The doors opened at Expo East in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Thursday morning marking the show’s fourth year in the city and the second in conjunction with the Imprinted Sportswear Show (ISS). The show, running through Saturday at the Atlantic City Convention Center, is designed to provide an experience similar to The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas, with the same high level of exhibits, education and networking events.

“Expo East continues its evolution this year by co-locating once again with The Imprinted Sportswear Show,” says Darel Cook, PPAI director of expositions. “Based on last year’s member feedback, we adjusted the show days to take better advantage of our members’ work days and much better hotel rates. This has proven to be beneficial to the show as our pre-registration numbers are up eight percent over 2015. Along with similar increases from the ISS pre-registration, we expect a very successful show.”

Hundreds of attendees arrived at the convention center for Education Day on Wednesday and attended their choice of more than 50 education sessions in seven tracks focusing on pertinent topics from product safety to growing margins to embroidery how-tos.


“The buzz during professional development day was great,” says Tom Goos, MAS, PPAI board chair and president of Image Source, Inc. “I sat in on some valuable sessions and took away some great nuggets of information.”

Among those who also spent time in the education sessions was Deanna Cross, president of Business Incentives, a division of CarCross Company, Inc., who attended with the goal of earning her CAS (Certified Advertising Specialist) designation. “I’m hoping to get my CAS soon so all the offerings here are very beneficial to me,” she says, noting her plans to attend five sessions during the show to earn the needed credits. Cross says that even though she’s been working in the family business since she was 14 and in a full-time capacity for the past five years, earning her CAS is an important personal achievement.

Gail Deutchman, president of Distinctive Promotions, also drove in early for the education and plans to stay for the entire show. “Distributors need to come to the show to get educated and to validate our relationships with our suppliers because they are our best friends,” she says. “If we work with them, they’ll help us create sales for our clients.”

Industry newbie and first-time attendee Anthony Pepe, sales coordinator for The Embroidery Factory, attended Wednesday’s keynote luncheon featuring speaker Diane Ciotta and was positive about his first experiences. “The company owner encouraged me to come out here for training,” he says. “I’m looking to take back successful strategies which I’ve learned in the three sessions I’ve been in. It’s all about listening to the customer to see what they want and offering things that will help them and that they will benefit from.”


Expo East is also an important show to Mike Delaney, principal at Calico Enterprises, who has attended for the past several years. “I come here to get my batteries recharged. I can learn a lot,” says the former weekly newspaper owner and ad salesperson who lives nearby. “It’s easy for me to get here. My wife is meeting me here tonight and we’ll be on the show floor tomorrow.”

Trent Geis, sales/marketing consultant at distributor Ray Hough Company, has attended the show for a number of years. “I always find the education sessions helpful—I always learn something. I’m always looking for ideas to pass on to my customers and this is one of the best places to get them. Making contacts with the different representatives and vendors is also really important. It’s good to know your sales rep because you never know when you are going to need something—quicker shipping, free samples, better pricing and those are the guys who are going to make things happen.”

Professional development continues on Thursday with Keynote & Cocktails, a free education and networking event featuring memorable speaker and master marketer Seth Godin beginning at 4:30 pm in Room 402. Additional free sessions on a variety of relevant and significant topics will be offered on Friday and Saturday.

Expo East is open Thursday and Friday, 10 am – 5 pm and on Saturday from 10 am – 3 pm. Follow the activity at Expo East as it happens in the Expo East Daily.