The PPAI Expo 2016 wrapped up last Thursday in Las Vegas with more than 11,000 distributors streaming through nearly one million square feet at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for the event’s five-day run.

In its 14th year at Mandalay Bay, the show floor took on new look and fresh ambiance with all 1,300 exhibiting companies and 3,300 booths located on a single level for the first time. The show was expanded into two new halls just completed in fall 2015 as part of the convention center’s $66 million expansion.

For many distributors, having all exhibits on one level saved time and made working the show easier and more efficient. “It took me two days to walk the entire floor this year instead of three days,” says Chris Stumpf, CEO/managing partner of distributor Doulos Threads in Middletown, Ohio. “So the new layout means you can get through it quicker. I walked by every booth and got a lot of good ideas.”

For many exhibitors, it was one of the best Expos in recent years. “This year’s show was one of our strongest yet,” says Charles Palko of supplier Cosmo Fiber Corporation in Duarte, California. “We were able to show off our latest and greatest to many new distributors while also getting the opportunity to present to some of our best customers. I always love it when I hear a distributor tell me that they’re so happy that they stopped here.”

Another exhibitor, located in the brand. pavilion in the new hall, was also thrilled with attendance. “The first morning we were crushed with traffic,” says Mike Landry, vice president, special markets for TUMI. “It was like the running of the bulls. It was awesome! And we were busy all day until mid-afternoon. [Wednesday] was strong, too. I’m very pleased.”

Another first at this show was more subtle but critical to the business of suppliers, distributors and end buyers alike: all of the participating exhibitors, sponsors and advertisers had attained Product Safety Aware status in advance of the show. The new prerequisite required each company to designate a roster employee who completed a minimum of four hours of product safety education before setting foot in the exhibit hall. “I am not aware of any other trade show in any industry that can make such a claim,” said Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO.

Read about all the week’s events, education keynotes, awards presentations and more in the Expo Daily’s three editions produced on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and see dozens of photos on PPAI’s Facebook page. Also, check out these sites to see what aspects of the show resonated most with showgoers:

Kirky Hasseman



The Promo Diaries