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THE WCAF EXPO CELEBRATES AN IMPORTANT MILESTONE FOR THE ART AND CUSTOM FRAMING COMMUNITY By Alexis Orlacchio

D

esigned to be a one-stop shop for all things art and

20

YEARS

encourage others to do the same.”

custom framing, the very first West Coast Art & Frame

The Expo welcomed 26 new exhibiting companies and

Expo was held at the Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.

also hit a high number of buyers in attendance this year.

It’s been 20 years since the WCAF Expo debuted in Las Ve-

“We received a lot of feedback saying how great the energy

gas, and even though the industry has changed dramatically

was at the show and a number of our exhibitors have told

over the last two decades, the need to bring the custom pic-

us it was their best show yet,” said Deborah Salmon, trade

ture framing community together has not wavered.

show director.

Attendees, exhibitors, and instructors from over 44

Jim McNickle, marketing director for the Fletcher Busi-

countries traveled to Las Vegas to attend the West Coast

ness Group, said the company had one of its busiest shows

Art & Frame Expo, which returned to the Paris Las Vegas

in years. “We were pleased with the interest we received for

Hotel & Casino, January 28-30, 2019, with The National

the company’s TA-350 Auto Saw, joining automation, and

Conference beginning a day earlier. Impressive and diverse

our saw blade technology offered through our Atlas Saw

booth displays lined the show floor, which kept a steady

Group,” he said. This year, McNickle noticed a variety in at-

flow of attendees shopping and meeting with exhibitors

tendance with many customers from the graphic and sign

throughout the entire event. Among all the feedback from

as well as woodworking industries purchasing equipment at

the show, the same themes kept presenting themselves:

the show. He said, “This is continuing proof of the market

busy, high-energy, and successful.

crossover that we have anticipated coming into framing. It’s

THE EXPO

a good sign for the industry and manufacturers supplying this market.”

“The show was well-attended and upbeat and our team’s

Attendees and instructors alike stressed the impor-

hard work in terms of new product design and merchandis-

tance of coming to the expo due to the drastically chang-

ing really paid off,” said Josh Eichner, executive vice presi-

ing technological advancements and their impact on run-

dent of Framerica. “Supporting the show helps the overall

ning a business. “The industry and technology is changing

industry by extension. We believe that there is an obligation

so quickly that if you miss a year, you miss a lot more than

among companies like ours to be at the show and we would

a year,” said Kent Untermann, president of Pictures Plus in


Attendees are able to network with vendors and other framers.

Kapolei, HI. “The education at this show is amazing and you can find so many diversified products in regards to printing and all other aspects of your business.” As the owner and

Framerica showcases their new lines of moulding.

founder of his retail chain that offers prints, mats, frames,

COCKTAIL PARTIES AND SPECIAL EVENTS

home décor furnishings, art on demand services, and more,

At the sold-out 20th anniversary party, guests took

Untermann said he finds coming to the show crucial to the

photo-ops with Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley imperson-

success of a framing business.

ators and lined up to get their pictures drawn by caricature

Michael Keeling, sales representative at Universal Ar-

artists, sponsored by Crescent. “We had a number of attend-

quati Moulding, spoke about the convenience the WCAF

ees and exhibitors tell us it was the most fun they’ve had at

Expo brings to his company. He said, “Universal comes to the

a business event!” said Salmon. Three lucky winners were

West Coast Art & Frame Expo because it’s a fantastic ven-

chosen to receive raffle prizes including Caesars Entertain-

ue to be able to showcase the full complement of our entire

ment show tickets, limo transportation, and a free suite for the 2020 WCAF Expo. Salmon continued, “We feel honored to be able to bring the art and custom framing community together once a year, and it’s such an important milestone to be able to celebrate 20 years.” Guests snapped fun pictures with props in a blow-up photo booth sponsored by Larson-Juhl, treated themselves to a chocolate fondue fountain, and enjoyed networking with their colleagues. Among many standout special events was a brand-

Exhibitors offer discounts, demonstrations, and more.

new photo walk to The Neon Museum, one of Las Vegas’s top tourist attractions. During a private tour of the museum, attendees discovered the captivating history behind these

line: the Universal line, the Arquati line, the equipment line,

iconic signs while learning how to take eye-catching photos.

and our value-core line. You need a good opportunity and a

The following morning, they were able to print their photos

good venue to showcase all of those products. Also, the qual-

at the Canon booth as a souvenir from the show.

ity of the buyer here is very, very high.” Melissa Sherman is a design consultant at Sherman McNutly in Los Angeles, CA, who said she enjoys coming to the show every year to stay up-to-date with the framing industry and get important face time with sales representatives. “I always try to offer my clients things other places wouldn’t offer and I have the ability to do that because I come to the show every year and see it before everybody else does,” she said. With the show being held in Las Vegas, Sherman said she feels like she’s getting a vacation on top of priceless networking opportunities.

Special events and parties make great networking opportunities.


Brian Wolf shares creative mat designs using Wizard CMC software.

Attendees in one of the many hands-on National Conference workshops.

The expo offers great networking opportunities in an exciting trade show atmosphere.

Eric Tollefson shares his expertise on compo corners and metal leaf.

etworking is one of the main reasons that attendees N come to the WCAF Expo.

The National Conference offers seminar topics covering branding, sales, marketing, and more. Chris Paschke leads one of her sold-out National Conference seminars.

Retailers shop for new moulding samples.

Attendees expand their skillset by learning new gilding techniques.


Scan-and-go kiosks make for an easy check-in process at the Expo.

Attendees browse a dynamic array of art, new products, and the latest equipment.

The PPFA competition features the “Top 50” pieces of the PRINT and OPEN competitions.

An exhibitor host a free seminar in their booth.

Giving new equipment a test-run.

ye-catching booth displays capture attendees’ E attention.

J ohn Ranes demonstrates easy-to-use and practical mat cutting techniques.

Attendees come from around the globe to stay up-todate on what the industry has to offer.


Attendees discover new business strategies.

Daniel Beauchemin teaches retailers the importance of partnering with interior designers.

Hands-on workshops continue to gain popularity at The National Conference.

Jay Goltz presents one of his sold-out seminars at The Natonal Conference.

THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Attendees enjoy PPFA’s “Welcome to Vegas” cocktail reception.

ees were eager to adopt new marketing strategies and she

Running in conjunction with the Expo is The National Con-

noted a high level of engagement and appreciation from the

ference, the industry’s leading educational program, which

attendees in her seminars.

offers innovative seminars and hands-on workshops every

Hartford joined Jay Goltz, Meg Glasgow, Jim McNickle,

year. The conference featured over 30 new offerings this year,

and Kevin Meath as a panel expert at the Picture Framing

most of which were sold to capacity.

Magazine industry breakfast. This year, the discussion fo-

“The retailers who are taking these classes are the ones

cused on the changing landscape of the art and framing in-

that are going to distinguish themselves in terms of growth

dustry and included insight from these experts on how to

and success,” said Daniel Beauchemin, CEO of Chelsea Frames

best adapt to the new climate. Hartford described feeling

in New York, NY. Beauchemin, a successful interior design-

a new energy during this year’s breakfast panel and was

er and instructor for The National Conference, is a master

pleased to receive positive direct feedback from national and

at building and maintaining connections with the attendees

international attendees. She said, “A marketing director for

that take his seminars and is always willing to continue the

a European glass production company messaged me saying,

discussion outside of the classroom. “There is a true thirst for

‘The panel was such an inspiration,’ and it was refreshing to

knowledge in our industry. I constantly have people emailing

see my persona as exactly what she needed to see. And (my)

me to talk about my classes, I even had someone from Chi-

insight? Worth a million!”

cago come and visit my shop to see the business first-hand.”

It can be difficult for retailers to have access or devote

Ginger Hartford, founder of EurDesign Studio in Dacu-

time to continuing education, and long-time attendee L.B.

la, GA, reaffirmed the notion that retailers are eager to learn,

Brown emphasized the impact that attending the conference

stay current, and evolve. She said, “Retailers are hungry for

has on her business. As the owner of Clinton Hill Simply Art

education to better understand marketplace trends as well

& Framing Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, Brown said she closes her

as digital marketing and ways to streamline and scale their

shop every year to attend the expo and that her clients al-

businesses.” An instructor for The National Conference, Hart-

ways notice a difference in her energy and inspiration when

ford strives to share her experience and perspectives to help

she returns home. She said, “Whenever I come to the show, I

others in the industry. She teaches seminars on topics like

always take classes. I want to be ahead of the curve and the

social media, marketing, and targeting millennial customers.

instructors here are specialized in certain areas. And if prod-

“Community is a powerful thing. I’ve always been passion-

ucts are recommended in any specific class, then I can stop

ate about mentoring and coaching retailers to win. Embrac-

by the booth and take a sample.”

ing resource partners with tools and expertise to share not

The National Conference is constantly evolving to offer

only empowers your growth, it’s the best investment you

framing retailers the highest quality and most up-do-date

can make in your own personal development and the future

education to facilitate their growing businesses. General

success of your team and business.” Hartford said attend-

interest courses also draw a huge audience for the confer-


Ginger Hartford uses her branding and marketing expertise to show attendees how to target millennial customers.

Attendees shop for new moulding samples at the Omega booth.

ence. This year, the conference added brand-new seminars,

sold-out quickly. William Adair presented his keynote semi-

luncheon sessions, and a cocktail reception that focused on

nar, “The Frame in America: A 35-Year Retrospective,” which

the great frames of Europe led by the industry’s best frame

detailed the style and origin of American frames and why

historians. These offerings gave attendees a glimpse into the

they’re more than just a magnificent border.

fascinating insights of these iconic period styles.

“The competition was a blast this year! We had several

In her keynote seminar, “Recharge Your Business: Take

first-time entrants with some beautiful designs,” said Robin

Your Business from Ignored to Adored,” Meg Glasgow, owner

Gentry, Outgoing Chairperson of the International Framing

of Finer Frames in Eagle, ID, demonstrated how to use the In-

Competition Board.

ternet to reach new customers and shared some of her fasttrack success secrets.

The winners of the International Framing Competition, both PRINT and OPEN editions, were announced at the PPFA

Jay Goltz, president and owner of Artists Frame Service in

Competition Reception. Contestants in the PRINT competi-

Chicago, IL, outlined the key aspects of creating and building

tion were tasked with framing a digital print canvas titled

a brand as well as how these tools can transform your busi-

“Waterfront I,” created by James Burghardt. Joseph Boutell of

ness and your bottom line. Goltz opened his business shortly

The Source on Lake in Pasadena, CA, took home first place for

after graduating from college, and it has grown to become the

his piece. Sarah Beckett of SB Framing Gallery in Milwaukee,

world’s largest custom picture frame shop. After a successful

WI, was awarded gold in the OPEN competition for her ce-

run in its first year, his keynote titled “Creating Your Brand:

lestial piece showcasing phases of the moon.“We know how

A More Deliberate Approach to Building Your Business,” was

passionate framers are about their framing because it shows

brought back to The National Conference lineup by popular

in the high caliber of entries we get in the annual digital and

demand.

international competition,” said Valerie Becker, Incoming

“I’ve seen a tremendous positive change in our industry,” said Goltz, who has been teaching for The National Confer-

Chairperson of the International Framing Competition Board.

ence for the past 20 years. “The types of questions I’m asked

WHAT’S NEXT?

are more advanced, the level of engagement is higher, there

“Attendees and exhibitors are excited to see what’s in store at

is generous sharing in the classroom from other attendees.”

the new venue,” said Salmon. Next year, the WCAF Expo will

Goltz recalled reconnecting with a retailer who, within the

be switching hotels to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Las

past year, has been able to pull himself out of debt and start

Vegas. “We look forward to upgrading experiences for both

building a savings after implementing Goltz’s pricing strate-

our attendees as well as exhibitors and found the following

gies. “More and more people have come back and said they

reasons beneficial to both parties,” said Salmon. A few key

took what they learned at the show and told me it has trans-

highlights of the move to the Rio include flexible classroom

formed their business,” he said.

spaces located adjacent to the trade show floor, an all-suite

PPFA ANNUAL CONVENTION

hotel that provides multiple price points for attendees, larger convention facility, and more.

The WCAF Expo hosted the Professional Picture Framers As-

Mark your calendars for the 2020 West Coast Art &

sociation in Las Vegas. Returning special events such as the

Frame Expo and The National Conference, which will be held

Framers Breakfast, Welcome to Las Vegas Cocktail Party, and

January 26 - 29, 2020, with The National Conference begin-

the International Framing Competition cocktail reception

ning January 25. PFM


WEST COAST ART & FRAME

More Than Just a Trade Show! • Over 100,000 sq.ft. of Art and Framing Exhibits • New Product Launches and Equipment Demonstrations • Industry Professionals From Around the World • Home of The National Conference–With Over 100 World-Class Seminars Designed for Your Success

www.wcafexpo.com NEW SHOW HOTEL

SAVE THE DATE

RIO ALL-SUITE  HOTEL & CASINO

TRADE SHOW: January 27-29, 2020 CONFERENCE: January 26-29, 2020

3700 W Flamingo Rd Las Vegas, NV 89103 34 PFM April 2019

Profile for wcafexpo

The WCAF Expo Celebrates 20 Years