The PPAI Expo 2022 show floor opens on Tuesday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, marking the show’s 19th time in the city and, undoubtedly, a homecoming to reunite the industry. After an almost two-year hiatus for in-person shows and events (The PPAI Expo was last held in January 2020), the turnout among distributors and exhibitors is expected to be understandably a bit lighter than in previous years but no less enthusiastic.

“It’s thrilling to see the industry come together once again to experience The PPAI Expo live in Las Vegas,” says PPAI Board Chair Todd Pottebaum, MAS+, president of distributor Quality Resource Group, Inc. “While the circumstances remain unique, the energy and enthusiasm that one would expect at The PPAI Expo is as high as ever. Thank you to our valued exhibitors and attendees for supporting this event with your attendance and by helping us kick off the 2022 sales year.”

By monitoring other major trade shows and working closely with the venue, local partners and vendors over the past year to implement health and safety protocols and contingency plans, PPAI is set to deliver the show that has become the cornerstone of the industry.

On Monday, more than 700 exhibiting companies unpacked new product samples, put the final touches on their booths and prepped their staffs for the show floor to open on Tuesday. While some exhibitors decided to cancel their participation at The PPAI Expo this year due to COVID concerns, those who continued forward with their plans are focused on supporting the industry and jump-starting their sales year at the industry’s largest and longest-running show.

“Now is the best time to show the world how it’s done,” says Rich Carollo, president of Chicago-based exhibitor Lion Circle Corporation in booth 2726. “So much of our industry is based on events, so who would be better than promo to show how to run an effective and safe show? Face to face and undivided attention are always so important for us to show our product.”

Given the unique circumstances of the past two years, Carollo is glad to be back at The PPAI Expo and plans to make the most of the opportunity with distributors. “I think it’s pretty clear that the people who are walking the floor are serious about getting back to work,” he says. “We aren’t expecting to see the attendees like we have in the past, but we are excited about having meaningful conversations with the ones who are there. We are optimistic on the opportunities and the intimate conversations that have been hard to have in years past.”

Jenny Straub, director of sales at Bentonville, Arkansas, exhibitor Outdoor Cap, is also eager to get on the show floor. “We feel it is important to exhibit at The PPAI Expo 2022 quite simply because we miss our face-to-face interactions with our loyal customers. We at Outdoor Cap Co., Inc. thrive on those interactions and are excited to show attendees our new styles, decoration methods and our new virtual tool called My Customizer/MC360.” She adds that the company is hosting a Patch Experience every day where distributors can choose a cap and one of five patch choices, then watch it being applied to take home. The company is in booth 3951.

The past year offered PPAI show management an opportunity to rethink, refresh and reinvent a number of aspects of the show, including the location for registration (adjacent to the lobby) and Expo Live (moved from the show floor to the lobby), consolidating education sessions on Monday and reconfiguring the show floor to better accommodate a slightly smaller footprint. But when the trade-show doors open on Tuesday, attendees and exhibitors will note that it still has the look and feel of The PPAI Expo.

“Welcome back to The PPAI Expo—it has been over 720 days since we last met as a community,” says Alan Peterson, PPAI vice president of business development. “It goes without saying that much has changed during this time, but many things have not. The PPAI Expo is still the most important opportunity for suppliers and distributors who are committed to starting off 2022 to grow their businesses. PPAI is very excited to provide all of you with a one-of-a-kind experience including the new PPAI Expo Conference, Promopalooza, which is sold out, a massive exhibit hall and pop-up experiences–we all will remember The 2022 PPAI Expo!”

Here’s a look at the latest information in key areas:

The App: SAGE Mobile, the official show-planning app of The PPAI Expo, allows users to find the most efficient show-floor routes, plan a walk list, view an interactive floor plan, connect with fellow attendees in real-time, add notes and photos, and search by product categories to make the most of their time on the floor. Users can also expedite badge pickup using SAGE Mobile to locate their registration. Then, go to the Quick Print area to scan and print the badge. Download the app at

Education: The PPAI Expo Conference, with its full day of education programming, opened this morning and runs through 5:30 pm today. This year all PPAI professional development is being held on Monday and sessions are free to PPAI members and $99 for PPAI associates and nonmembers. Find the full education schedule here

Exhibits: The trade-show floor opens on Tuesday with the Product Pavilion Sneak Peek from 8 - 9 am in Hall F, adjacent to aisle 500. The full show floor opens at 9:30 am and closes at 5 pm. Attendees can quickly find curated products by category including New, Green, Made In The USA, Healthpitality and 1st-Time Exhibitors. The brand. pavilion, in aisles 500-900, is a one-stop-shop for the latest in branded and incentive products, and attendees can check out what’s trending in screen printing, embroidery and digital technology for decorating promotional products at DECORATE in aisles 5100-5300.

Events: Chair’s Leadership Dinner
Monday, January 10, 6 - 9:30 pm, Mandalay Bay Ballroom J
PPAI’s Icon Awards presentations include Hall of Fame, Distinguished Service Award, H. Ted Olson Humanitarian award and PPAI Promotional Product Pioneers awards.
Tickets required. Check registration for availability.

Women’s Leadership Conference Networking Event
Tuesday, January 11, 4 - 5 pm, Beer Garden on the trade-show floor

SPARK Networking Event
Wednesday, January 12, 4 - 5 pm, Beer Garden on the trade-show floor

Technology Leaders Networking Event
Wednesday, January 12, 4 - 5 pm, Beer Garden on the trade-show floor

Promopalooza: The Expo Party, Hosted By PPAI and SAGE
Wednesday, January 12, 6:30 - 10 pm, Live from Allegiant Stadium,
3333 Al Davis Way, Las Vegas
Ticket required. Sold out but check registration for availability.

Health And Safety: Mandalay Bay Convention Center has been awarded the GBAC STAR facility accreditation by Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) assuring that it maintains a cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention program. The facility also adheres to proper cleaning protocols, disinfection techniques and other practices and uses cleaning professionals who are trained for outbreak and infectious disease preparation and response. Additionally, the entire Mandalay Bay resort, including the exhibit halls, is equipped with an extremely efficient ventilation system that provides 12 full air exchanges per hour and is equivalent to the standard found in hospitals and other medical venues.

The PPAI Expo show rules regarding health and safety precautions are based on local and federal laws, and Mandalay Bay rules and regulations. Masks are required for The PPAI Expo, but vaccinations are not. Find the latest information at