Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘portable trade show displays’

Comparing “A La Carte” vs “As Shown” Online Prices for Trade Show Displays

December 3rd, 2018 COMMENTS

When It Seems Too Good to Be True

It’s the Holiday Season. Whether it’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or the local flyer, you are constantly being enticed by low prices, many too good to be true. And sadly, many are. Either because the price doesn’t tell the whole story or because of limited quantities. 

Many online display websites are masters at enticing buyers with crazy low prices, which on further investigation are not quite as “cheap” as they seem. Then, there’s quality, warranty, and customer service questions to consider as well. 

There are two types of online display buyers. Some buyers prefer the “a la carte” approach, which allows them to add only the features they want. Makes sense. Others prefer the “what you see is what you get” experience. No surprises. No hidden charges. 

Here’s an example of the a la carte approach with a very attractive price on a 10 ft. portable display. Note the $275 price

How to compare prices on trade show displays


Basically, the $275 includes the tubing and a soft carry case (no graphic). Let’s say you want a double-sided graphic. Now, the price is $975

How You Can Compare Prices on Trade Show Displays

After selecting the graphic, the next choice is the turnaround time. If you need it in less than 7 business days, there’s an upcharge. In this case, $200 for a three-day turnaround which bumps the price to $1,175.

The Best Way to Compare Prices on Trade Show Exhibits

Although the soft case is included, you want your new display to last more than a few shows. Plus, it makes sense to incorporate a hard case into the booth presentation by adding a graphic. You’re now at $1495 which is considerably more than the original $275 price. 

Two Methods for Comparing Prices on Tradeshow Displays

The final two steps are graphic design assistance and adding lights. Graphic design requires a quote, which is reasonable and fair. The lights? Who wouldn’t want lights on a trade show display? Duh? 

When Comparing Prices on Trade Show Displays

The final price, excluding shipping and any graphic design charges, is $1595.

Does this mean this isn’t a good value? Depends. It’s a basic tube-assembly 10 ft. display ideal for many businesses, particularly for local events. The graphics may be fine but there’s no way of knowing if the company uses 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation dye-sublimation printing. Many low-end supplies used direct to surface printing rather than dye-sublimation because it’s less expensive. And, once again, that may be OK if you are only planning to use the graphic for a limited number of shows. 

My point, however, isn’t to question the quality of the display. Instead, it’s to demonstrate that online display websites use two different approaches, namely “a la carte” vs. “as shown.” There are merits to both, but it’s important to understand the difference. 

At Classic Exhibits, we believe that “as shown” prices are an easier method for exhibit buyers to compare designs and features. It doesn’t require you to “Build the Price” to see the final price. And since all our displays can be modified/customized to the exhibitors preference, drop-down menus can’t possibly list all the available options. That would be a nightmare for the serious exhibit buyer. 

Have questions? Give us a call or send us an email. We would love to chat with you. 

–Mel White


Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. 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

New Lower Prices on Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Displays

August 30th, 2018 COMMENTS

Lower Prices on Sacagawea

We did our math homework on Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Displays. Since 2010, Sacagawea has been our most popular portable display system. Exhibitors have purchased thousands. Literally. And during that time, we continued to make improvements to the packaging, assembly, accessories, and graphics. You have told us repeatedly that no other portable hybrid system matches the Sacagawea for quality, durability, and ease-of-use. It’s simply the best portable display for your corporate clients. 

Back to the math. Like any responsible business, we periodically run the numbers to determine if our margins are holding steady. In fact, the margins on Sacagawea have gotten better, so we decided to (wait for it!) lower the prices. Yes, lower the prices! Not only has our bulk extrusion buying resulted in lower costs, but graphics, assembly, and packaging costs have also gotten better. 

So, when we say, “We lowered the prices” what does that mean? Some examples with links to the kits in Exhibit Design Search:

20 ft. Inlines

  • VK-2114 | Was: $18,106. Now: $14,999
  • VK-2111 | Was: $15,115. Now: $12,299
  • VK-2109 | Was: $10,110. Now: $8,799

10 ft. Inlines

  • VK-1234 | Was: $9,763. Now: $7,999
  • VK-1228 | Was: $7,567. Now: $6,899
  • VK-1219 | Was: $4,345. Now: $3,899

Even Table Tops

  • VK-1292 | Was: $2,887. Now: $2,499
  • VK-1290 | Was: $2,078. Now: $1,699

All the prices have been updated in Exhibit Design Search. We’ve also revised the Sacagawea Price List, which you can download. As a reminder, the Sacagawea comes with the exclusive 100-Day Money Back Guarantee, a guarantee also offered on Perfect 10, Quadro Pop Ups, and Quadro FGS (Floating Graphic System).

For more information, we encourage you to watch the videos below or, as always, give us a call.

–Mel White


Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. 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

Magellan Portable Hybrid Displays

June 28th, 2013 COMMENTS

Whenever we conduct an Exhibit Design Search (EDS) webinar, we reserve 5 -10 minutes to review the Classic Hybrid product lines. We have five hybrid lines . . . well kinda. In reality, we have six or seven or even eight if you toss in the rentals, table tops, several Euro LT designs, and even Eco-systems Sustainable (which is a separate company but represented in EDS). It can be confusing.

The Classic distributors who attend Shared Knowledge University (SKU), our comprehensive training program, hear the history and the explanation of our hybrid lines. They always tell us that what was confusing, now makes sense. So, over the next few weeks, I’ll do my best to encapsulate the SKU review into a series of blogs about the Classic Hybrid lines. We’ll begin with Magellan.

What Makes a Magellan a Magellan?

Magellan Miracle Hybrid

Magellan Hybrid Displays was Classic’s third hybrid line, launched (if I remember correctly) in late 2008 or early 2009. I  remember very, very clearly why we created the Magellan line, and in particular, the Magellan Miracle. Several months into The Great Recession, sales of our existing hybrid lines, Visionary Designs and Perfect 10, had stalled. We were hearing from distributors that price, while always a factor, was now paramount. We knew we needed to react quickly, but we didn’t want to create a basic aluminum box with a graphic. It had to have “presence,” but be less expensive than a Perfect 10.

Many of you have heard me say the price of a hybrid is not complicated. There are three major elements:  the metal (size and shape of the profile, straight, or curved), the graphics (size and quantity), and the accessories and components. You can add a four element if you collectively include design, assembly, and packaging, which also contributes to the price. To reduce the cost of a hybrid, you use less expensive profiles, have fewer bends, smaller or fewer graphics, and limited accessories.

Z 45 Aluminum Extrusion

The Magellan line is (almost exclusively) built with the Z 45 profile. Why the Z 45? It’s relatively inexpensive, extremely versatile, and very attractive. In addition, our metal bending expertise allows us to bend it in both directions (what we call the hard and soft edges). That means the Z 45 can be used as both a horizontal and a vertical, and bent to create a variety of interesting shapes.


The Miracle was the first Magellan. Like the Perfect 10, it has two large fabric graphics, each 96 in. tall. And, like the Perfect 10, the verticals are curved. However, the Miracle has less extreme curves, fewer accessories, and a limited set of options. The Miracle, as with all Magellan Displays, is a “Knob-assisted Assembly” system, meaning that about 85% of the assembly uses attached knobs. Where a knob would be visible or impractical, a hex key tool is required. These changes allowed us to price it about $1300 less than a comparable Perfect 10.

Fortunately, the Miracle was an instant success. One distributor was so sold on the concept (and hungry for sales) that she based her entire quarterly marketing campaign on the Miracle. It saved her quarter and jumped started her year. The positive feedback encouraged us to create other Magellan designs, some with similar price points such as the MOR and the Magic. But we didn’t stop there. The versatility of the Z 45 meant we could design more intricate, more upscale, and more expensive designs such as the VK-1043 and VK-2056.

So, when should your client consider a Magellan Hybrid? There are two directions:

1. Limited Budget/Attractive Design

  • 10 ft. and 20 ft. Inlines
  • A budget that won’t stretch for a Visionary Design or a Perfect 10
  • Your client requests a portable system that they can assemble at the show
  • They want something more than a basic curve, box, or pop-up
  • They want large vibrant fabric graphics
  • They need a workstation for a monitor
  • Die-cut reusable foam packaging and numbered components
  • Examples:   Miracle, MOR, Magic

2. Larger Budget/Distinctive Design

  • 10 ft and 20 ft. Inlines
  • Larger, more flexible budget
  • Loves curves. Wants the booth structure to be unique
  • Likes the idea of portability, whether they need it portable or not
  • Needs counters, workstations, headers, multiple large fabric graphics
  • Die-cut reusable foam packaging and numbered components
  • Examples:  VK-1083, VK-1085, VK-2049, and VK-2045

Next time, we’ll review Perfect 10 Portable Hybrid Displays. That’s an interesting tale of what happens when you discover a major, untapped segment of the market that EVERYONE has ignored.

–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