September 25, 2007 -- Hailed by exhibitors as "the number one show for us," "extraordinarily successful" and "the best show I can really remember," the four-day GRAPH EXPO held at McCormick Place in Chicago in mid-September was an unprecedented success.
With 654 exhibitors filling 460,296 square feet of booth space on the sold out show floor, this was the largest U.S. national graphic communications trade show since 2000 and the second biggest GRAPH EXPO ever. Its education program of nearly 70 sessions drew a record number of participants, notably the largest registration since 2000, with participants choosing to attend more sessions than in the past, including five sold out sessions.
Continuing its commitment to provide verified attendee data, the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) reported 31,779 total participants (includes exhibitors and attendees) at the event, achieving a 3% increase in attendance over last year, with 20,285 actual verified attendees.
"The activity on the show floor felt great", said Ralph Nappi, President of GASC. "Now with the registration data compiled and finalized, we definitively know that this year's GRAPH EXPO surpassed last year's show with 20,285 attendees spending at least one day at the show, and most more time," he added.
The universally positive experiences of exhibitors confirmed a major commitment to new technology investments and demonstrated an industry rapidly progressing to expand its services, capabilities and value to communicators of all kinds.
As reported in the Show Daily's September 10 lead story, aptly titled 'Opening Day Home Run', according to Sheryl Pattek, Executive Director, Marketing Strategy and Operations, Océ North America, Inc., "Océ has participated in GRAPH EXPO for the past eight years, and the show gets better every year. It has been very busy from the minute the doors opened, people coming to the booth appear to be well qualified - they're not 'tire kickers' - and there are a lot of new faces."
Likewise, reported Forrest D. Leighton, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Production Systems Division, Canon U.S.A., Inc. "we're so excited about the response we're getting. The traffic has just been incredible!"
Echoing the positive sentiments, Rich Raimondi, VP/GM, Graphic Arts Business- Imaging & Printing Group, Hewlett-Packard Company said, "the show is full! There's a more positive vibe and energy, even compared to the two most recent GRAPH EXPO shows. A lot of customers are in buying-decision mode, ready to sign contracts."
Attendees' expectations were met or exceeded as well, according to Dale Walsh, Certified Mail & Distribution Systems Manager, IKON Office Solutions, who stated, "this is my first GRAPH EXPO, and I'm impressed!" "I'm looking to solve a specific problem and I've already found a lot of possible solutions."
'Veteran' show goer David Zimmerman, President, Zimmerman Printing shared his satisfaction with the show sharing, "I've come to every GRAPH EXPO. There's clearly more digital technology and software at this year's show, and that's what I'm looking for. I always get a lot out of the show - the different solutions and new opportunities."
GRAPH EXPO presented a comprehensive exhibition of technologies with running live applications for digital prepublishing, prepress, digital and offset printing, wide format imaging, mailing, fulfillment, bindery and other functions. It offered special pavilions devoted to mailing and fulfillment, wide format inkjet technologies, and the brand new XPS Land Showcase, along with a program of specialized seminars organized in cooperation with the Mailing & Fulfillment Service Association (MFSA). Debuting at GRAPH EXPO for the first time was a full-day Print Buyers Conference, designed for print specifiers and print buyers.
The breadth of the show's offerings was a key appeal to Barry Quart, Vice President, Marketing US and Canada Graphic Communications Group, Eastman Kodak Company. "GRAPH EXPO is the Number One show for us [the Graphic Communications Group] here in North America, so we always look forward to it. We always have some important new product announcements, so it's good to make them to the high-caliber audience the show provides."
Next year's GRAPH EXPO will be held on October 26-29 at McCormick Place. Based on the overwhelming success of this year's show, exhibit space for the 2008 event is already 80 percent reserved.
Continuing its innovative direction into "everything print", the 2008 show will debut several new features including a new Promotional Products Pavilion to introduce printers to a variety of options for producing these products themselves or outsourcing production, and a new Design & Software Central section of software manufacturers and vendors which will demonstrate for attendees how these tools can be used to benefit their businesses. Additional new features will also be unveiled on the show floor in both the Wide Format Pavilion and Mailing & Fulfillment Center.
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