The largest show of its kind in the Americas, took place in Chicago on from September 28 to October 1 and attracted more than 38,000 industry professionals, who were able to view the wares of 580 companies exhibited their latest products and services in 375,000 square feet of display space.
Hank A. Brandtjen III, president of Brandtjen & Kluge, Inc., said “this show has been brilliant for us. We’ve gotten nearly 200 good, qualified leads, and you can’ t duplicate that. If I wanted to drive to see 200 prospects, it would cost me a fortune. This is a great show”.
Similar impressions, along with reports of completed transactions large and small, came from all over the huge show floor and have provided a much needed boost in confidence for the American graphic sector.
“The quality of the people coming through has been high. We’ve had people making immediate purchases and others who are gathering information for a purchase”, said Barry Gray, technical sales specialist at Gerber Innovations. Sales Manager Mark S. Bibo agreed, adding “This is one of the best shows in year”.
Eric Frank, vice president/Marketing at KBA North America, observed “We’ve seen increased enthusiasm. Every demo has been full. We’ve gotten not only a bigger crowd but a more optimistic crowd”.
A similar experience prevailed at VUTEk Digital Printing Systems. “When things first started to pick up, nobody was sure if it was real”, said James Gill, territory manager. “Recently, it’ s as if somebody pressed a button and things got started. Monday and Tuesday went fast. They were very busy days”.
At GBC’s Industrial and Print Finishing Group, business development director Mitchell Noble also felt that “we’ve gotten people who have been sitting on the sidelines, and now they want to get back into the game. We’ve had very good traffic.”.
Kazem Samandari, vice president/Global Marketing and Product Management at Scitex Digital Printing, also reported that “we’ve closed sales in our booth, which we ordinarily don’t expect to do. We’ve been very busy and had a lot of interest. The show has been a great success for us”.
For Kiersten Law, marketing specialist at Encad, Inc., one measure of the show’s success was the kind of conversations she was having in the company’s booth in the Wide Format Pavilion. “We’re getting a lot of solid business questions, about costs, pricing, and so on. We’ve definitely seen people coming here looking to buy”.
In addition to its exhibits Graph Expo and Converting Expo offered a programme of more than 60 educational seminars, which drew almost 1,500 registrants. A variety of free general sessions, brunch presentations, free vendor presentations, and mini-seminars staged on the show floor also drew steady crowds throughout the show.
GASC staged a special new Mailing & Fulfillment Center, complete with a seminar theater which drew capacity attendance for most sessions throughout the show, and a pavilion devoted to new binding technology, co-sponsored by the Binding Industries of America, along with its Wide Format Pavilion and Innovation Gallery.
“As a multi-dimensional industry rallying point, Graph Expo and Converting Expo has always been number one”, noted Regis J. Delmontagne, president of the show’s management company, the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC). “With the added excitement of a distinct economic resurgence, this year’s show clearly became the most successful and encouraging event in several years”.
With several industry observers projecting sales growth for 2004 as well, next year’s show promises to continue the positive trends established in Chicago in October. Graph Expo and Converting Expo 2004 will be held at McCormick Place South from October 10 to 13 next year.
Sabine Schmidt’s extensive technology reports filed from Graph Expo and Converting Expo may be found at the i-grafix.com global website.
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