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Published on Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Sharing Anniversaries, Surviving Bumps and Looking Forward

Twenty-five years ago (1994), Amazon sold its first book and Yahoo! was the go-to search tool (Do you Yahoo!?). There was a Major League Baseball strike, and Prairie Display/Chicago was incorporated as a company.

 

Forrest GumpSo the year Forrest Gump and The Lion King came to movie theaters, Prairie launched into the trade show and event world. We started with a vision of providing the best portable/modular display products, services and large format graphics, used at trade shows and other face-to-face marketing events.

 

Nomadic DisplayThe same year the band Aerosmith gave away the first (for a major band) digital audio file to CompuServe subscribers, and Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, there was a new kid in town representing Nomadic Display, the premiere portable display at that time.

 

In 1994, a first class postage stamp was 29 cents, the television show Friends hit the airways, President Bill Clinton sent the first U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf region, and I took the leap from being a sales manager to business partner in this new venture.

 

Justin BieberBack then, we intently watched the “O.J. Trial” and listened to Nirvana on their CD Unplugged in New York. While we lost lead singer Kurt Cobain, not long after that, the world welcomed Justin Bieber. Starting from scratch, Prairie made our first sale and gained our first customers, some who still call Prairie their go-to source for display, exhibit and graphic needs.

 

And yes, there have been some bumps. There were three economic downturns, advances in technology, the influx of inexpensive products from China, and the pressure of making the right decisions for the business and our customers.

 

FabLite Pillowcase DisplayIt has always been tempting to go after the new bright and shiny product, but I think Prairie has carefully vetted the brands and types of products we offer. We made a decision long ago to not be the ‘‘cheapest” on the market. Our products or services would have to be of high quality, supported after the sale and something we could add value to with our expertise and core competencies.

 

So with this in mind, as we approach our 25th anniversary, we decided to update our mission statement. Here it is:

 

"Our mission is to provide our customers with the highest value and support to maximize their face-to-face marketing programs. With a focus on ease of use, innovation, and industry expertise, we strive to develop long-term partnerships in a changing and evolving marketplace."

 

Prairie Display/Chicago logoAnd here’s to another 25 years of more of the same! Taking care of you, the customer, our partner. Without you, we would not be here.

 

In 1994, our new president Bill Clinton delivered his first State of the Union address, calling for health care reform, a ban on assault weapons, and welfare reform. Some things never really change, even after 25 years.

 

Steve Moskal

 

Hakuna Matata

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Steve Moskal
Steve Moskal

Steve Moskal

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Full biography

Steve’s journey in the trade show and event world started in 1983 with one of the original Nomadic Display sales organizations in North America. In 1994, he co-founded Prairie Display/Chicago.

Steve was an Allied Board Member of TSEA (Trade Show Exhibitors Association) from 2007 to 2011 and recipient of the TSEA President’s Award in 2009. He also served as Financial Chair of the Midwest Exhibit and Event Professionals (formerly the Chicago chapter of TSEA) and as a commissioner with the Elmhurst Economic Development Commission from 2011 to 2016. Currently he is Vice President of Education for the Addison/Elmhurst, IL Toastmasters Club.

When not working with customers and co-workers at Prairie, you can find him trying to spend more time biking and pursuing other creative endeavors. Steve lives in Oak Brook, IL with his beautiful and equally understanding wife of 26 years, Shelley.

Steve is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a B.A. in Journalism and a Fine Arts minor.

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