The Michigan Promotional Professionals Association (MiPPA) held its TOM Show outdoors at the covered Shed 2 of the historic Eastern Market in downtown Detroit, Michigan, on April 22. The show, which had been postponed twice, faced chilly temperatures and a windy day, but drew steady traffic throughout its run, attracting more than 140 distributors.

Due to statewide restrictions on indoor meetings due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the TOM Show moved first from its regular January date to late March. When indoor meetings were still not allowed, MiPPA immediately began looking for a suitable outdoor venue for the show. In 1891, the Eastern Market was built to facilitate sales and trading among buyers and sellers. The TOM Show in 2021 was the latest iteration of that tradition with 40 exhibiting companies widely spaced in the 25,000 square-foot open Shed 2. Masks were required by all and hand sanitizer was distributed with the show bags.

A distributor says, “I attended the TOM Show today. It was so very well done, as we function in this new COVID world. It was nice to see new products and reconnect again … and to be doing something ‘normal’ again. You created a very safe and comfortable atmosphere at Eastern Market!”

MiPPA reports that exhibitors were pleased to be back in front of distributors and loved the venue despite the Michigan weather and the wind that played havoc with their products and displays. A food truck from Detroit BBQ Company added to the festive atmosphere and suppliers received vouchers for the lunch.

The show chairman, Craig Kelley, Sr., with Prestige Promotions LLC was pleased with the support of volunteers, board members and exhibitors. He says, “Everyone brought their best positive attitude and a commitment to create a great show experience. And it showed!”