Chris Freeman is Vice President of Sales at Imperial Bag & Paper Co. LLC. Total Food Service sat down with Chris to discuss trade shows, green initiatives, and more.
What’s your first step in creating a vision?
I stay as in tune with the marketplace as much as possible to identify hot topics and trends, then I let my imagination take over. I’ve always relied on my dreams for inspiration and I’ve been served well for years using this technique.
How has the process of designing these booths evolved through the year?
In the most amazing ways. Our trade show booths have always been a thrill for me and that’s because the company I work for is so exciting! We are always challenging ourselves, stretching, growing, improving, and the booths are a reflection of that very exciting process. This year I am blessed to have a wonderful team supporting our efforts: Grace Best, our Director of Marketing, and Charlie D’Elia Jr. our newly appointed Vice President of Sales. As a Senior Advisor, directing the youth, vigor, and vision exhibited by this great Imperial Bag & Paper Company team is wonderful.
You’ve run several shows through the years in your own facilities how does the planning differ for goals at your own show vs. being at Javits?
Our shows are completely focused to the very specific needs of a single valued customer. As such the presentations are unique to their specific needs while featuring precise solutions. The venue at the Javits Center has a much broader appeal, greater challenges, and really allows us to bring out the best of our great company.
With the growth of the Internet, how has the role and goal of trade shows evolved for you?
We get asked this question a lot! So much information is available on the net…much of it useful, but sometimes it gets confusing or overwhelming. There is nothing better than looking in the eyes of an expert who takes the time to understand your needs or concerns and directs you to cost efficient and quality improving solutions…on the spot! That’s what happens so often at our trade show booth.
Every year it seems as if Imperial comes with some big news… Borax then Green Certification etc. This year, it’s your Philadelphia addition. How do you build these new marketing messages into the flow and plan for the booth?
The easiest way to communicate the wonderful growth we’ve experienced at the direction of our CEO Robert Tillis and President, Jason Tillis is to invite our new associates and valued customers to our booth! The excitement in their eyes at being part of this great company and having the tremendous resources that we bring to the marketplace is amazing! Everyone has a blast and customers and prospects love the experience!
What can our readers expect to see this year without dampening the surprise?
Let’s leave this answer like this…have you ever been to a Museum, to the Theater, or a Zoo and discovered something wonderful that you’d never noticed before? Visiting our Booth is going to feel just like that. We have some brand new manufacturers showing their products for the very first time, and we’ve found a unique and interesting way to display everything we all need to run our businesses every day. You’ll have to come see us!
Speaking of green certification: Will our readers be able to come to your booth and see the dates in sustainable solutions?
Grace Best, our wonderful Director of Marketing, is the only LEED GREEN ASSOCIATE in our Industry! She is a polished public speaker, leads colloquiums, and seminars, and guess what? You can come meet her in person and have all of your questions about GREEN answered.
A year later into the “Greening” process: Is the marketplace grasping the concept?
Green is here and it’s here to stay. It is becoming more of a lifestyle decision for an operator than a price driven decision? Green is definitely a lifestyle decision and vast improvements of pricing have made it much more affordable. Just ask Grace!
As Imperial has grown so dramatically how have you continued to maintain such a “customer-first” culture?
The customer comes first is the key to our success. We’ve got a lot of associates at our company and we all love working here. Every one of us knows in our hearts that without our customers we are nothing. There are our bosses! Even Robert and Jason Tillis report to our customers…with pleasure!
What’s the next step for a restaurant food service operator that wants more info on Imperial?
Meet a Sales Consultant at the Show and make an appointment for a free assessment. We’ll review your packaging, your to go options, your sanitation and janitorial programs, everything! Once that happens we’ll build a timeline for you to follow with easy, understandable steps that will take your business to a new level. The resources at Imperial Bag & Paper Company are amazing!
To learn more about Imperial Bag & Paper and Chris Freeman’s initiatives there, visit their website.