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Posts Tagged ‘Optima’

Your Spring “Shared Knowledge University” Invitation (SKU)

April 14th, 2017 COMMENTS

SKU_Portland

Quit pretending. You want to attend Shared Knowledge University (SKU). You know it. We know it. Heck, your colleagues are sick and tired of hearing you talk about it. Just do it! (as another much more famous Portland company would say).

Will you learn a lot? Yes. Will it be exhausting? Yes. Will you want to leave Portland on Wednesday morning? No. But as former SKU graduates have discovered, we’re going to take your sorry, broken, hypnotized, and dehydrated body to the airport whether you want to leave or not.

Space is limited and openings fill fast. Contact Jen LaBruzza (jen@classicexhibits.com) to reserve your spot on June 12-13 (Monday and Tuesday). Embrace your chance to add the SKU logo to your LinkedIn profile.

Click on the image below to view the happy SKU video.

Shared Knowledge University, Spring 2017

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite
https://www.facebook.com/Classic-Exhibits-Inc-113601405319757


 

EXHIBITORLIVE | Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down

March 4th, 2016 COMMENTS

EXHIBITORBlogHeader

We’re back from an early EXHIBITORLIVE 2016 this year. I have a vague recollection back in the days of Bally’s of one around Valentine’s Day but then again, all my EXHIBITOR memories are somewhat fuzzy for reasons that would be best not to explore. While it’s still fresh on my mind, I thought I’d share a few Thumbs Ups and Thumbs Downs.

Thumbs Up

1. Gravitee, our new modular wall system, was the Belle of the Ball. Several Classic Distributors told me that Gravitee was “the next big thing” in exhibit industry. No tools. No loose parts. Seamless SEG graphics. Compatible with MODUL and Euro LT. What amazed me the most was the number of distributors who saw the demo, then came back again and again to see another demo. It’s as if they thought they’d finally catch the Classic magician hide the ball under the cup.

IMG_26212. Katina Rigall, Tim Patterson at Communication One Exhibits, and our Production and Project Management team for winning the 10 x 10 Portable Modular Award. Frankly, I knew in my gut that the So Young booth would win after seeing the other 10 ft. finalists. It wasn’t even close.

3. Congratulations to all the EXHIBITORLIVE PMA Award Winners. Each year, the number of entries increases and the design bar rises

4. Class Act Competitors – Several friendly competitors asked to see Gravitee, our charging stations, tablet stands, and our new backlit extrusions. They were gracious and respectful, never taking photos without permission or peering behind the “curtain” without asking.

5. Glenna Martin, our Graphic Design Manager, for her tireless work getting the booth ready each morning, taking photos during the day, and creating the two entertaining videos (Day 1 and Day 2). And, for her amazing “It didn’t fall far from the tree” graphics.

6. The year Optima decides not to hold a reception is the year I decide not to attend EXHIBITOR. It’s the single best place to talk to industry friends, meet new ones, and let all the pre-EXHIBITOR stress melt away. Thank you Optima!

7. The Entire Classic Team, including those who attended and especially those who stayed behind. While you couldn’t all be there, I promise you that you were there in spirit with every accolade about the exhibit, the products, the quality, and Classic Commitment to Service. We heard again and again – “You are the BEST!” We wish everyone we did business with had the same Shared Success philosophy as Classic.”

8. Classic Distributors. Thank you for spending time with us, asking questions, and sharing your concerns. You are the reason we participate in EXHIBITORLIVE each year.

9. Our Neighbors. Thank you! No crazy presentations. No blaring music. No 20 ft. wall blocking visibility. My apologies to the transportation company across the aisle. I turned off your video loop at 9 am Wednesday while we were recording a video. And frankly, I couldn’t listen to it one more time without suffering a mental breakdown.

10. Finally, the guy in the middle seat on the flight back to Portland, who clearly had work to do, but graciously chatted with woman on the aisle ALL THE BACK to PORTLAND. If not you, then it would have been me. Thank you.

Thumbs Down

1. The Portable Modular Awards – Not the awards themselves, but the companies that didn’t attend, particularly the finalists. This is your award program, something we have wanted for years. I encourage you to submit next year, attend the PMA ceremony, and support the portable modular segment of our industry. Please.

2. Classless Competitors – We saw, but we didn’t say anything when you snuck into our booth to take photos and fondle Gravitee. You know who you are. Shame. All you had to do was ask. We would have gladly given you a demo.

3. Has anyone ever finished a meal in the Mandalay Bay/Luxor complex and said, “Well, that was worth the price?” That’s not saying the food isn’t good, and often excellent, but the restaurants make drayage fees seem reasonable by comparison. You know you’re in an alternate universe when a fast food meal exceeds $15.

4. Finally, to the dude who felt compelled to have three LOUD phone conversations at Gate 5 while waiting to board the plane back to Portland. Did I really need to know the details about the person you plan to fire on Monday or all the ways your teenage daughter is out-of-control? Perhaps not.

May the exhibition gods grace you with strong sales. 😉

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite

**********************************************

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 www.classicexhibits.com.


 

 

SKU-Tastic!: Word on the Street — May 18th-May 22nd

May 24th, 2015 COMMENTS
Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Another Fantastic Shared Knowledge University

Last week was not your normal May at Classic Exhibits. Why?

We held our most recent edition of Shared Knowledge University (SKU), Classic’s bi-annual distributor training session.

This SKU was so great that my friend Dave Brown from Optima coined the term “SKU-Tastic!” I wholeheartedly agree.

Like other SKU’s, we had a terrific mix of folks from all over the country, folks who gave their time to learn more about the Classic Family and products. And learn they did. They were engaged during the classroom sessions, and while I always gush a bit over our students, this group as a whole was truly impressive.

As always, there were sessions from our partners — Eco-Systems Sustainable, Optima and Display Supply and Lighting. To our partners…Matt Wish, Dave Brown, Brianna Ziomek and Tom Beard, I can’t begin to thank you all enough for your partnership and your investment in our joint customers via SKU.

SKUGroupPhoto

We also had a lot of fun… as is always the case at SKU. We are proud of our weird little city and love to show others what makes Portland — Portlandia. 🙂 During this SKU, we visited local food carts for lunch (www.cartlandia.com), an historic old elementary school turned brewery/restaurant/bar/movie theater, and finished with a great evening at Bridgeport, one America’s foundational Craft Breweries.

As we gathered toward the end of SKU, we asked the SKU Graduates for their takeaways. Their responses warmed my heart. Each person mentioned that one of their greatest takeaways was The People at Classic — their devotion, dedication, and care that they clearly have for the Company and for the Distributors they serve daily.

This is the one thing that makes it easy to wake up every day eager to go to work. Sure there are other things but the quality of our team is what drives me. So to the Classic Family, my sincere thanks, not only for all your hard work preparing for Shared Knowledge University but also for your daily commitment to the Shared Success Mission.

To the Graduates, Don’t Forget the PLEDGE. I will be checking in on that. And thank you so so much for your time and dedication. We never forget that it’s your efforts that allows us to put food on our tables each night.

For those distributors who have never attended an SKU, don’t miss your next opportunity, tentatively scheduled for November 9-10. You won’t regret it. Contact Reid Sherwood or Jen LaBruzza for details. Space is always limited.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend and take time to reflect upon those who gave the ultimate sacrifice over the years fighting to help keep our country great.

Be well!

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a

EXHIBITORLIVE 2015 Review: Word on the Street — March 2nd thru March 6th

March 6th, 2015 7 COMMENTS
Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Well I don’t know about you … but I am pooped! EXHIBITORLIVE 2015 has come and gone. What an amazing week of visiting with old friends, making new friends, and seeing all the exciting new things in our GREAT industry.

First and foremost, I want to thank our terrific show staff. By the time Mel and I arrived on Saturday, the booth was setup and looked amazing. James Sharpe and Jim Ponomarenko, the Production Managers from Classic Rentals and Classic Exhibits, were amazing. Thanks!!

Our booth staff included Jim and James as well as Katina Rigall, Trina Broten, John Zipay (the new guy 🙂 ), Jim Shelman, Reid Sherwood, Jen LaBruzza, Glenna Martin, Mel and me. To all — Kudos on a great week. Thanks for representing the “Classic” culture so well, as always.

Also, thanks to our vendor partners who helped make our booth shine — Optima Graphics, Brumark Flooring, DS&L, OTM Furniture, ELITeXPO Cargo and TSCrew (the I&D team). We appreciate your valued long-term partnership.

The Show

IMG_8179Now to the show itself. EXHIBITOR Magazine did another stellar job creating an positive atmosphere for everyone.

Day 1 — It was chaotic to be honest. The traffic was relentless, which we all like. I was telling a fellow employee that I don’t remember NOT being able take at least a five-minute break on Day 1. No way this time. Every time I finished with one attendee, there was another one waiting to dive into a new conversation. It was great!

Day 2 — It started early with Strategic Partner Day. I always enjoy the opportunity to spend  time the Classic Family of Distributors, our partners, and meet with potential distributors.

Day 3 — This year was a busy Day 3. Did I get out of the booth a bit? Yes, but only for a short stint. Our booth was filled with lots of end-users making one last trek through the hall. Most told me that the first two days were spent identifying what they wanted to see in more detail. So we had lots of quality time with people looking to buy, seeing what’s new, and getting to know our products and services.

Back to Day 2 — Day 2 also included two spectacular events after the show floor closed: The Portable Modular Summit and the The PMA’s (The Portable Modular Awards).

The Summit was titled “The New Evolution.” I hosted the event with my friend and mentor Jay Burkette from ExpoDisplays. With over 300 exhibitors and attendees in the audience, our conversation focused where we are in the Portable/Modular segment. There’s been a shift toward more complex, design-driven inlines and 400-900 sq foot islands with higher budgets and more creative displays. Our segment is not just healthy, it’s growing exponentially! Thanks to everyone who attended and took part in the discussion.

10411160_10150486186119995_2152677747564161621_nAfter the summit, Travis Stanton from Exhibitor Magazine took the stage. He served as the Host of the Portable Modular Awards ceremony, along with John Pavek. As Travis and John  announced the finalists and the awards, I was proud of what our segment is producing these days. It’s much more dynamic than any time in my 20 years in the industry. We truly have come a long way!

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not brag a bit. 🙂 Classic Exhibits and Eco-Systems both won awards this year! Classic Exhibits won for Best 20×20 Island of 2014!! Kudos to Katina Rigall for designing the Pacifica 20 x 20 Island and to Laura Magdalen from Exhibits NW for selling the beautiful project!

11021060_10150486186389995_5087437637545251912_nEco-Systems Sustainable won for the Best 10 x 10 Inline for the NASA project. It’s one of the best and most creative 10 x 10 spaces I’ve seen in years. Our congrats to Lisa Koskela and Lauren Orao for again taking portable hybrid design to new heights!

For those who could not attend, I am truly sorry. This year there were many new highlights, many of which were technology based. Technology continues to be an ever-growing accessory to spaces of all sizes. It allows exhibitors to stretch their dollars further. And by that, I don’t mean spending less. I mean getting more out of their exhibit assets.

The Classic Exhibits Booth

IMG_8256Classic showed new elements as well. There was considerable buzz around our New Charging Stations and the On The Move Furniture.

We introduced three new charging stations ranging from a coffee table to full size stations with lightboxes. All of which were very well received. For your reference, they are the ones highlighted in Design Monday last week.

The OTM Express was a true hit! Especially to clients wanting to maximize their exhibit dollars. OTM provides the ability to include branded furniture in your space that can be re-used show after show, as opposed to renting each show. And it packs down and is totally portable! I had one end-user pull out her calculator app on her iPhone and start calculating the savings for this year. She participates in 19 shows a year and figured she would save approx $11,500 over the remainder of the year. Pretty cool stuff.

Yes I am pooped. But a good kinda of pooped. The week really was very fulfilling. And like many years past, I left Las Vegas welling with pride not just for the staff we have, or for the great vendor partners we have, but also for the many great friends/distributors in the Classic Family.

Thanks, and have a great restful weekend with your families.

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

Why Distributors Enjoy Working with Classic

October 3rd, 2014 1 COMMENT
Shooting_from_the_Hip_low

Shooting from the Hip Reid Sherwood

I’m asked this question a lot. New distributors will say, “What makes doing business with Classic Exhibits different from other manufacturers?” But, before I launch into this, a bit of a warning. I’m writing this from the hospital, hopped up on drugs before I have surgery. I’m in pain but I will be better in a few hours. So allow me a little latitude if this rambles.

There are No Real Egos

Mel and Kevin co-manage the entire company for a quiet owner. The invisible “Inc.” includes Classic Manufacturing, ClassicMODUL (our version of “Home Depot” of aluminum extrusion), Classic Rental Solutions (turnkey custom modular rentals), and Exhibits Northwest (a retail exhibit provider in the Pacific Northwest). Inside all of these divisions is other leadership. Over the years, we have all run into the prima donna sales person who believes without them the company would fold in a matter of days. Headstrong designers who are the creative world’s version of the prima donna sales person. And there’s always the CFO who someone, somewhere blames for always saying “No.”

Well, at Classic, our vision is based on Shared Success. We want everyone to succeed: Distributors, Vendors, Strategic Partners, and Employees. It sounds hokey, but it’s genuine. That’s not to say there aren’t a few potholes and detours, but the “Why we do what we do” is transparent. Every company knows “What they do.” Most know “How they do it.” But few know “Why they do it.” We do.

The Middle Matters

VK-1122mainRecently, a blog was written about the middle market for trade show displays. As a recap, most corporate trade show purchases are in the “middle.” For the most part, Classic’s products do not target the Slightly Better Than Cheap customer (SBTC). We could. It would mean sacrificing on product quality, accessories, packaging, and design. Instead, our products reflect features and benefits not found with SBTC displays. We offer great service, well-designed, high-quality products with world-class packaging, and set-up instructions all at a moderate cost. We’re very happy to move upstream on projects. That’s easy, whether in materials or design. We do that every day.

At the same time, we’re more than happy to pare down designs if the client has a tight budget. That’s different than SBTC. We’ll provide quality products but with a little less flair. One of the things we are most proud of as a manufacturer is our ability to CNC bend engineered aluminum. It’s not an art or guesswork. It’s manufacturing precision. Few manufacturers have this capability. If you doubt me, review their kits. But curves have a cost. More curves equals more cost, since it requires more labor and metal. But curves mean our kits are both unique and upscale without being expensive. That’s the middle.

Creative Thinking

The old cliche that we need to “think outside of the box” has been beat to a pulp. I believe thinking outside of the box can result in solutions that are cool but out-of-step with what clients want. Thinking near the edge of the box will give fresh ideas yet still keep everything in check. For example, thinking towards the edge of the box creates a way to make the best-looking backlit SEG lightbox in the industry. Thinking outside the box creates inflatable displays like a Halloween fun house!

SharedWe Enjoy Working with Our Customers

To put it bluntly, “We give a damn and it shows.” Classic understands its role in the process. We enjoy taking on a challenge from design, project management, and production/construction and providing you with a solution. Over the course of time, these wins turn customers into fans and fans into friends. The ultimate goal of making the exhibitor look spectacular at their show or event keeps creativity and problem solving headed in the right direction. And we look forward to doing it again and again. That’s the fun part.

We are Honest and Transparent

The only question we won’t answer is about our financials. Other than that, you can ask us anything, and we will answer you honestly. We will tell you if we screwed up. In fact, we will tell you that we are going to screw up. We are humans and humans make mistakes. If we do something wrong, we will acknowledge it and work quickly and diligently to correct it. We accept responsibility for our actions. On top of that, we will help you to the best of our ability if YOU make a mistake. We still feel a responsibility to be good and take care of our customers so YOUR clients are still happy with you. Which leads to the next topic.

We’re in This Together

We understand that you have options for portable, modular or custom-hybrid exhibits . . . . which is why we push our designers to create distinctive exhibits that are attractive, innovative, interesting, and affordable. If they aren’t, then they won’t sell.  That is why our project managers work tirelessly to provide well-engineered exhibits that your clients will love from the first show to the last. That is why our Production team obsesses about the details always trying to improve packaging and assembly.

Nike_Office5Like You . . . We are Nimble

No one survived The Great Recession unless they had very deep pockets or were extraordinarily nimble. For Classic, probably the best examples are the tablet kiosks and “retail and store branding” projects we’re building. That has become a nice piece of business for us. It is not a change in direction. It has broadened our direction.

We are Proud of Our Industry Partners

If you look at Exhibit Design Search, you can guess how much time, energy, and resources have been devoted to this since its inception nine years ago. We made it even better when we asked our industry “pals” to participate in it. We make no money from the sales from of those products. It is simply a way to create a “one-stop shop” for you and your customers. We are proud of our relationships with Optima, Eco-Systems Sustainable, Display Supply and Lighting, and Brumark. They are great companies.

We Haven’t Changed Our Focus – Period!

When Classic Exhibits was started in the late 80’s, we built a portable panel system and sold it through distributors.  Now, 20 plus years later, we have added many new systems and services, but we still sell them through a network of distributors. If there is anything I would like you to remember about Classic, it’s just that. We are a distributor-focused company that DOES NOT SELL DIRECT TO END USERS!

I am sure there are many other reasons. For whatever reason you choose to do business with us, we thank you.

Oh no!!! The drugs are starting to wear off. Best if I don’t proofread this. 😉

Reid Sherwood
reid@classicexhibits.com