It was two years ago that City Paper attended our last major tradeshow, the annual PPAI Expo 2020 in Las Vegas at the massive Mandalay Bay Conference Center.  It had become tradition for us to host our annual sales team kick off meeting on the first day of the show followed by two vigorous days of product viewing, vendor chatting, excessive walking, minor amounts of drinking and tons of bonding and networking.  We returned home from our annual trip to two months later watching the world shut down seemingly overnight.  As you may have read in the blogs we posted during the onset of the pandemic, we were one team rowing in one massive direction doing what we could to help our customers and support our vendors.

2021 brought us a virtual PPAI Expo.  It was unique, but I appreciated the effort to keep up the interaction and try to manifest some bit of excitement for the year to come.  At this point, we were all hopeful that the pandemic was turning the corner.  And yet, it was another year of more masks, Covid tests and endless bottles of sanitizer.  

When the time came for our team to sign up this year for the annual tradeshow, we were rightfully weary.  Would there by new product?  (There were a few). Would vendors back out?  (Some did).  Would it be worth the investment to attend?  (It absolutely was).  Now granted, this year, we opted to send only a small handful of our management team to represent City Paper; however, we all felt as though we were able to accomplish a great amount while at the show.  As a team, we all decided that the time to start putting ourselves back out there was now.  We went and bumped elbows with our favorite vendors, met some new ones, saw some cool new product and talked through industry issues that quite frankly are mostly out of anyone’s control.  

The most positive feeling I walked away with, however, had little to do with new product.  It had everything to do with attitude.  People are ready to be on the other side.  Let’s face it – we have been ready.  But for the first time in a very long time, we are seeing things slowly take a turn on the up and up.  With that, we know that events will start to pick back up.  Budgets for promotional spend will likely start to increase or come back.  And maybe you too will be able to return to the traditions your organization has created over the years – things like company parties, club trips, and tradeshows.  We at City Paper could not be more excited for these things to happen.  Because honestly, after all we’ve been through the past two years, we know that we’re ultimately better when we’re together.