New to The PPAI Expo this year was the #WhyIExpo Wall. Attendees were encouraged to grab a colorful marker and write a message on the giant white wall. There were simple, fun messages like, “Stay groovy!” from Lisa Hearn with Palm Coast, Florida, distributor Still Serving Promos, LLC. Other attendees took the time to share why they decided to attend this year’s show.

Keith Nelson, a PPAI associate with Fargo, North Dakota, distributor Pioneer Promo, said he came because he’s been attending the show for years. For him, this year wasn’t any different. “Attending The PPAI Expo is a much-needed recharge at the beginning of the year. It’s nice to actually talk with vendors,” he said. “It’s important to see what’s going on in their world because we are relying on them for products.”

Nathan Schmidt, also a PPAI associate with Fargo, North Dakota, distributor Pioneer Promo, is a first-time attendee. “It’s nice to put a face to the vendors,” he said.

After missing a few shows, Jacinda Johnson, owner of Fort Worth, Texas, distributor Kapsil Greek Specialties, decided to make the trip. “We are working on a special project, so I said, ‘Let’s go to Expo!’”

For Brandy Anderson, with Kirkland, Washington, distributor Image Source, Inc., it was all about seeing what’s new. “I came to just learn about new products and make new connections with suppliers.”

Mark Ibrahim, a PPAI associate with Layton, Utah, distributor FLAMES6 Inc., said he came to do business. “You rely on other people if you don’t come here yourself,” he said. Ibrahim was also pleasantly surprised when he saw a few of his own vendors. “I had no idea they were going to be here. I actually needed to speak with them, and I got that chance.”

For exhibitor Anthony Martinez, with Tustin, California, supplier Yebo Inc., being present at the show is everything. “It’s all about showing face,” he said. Another exhibitor, Brandon Westmoreland, with Dallas, Texas, supplier National Banner Company Inc., has been coming to The PPAI Expo since it was held in Dallas 20 years ago. “It’s all about networking.”

No matter the reason, whether it was finding new products or meeting new colleagues, attendees found value in The PPAI Expo. In-person again, the promo community could collaborate, connect and grow together. Why do we Expo? For the good of the industry.