Using the Correct Union In Chicago’s McCormick Place

McCormick Place one of the nation’s largest convention center at approximately 2.2 million square foot of exhibit and convention space. Originally built in 1960 inside the lake shore Drive establishment and later in 1967 was destroyed in a fire. The convention center was rebuilt in 1971. Today there are several additions to the original structure.

McCormick place convention center today consist of 3 separate building structure on Lakeside center. The complex consist of the North, South and West building. There are numerous conventions and trade shows that are held in this convention hall, from the Chicago auto show, THE AUA, The WindPower, mid-winter dental show and Many other Trade shows.

Exhibiting at these trade shows can be confusing. In order to help you understand this , I show you wish union does what. There are six unions that you may have to deal with, knowing each one can be helpful in doing so.

The Teamsters, this union assist you in all your material handling to and from your booth location from the dock. They will remove your empty crates or pallets form the show floor. There fees are all calculated by CWT weight, which in know as drayage. Please note that you are allowed to carry smaller exhibit booths or properties through the convention hall doors only if they can be carried by one person without any wheeled carts or dollies.

Riggers, they are accountable for un-skidding position and leveling all your machines etc at the conventions. They will also be responsible for re-skidding these same items

Carpenters, their responsibility lie with the uncrating of your trade show display booth, and material. They will install your trade show booth, lay carpet, and prepare your crates for pick up. Exhibitor may install any exhibit under 300 square feet , with one man. That will take under 30 minutes. Otherwise you will have to use this union labor. You may however use a special exhibitors appointed contractor, which can be your exhibit house or appointed by.

Decorators, they are responsible for all hanging signs that are non-electrical, fabric panels, drapes and fabric installation.

Electricians, they are responsible for assembly, installation and dismantle of anything that uses electricity as a source of power. This includes electrical wiring, hook-ups, interconnections, Large monitors that is attached to trade show display structure, The Exhibitor may choose to install smaller monitors, change lightbulbs that do not require ladders etc

Plumbers, they are responsible for all compressed air, plumbing work, water and drains and natural

These unions are there to help you however be careful for not knowing can sometimes cost you a great deal. It is sometimes better to have your exhibit house assit you through the exhibiting process. They can sometime provide an all ,inclusive trade show exhibit rental package, which can include rental exhibit booth, and all the is installation. For better assistance of exhibiting the Chicago area as well as nationwide look to contact a exhibit fabricator that specialize in rental trade show booth . Contact ELDS, INC at (626) 969-3399, who well known for their trade show display and show services


Lately show management all through-out the trade show industry have either been dropping certain fees as well as adding incentives for exhibitors.  SEMA has also joined in this year in offering free incentives.  One of the best incentives being offered to the smaller exhibitor is the non-payment of drayage if the overall weight is less than 1000lbs.  Smaller exhibitors should certainly take advantage of this. Get a great looking trade show booth for the SEMA show that meets this requirement. You do have certain dates which you must meet. To view the full news letter provided by SEMA please see below


Take Advantage of Special Deals to Save Money and Draw Buyers

The nearly 2,000 exhibitors who will present their products and services at the 2008 SEMA Show (November 4–7, Las Vegas Convention Center) invest substantial sums to bring their wares to buyers from around the world. This year, SEMA and the Show managers have developed a number of programs to save exhibitors money and help them draw buyers. Listed below are 10 free programs that qualified exhibitors can use to make the most of their investment as they plan their displays.

Free Small-Exhibitor Material Handling: SEMA Show management and Freeman—the company that handles the event design, décor and movement of exhibit materials in and out of the Las Vegas Convention Center—are offering free material handling for qualified exhibitors. If a company’s total exhibit freight is 1,000 pounds or less, can be delivered in one trip to its booth, and arrives in a privately-owned vehicle (car, pickup or minivan), SEMA has made arrangements with Freeman to deliver the freight to the company’s booth at no charge.
    This service will be available from 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 1 through Monday, November 3. If the exhibitor’s total exhibit freight exceeds 1,000 lbs., the free service is not available. If the exhibitor utilizes the free service, but then ships additional freight to the Show, Freeman will charge $567.80 for the 1,000-lb. service.
    If you have any questions regarding freight-handling assistance, contact the General Service Contractor at 702/407-4694.

First Product Entered Into the New Products Showcase Is Free: SEMA presents a New Products Showcase at the SEMA Show each year, providing exhibitors with an outstanding opportunity to introduce products, packaging and merchandising to industry buyers and media.
    For 2008, the first product entered into the New Products Showcase by each company is free if it is entered by Friday, October 3 using the company’s exhibitor password. The password was sent to each company’s Show contact and is the same password used for exhibitor registration and SEMA Show Directory listing updates. If you need to obtain your password or require further information, contact Michelle Lowery at 702/450-7662, ext. 119, or e-mail
    Each additional entry has a $75 fee per product if received by October 3. After October 3, exhibitors must submit product entries at the Show for a $250 fee per product. All products entered are professionally photographed. The photos are then made available to media for use in newspapers, magazines, websites and other outlets. Photos and details of each product are also published in the January issue of SEMA News.

Free Distribution of Press Releases/Press Kits: Exhibiting companies may deliver press releases and/or press kits to the SEMA Show Media Center Sponsored by Continental Tire, room S219, on the Skybridge between the Central and South Halls. The Media Center serves as “home base” for thousands of editors and reporters during the Show, and media members visit there often to find press information and obtain releases and press kits.
    To ensure that your materials are available for the media when they arrive, we recommend delivering your materials before Monday, November 3. The Media Center will be open from 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. on Friday, October 31 through Sunday, November 2 for the delivery of press releases. We suggest stocking 75 to 100 copies of each release or kit and checking the inventory periodically during the week.

Free Press Conferences: Communicate newsworthy information to the media by holding a press conference. Media at the SEMA Show are given an official press conference schedule and are encouraged to cover every session. Media unable to attend  a conference will receive details of all announcements through a Daily Briefing that SEMA distributes at the end of each day in the Media Center Sponsored by Continental Tire.
    Note that exhibitors are not authorized to hold media conferences outside of the official schedule or off-site during SEMA Show hours. To be included in the official press conference schedule, complete the Media Conference Application located at Each media conference is limited to 20 minutes. For more information, call 909/396-0289, ext. 130, or e-mail

Free Listing in the Official SEMA Show Directory: Every SEMA Show exhibitor is entitled to a free listing in the SEMA Show Directory. Each listing includes the company name, address, phone number and website address as well as a company description. The listing also includes details about the products that each company will be exhibiting as well as the vehicle applications and the market segments it deals in.
    The company’s membership status is noted in each listing along with any SEMA council affiliations. The information used to compile each directory listing is taken from the company’s Exhibit Space Rental Agreement, but be sure to check you company’s information at to ensure that all of the data is up-to-date.

Free Listing in the SEMA International Buyers’ Guide: Expand your business worldwide with the SEMA International Buyers’ Guide, an exclusive directory of companies involved in sales outside the United States. There is no charge to be listed in the guide; the only qualifications are that your company be a manufacturer or exclusive distributor of the product lines(s) listed or an export management company. The company also must be either a member of SEMA or an exhibitor at the 2008 SEMA Show.
    The SEMA International Buyers’ Guide will be distributed worldwide, including to every international buyer that attends the SEMA Show and throughout the year at international trade shows, such as PAACE Automechanika (Mexico), the Essen Motor Show (Germany), Automechanika (Germany), Equip Auto (France), the International Automotive Aftermarket Expo (Japan), and Australia Auto Trade Fair (Australia).
    It will also be available at more than 50 U.S. embassies throughout the world, including offices in Germany, United Kingdom, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Italy, Brazil and South America, and from SEMA’s offices in China, Mexico and Europe.
    For further information about all of SEMA’s international programs, contact Linda Spencer at 202/783-4032 or via e-mail at

Free Listings About Products for Project-Vehicle Builders: Each year, the SEMA Show features nearly a thousand project vehicles, and the products displayed on them are viewed and noted by the thousands of buyers and media who attend the Show. The “Products for Project-Vehicle Builders” program is an exclusive opportunity for manufacturers to showcase their products on the exhibited cars and trucks by offering products to project-vehicle builders at no charge or at a substantial discount.
    SEMA compiles lists of exhibitors who offer free or discounted products to project-vehicle builders. The listings appear in SEMA eNews (the association’s weekly electronic newsletter) and are then posted on Listings appear in SEMA eNews on a first-come, first-served basis.
    To be included in a listing, contact Jason Catullo via e-mail at

Free Listing in Manufacturer’s Rep Matching Service: Is your company looking for a manufacturers’ representative to enhance its sales and marketing efficiency? Don’t miss this opportunity to find the rep you need.
    Download and complete the Manufacturers’ Representative Matching form and fax it to 702/450-7732. Your information will be posted in the MRC Manufacturers’ Rep Center at the SEMA Show so that reps looking for product lines may contact you. Every major rep is a member of SEMA and will attend the SEMA Show. The deadline to receive the Manufacturers’ Representative Matching form is Friday, October 17.

Free Meeting Rooms In Members Lounges: Complimentary conference meeting space is available in either the Grand Lobby Mezzanine Members Lounge (upstairs from the Grand Lobby between the North and Central Halls) or the South Hall Members Lounge (located at the front of the upper South Hall).
    These rooms are available exclusively to SEMA and TIA members (non-exhibiting manufacturers are not allowed) and can accommodate up to 10 people for a maximum of one hour. Meeting times begin and end on the hour from 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. on Monday, November 3 through Thursday, November 6, and from 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. on Friday, November 7.
    Rooms can only be reserved for two non-consecutive one-hour time slots per day and may be reserved in advance or on site based on availability.
    For more information, call 702/450-7662, ext. 247, or e-mail

Free International Buyer-Locator Service: Exhibitors may use a free service to find out which International Buyers are attending the SEMA Show and Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW). Check out which products they are seeking and download a list of all registered international buyers here
    Invite international buyers to visit your booth. Check back often, as the list will be updated every two weeks prior to the SEMA Show. Then download a final database of international buyers attending the 2008 SEMA Show/AAIW or after the SEMA Show.”

Exhibiting In Bad Economic Times

Exhibiting at trade shows in these bad economic times is a major issue for the trade show industry. Many exhibitors are deciding not to attend various trade shows and are cutting back on the size of their booth.   Some seasoned exhibitors are now visiting the shows only as show attendees and not as trade show exhibitors. Why? The costs that accompany these events.  Other innovative exhibitors rent suites and invite their clients to their suites to demo new products etc.  In attempting  to  address these issues I would say that despite innovative measures to be a part of the tradeshow marketing process in these economic times, pulling out of the show is not the answer 

Here are some of the draw backs in not attending the shows that an exhibitor  normally attends:  a) exhibitor’s seniority is lost – putting you at a disadvantage in placement for the next show when you decide to re-enter that particular show  b) prime locations that were usually allotted to you as an exhibitor is now given to other regular exhibitors, thus only allowing some off-the-beat traffic location to you.  Another ill-advised alternative is to reduce your usual booth and show site.  An example, say, your company usually attend a show using a 20×20 or 20×30 and you now are using a 10×10. Reason? Your company’s image has a tendency to be diminished giving the impression to both clients  and competitors that your business is not doing well. Would you depend on this company be around in the future?

Few pointers: The best thing to do in this case is keep the same size booth and location. Try and reduce your labor cost, your shipping cost and your drayage cost. These are all changes that the consumer as well as competitor will never see nor notice.  The next sensible thing to do is to rent a custom trade show booth as opposed to purchasing one.  Custom means exactly that – your company is still doing well and still has the ability to exhibit your products in a custom booth. There will be no signage on your booth saying “rented”. You are still giving the impression that your company is not affected by the dim economy.  Renting a custom booth will cost you a lot less than purchasing one.  Advantages?  Exhibitor has no head-ache for transportation and refurbishment costs. Clients can now enjoy a full turnkey operation, while knowing  exactly what their cost will be in the end. This way there are no surprises, nothing over the budget unless added by the client.   Custom design rental booths are generally life savers for those exhibitors trying to keep abreast with this economy and still remain regular tradeshow exhibitors under a strict budgetary constraints.

Lately we have seen many larger exhibit companies trashing their custom exhibit booth and resorting to the use of a full turnkey rental trade show booth.  Multi rentals are also an advantage for most clients who attend numerous  show.  Different shows may require different  configurations as well as different sizes and locations. In the past client would have have to invest in two or three different booth, not so anymore, rental booth can be supplied in most major cities  with the same look and all are generated from one source