ASI Chicago Reopens the Promo Industry and Chicago Conventions

CHICAGO, July 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — ASI Show® this week helped reopen the promotional products industry and the city of Chicago…

CHICAGO, July 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — ASI Show® this week helped reopen the promotional products industry and the city of Chicago with a large, successful trade show at the McCormick Place Convention Center. With attendance exceeding expectations, ASI Chicago brought together over 3,500 industry professionals face-to-face at the show for much-needed connections, networking and deal-making. 


«People are ecstatic to be back together again and we couldn’t be happier with the show results,» said ASI’s Tim Andrews

«ASI is thrilled to lead the way with a historic reopening, hosting the first large trade show in the $20.7 billion promotional products industry and the very first trade show at McCormick since COVID shut it down,» said Timothy M. Andrews, president and CEO of ASI, the largest education, media and marketing organization serving the $20.7 billion promotional products industry, with 25,000 distributor, supplier and decorator members in 53 countries. The promo products industry consists of suppliers who create, source and imprint products and distributors who then creatively market and sell the imprinted products to clients who use them to promote their business. Clients include Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, schools, hospitals, charities and small businesses.

«By noon on our first exhibit day, we had 1,600 attendees already on the show floor and the buzz was happily deafening as we helped suppliers and distributors drive their business, in-person,» said Andrews. «People are ecstatic to be back together again and we couldn’t be happier with the show results.»

During a presentation on the trade show floor, convention center officials presented ASI with a piece of original art and said they were extremely thankful to ASI for supporting the city and McCormick, the largest convention center in the U.S. with 2.6 million square feet of meeting and exhibit space. ASI’s return to the city for its 22nd Chicago trade show gave the tourism and hospitality industries a much-needed boost, helping put people back to work after months of economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 shutdowns.

Exhibitor Celil Kes, of San Diego’s Let’s Support company, echoed the sentiments of many, saying, «This is the first ‘real’ show. It’s way worth it to come to Chicago. Compared to the 2019 Chicago show, I got two to three times more leads. I love it. I’m happy.»

Brittany Frase, national sales manager with exhibitor Hirsch Gift, said on Wednesday, «The energy is infectious and our booth never slowed down today. It feels like January in July, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.»

ASI Chicago took place Tuesday, July 13 through Thursday, July 15, helping entrepreneurs and small-business owners recover after one of the toughest years in the promo industry’s history, with sales dropping nationwide by 20% in 2020 alone. According to ASI Media reports, promo companies in the Midwest sold a total of $4 billion worth of promotional products in 2020, with Illinois alone selling $591 million worth.

The show attracted 290 exhibiting companies (including 48 new to the Chicago show this year) and more than 2,400 distributors. Overall attendance included people from 44 states and 11 countries, and from 324 Illinois- and 81 Chicago-based companies, along with attendees from 243 women- and 75 minority-owned companies. 

In his first time taking the stage in two years, Terry Bradshaw, the affable co-host and analyst of FOX NFL Sunday, wowed a packed ballroom of nearly 350 suppliers and distributors Thursday morning, giving away freebies of his own – three autographed footballs. 

Bradshaw shared anecdotes, jokes and his principles for success. «The key ingredient for success is to love what you’re doing,» said Bradshaw. «Failure isn’t bad, because that’s when we find out if we really love what we’re doing. Failure develops character.»

A former MVP for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bradshaw explained the concept of mirror economics, in which you look in the mirror every morning, are brutally honest, dig deep and consider how you treat others. «Looking in the mirror reveals the truth,» Bradshaw said. «When you learn to care about human beings, you’ll see how your business and life grows.»

Along with the Bradshaw keynote, distributors browsed a busy show floor and enjoyed an opening day presentation by motivational speaker Dan Thurmon – who juggled axes and rode a unicycle while imparting smart business advice, a lakefront reception enjoyed by hundreds and a Product Showcase featuring 100 of the newest promo products. Education Day attracted 386 people to sessions in sales, marketing, design and social media. 

CBS Chicago visited the show floor Wednesday and aired a segment on the reopening of McCormick trade shows featuring Andrews and Rich Carollo, president of Chicago-based supplier Lion Circle.

Visit and for complete coverage of the Chicago show.

Pre-COVID, ASI Show annually hosted 15,500 distributor attendees at trade shows and events across North America. ASI Show is hosting 2022 trade shows in Orlando (January 4-6, 2022), Fort Worth (January 31-February 2, 2022) and Chicago (July 19-21, 2022). 

About ASI Show  

The ASI Show Family of Events includes virtual and in-person shows and events, including ASI Show, fASIlitate, fASI500 and ConneX, which foster business-building relationships among ASI distributor and supplier members.

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SOURCE Advertising Specialty Institute