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GASC President Ralph Nappi gives his impressions of Graph Expo 2012

Published on October 12, 2012

Graphic Arts Show Company President Ralph Nappi speaks with Cary Sherburne about his impressions of Graph Expo 2012 and talks about what this year's show means for the industry and for Graph Expo going forward. Ralph also gives us his outlook on Print 2013.

Cary Sherburne: Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Ralph Nappi who’s President of the Graphic Arts Show Company and we’re here at Graph Expo.

Ralph Nappi: Good to see you again, Cary.

Cary Sherburne: Same here. Last day of the show.

Ralph Nappi: Yes it is and we made it.

Cary Sherburne: We made it. Well we still have today to get through but… So how’s the show been? Did it meet your expectations in terms of exhibitors, attendance?

Ralph Nappi: It did and I’ll tell you why it did meet my expectations because expectations are changing a lot with shows, particularly nowadays. As you know, we did a lot of different things this year, added a photo finishing segment which is our twelfth segment for the show. That went swimmingly well. I was very pleased with that. We continued to build on the co-locations. As a matter of fact, it sometimes worries me that we might have too many. At 48 that’s up from 34 last year, 22 two years ago. And there are actually a couple that we tapped the brakes on. We said, “You know, we want to wait.” But I would tell you two things that I got out of this at least through the first three days of the show and I’ll assume will continue on. And that is no matter how challenged the industry is, no matter what the economic situation is, there is somewhere around 25,000 people that will have showed up in this hall over the last four days. Okay?

Cary Sherburne: Now does that include exhibitors and senators?

Ralph Nappi: That’s everybody, okay. We’ll have about 12,000 to 14,000 to 15,000 depending when the numbers are done - I don’t have the numbers yet – actual customers, okay? And as you know, we scrub the numbers and it’ll take us a couple of weeks because we want to make sure we provide accurate numbers right down to a T and we will do that.

Cary Sherburne: Not double counting people.

Ralph Nappi: Not double count. Not multiple days. Bottom line is one unique attending. But it tells me that there’s clearly a need for an industry event. There are that many people that have showed up here in Chicago to get together and if they’re not buying – and many of them ended up buying - I was pleasantly surprised to hear how many stories there were with that. But they still want to network, they want to learn. There were more educational sessions we had at this event to the co-locations and our own conference program and a lot of free sessions than we’ve ever had before for Graph Expo.

Cary Sherburne: That’s great.

Ralph Nappi: They’re coming. They want to be here.

Cary Sherburne: And what do you think’s gonna happen next year for Print 2013?

Ralph Nappi: You know I hope the same enthusiasm continues for the year because what I saw and heard on the floor, what I heard from exhibitors was clearly a) thanks for being here and b) granted the people that are here tend to be the glass half full people anyway and I’m glad they’re here because I’d rather be with them than the others. But they’re saying they are seeing clearly a change in the industry. Their psyche is such that they are ready to invest again and they are ready to grasp the new reality of our business. It’s not – it’s gonna get better but it will get better differently and that’s what we’re seeing here at this show.

Cary Sherburne: That’s a great way to put it. It’s gonna get better differently. That’s a great way to put it because I think the people have gotten past the point of saying, “I can just wait for business as usual to come back” because it’s not going to.

Ralph Nappi: Right, it won’t. And you’re right and I think that’s why you see a number of the new areas on this report. Our e-publishing group continues to grow. We had over 200 people here in e-publishing. So the bottom line is is that’s how it changes differently. But it’s better differently if you adapt to those changes.

Cary Sherburne: So we’re gonna look forward to being back here for Print 2013. I’m personally looking forward to today which is Wednesday because I get to actually walk around the show floor today for the first time and get to talk to people. So it’ll be great. I’m looking forward to it. Thank you so much for everything.

Ralph Nappi: Thank you, Cary. Appreciate it.

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