Last week, industry professionals from across the U.S. traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey, for PROMOTIONS EAST, the promotional products industry’s premier East Coast event.
The tradeshow floor in the Atlantic City Convention Center featured 500 exhibiting companies in 650 booths, hosting roughly 3,100 distributors during the three-day event. While walking the show floor, PPB Newslink spoke with a number of exhibitors about their experience at PROMOTIONS EAST.
“We’ve had about 100 customers so far today, and they all want to spend about 10 minutes talking to us,” says Ashley Lawrence, market research analyst at Mobile, Alabama’s Crown Products (UPIC: CROWNPRO), during the first day of the show. “They really like our Silipint cup. It’s been a great show so far.”
The quality and consistency of traffic was a common topic of conversation from PROMOTIONS EAST exhibitors. Mary Lou Stasiak, national sales manager at PCA Calendars (UPIC: PCA-CAL) in Champlain, New York, said: “The show has been consistently busy and overall we’re pleased with attendance and the interest people are showing in our products.”
Carol Constantino, president of Amsterdam, New York-based Noteworthy (UPIC: NWORTHY), agreed. She says: “The traffic has been steady—lots of very interested people, including those who are very solid in the industry and looking for ways to grow their businesses. I think the important thing is that the people who have been around for a long time know the bumps in the road; they’ve seen the ups and downs and opportunities that lie ahead of us and they want to be on that cusp. They are really focused on this show and looking for good things to happen from it.”
PROMOTIONS EAST also offered attendees a number of education opportunities; PROMOTIONS EAST University drew more than 650 people who attended their choice of 18 education sessions on topics from sales to marketing to creativity. The afternoon keynote panel, “Rock Stars of the Promotional Products Industry,” brought six of the industry’s leaders together to discuss a number of key issues including the economy, competition, social media and technology. Joel Schaffer, MAS, Soundline, facilitated the panel that included Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI; Tim Andrews, ASI; Jonathan Isaacson, Gemline; Jo-an Lantz, MAS, Geiger; Anne McKeough, Staples Promotional Products; and Ira Neaman, Vantage Apparel. Their discussion touched on a number of topics important to industry businesses, including the use of technology to improve efficiency and processes, the future and role of print catalogs, the value of promotional products to businesses and as an advertising medium, as well as the economy, competition, social media and other issues.
Adding to the excitement was a drawing for a two-year lease on a Cadillac SRX Crossover, held on the afternoon of the show’s last day. Every distributor who attended got an entry, while distributor members of the regional associations got a second entry into the drawing. Mary Priestley of Little Tee’s Graphics (UPIC: ltg) of Atco, New Jersey, took home the grand prize.
The Howard Alan Blum 5K for 5K Run/Walk gave an early start to some on Wednesday morning. The run has raised more than $3,000 to benefit the SAAGNY Foundation, which sponsors a camping experience for children with cancer. Fifty runners and walkers participated, with Sean Fremon of Cole Industries first across the finish line.
On the last morning of the show, PPAI and SAAGNY announced that next year’s show would transition to Expo East, a partnership between the two organizations to bring PPAI’s Las Vegas-style show production, brand. and DECORATE pavilions, and its education and professional development programs to the East Coast show.
SAAGNY partnered with five other regional associations to produce PROMOTIONS EAST, the largest industry show in the Northeast: Mid-Atlantic Promotional Products Association (MAPPA), Three Rivers Advertising Specialty Association (TRASA), New England Promotional Products Association (NEPPA), Chesapeake Promotional Products Association (CPPA) and Philadelphia Area Promotional Products Association (PAPPA).