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.
So 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.
I have never been to a wedding with an outdoor ceremony.
The ones I’ve seen on television and in the movies, the weather is always perfect. The ceremony usually takes place on a tropical island or other sunny, weather-predictable location.
My niece and her fiancée decided to have an outdoor wedding in northern Michigan in October. The ceremony and reception were at a golf and ski resort. The setting was the top of the ski hill overlooking miles of fall colors in full force. They probably knew they were rolling the dice when it came to weather. I mean, it can snow up there this time of year.
While it isn’t officially the end of summer in the Midwest, there is a rush to get all things “summer” done before Labor Day. Never mind that there are three more weeks of the actual season. Midwesterners have mistakenly accepted that we only deserve three months of bearable weather, not even one or two weeks more.
So that, combined with school starting up and the exodus of the college-aged work force from resort towns - leaving no one to run go-cart tracks and wait tables - means one last lap in proverbial summer pool.
The world has moved a block away from Prairie, right here in Elmhurst.
We have a new neighbor in our business park. They’ve constructed a 25’ tall stainless steel sculpture of a globe. Originally it stood outside of Sears (Willis) Tower in Chicago, which is undergoing extensive renovations. Our neighboring business, involved with those renovations, removed the structure and reconstructed it on the front lawn of their production facilities, about 100 yards from Prairie’s front door.
Sears is closing their last store located within the city of Chicago.
It is the one on the northwest side at the Six Corners area. That’s where Irving Park Road, Cicero and Milwaukee avenues intersect, creating a hub of retail and commercial activity that has anchored the northwest side neighborhood, known as Portage Park. The history of the name dates back to the French explorers. The explorers and their Native American guides would portage canoes across the area, linking the Chicago River on the east and the Des Plaines River to the west.
It is also where I grew up.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.”
— Henry Ford
The worlds of design, art and graphic production have all evolved very rapidly over the past 20 to 25 years. It has never been easier to create what you can visualize, then produce it at what seems like lightning speed.
Perhaps, though, we are losing the art of creating imagery using paint, pencil and paper.
I was recently wrapping up a meeting with Joe Matillaro, one of our transportation and logistics partners from Superior Logistics. We were going over an upcoming, tight show schedule for a client to ensure we had enough time between events for advance warehouse delivery.
“I just want to remind you that ELDs are here, as of December 18,” Joe said.
“ELDs?” I was a bit puzzled. “What are they?”
For the Japanese culture, Shinrin-yoku, walking or staying in forests in order to promote health, is a major form of relaxation.
Studies have shown that practicing Shinrin-yoku can ease feelings of hostility or depression, and may even help decrease the risk of psychological stress-related diseases.
If you ascribe to the notion that moving every seven years helps alleviate “stuff” accumulated during that time, then I have accomplished that task three times over, especially with our most recent move.
And boy, did we find, and get rid of, a lot of “stuff”.
No one ever plans to get into a car accident. You also never know where and when you will need the advice and sage knowledge of an expert.
In almost 40 years of driving, I am fortunate to have been involved in only a few minor bumper taps. None involved an injury more significant than being shaken up a bit. This is a true blessing considering all the miles I’ve driven as a salesperson in the Midwest, covering Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan for many years.
Can anyone think of a for profit or non-profit entity that operates as a true monopoly?
You remember the word monopoly from your economics class that you struggled to stay awake in, don’t you? A monopoly occurs when a company or group has exclusive control over a commodity or service. Yes, Monopoly is also a great board game. There is no sweeter feeling than sending three of your closest friends into Hasbro bankruptcy.
If you spend any time researching the planning and execution of a successful trade show program, you’ll discover no shortage of material on the subject. Publications like Exhibitor Magazine, Exhibit City News and Trade Show Executive are great sources, along with the EDPA. There are countless social media pages and blogs devoted to industry best practices.
Much of what I find seems to be information that’s recycled and republished. Even so, most is good, sound advice based on statistical evidence and experience. Many of these sources have been useful in putting together some of my writing.
“Excuse me. Do you work here?”
“Me?” I pointed to myself. I had to juggle the 12-pack of soda and jar of peanut butter I was holding. My shopping trips involve very basic needs.
“Do you know where the Saran Wrap is?”
I checked to see if I was wearing a blue polo shirt with a store logo and a name tag. Nope.
“I don’t work here, but I’m sure we can find it together,” I said.
A friend of mine ran his first marathon last fall.
He set the goal of successfully finishing the race almost two years earlier. He started with 5k races. I know the first few were more walking than running, as my friend was not an experienced runner, and had been a smoker for several years.
From 5ks, he went to 10ks and then two half marathons before tackling the final goal. When I asked why he started preparing so far in advance, he said his goals were to finish, finish with what he felt was a reasonable time, and to come away without any injuries.
In January, I will be celebrating 34 years of being involved in the trade show industry. Yep, in January of 1983, I was introduced to the Nomadic Instand. The Instand, according to Exhibitor Magazine was one of the “10 Ideas That Changed the Trade Show Industry”.
If I would’ve known 34 years later I would still be involved with that same product, along with a library of different types of useful tools and services, I would’ve committed myself, right then and there.