It’s been over a year since Condit Exhibits of Denver acquired Exhibit Source, Inc. and added a second facility – this one east of the Mississippi. President Kevin Trainor takes a moment to talk tradeshows, COVID-19, and adjusting to Midwestern winters.
- 2020 was a rough year for events. Which shows is the Chicago team looking forward to in 2021?
We’re concentrating on three events right now. The first is NPE – The Plastics Show. We have five clients planning to attend the May event in Orlando, and the designs for their exhibits are striking. NPE is an event our Chicago office has a lot of insight and experience at, and we’re looking forward to it.
Sweets and Snacks, a premium candy and treat show, is now scheduled for June in Indianapolis. Food industry events have been iffy of late, but our clients and partners are excited about this new timing and location. And with such a short distance to our Chicago location, we’re perfectly positioned to provide design, fabrication, shipping, and show services.
The Inspired Home Show, formerly the International Home + Housewares Show, is another one we’ve got scheduled. It goes without saying that huge amounts of time and money are now being spent in the home, and the market for home products is booming. The rescheduling of the Chicago event from March to August is giving brands more time to prepare and a greater chance that the show will proceed.
- Condit recently launched their virtual exhibit platform and completed a successful project for long-time Chicago client, Okuma, at IMTS Spark. What’s your prediction on the future of virtual?
The outstanding VR exhibit we created for Okuma allowed visitors to experience many of the things they would have at the cancelled in-person IMTS show. Machine demos and specs, podcasts, videos, and online chat all let Okuma deliver important content to their customers, prospects, and partners worldwide. Though, in my opinion, nothing will ever replace face-to-face engagement, this type of virtual experience will be an indispensable part of the sales and marketing toolbox in the years ahead. We are currently building out a number of these for other clients in the manufacturing equipment space with collaboration between our Denver and Chicago offices.
- How has the South Holland location changed over the past year?
Downtime, though not always welcome, is when you have a chance to regroup and improve things. We’ve been keeping busy streamlining processes, upgrading the facility, and getting all our ducks in a row for what we believe is an inevitable surge in business.
We’re working on:
- New designs for the front of the house
- Facility cleanup: the loading docks have not looked this good in years!
- Inventory: out with the old, and in with the new!
- Storage organization: a number of new clients are moving properties to our warehouse, so we need to make room for our new partners.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we’ve also had to downsize our staff at both the Denver and Chicago locations to accommodate lost revenue. Our people, with their skills and experience, are our most valuable asset. We hate to lose great talent and plan to bring back some of these key people at the earliest opportunity.
- You’re wearing many hats (hopefully at least one is wool) and traveling back and forth to both facilities. How is the winter weather treating you?
Denver’s much-lauded 300 days of sunshine a year sets a pretty high bar. But the fall weather this year in Chicago has been pretty mild. I just need to keep in mind that they don’t call it the “Windy City” for nothing; I’ll need to bundle up pretty soon.
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