ExhibitSense: A Brief History
I hesitated to write on this topic because I didn’t know if anyone would really care about the history of ExhibitSense.
I decided to go ahead with it as I believe that in the end business boils down to relationships.
And the more you know about a company, the people that work there, its guiding principles, and its culture the better.
So here it goes…
In the Fall of 2004 I decided to make a change.
At the time my cousin, who I am very close to, had been seriously ill, my neighbor had just passed away, far too young after a long illness, and my daughter (only child) was starting fifth grade.
Within that “life is too short” mindset I chose to do something on my own and close to home to improve my quality of life and be more present as my daughter grew.
I leased a small office above Dave’s Colonial Barbershop in Westborough, MA and founded New England Business Partners, marketing a web site platform for small businesses.
I had spent the previous thirteen years in the trade show exhibit business providing portable and modular exhibits for companies attending trade shows, conventions, and marketing events, but wanted to do something different.
That didn’t last very long.
There’s a cliché that says no matter how hard someone tries they can never leave the mob.
As anyone who has spent time in the trade show industry knows – the same cliché applies.
Within a year of “leaving” the trade show industry, I was contacted by a friend and colleague who worked for a custom exhibit company asking if I could help him out with his clients’ portable exhibit needs.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Before long the work started piling up.
Then he started referring clients to me directly. Those clients began referring me to people they knew and what started out as a tiny snowball grew and gained speed as time went on.
Within a couple of years, I was done with websites and focusing on exhibits.
As business grew I needed help from others and connected with other industry people who had gone the independent route.
I recruited an old colleague working out of his house in Rhode Island, a designer doing the same thing locally, and, later, a guy I had worked with years before who “left” the trade show exhibit industry before I did, but was looking to get back in the game.
More people followed as things got busier and the common thread that bound us was a commitment to not only doing what made the most sense for our clients, but also doing what made the most sense for ourselves and our families.
If that meant working late or getting in at the crack of dawn so we could slip away for an hour or leave early for a school event, personal appointment, or family event – so be it.
I called it “being on the adult plan”.
It’s all about being mission oriented and at the same time always doing what makes the most sense for everyone involved.
In fact - “What makes the most sense?” became THE question among us when we would consider solutions for our clients.
Finally - one day I asked, “What makes “exhibit sense” for this client?”
And from that a new company name was born.
Since those humble beginnings above the barber shop, we have moved twice and now have approximately 20,000 square feet of space – still in Westborough, MA.
We now have eleven employees and a network of independent professionals and vendors to help best serve our clients.
I’m proud to say we have experienced remarkably low employee turnover and have never placed an ad or recruited any employees.
Every member of our staff has come by way of relationship, referral, or word of mouth.
We offer everything from banner stands, table top, pop-up, portable, modular, custom modular and custom exhibits.
We feature design services, in-house graphic production, a comprehensive rental exhibit program, full exhibit storage, install/dismantle, shipping, show services, and complete program management with a state of the art inventory system for companies of all sizes.
We have experienced and managed organic growth every year, and have been 100% debt free from day one.
A large part of what “doing what makes the most sense” means to me is remaining true to core competencies and not trying to be all things to all people.
Towards that end, we remain closely allied with the guy from the custom exhibit house that “dragged” me back into this business many years ago (thankfully), and maintain a solid partnership where we help him out with his clients that need what we do best – and he helps us out with our clients who need what his company does best.
As our mission statement says:
We're here to help you achieve maximum success in your trade show and event program through creative and cost effective exhibits, graphics, and service solutions that make the most sense based on your objectives.
Whether your requirements are modest or extensive, our aim is to have you look great, eliminate your exhibit or event related headaches, and treat you as we'd like to be treated.
That makes “ExhibitSense." - Oh, and by the way – we’re still on the “adult plan”!
Feel free to contact me any time.