Kevin Carty, VP of Sales
Happy New Year!
Thank you very much for your continued support of Classic Exhibits, Exhibits Northwest and ClassicMODUL! The Classic Exhibits Inc. team appreciates your orders, suggestions, and support.
As a company, we weathered the economic storm of late 2008, 2009, and early 2010 by introducing new designs, improving our customer service, and making strategic purchases. Our 2010 sales increased 20 percent. All things considered, we’re happy with that increase, and based on conversations with many of you, your sales have improved as well. Excellent!
We ended the year on a high note by launching a new SEGUE system – the Sunrise. All SEGUE hybrid displays feature Silicone Edge Graphics. The new SEGUE Sunrise is an inexpensive exhibit for customers who want a high-class, high-quality display that expands to a 10 x 20 inline. It’s competitively priced (starting at $2575 retail) and engineered for simple, no-tools assembly. It’s the perfect alternative to a pop up.
Speaking of portable hybrids, Sacagawea sales have been off the charts. Clearly there is a HUGE market for inexpensive hybrid displays. Go figure . . . introduce a simple, lightweight, hybrid design at a competitive price and it sells like cherry snow cones at the state fair.
Rentals Rentals Rentals!
Kudos to Jim Shelman and his crew at Exhibits Northwest in 2010! Their dedication to providing creative yet affordable rental options meant that a lot of Classic Distributors did very, very well this year. 95 percent of all rental orders were creative hybrids, ranging from 10 x 10’s to Double Deck Islands. Amazing stuff! And while they offer rental kits, nearly half of all orders were new designs or kit modifications.
Eco-sytems Sustainable Exhibits
In June of 2010, we announced our partnership and ownership stake in Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits — the Leader in Sustainable Exhibits. We are proud to put our name side by side with a display company that shares our core values. Eco-systems’ innovative displays are designed by Michael McCord using ClassicMODUL profiles as its backbone. We encourage you to contact Eric Albery or Tim Morris if you have not worked with them. No one knows sustainability better than Eco.
Those of you who know Mel White, our VP of Marketing and Business Development, know that his mind never stops. This past year was no different as evidenced by some of the great things he developed and implemented in 2010.
Peek-a-Booth: It’s not just a catchy name, but an effective webcam tool at the fingertips of every Distributor and End-user alike. With Peek-a-Booth, you can preview booths live as they are constructed, and with the pan and zoom capabilities, you can see and critique the final set-up. Be sure to contact your Classic project manager about how to access the two webcams on your next order.
Exhibit Design Search Changes/Improvements: This is Mel’s baby! And it shows in the constant tweaks and improvements he makes to this amazing web-based tool. Last year, Mel, with the help of Edie, Anne, Charlie, Wade, Bob, Tim, and Mike, added videos animations, photos galore, and even more graphics dims and set-up instructions. In addition, Exhibit Design Search now includes Eco-systems designs, flooring options from Brumark, and even more products from Optima Graphics. Expect to see another gallery by Q2, featuring products from a well-know industry supplier.
We encourage you to browse through Exhibit Design Search. You will be amazed by the comprehensive nature of this online tool. I wasn’t sure it could get much better . . . boy did it ever! Give Mel a call if you haven’t added Exhibit Design Search to your website.
Webinars: Last year, we dipped our toe in the water on webinars. This year we’ll dive in head first. In 2010, we conducted sessions on Tips and Tricks of Exhibit Design Search in addition to sessions on Social Media and Blogging (hosted by Tim Patterson). Expect a webinar on Classic Hybrid Displays in Q1, which will present the features and benefits of Visionary Designs, Sacagawea, Magellan, Perfect 10, and SEGUE.
Trade Show Tales Blog
Blog: We started blogging in late 2009, but in 2010 we took it to the next level. Trade Show Tales was initially centered around my weekly column, “Word on the Street,” but the blog has really grown far beyond my ramblings. It now includes Mel and Reid’s ramblings! Ha! Seriously though, it really has become an effective tool for communicating product and service updates and the pulse at Classic every week. Thanks to those “Twits” and “LinkedIn” folks out there for posting, reposting, and tweeting the blog postings so frequently. Not to mention all the comments we receive. Please keep them coming in 2011
Industry Boards and News
On a personal note, I am delighted to announce my appointment to several industry posts. I was appointed/elected to the EDPA Board, the Exhibitor Show Advisory Committee, and the HCEA Advisory Committee. I am honored by the appointments, and committed to improving our industry. Thank you for the opportunity.
Speaking of shows . . . EXHIBITOR is our next big event. And I hope you are ready. We have two very exciting things on tap. First of course is our stunning exhibit design for the show. I personally can’t wait to share that with you all as soon as we flesh out all the details. Secondly, is something I will just refer to simply as “THE EVENT.” Stay tuned, we have something really fun in store in partnership with several strategic partners. Be patient. There’s more to come.
On another note, as the Advisory Board Chairman for the TS2 Show, I am deeply saddened by the announcement to cancel the event for 2011. While I understand the decision and support it in many ways, as someone who has been doing this for 16 plus years, I am nevertheless disappointed. As a company, Classic fully supports the plan to “re-tool” TS2 and re-launch it in 2012. TS2 has always been a very successful event for us.
Vendor Partners and ClassicMODUL
Visionary Designs Island
I know this sometimes feels like a bit of a love fest when I talk about our partners, but there is good reason. Like in life, a business is only as good as its people and the companies it surrounds itself with. To that end, I want to extend my gratitude to Brumark, EliteXPO, Display Supply and Lighting, Momentum Management, and most importantly Optima Graphics. Thanks again for helping make Classic and its network of distributors the best. You are all a huge part of our success.
Big news from ClassicMODUL. In early February, ClassicMODUL will officially open its Southeast USA Extrusion Depot! I am very excited about the opportunities this presents for ClassicMODUL, Classic Exhibits, and our customers in the Southeast. More to come when the depot opens in February.
Before signing off, I would be remiss if I did not mention the CMT docu-drama my friend and co-worker Reid Sherwood has endured once again this past year. He and his family experienced a 3rd house fire in the course of approximately 26 months. Unreal! In all honestly, I truly admire the way Reid, Vickie, and the girls have endured over the past several months. It has been truly inspiring to see how they banded together during such difficult circumstances. However, I do have one favor to ask of you all. When you see Reid next, please comment on his new cologne, “Ode de SOOT.” Tell him it smells good. The poor guy is self conscience enough as it is.
Cheers to a great 2011. See you soon.
Vice President of Sales
Classic Exhibits Inc.