BOARDMAN, Ohio – In the face of widespread trade show cancellations across the country during the pandemic, Innovation Exhibits, Boardman, seized the opportunity to diversify, says Alexis Santangelo, account executive.
In 2020, the company added a full-service print shop and fabrication room to produce custom-hygiene shields. Innovation Exhibits also expanded capabilities to include vehicle wraps, fleet graphics and exterior signage, she says.
Despite a downturn in the protective shield market and continued disruptions in the trade show industry through most of 2021, the company made significant investments in its print shop, Santangelo says. The new equipment included the purchase of a plotter to increase efficiency and allow expansion into the areas of architectural window films and vehicle and marine paint protection.
For 25 years, the company dedicated itself exclusively to trade show and exhibit space design and installation. But diversifying into new markets has enabled the business to retain and add employees, Santangelo says.
A graphic designer and a print shop assistant joined the team in 2021, bringing the number of full-time employees to 11, she says.
The expansion puts the company in a strong position in 2022, as the events and trade shows market demonstrates renewed strength, Santangelo says.
“As trade shows came back during the fourth quarter of 2021, being able to offer an expanded menu of print capabilities was a huge asset not only to our customers but to our bottom line,” she says. “The expansion of the print and vehicle wrapping business together with the return of trade shows indicates signs of positive growth in 2022.”