EPIC Times in Vegas – TriMega and ISSA Join Forces

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TriMega’s annual EPIC event always lives up to their tagline of Where BIG Happens. It’s one of the biggest events in the industry, bringing together vendors and dealers for networking, idea sharing and collaboration. This year, TriMega decided to make their EPIC conference even bigger by scheduling EPIC 2017 in conjunction with this year’s ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America. EPIC ran September 10-12th and ISSA ran September 11-14th in Las Vegas, NV.

An EPIC Event

EPIC 2017 was held at the beautiful Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The two-day event contained a wealth of seminars, breakout sessions, panels and networking opportunities for those within the office supply industry.

The overarching goal of the EPIC conference is to create an environment where those in the industry can come together, share their knowledge and expertise, brainstorm solutions to today’s challenges and strengthen relationships within the office supply community.

“EPIC proved to be an invaluable opportunity to rub shoulders with the top dealers in the country and collaborate with the innovative brands that keep us relevant.” says Isaac de la Fuente, CEO of Supply Chimp.

“EPIC is great at bringing people in the industry together to collaborate and share what’s working and what isn’t. It’s an environment where you can forge new relationships that spawn new ideas and growth.” says Kris Colt, President of Supply Chimp.

Sunday: Spreading Cheer, Meeting and Mingling

TriMega continued their tradition of starting off the event with a teambuilding activity to help break the ice and get attendees into a positive, collaborative spirit. The teambuilding event centered around Cheeriodicals. Cheeriodicals are bright green boxes full of toys and other age-appropriate goodies that are packed and delivered to sick kids at nearby hospitals. These boxes are a simple way to send some love and support to children and their families at a time when they need it most.

Teams of four gathered around tables packed with toys, goodies and boxes, and they worked together to build the best parcels possible for the children who would be receiving them. These boxes were then delivered to kids at a nearby hospital the next day.

“Coming together and focusing on doing something worthwhile for those in need kicked off the event with a positive note that held strong and stayed strong!” says Raunak Mahesh, Supply Chimp’s Business Development Specialist.

The NEXT “Spreading Cheer” Give Back Event was followed by networking opportunities, including a mixer and reception. The Networking Mixer was sponsored by NEXT, ISSA and Domtar.

This mixer was followed by the EPIC Welcome Reception, which was sponsored by SMEAD.

The events on Sunday were designed to lay the foundation for connecting, sharing and collaborating amongst attendees during the next few days. “These people look forward to seeing each other every year and it’s nice to know that in this industry, relationships really matter.” says Chris McPherson, Business Development Specialist at Supply Chimp. “People rely on each other to do business every day, and to see them face to face is valuable.”

Monday: Education, Innovation and Insight

Monday was all about coming together to share knowledge. A variety of Epic Learning Sessions were available for attendees looking to glean knowledge from industry leaders and independent dealers. These classes were a great opportunity to share expertise, strategies and solutions to many of the challenges those of us face as independent dealers.

“There was good, open dialog throughout.” says Christina, Supply Chimp’s Customer Support Manager. “It was a group where the audience could feel comfortable asking questions. There was this amazing sharing of resources – everything from books to tools to techniques. People talked about what worked for them and what didn’t, and that was very valuable.”

The panels featured successful people who approach their work from different perspectives, showing that there is no one-size fits all approach, but instead, there are multiple ways to achieve success. The sometimes contrasting viewpoints made the panels extremely worthwhile for attendees.

Supply Chimp’s CEO Isaac de la Fuente participated in the Epic Learning Session: Best of the Best – Dealer Best Practices Shared.

Isaac shared what has worked for our company during our recent wave of hiring. He outlined the specific steps we’ve taken to attract the best talent possible for our company and goals. Instead of posting specific positions, we posted about what we’re looking for and what we’re looking to do. This method paid off with hundreds of applicants, ranging from entry-level to CFOs.

Isaac encouraged other companies to tell their story and let people know who they are. Who are you? Tell that story!

The panels and classes provided plenty of takeaways and food for thought, and they also fostered an environment of community and support among those within our industry.

“At EPIC, it was inspiring to see the level of collaboration between dealers.” says Michael Weinstein, Supply Chimp’s Strategic Account Manager. “There are dealers making their own government and healthcare contracts available to other dealers. To think that a dealer winning a contract in Arizona could be shared with a dealer in New York was inspiring to see because while these people are our colleagues, they are also our competitors. However, these types of alliances are a win-win for both dealers as they help make a sale that neither dealer would have made without this level of collaboration.”

TriMega’s EPIC conference set the stage for these connections and alliances to happen!

Tuesday: EPIC Tradeshow

EPIC’s tradeshow floor was studded with booths from hundreds of vendors, making it a fantastic opportunity to get some hands-on experience with new products.

“The products I saw on the floor show that companies are really listening to their customers’ needs and they’re creating products for those needs.” says Christina. “This has led to a lot of innovation in the office supply industry.”

Jonti-craft showed off some of their early childhood furniture offerings at their booth. Jonti-craft’s line includes over 3,500 products, ranging from desks and chairs to creativity boards, sensory tables and furniture designed to support today’s STEM classroom. Their thoughtfully crafted furniture is made in the USA and designed with the needs of children in mind, making them a staple in classrooms across the nation.

At the TOPS booth, there were a variety of products out on display. One of these products was their exciting new Oxford Self Stick Index Cards.

These index cards pair the self-stick usability of a traditional post-it style note with the durability and size of an index card. These cards are ruled too, making it easier to jot down clean, readable notes across the surface, even when you’re in a hurry.

Box Partners had a booth at the show. Box Partners provides everything someone could possibly need to pack it and ship it! They carry boxes in all shapes and sizes, making it possible to find the perfect fit for the item you’re shipping.

They also provide mailing tubes, packing tapes, labels, bubble wrap, bags and much more. We were thrilled to stop by their booth and say hello.

Smead’s new Justick boards made a splash at this year’s EPIC. Items stick to the surface with no pins, tape or magnets. It’s like magic!

Wednesday and Thursday: ISSA/Interclean 2017

“The ISSA conference was massive. The scale was amazing… it was like 20 EPICs.” says Todd Armer, who works Strategic Accounts for Supply Chimp.

“If EPIC is like a sea of opportunities then ISSA is like an ocean. ISSA is massive with over 700 vendors and booths! Think of getting to the end of your day, having had 20 or 30, 15-minute conversations with people in the industry. That means you have 675 booths left to visit on day two!” says Michael. “I applaud TriMega for co-locating with ISSA this year to show independent office supply dealers a whole new world of opportunities.”

There were more than 700 exhibitors in this year’s ISSA/Interclean. There was much to see on the floor, with many vendors bringing out their latest and greatest products for attendees to see and touch.

TTI Floorcare North America showcased their new vacuum models from HooverOreck. This innovative line of cordless vacuum cleaners eliminates the hassle and safety concerns associated with cords. These vacuums are powerful, and users never have to worry about running over the cord while vacuuming. It’s the future of vacuuming!

Paradigm Convergence Technologies showed off the impressive Annihilyzer at their booth at ISSA. This machine is a generator that creates and dispenses Anolyte and Catholyte solutions. These two solutions can be used in place of harsh, traditional chemicals to clean, disinfect and sanitize, making it an eco-friendly option for those looking to make their cleaning more green.

At the GOJO booth, our team learned about some exciting new offerings from Purell. Purell now has a soap: Purell Healthy Soap.

Purell made this soap in response to customer surveys where people were already answering that they were using Purell brand soap. Purell didn’t actually make a soap at that time, so they created one for these customers. This soap is formulated to release dirt and germs from cracks and crevices in skin for a more reliable clean, even when hands are dry and chapped. The soap is formulated without the irritants commonly found in hand soap that cause dryness and irritation in the first place, helping users wash their hands frequently without the dryness most soaps cause.

This new addition to their line goes well with their existing hand sanitizers and new surface sanitizers. Purell is a name people can trust and rely on to keep their employees, customers, patients and families safe when life gets dirty.

Purell also has a new dispenser: the Purell ES8. This dispenser has its own battery, ensuring that it always has the energy necessary to dispense the product. This unique dispenser equals reliable access to hand sanitizer whenever needed.

Nilodor‘s booth was well-stocked with a variety of their powerful odor control products. Nilodor makes odor control solutions for many settings. Their line includes carpet care products and a range specifically formulated for the unique needs of those in the foodservice industry.

EPIC 2017: Bigger and Better

Supply Chimp’s President Kris Colt had remarked regarding EPIC 2016: “EPIC used to only be office supplies, but now we are starting to see more and more vendors from the JanSan industry. It just proves that industries are blending and things are continuing to consolidate.”

That trend of consolidation is still going strong in 2017. The intentional staggering of TriMega’s EPIC conference and ISSA/Interclean, two heavy-hitting industry events, maximized the overall learning potential and networking opportunities of the trip as a whole, making the entire event bigger and better than ever before.

Thank you to TriMega, ISSA and those who sponsored for facilitating a worthwhile event. We can’t wait to find out what’s in store for EPIC, 2018!

 

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