With the 2021 trade show season coming to a close, the GRAPHICS PRO EXPO event team maintains its commitment to putting on a stellar event by gathering data from past and future attendees via GPX surveys. Through these surveys, the team further tailors the attendee experience.
Becca Corona, marketing manager of events, says, “Our surveys help us plan for our future events because they give us an idea of what areas worked and what areas we need to improve in for future shows. In addition, with the rebranding of THE NBM SHOW to GRAPHICS PRO EXPO (GPX), we want to make sure our audience connects the dots that our expo is the same great show, but even better!”
As a gesture of thanks for completing these surveys, each participant has a chance at winning a $200 gift card. The most recent winners include Ben Boese of HugePrints LLC and Raquel Dishman, owner/manager of Sharp Graphics.
Ben Boese, HugePrints LLC
Boese, president of HugePrints, tells GRAPHICS PRO he “somewhat fell into” the custom graphics and printing industry. He adds, “My background was in video production, and long story short, ended up working in the promotional printing world before taking over HugePrints,” which has been around for more than 20 years.
The shop, which offers everything from electric and non-electric signs to banners, vehicle and wall graphics, trade show displays, photo prints, design services, and more, aims to be an expert in print.
Boese explains by stating, “I try to be an advisor first, point people into the direction that makes the most sense for all their printing needs.”
And during a time filled with so much unknown, this customer experience coupled with staying focused was proven to be key in HugePrints’ success over these last 18 months surrounding COVID-19.
“It’s been a learning experience, especially for someone newer to business ownership,” adds Boese. “We did shut down for a while early on, mostly because the phones weren’t ringing and emails weren’t coming in. We tried doing some of the pivots that other shops did, but ultimately staying calm and staying the course is what worked the best.”
Boese says he’s an advocate for in-person trade shows when it comes to keeping up with the industry latest.
He continues, “There is a lot that can be done with virtual shows and magazines, but sometimes you just want to see products with your own eyes and have something physical. When I first came into this role, I sought out a few different trade shows to try to absorb as much knowledge as I could in as short of time as possible. GRAPHICS PRO EXPO was one of them.”
With the money he won through the survey, he plans to pay for gas for the shop van and fund any long-distance site visits.
Raquel Dishman, Sharp Graphics
As for Dishman, she’s been involved in the apparel decorating industry for almost 25 years — since 1997. She started as a graphic designer for an embroidery digitizer, then in 2002, she used her design skills and stepped into the screen printing space and managed a print shop.
She adds, “I broke off from screen printing and started my own embroidery business. I was doing embroidery for another local screen-printing company that outsourced their embroidery to me. When the owner approached me in January of 2019 and wanted to know if I wanted to merge our businesses and run and manage the new Sharp Graphics, I accepted the offer, and here I am.”
In addition to screen printing and embroidery, Sharp Graphics offers signs, promotional products, and other miscellaneous print items like magnets and business cards.
Similar to Boese, the last 18 months didn’t go without challenges for Dishman and her team. She explains, “It has definitely been rough; I had to furlough my employees when we were shut down, got the PPP loans/grants, and was actually still able to make a profit in 2020.”
When it comes to staying connected with the industry, Dishman says she’s been attending NBM events for a while before THE NBM SHOW rebranded into GPX. Having been involved for so many years, Dishman says it’s always beneficial to participate in the expo. “I get to see new products, find new vendors, and stay on top of what is happening in the industry,” she adds.
More specifically, at GPX Indianapolis this year, she enjoyed seeing printers print shirts using the simulated process technique, something Sharp Graphics has just started to utilize.
As for survey winnings, Dishman plans to step away from the shop and spend the money “somewhere close to the beach.”