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Rochester Top 100: Macedon firm expands into new market spaces

Rochester Business Journal
January 10, 2014

(Photo by Kimberly McKinzie)

Spoon Exhibits & Events is about more than building attractive installations and planning corporate events, its chief executive says.
 
Spoon Exhibit Services Inc., which is based in Macedon, Wayne County, and does business as Spoon Exhibits & Events, has grown from a company focused largely on building exhibits to one that fully integrates marketing strategies for its clients, said Herb Besaw, president and CEO.
 
The approach has helped the company to record years of growth, Besaw said, with more opportunities ahead.
 
Spoon Exhibits & Events offers products for events such as trade shows, including modular exhibits. The company also creates environments, such as an executive briefing center built for Cisco Systems Inc. in Atlanta. The center contains meeting space as well as a small demonstration space with rows of leather chairs facing a podium and a large-screen television behind it.
 
The local company also offers event planning services, ranging from site selection to post-event reporting.
 
Besaw said it has been a natural evolution for the company as it became more and more involved with clients.
 
"When we first opened, we were mostly doing trade shows and exhibits but moved into corporate event planning and management," he said.
 
After starting in 1999, the firm grew quickly, doubling its staff in the first several years of its existence. In 2004 the company moved into a 66,000-square-foot facility in Macedon. It now has close to 50 employees.
 
Besaw, an industry veteran before starting Spoon Exhibits & Events, said the growth has not been limited to Rochester.
 
"Within a year and a half we were opening offices in Atlanta and Las Vegas, and since then we've opened a few offices, including in San Francisco and just north of Boston," he says.
 
The company works with a diverse group of clients spread across many sectors, said Orrie Capone, vice president for sales and marketing.
 
There have been challenging periods, Besaw noted, but the company has been able to withstand these difficulties and keep growing.
 
"The time just after 9/11 was difficult for a lot of businesses, but we actually doubled our business that year," he said. "And like every business, we were affected during the recession, but we continued growing year over year through that time period, and now we've had a few years of record growth."
 
Besaw declined to disclose the firm's revenues but said the company has grown by more than 20 percent in three of the last four years, with growth exceeding 30 percent in two of those years. In a 2004 interview he said the company had the potential to grow into a $100 million business.
 
Besaw said the company's unique approach gives it an edge with clients.
 
"The thing we need to focus on is our unique approach to the marketplace," he said. "We're not just a booth builder or a trade show company; we're an integrated marketing company. The emphasis on that is what makes us unique."
 
The company's integrated marketing services include pre-event work to build buzz and identify target participants and points for emphasis. The marketing approach extends through work at events and post-event programs to strengthen connections the client has made.
 
Besaw said he believes there are other opportunities for Spoon Exhibit & Events to expand, much like the move into corporate event planning, as long as the company is careful in surveying the landscape. Those opportunities include areas such as museum work and permanent installation work.
 
"There will be areas of expansion available, but you have to go into it with your eyes wide open," Besaw said. "Event planning is becoming a bigger and bigger part of what we do.
 
"It's different from what we've done and requires different personnel, but we went into that with our eyes wide open a few years back and took advantage of the opportunity we saw."
 
Capone added that the company's reach provides many opportunities.
 
"We don't have a niche-type client," he said. "So we can work with Fortune 500 companies all the way down to startups. There's room especially in those small to midsize businesses, the ones where we can provide marketing support."

The Rochester Top 100 program is presented by the Rochester Business Alliance Inc. and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. Next year's Rochester Top 100 event will be held Nov. 5. For more information, go to rochesterbusinessalliance.com.
 
Spoon Exhibit Services Inc.
Full-service provider for trade shows
and marketing events
Founded: 1999
Top executive: Herb Besaw,
president and CEO
Employees: 42 full-time, seven part-time
2013 ranking: 82
Location: Macedon, Wayne County
Website: www.spoonevents.com

1/10/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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