On March 3, Promotional Products Association Southwest (PPAS) held its “Love Our Industry” trade show at the Grapevine Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. The event drew distributors from across the region to North Texas to meet with suppliers and connect with their peers in a safe environment.

“The recovery is starting and business is beginning to rebound,” says Mark Corscadden, PPAS board president. “Our members are ready to get back to the pre-pandemic way of doing things with face-to-face meetings and events. As an organization, we needed to provide a safe and effective way to foster that for them. Our board couldn’t have been more pleased with the turnout and feedback we received.”

PPAS’s first trade show since the pandemic began, Love Our Industry drew 175 distributor attendees to meet with 50 exhibiting suppliers. The event was held with a wide range of safety precautions in place. Organizers laid out the show with wide aisles between the booths and capped building capacity at 50 percent to allow for social distancing. Along with requiring participants to wear face masks, the show implemented temperature checks and Tyvek bracelets once COVID screening had been completed; sticker name badges instead of lanyards; social distancing signage and hand sanitation stations throughout the facility; the disinfecting of all touchpoints throughout the building and sanitization of all tables and chairs after each use; and contact tracing for all participants.

Meeting face-to-face and seeing and discussing products in-person remains an important part of the promotional products industry. Corscadden says, “While the technology we were able to use during the pandemic was great, distributors want to see products in person. The importance of the ability to touch and feel them can’t be overstated. Not to mention, there is a social component to being face-to-face that you just can’t get via email or Zoom. The in-person energy can’t be matched.”