Expo East, the largest promotional products trade show on the East Coast, opened this morning at the Atlantic City Convention Center with over 390 booths and 325 exhibiting companies. Attendees took an early look at products in some of the show’s most popular categories—Top Sellers, Green Products, Made in the USA and Express Ship—when the Product Pavilion opened at 8:30 am. With nearly 2,000 attendees expected at the show through Wednesday, the projected economic impact of Expo East on Atlantic City is $1.86 million.

Education day wrapped up Monday with many of the sessions, including the Connections Corner discussions, reaching maximum capacity. Additional education opportunities will be offered on the trade show floor today and Wednesday.

“In response to member feedback, we expanded on nontraditional education opportunities that allow for informal interaction and networking,” says Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO. “We’ve also added to the sessions that are offered on the show floor, to allow for easier access and more organic integration with the trade show. The Northeast is such a unique and vibrant market, and attendees are excited to see the assortment of trending products brought by their exhibitor partners when the show floor opens today.”

Larry Lesueur, owner of distributor Everyday Promo Solutions (PPAI 614729), traveled from Johnson City, Tennessee, to attend. Lesueur sat down with a PPAI professional development team member on Monday to select appropriate certification courses. He says, “I came here to forge new relationships with suppliers, increase my knowledge about the industry and try to target specific product criteria.”

Cheryl Ann Hokanson, owner of iPROMOTEu/Brand Booster (PPAI 359512), LLC, drove in from Maryland to attend six or seven education sessions Monday. “I’m going to try to go to everything under the sun, from the session on LinkedIn to the roundtable discussion on networking for women,” said Hokanson, who has multiple goals for Expo East.

“First, I want to connect with suppliers and possibly meet some new suppliers,” she says. “Second, I came a day early to take advantage of the education sessions. I like to stay on top of current trends. Third, I’m a new iPROMOTEu affiliate, so I’m hoping to meet some more iPROMOTEu colleagues.”

The Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York (SAAGNY), the largest regional association on the East Coast, teamed up with PPAI again this year to produce Expo East. All attendees and exhibitors are invited to attend SAAGNY’s regional Meet N’ Greet after the show closes today, from 4 to 6 pm in Tun Tavern, across from the convention center. Exhibits will reopen on Wednesday from 9:30 am to 3 pm. For more information, visit expoeast.ppai.org.