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GlobalShop 2018: No Place Like Home

The 25th anniversary of the trade show made its way back to Chicago



After four years under the neon glow of the Las Vegas strip, GlobalShop made its triumphant return to The Windy City. The annual trade show spent its 25th anniversary at Chicago’s McCormick Place March 27-29, where manufacturers, suppliers and distributors from around the world showed off their latest product innovations.

From LEDs to larger-than-life igloos, this year’s event was a true feast for the senses. There was a growth in booths pushing digital and interactive products for experiential environments. Green and sustainable products were still a major player, though not as prominent as in the past – and speaking of growth and green, products for cannabis retail returned for another year, cementing their importance to the industry.

Props and decoratives were revitalized with bright, attention-grabbing colors, displayed beautifully at Visual Citi’s and Ace’s booths, respectively. A trend that impressed in both presentation and originality was low-tech VM options with a high-tech feel, like Kendu’s floor-to-ceiling mirror that, in reality, was made of cloth – a sophisticated and inexpensive alternative to costly glass.

On the show’s opening night, VMSD presented a go go speak event at the Chicago Cultural Center, where retail design expert Sanford Stein spoke on the industry’s evolution and the need for retailers to evolve with it. Jennifer Brown, Volunteer Coordinator with the Cultural Arts Center, also spoke to the building’s historical significance during the educational session.

As is tradition, VMSD honored five booths with Outstanding Booth Awards: Kendu In-Store Visual Solutions (Miami), Visual Elements (Toronto), Visual Citi (Lindenhurst, N.Y.), Danken Inc. (Pensacola, Fla.) and CNL Mannequins (Buena Park, Calif.). Each company showcased its products in unique and visually effective ways that instilled in us an excitement for the future of retail.

The fourth annual PAVE Bash was, yet again, an event to remember. Hosted at the speakeasy-inspired Untitled Supper Club, creativity collided as attendees came together for a night of celebration to the tunes of Chicago’s energetic and talented Verzatile Band.


But the pièce de résistance of the show was VMSD’s first-place win in the team challenge of ZenGenius Inc.’s (Columbus, Ohio) Ultimate Visual Merchandising Obstacle Course. Through treacherous terrain of unfolded shirts and unclothed mannequins, Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Acevedo, Senior VP/Group Publisher Murray Kasmenn and Senior Market Strategist Ben Skidmore held their own, completing the obstacle course in just three minutes and 26 seconds. (I guess magazine editors know a thing or two about getting down to the wire!)

The 2019 trade show will be co-locating with the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) and RFID Journal Live! to create RetailX. The new show will be back at Chicago’s McCormick Place June 25-27, 2019. For more information, please visit



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