Classic Exhibits Inc. announces the addition of Harold Mintz to the Classic Family. As a Regional Sales Manager, Harold will work alongside Jen LaBruzza, the National Sales Manager, to support the Classic Distributor Partner Network throughout North America.
Harold brings over 20 years of trade show and event experience to Classic with previous leadership positions at custom houses, a portable/modular manufacturer, and a graphic printer. More recently, he worked in the entertainment industry for seven years as the Communications Director for Shady Acres Entertainment.
According to Kevin Carty, VP, “On behalf of the entire Classic Family of companies, we are excited to have Harold join us. Harold brings not just a wealth of industry knowledge, but also a great creative and inquisitive approach to relationships. He will compliment Jen LaBruzza and her efforts in creating, building, and maintaining our partnerships in North America.
On a personal note, I have known Harold for 20 plus years — first as
friendly competitors which then quickly developed into a friendship. When asked internally about Harold, I tell my colleagues, ‘He is one of us’ meaning he fits our culture and how we view the relationship between Classic and our Distributor Partners. I am excited to work with him professionally.”
Harold states, “The trade show industry is chock full of creative, talented people. Classic has all that, plus a supportive, dynamic culture. I believe my background in sales, politics, training, and public speaking combined with Classic’s capabilities are a perfect fit. I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the Classic Family. I look forward to working with the Distribution Network.”
On a separate note, for those who know Harold, you are familiar with his passion for organ donation programs. He states, “I donated my left kidney back in 2000. It was one of the best and most impactful things I’ve ever done. I often speak to groups large and small about the life-saving benefits of organ donation.”
Classic Exhibits Inc., based in Portland, OR, designs and manufactures trade show, retail, and corporate environments for over 200 independent distributor partners. For the past two years, Classic Exhibits has been named a Find It Top 40 Exhibit Builder by EXHIBITOR Magazine.
Jen LaBruzza, the National Sales Manager for Classic Exhibits, sure gets around. Let me rephrase that… Jen travels, rather extensively, visiting Classic Distributor Partners, which gives her a unique perspective on industry trends. In addition, she hears from small one or two person distributors and from larger custom houses with over a 1000 employees.
Jen shared her thoughts on the industry and Classic Exhibits in the interview below. Her answer to Q6 is a must read.
Q1. You talk, email, and text with Classic Distributor Partners every day, which makes you the resident Distributor Whisperer. What’s that like?
The fact that I have worked in many facets of our industry really allows me to step into a distributor partner’s shoes. Whether it’s helping a distributor partner come up with a gallery of design ideas or showing up in a hot pink polo shirt on setup to make sure an install is going well, I love helping our distributor partners succeed.
Q2. What do most people get right (or wrong) about Classic Exhibits?
Well… there are two things really they get wrong:
1.That our primary focus is as a portable/modular manufacturer. While we still VERY much pride ourselves on creating the best portable hybrid designs in the industry I think it surprises many people when I tell them that the largest growth segment in our revenue stream is custom, in the purest sense of the industry definition. Log on to our Peek-A-Booth on any given day and you will see the wide variety of projects on our setup floor. It’s ASTOUNDING!
2.That we sell direct. As Kevin mentioned in his State of the Company Letter, we are a non-direct selling company that is largely invisible to end-users. That is by design (although makes Mel’s job harder), and we all believe it’s ALWAYS being about our Distributor Partner’s brands. In so many ways besides, packaging, branded Exhibit Design Searches, and setup instructions. Our Classic Distributor Partners are always a primary focus for what we do as a team and company. It’s in our DNA.
Q3. What was your proudest accomplishments/moments in 2018 as the National Sales Manager for Classic Exhibits?
First, being recognized by our industry peers and partners for being #1 in Service and Reliability for all Exhibit Builders in North America. Words can’t even describe the pride I felt accepting that award with Kevin on behalf of Classic Exhibits at EXHIBITORLIVE last year. Second, helping a long-time Distributor Partner win a FANTASTIC project that catapulted their business to the next level. It was one of those A-HA! moments where everything clicks into place and many years of consistent partnership paid off for all.
Q4. At EXHIBITORLIVE 2019, what are the three questions you want attendees or Distributor Partners to ask you about Classic Exhibits?
Why does Classic only sell through Distribution Partners?
What is your favorite Classic Exhibits product and why? Hint: It didn’t just fall from a tree!
Why should I consider Classic Exhibits as a partner for my custom build projects moving into 2019?
Q5. What were the biggest trends you saw in 2018? Any predictions about 2019?
I think the biggest trend was the continued push for custom projects both for trade shows and non-trade shows. Call, email, text me or better yet…come to EXHIBITORLIVE and ask (see #3 above :D). I’m happy to give insight on this value proposition, and how and why you should be leveraging it.
As far as 2019 is concerned, what I have seen on the show floor so far is the continued focus for brands telling their stories with visual engagement. Whether that’s with large video wall presentations, bold use of graphics in lightboxes, or interesting themes and shapes. The limits are constantly extending beyond your traditional exhibits even in inlines.
Creative use of space is VERY in right now! The smart exhibitors are opening up their inline spaces and instead of using the standard 6 ft table, skirt and chairs to “supplement” their backwall, they are adding in bistro height charging tables or lower soft seating. And lightboxes are favorites for those wanting to engage in their inline spaces as well.
Q6. You visit with Distributor Partners all across North America. What advice do you give them when they ask about increasing their sales?
Every market is different, but there are several commonalities for increasing sales in the exhibit/event space.
1. Stop using Rentals as a “Hail Mary”! Lead with purchase and rental options because either way you make money. And if we are all honest with ourselves, rentals gives your a greater opportunity to engage the client show after show.
2.Move away from the commodities. Yes, some customers need them. Yes, some customers will never move beyond them, but that doesn’t mean your business has to stagnate. Don’t shy away from those larger projects because you don’t have in-house capabilities. Lean on us as your manufacturing partner. Which really brings me to…
3. Engage the Classic Exhibits Design Department. The closure rate for projects that have started with a Classic Designer being involved on a discovery call with your client is about 80%. 80%!
Q7. What do many exhibitors not understand about trade shows?
This is face-to-face marketing people! Which means you need to engage people. Don’t think that you can show up and stand in your booth and wait for people to walk in and ask questions. Say hello, offer them some candy, have a charging table where they can charge their phone while you give them your elevator pitch. Looping a video is GREAT! But again, smile, say hello, don’t just let the video do the talking. There is no substitution for that one-on-one interaction. And for god’s sake, please don’t EAT in your booth!
Q8. Rentals have become more popular over the past six years. Any idea why?
Flexibility and budget! Many trade show budgets have become quarterly spends vs. annual capital expenditures. A custom exhibit rental gives exhibitors the flexibility of staying on budget while still meeting their trade show marketing goals. Plus, they are able to try different things, repeating graphics that work, or modifying a design to better engage their attendees.
And if we are truly honest with ourselves, as trade show sales people, an exhibit rental gives us more opportunities to interact with a customer as their need becomes quarterly or annual vs. every three years for a purchase.
2019 is going to be an EXCITING Year! We are proud of every. single. opportunity we get from our Distributor Partners. Thank YOU for trusting us with your business!
Visit Classic Exhibits Inc. at www.classicexhibits.com. You can contact Jen LaBruzza, National Sales Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her at EXHIBITORLIVE in Booth #1623. Use Code 4044 when registering for a FREE show hall pass.
November in Portland, OR. Overcast. Rainy. Brisk. Nine games into the Portland Trail Blazers schedule. And, if you believe Kevin, the U of O Ducks football team is undefeated and headed to a national championship. Sounds like the ideal time to visit the Rose City for Shared Knowledge University.
As always, seats are limited. Contact Jen LaBruzza (email@example.com) if you have questions. See below for details and click on the image to watch the official SKU video (nice job Glenna!).
Returning home from our Spring/Summer session of Shared Knowledge University, I was struck by a quote from the airline magazine. It was an article on food. This particular restaurateur, when asked about the time and preparation that goes into making food for his customers, was quoted as saying, “We want to engage in life, not just a transaction.” Whoa! After spending two days engaging with an exceptional group of exhibit house and strategic partners, I couldn’t have described the experience any better myself.
It brings to mind something that I am often asked about, “What makes Classic Exhibits different?” It’s my opportunity to speak about our culture of sharing and creating. Sharing our innovation and production capabilities to help your clients engage their audience on the trade show floor is a primary focus for us. It’s never about rolling up to bin A12 and pulling a complete 10×10, 10×20, or island exhibit design off the shelf and sending it off to Las Vegas or Chicago. It’s about choices. Laminate, graphics, monitors, hanging signs, charging tables. The list for design and engagement opportunities goes on. I think we are hitting our stride in that way. The options for creating and building a design are vast. Helping our partners do this consistently, timely, and at a fair price is what we strive for.
Are there transactions involved? Sure there are! But we have the ability and I dare say the responsibility about making it so much more than “Show me the money!”
I can’t thank our partners enough for taking time out of their busy worlds to join us for SKU. It’s validating to say the least to have a group nod their heads and say, “Wow! This is exactly what you said it would be.” And to all of our partners who have yet to experience a Shared Knowledge University session… the November SKU is just around the corner! No seriously! It is!
Our sincere thanks to everyone who attended and participated in Shared Knowledge University. Wishing you much success in 2018.
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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 www.classicexhibits.com.