Tuesday, July 23, 2024




Inspector Gadget Redux

Author: Steve Moskal

To say it's been busy the last few months at Prairie is an understatement. During the show season, Prairie is an “all hands on deck” team. My hands have been on deck more this January and February than I can remember.


Our Store and Ship clients seem to be on heavier and tighter show schedules this year and I have found myself pitching in on display inspections. Each display is set-up and inspected after each show/event to make sure all is good for the next use.


We see display properties come back to our dock in a variety of conditions, from okay to missing or broken parts. Graphics usually need to be cleaned or steamed and refolded, depending on if they are rollable panels or fabric. The trade show floor is probably one of the dustiest and dirtiest places around. That dust and dirt usually ends up on your display and graphics and in your cases.

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Tennis Courts and Trade Shows

Author: Steve Moskal

“Sure. I’ll look into it,” I said.


Those five words took me on a long and involved journey I originally thought was going to be a short trip. Shelley and I volunteered to look into what it would take to fix up the tennis courts that are part of our homeowner’s association. I mean, how hard can that be?


I thought we could just go online, check out some local companies and get quotes on filling the cracks, putting on a new layer of asphalt, and painting whatever court lines were needed. That’s what they do in parking lots, right?

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Do You Need a Creative Kick?

Author: Steve Moskal

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”.

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Number of views (3366)




Accidents and Trade Shows - They Happen. Are You Ready?

Author: Steve Moskal

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.

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Do You Know the "Basic 10"?

Author: Steve Moskal

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.

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Expertise Needed in Aisle Eight

Author: Steve Moskal

“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.

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The Trade Shows of September Come Early

Author: Steve Moskal

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down

Of the big lake they called 'gitche gumee'

The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead

When the gales of November come early.


If you are like me, the lyrics of Gordon Lightfoot’s 1970s chilling ballad, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, are etched in your brain. Maybe not word for word, but there’s a good chunk up there.

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Is It Getting Too Complicated to Remain Loyal?

Author: Steve Moskal

Having heard so much about the recent change in the Starbucks loyalty program, I was reminded why I decided to quit drinking coffee over 10 years ago. It just got too complicated.


No one seemed to be ordering a straight cup of coffee anymore. It started to include “shots” of this, “halves” of that and “skinnies” of those. There were coupons and punch cards and reusable travel mug discounts.

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Don't Drive Thru Please!

Author: Steve Moskal

Hamburgers are all the rage in our town. In the last 2 years, 4 new restaurants opened specializing in various types of custom (higher end than fast food) burgers. This - if we add the 7 fast food restaurants and a dozen or so sit-down places where you can order a burger - brings the options for raising my cholesterol and body fat to an all time high.


Don’t get me wrong, I am not going vegetarian any time soon, but I seriously started to ask, what’s the difference, really?  I mean, I can drive-thru Mickey Dee’s and pay $1.25 for their fast, cheap version of a burger. So why fork over $5 or more for a burger at one of the new joints?

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Again and Again, Then One More Time

Author: Steve Moskal

Leo Olson taught advertising in the Journalism Department at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois during the 1970s and 80s. Although Leo passed away in 1989, he left behind a lasting legacy to thousands of J-students who passed through the doors of Cole and Reavis Halls. 


Through stories and instruction, Leo instilled in students the fundamental principles of what made good advertising. I hope there are still some grads around who shared some time with Leo, and remember him fondly.

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Number of views (3267)
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