ASI Chicago Delivers Big Dose of “Happyness” at Sales Super Show

Ad specialty industry kicks off the second half of the year at largest show of the summer

TREVOSE, PA – July 18, 2013 – The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) ended its 2013 ASI Show® season with another successful, sales-building event in Chicago. The largest ad specialty show of the summer delivered 78 education sessions, top-flight suppliers, a record 17 team-building distributor sales meetings and a powerful, standing-room-only keynote by Christopher Gardner, the inspiration for the Will Smith movie “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

ASI Chicago took place Tuesday, July 16, through Thursday, July 18, at McCormick Place and featured 675 exhibiting companies – including numerous Counselor® Top 40 suppliers and 83 exhibitors new to Chicago this year. Total distributor attendance was more than 4,200, from distributor firms based in 47 states and 12 countries. Seventeen distributor companies, including Network (asi/372000), EmbroidMe (asi/384000), iPROMOTEu, (asi/232119), WorkflowOne (asi/333647) and HALO Branded Solutions (asi/356000) chose the Windy City to hold major sales meetings.

Tuesday’s ASI Education Conference attracted more than 700 suppliers and distributors who took advantage of the abundance of free training, including strategic sessions on how to score a million dollars in sales, as well as two informative workshops led by ASI’s Chief Technology Officer, Armughan Rafat, on ASI’s latest mobile and online business innovations.

The bustling show floor was energized by networking distributors discussing key fourth-quarter projects with responsive suppliers. Attendees also explored niche sales ops at three specialized pavilions – New to Chicago, Incentives and ASI Decorating. Visitors to the ASI Decorating Pavilion marveled at the Stitches® Hopeful Hearts Quilt, comprised of 12 quilt squares created by decorators from around the nation in honor of causes close to their heart. Stitches magazine will document their experiences with public service in its August issue.

“We love this show. ASI Chicago has so much to offer,” said Brian Hiner, of HALO Branded Solutions (asi/356000). “It’s so important to get out on the show floor and meet face-to-face with suppliers. As many shows as there are – I believe ASI Chicago is the one that makes the difference. It’s one of the industry’s best events.”

Troy Lewis, of J.H. Specialty (asi/232445) said he enjoyed the diverse array of exhibitors. “There are so many items debuting here,” he said. “I’m leaving with many new items to show my clients. I absolutely recommend attending ASI Chicago. Nothing compares to seeing products up close and personal.”

Exhibitors were just as pleased with the show because it offered them a terrific opportunity to display their latest, greatest products.

“ASI Chicago is one of the best shows we’ve been to this year,” said Scott Anderson from Leed’s (asi/66887). “From the moment the doors opened, we’ve been busy. We’re talking with a great mix of distributors who are asking very good questions.”

Sue Tobias, of Fields Mfg. (asi/54100), said she was busy from the get-go seeing quality distributors from all over the country. “We’re really happy to be at ASI Chicago,” she said.

During the show, ASI hosted the prestigious 2013 Counselor® Awards, held this year at the Art Institute of Chicago. David Nicholson, president of Top 40 supplier Polyconcept North America (PCNA), was named 2013 Counselor Person of the Year following a special, insider’s tour of museum galleries. Chris Lee, chief executive of Brand Addition, was named 2013 Counselor International Person of the Year. The awards, chosen by editors of ASI’s Counselor magazine, recognize outstanding individuals and companies.

Click here for photos and more info. At the ceremony, Counselor also announced the Top 40 Distributors and Top 40 Suppliers rankings – the largest companies in the $19.4 billion promotional products industry, based upon 2012 revenue.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better end to the 2013 ASI Show season,” said Lorenz Hassenstein, general manager and vice president of The ASI Show. “Distributors are psyched for a strong fourth quarter and you could feel the enthusiasm on the show floor. Suppliers are thrilled with the quality of salespeople they’re meeting with and have been able to discuss specific projects with clients. Our keynote, Christopher Gardner, was the perfect end to our three-day show. He left attendees inspired to tackle their toughest challenges and charge into the all-important holiday selling season.”

Gardner – who’s met with former South African president Nelson Mandela, President Bill Clinton and the mega-star who played him in the movie of his life, Will Smith – fired up a rapt audience with a mix of touching personal stories, Hollywood glitz and laugh-out-loud zingers. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t do something,” said Gardner, a single dad who lived on the streets with his 18-month-old son for a year before his smarts and his moxy helped him break into the financial industry and become a self-made millionaire. “You want something – go get it. Period.”

Rosena Hazelwood, of Black Mountain Embroidery in Wyoming (asi/529689), said she was stirred by Gardner’s go-for-it message. “He’s so much more than a writer or someone going through struggles – he was inspiring,” she said. “And his humor was a nice touch.” Gardner’s audience included fans from as far away as Nigeria.

ASI’s president and chief executive officer, Timothy M. Andrews, said the Chicago show was the very best way for buyers and sellers to kick off the prime selling season. “Not even a heat wave could keep the suppliers and distributors at the show from getting charged up for the second half of the year,” Andrews said. “So many people I spoke to said Chicago is the best show they’ve done all year, thanks to the quality distributors walking the show floor and the numerous connections being made at the receptions and over drinks and dinner. In the end, relationship-building is what these shows are all about.”

Registration for the 2014 ASI Shows (Orlando, Jan. 5-7; Dallas, Feb. 4-6; Long Beach, March 25-27; New York, April 3-4; and Chicago next July) will open July 19 at Special 2014 presentations include keynotes by former President George W. Bush and the stars of the hit ABC reality show, “Shark Tank.”

For information on exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities, contact Karen DiTomasso, vice president of sales, at [email protected].

Go to for complete coverage of the show, including blogs and videos from ASI’s on-site editorial team.

About The ASI Show
The ASI Show was created for active ASI member distributors and suppliers, and attracts more distributors than any other industry show – with 20,000 attendees. Offering a full education conference, networking opportunities and a manageable one-floor/one-hall layout, The ASI Show provides a complete trade show experience. In five host cities per year (Orlando, Dallas, Long Beach, New York and Chicago), The ASI Show is ideal for advertising specialty businesses searching for new ideas and new business.

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