From the Editor: Destination Change
My first Graph Expo was not in Chicago. It was in New York City. This was way back in 1992, when the sound of offset presses on the show floor drowned out nearby conversations, and the term “digital press” still evoked laughter.
My point, however, is that I started attending Graph Expo in a city other than Chicago, so I should not be bothered by the fact that it’s not in Chicago this year.
And yet I am.
You can rattle off all the reasons that this move to Florida is a good one — closer to southern printers, in a vacation destination, cheaper for exhibitors, no union complications — but still, I’m not hearing a lot of excitement from in-plants about Orlando.
In fact, I asked some of them what they thought of this switch and whether they were going this year. I emailed 35 managers who attended last year. Eighteen said they are not going and eight said they are. The most common reason cited for skipping it is the higher cost of travel for those accustomed to driving to Chicago. A fair number said flat out that they don’t like Orlando and think the show belongs in Chicago, where it’s easier to get around.
Balancing that are the handful who are glad to see the show move to a fresh venue, which they hope will bring in a new demographic. Two of the managers not attending this year said they thought Orlando was a great location and wished they were going. On the other hand, three managers who plan to attend said they were not excited about central Florida and said they wished the show was still in the Windy City.
Maybe my poll is meaningless, since the theory is that these no-shows will be replaced by other printers from the South and also from Latin America, for whom Orlando is more convenient. And in fact one Georgia manager I emailed who has never attended Graph Expo was excited to be able to go this year due to the proximity. Another said the new location made it more affordable for him to bring several employees, which he couldn’t otherwise have done.
Some vendors aren’t taking a chance, though. We’ve heard about a few big ones planning to sit this show out. And while that may seem a troublesome trend, it’s only fair to point out that many more do plan to exhibit: Canon USA, Duplo, Standard Finishing, Konica Minolta, Xerox, EFI, Muller Martini, Ricoh and countless others. And of course IPG will be there too, hosting three free in-plant events: two breakfasts and a luncheon.
So as we head into this strange new world of palm trees, gator-filled swamps and grinning tourists clad in mouse ears, we’ll do our best to go with the flow and stay optimistic. It is, after all, about the technology and the networking, not about the location.
The humid, humid location.
Related story: Plenty for In-plants at Graph Expo
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.