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By now you’ve probably received several pieces of standard and electronic mail reminding you that the International Sign Expo, the annual event hosted by the International Sign Association (ISA, signs.org), is right around the corner, April 15-18. As you review your shop's annual budget versus your current P&Ls, you may be hearing strains of The Clash’s 1980s hit, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"
This year’s event (signexpo.org) returns to the Mandalay Bay casino and resort in Las Vegas, and the expo’s site design as well as the event's marketing materials feature a pair of dice-not only a symbol of the location but also an acknowledgment of the uncertainty we’re all feeling during this recession. Every dollar spent begins to feel like a risk.
ISA is very quick to reassure, however, welcoming you to the site with the words opportunity and potential, as well as this year’s theme: "Possibility Happens." While the phrase is inspiring, many shop owners may feel they need something a bit more concrete to justify the cost. ISA has you covered there, too.
The goal of the expo, says the ISA, is to bring together signage suppliers to showcase the latest industry products, services, and technologies to sign shops as well as digital operations. To that end, the 2009 event will host 2000 exhibit booths of more than 560 companies of all sizes from all sectors of the industry. (For a complete alphabetical list, visit signexpo.org/attendees/exhibitor+list.aspx.) In just a few days of walking the show floor, you can learn about everything that’s new and notable in 2009 for the sign and graphics marketplace.
According to ISA's annual post-show attendee survey, 75 percent of attendees come primarily to see the latest technology and to purchase or explore purchasing new products/services. "This is the only North American venue where you can touch, feel, and test the most and the best in competing product lines in the sign/digital industry. Three months out from the 2009 expo, there are already close to 100 new products that exhibitors plan to unveil," reports Laurie Kusek, ISA's director of communications.
The products that will be introduced and showcased at the expo are too numerous to include here, but you can find them listed alphabetically on the Product Locator page on the Sign Expo’s website: signexpo.org/attendees/product+locator.aspx.