This morning, the inaugural Expo East opened at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The show, first announced in June 2012, is the result of a strategic alliance between PPAI and the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York (SAAGNY). Designed to replace the former PROMOTIONS EAST, the new show, which runs through 3 pm Wednesday, features 741 booths in 225,000 square feet, PPAI’s Vegas-style show production, six specialty product pavilions including brand. and a top-rated education program.
“Expo East is designed to answer the industry’s call for The PPAI Expo show experience on the East Coast while delivering a greater return on investment through enhanced access to more education, more suppliers and more distributors,” says Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO.
The show’s opening is the culmination of a great deal of work and effort over the past 11 months and SAAGNY President Mike Leone, Hit Promotional Products (UPIC: HITP0001), is among those eager to see it come to fruition. “The teamwork that’s been involved in this has been unprecedented,” he says. “Both organizations have been working very strongly together. They are pumped, they are excited. Education was outstanding yesterday. The show floor during set up was abuzz with excitement because of the new layout, and the Sneak Peek last night went over well. Everything so far has been excellent. I’m really excited for the show floor to open this morning.”
Jonathan Riegel, SAAGNY executive director, is another who has been involved in the show planning. “I’m excited to see what the show will be. Expo East is new, it’s big. I think it’s going to be exciting. It’s a fresh start. And I think it’s going to be a really good week for everybody.”
Darel Cook, PPAI director of expositions, sums up the teamwork this way. “Our partnership with SAAGNY has been invaluable to the show’s success. They know the marketplace well and have very loyal members. The other regional association partners have also contributed marketing efforts to help grow their members’ presence at Expo East. All of the regional partners are key to the show’s success.”
Attendees at yesterday’s education workshops also expressed their approval and an eagerness to experience more of the show over the next couple of days.
Victor Mogel, CEO of West Berlin, New Jersey-based distributor Proforma Dynamic Resources (UPIC: PROF-PDR), was at the show on Monday for several of the education workshops. “I’ve been coming to the show in Atlantic City for 15 years—and I haven’t missed one. Whether it’s Promotions East or Expo East, it’s local, easy to get to, I like the classes and I see old friends. I will try to get in as many sessions as I can while I’m here.”
Another education attendee, Nancy Larick, MAS, president of Port Washington, New York-based distributor Larick Associates, Inc. (UPIC: LARICK), says information she learned in yesterday’s sessions is likely to save her some money. “I learned that I don’t need to have an on-site backup for my computer,” she explains. “I have Carbonite for $60 a year and I heard about Dropbox in Catherine Graham’s session and again in Dale Denham’s session. That would be another back-up for me, which would save me $1,600, which is what my IT guy wanted to charge me. This is by far the best education day in my 34 years of coming to the Atlantic City show.”
Martha Bishop, director of new business and corporate sales at South Deerfield, Massachusetts-based Yankee Candle Co. (UPIC: scenter1), a new PPAI supplier member, came to the show to find out more about expanding into the promotional products industry. “We are fairly new to the promotional products industry, and we’re looking forward to being here in the future—probably in the brand. pavilion. There’s such an emotional connection between our brand and people who use our brand that a lot of times people want to associate their own business with ours.”
Pre-registration numbers for the show are strong, with 3,785 distributors, representing 1,515 companies, registering in advance. In addition to the trade show itself, today’s schdule also includes a Town Hall Forum, which took place this morning, the Keynote & Cocktails, with humorist and motivational speaker Joel Zeff from 4 – 6 pm this afternoon and tonight’s Power Of Two party at HQ Nightclub at the Revel Resort. Tickets to the party are still available at registration for $25 and include drinks and light appetizers.
Registration for the show will be open today through 4 pm and tomorrow from 7:30 am to 3 pm. For more information on Expo East, click here.