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Results Reported At Graph Expo And Converting Expo 2004

Press release from the issuing company

October 25, 2004 -- America’s printing, publishing and converting industry is on the rebound, investing significantly in new technologies to fuel growth, and looking ahead expectantly to a memorable worldwide PRINT 05 and CONVERTINGSM 05 in Chicago next year. Those are the key conclusions from the recently completed GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO, held October 10-13 in Chicago. The annual show was the largest in three years in terms of exhibit space, and was widely hailed as the most successful selling show in recent memory. “This show has been absolutely phenomenal,” said Sean McCardell, president of Automatan, Inc. By mid-day on the show’s second day, he added, “we’ve already met our quota for the entire show. The show has been great because not only is the volume of attendees up for us from last year, but the quality of the leads we’re getting is much better too. People are here spending money, and if that isn’t the best sign of a successful show, I don’t know what is.” The next day, Daniel McAvoy, president of Compose Systems, Inc., commented, “I thought Monday was just excellent, but today has been even better. I’m convinced that the sluggishness of the past few years is ending, and I’ve seen it at this show.” This year’s event also focused on package printing, with many exhibitors displaying new products and equipment to help commercial printers offer package printing and construction to their customers. Exhibits by companies firmly rooted in commercial printing often offered products useful in package printing as well, reaffirming that this is a viable direction for printers seeing additional revenue streams and profitability. “This has been the best year ever of this show for us,” said Derek Dlugosh-Ostap, president of Pack Smart Inc, (GA-VEHREN Engineering). “The people coming in are more positive and more ready to buy than we have seen in past shows.” Even new exhibitors in the packaging area were excited about their traffic levels and the show’s ability to meet their sales needs. “This is our first year here, so we weren’t sure what to expect . . . we’ve been really happy with the number of people in our booth and the interest they’ve shown . . . I think coming here was the right move for us,” noted Paul Browning, of Graphic Packaging. Thomas DeVito, president of Gluing Machinery & Systems, reported that “this show has been great, absolutely fantastic. I’ve seen the traffic and the sales up a lot from the past few years. We’re booking orders all day long. We leave this show with more money in the bank every year.” The Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC), the show’s manager, reported that a total of over 600 exhibitors occupied over 392,000 net square feet of exhibits plus almost 18,000 square feet of booths occupied by associations, publications, and educational institutions at GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO, making the 2004 show the largest since PRINT 01. In exhibit size, this year’s show was 12 percent larger than in 2003. Attendance totaled nearly 40,000, also an increase from 2003. In both space sold and attendance, GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO continues to buck the national, cross-industry trends of declining size and attendance at trade exhibitions. Exhibitors at McCormick Place were as impressed by visitors’ buying plans as by their numbers. “On Sunday we had the most leads we’ve ever had in a day,” said William J. Longua, manager of marketing services at RENA Systems, Inc. “This year’s traffic has been incredible, and definitely up from last year.” “The energy level and the excitement we’re seeing in people attending is the best we’ve ever seen,” said Tony Cockerham, senior technical sales manager at Buhrs Americas, Inc. According to Jeff Marr, vice president/sales at Colter & Peterson, “this is the best show we’ve had in years. People aren’t just looking, they’re buying too.” “Being here has really made me feel like the industry is truly alive and well,” commented JoAnn Wolff, director of sales at Royal Sovereign International. “The past few years have been lean for lots of businesses, but I think that’s all about to change. This show has been excellent for us, in both volume of traffic and quality of people coming in.” Hans Rasmussen, vice president/sales at Kongskilde, reached a similar verdict: “This year has brought a much higher quality and quantity of lead than we have seen in the past. Our traffic level is up from what we anticipated, but more significant to us is the caliber of lead we’re seeing,” he added. “People are in our booth to not only see the equipment but to actually buy systems.” Michael Aumann, vice president, sales and marketing at Streamfeeder, said his company could quantify clearly the results of GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO. “We track our leads rather aggressively,” he explained, “and I can tell you that we’ve already seen about a twenty percent higher rate of substantial and closable leads from years past.” In addition to the show hall, visitors crowded the seminar rooms and special events at GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO. Full pavilions, full floor educational sessions in each of the special theaters in both Wide Format and Mailing & Fulfillment pavilions gave hundreds of attendees great opportunities to learn from the experts how these ancillary services can add to their profitability. Throughout the show’s four days, excitement over the ongoing industry renaissance mixed with anticipation of PRINT 05 and CONVERTING 05, the international mega-show scheduled for next September 9-15 at McCormick Place. That event’s aggressive attention to opportunities for printers in package printing will offer additional insights for commercial printers seeing diversification. “We’re already thinking about the PRINT 05 show, and we’ll probably have a bigger booth and more staff,” said Mark Nordling, regional applications manager, MultiFeeder Technology. Mark Abderholden, sales engineer at JM Equipment (CG Machinery), echoed that thought: “We’re looking forward to the PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05 show,” he said. “Our booth will be twice as large and we’ll be bringing some new equipment that we’re very excited about.” Automatan’s Sean McCardell promised, “We’ll be here next year for sure,” and at Colter & Peterson, Jeff Marr said, “We’re already looking forward to PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05 because this year’s show has been such a success.”