would benefit you and/or your company.

There are several search tools for finding shows in North America and Internationally. 

  •  EventsEye – Free source for locating trade shows, exhibitions, and conferences worldwide. 
  • 10 Times – Search by events, venues, companies, and the Top 100 Events worldwide. 
  • The Tradeshow Calendar – Global search engine for B2B trade exhibitions with a strong North American database.
  • EXHIBITOR Calendar – Search by show names, dates, city, country, and attendees/exhibitors.
  • TradeFairDates – In addition to an international trade show search engine, you can also find trade show suppliers.

Tradeshow Exhibit

How to Prepare for Your First Trade Fair, Show, or Exhibition 

Here are some tips on how to prepare for your first trade show:

  • Set goals: What do you hope to achieve by attending the trade show? Do you want to generate leads, make sales, or simply learn about new products and services? Once you know your goals, you can start to develop a plan to achieve them.
  • Choose the right trade show: There are trade shows for all sorts of industries, so it’s important to choose one that’s relevant to your business. You should also consider the size of the trade show, the date and location, and the cost of attendance.
  • Plan your trade show exhibit: Your exhibit is your chance to make a good first impression on potential customers and partners. So make sure it’s well-designed, well-lit, and informative. You should also have plenty of brochures, business cards, and other promotional materials on hand.
  • Create a trade show marketing plan: A trade show marketing plan can help you reach your goals by identifying your target audience, developing a message, and creating a budget. You should also consider using social media, email marketing, and other online channels to promote your trade show participation.
  • Train your staff: Your staff is the face of your company at the trade show, so it’s important to make sure they’re well-trained. They should know your products or services inside and out, and they should be able to answer any questions potential customers may have.
  • Attend pre-show events: Many trade shows offer pre-show events, such as seminars and workshops. These events can be a great way to learn about the latest trends in your industry and network with other professionals.
  • Arrive early: It’s important to arrive early at the trade show so you can set up your booth and get a feel for the layout. This will help you make the most of your time at the show.
  • Be prepared to network: Networking is one of the most important things you can do at a trade show. So make sure you bring plenty of business cards and be prepared to talk to people.
  • Follow up with leads: After the trade show, be sure to follow up with any leads you generated. This could involve sending them an email with more information about your products or services or setting up a meeting to discuss their needs.

what is a trade show

Maximize Trade Show Success with Classic Exhibits! 

If you are new to trade shows, don’t go at it alone. The rules, regulations, and informal information can be daunting and the jargon opaque and confusing. Do your homework whether that’s online articles or blogs or by reading books like Build a Better Trade Show Image or Tradeshow Success. And always work with a trade show professional at an exhibit house or industry consultant. Their expertise will not only save you money over time but also maximize your ROI at each trade show by following proven strategies. 

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 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


October 21st, 2021 COMMENTS
EXHIBITORLIVE 2021 in Las Vegas

Just Get Me on a Plane!

Thirty-two months have passed since EXHIBITORLIVE 2019… Nearly three years. We understand not everyone will be attending for a variety of logistical, financial, and personal reasons. And that’s OK. For those who will be in Las Vegas, either as an attendee or an exhibitor, let’s connect – before, during, or after show hours.

The Classic EXHIBITORLIVE team will be Kevin Carty, Mel White, Jim Shelman, Jen LaBruzza, Katina Rigall Zipay, and Harold Mintz.

For those not attending, we will be hosting a live feed on Tuesday. See below for details.

Booth Space and Times

Classic Exhibits at EXHIBITORLIVE 2021
Classic Exhibits, Booth 324

To visit the Classic booth, turn right and head to the perimeter wall, a 10 x 30 booth (#324). We have lots and lots to show you, like the NEW Symphony Portable System. We’ll also have examples of the tool-less Gravitee Wall System and SuperNova Lightbox, along with a wireless charging table, hand sanitizer stand, and custom counter.

If you are unavailable during normal show hours, visit us during the Strategic Partner hours:  Monday 4 – 5:30 pm and Tuesday 8:30 – 10 am. And if those don’t work, then contact us. Each of us has our secret hiding place before and after show hours where we’ll be happy to treat you to a coffee or a drink. If you get there on Sunday, Jim and Mel will be in Las Vegas pretending it’s not Halloween. Harold will be wearing his Sam Elliot costume. As usual.

Our Live Feed, Tuesday November 2

Kevin Carty at EXHIBITORLIVE 2021

If you’re not going to the show, Classic still wants you to experience EXHIBITORLIVE. On Tuesday, November 2, Kevin will host a live one-hour chat. He’ll stroll through the show and meet and greet attendees and exhibitors. You’ll see the Classic booth, chat with some interesting guests, and walk the floor. All live… so it’s bound to be entertaining (and perhaps a little post-Halloween scary).


  • Day One Review of Show (attendees, traffic flow, atmosphere)
  • Current Protocols on the Show Floor
  • Trends in Exhibit Design from the Show Floor
  • Feedback from Attendees

Click HERE to join the Live Feed on Tuesday.  

The New Product Showcase

Symphony Portable Display System
Symphony SYK-1029

Surprise. Surprise. Our entry is the Symphony Portable Display System. We won’t launch into a sales pitch, which took an impressive amount of self-control.

Instead, we invite you to visit the New Product Showcase page and scroll past the losers to the “S” listing. Yes, that was mean and snarky, but we’re not in the New Product Showcase for a participation trophy. We intend to win!

If you happen to see any of the judges roaming the floor, don’t be shy about asking them if they’ve seen the remarkable

Treasure Hunt w/ Prizes

Who doesn’t love a Treasure Hunt where winning valuable prizes is only half the fun? We do! And you will too!

EXHIBITORLIVE 2021 Treasure Hunt Game

Captello, a lead capture and interactive gaming company, has organized a treasure hunt with 10 stops. Simply visit the Captello booth to get started (#942 and #544), and then scan the QR codes at each stop, like at Classic Exhibits.

Treasure Hunt at EXHIBITORLIVE 2021

For bonus points, Classic Exhibits has designed a Symphony Memory Match game. Complete it in 2 minutes or less and you’re on your way to winning a year’s supply of Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat. Or something like that. The details are a little fuzzy to us right now.  

If you want to play the Memory Match for fun, click on this LINK. But be warned. It’s a little addictive.  

WIE Booth and Breakfast

Women in Exhibitions at EXHIBITORLIVE 2021

The Women in Exhibitions annual breakfast will be on Tuesday, November 2 from 8-10 am at the Border Grill in Mandalay Bay. Register HERE:

The discussion topic will be “5 Key Skillsets to Know and Hone Now” with an expert panel consisting of:

  • Moderator: Liz Nacron, Partner, President Creative and Production, Live Marketing
  • Kent Agramonte, Marketing Director, beMatrix USA
  • Jen LaBruzza, Holistic Health Coach and National Sales Manager, Classic Exhibits
  • Anne Trompeter, Partner, Strategic Account Development, Live Marketing
  • Kelly Noonan, Global Event Marketing Manager, Tate&Lyle

You can also visit the WIE at booth #1428 on the EXHIBITORLIVE show floor. WIE can’t wait to see you there!

Women In Exhibitions at EXHIBITORLIVE 2021


  • Diamond – EXHIBITOR Media Group, Classic Exhibits, Reality Engineering, Optima, Hill&Partners
  • Platinum – Brumark, CORT Events
  • Gold – Access TCA, Design Factory, Genesis Exhibits
  • Silver – EDPA Las Vegas Chapter, 21st Century, Steelhead, Live Marketing, beMatrix, NuVista, ASTOUND, Willwork, HT Connect
  • Bronze – Team Worldwide, Poretta&Orr, ExhibitForce, Crepe’s A Latte, Eagle Management

Not registered yet. Register for free by entering Code 4044 for a Free Hall Pass compliments of (you guessed it) Classic Exhibits. Register HERE.

See you in Vegas Baby!

Three Trade Show Islands with Post-COVID Protection Features

February 3rd, 2021 COMMENTS

Exhibit Designers, like those at Classic Rental Solutions, are being tasked by exhibitors to create trade show islands with Post- COVID-19 safety features. Those features include hand sanitizer stands, acrylic safety dividers, and social distancing demo areas.

The rental island designs below illustrate three concepts. Rather than create fixed entrances and exits which would be challenging to monitor and maintain, these designs emphasize individual demo stations, partitions, and social distancing. These all assume mask and sanitation protocols not only during the show but also before and after show hours.

Post-COVID Island Designs

Trade Show Rental Islands with Post-COVID Protection Features
Trade Show Rental Islands with Post-COVID Protection Features
Trade Show Rental Islands with Post-COVID Protection Features