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CES 2019: Big trade show requires big teardown — VIDEO

You know how you hate to move; imagine transporting 75 kitchen appliances and 50 employees more than 1,800 miles for a four-day trade show. And then moving them back.

That’s what Whirlpool did for its CES booth at Sands Expo this week. Whirlpool, which had a space about the size of 15 individual booths, began planning in June, brand manager Jennifer Tayebi said. But the company simplified things by contracting with IGE Group of Denver to create the structure at its headquarters and rebuild it at CES. The rigging of the huge circular suspended sign in itself required 15 people, IGE representative Steve Berry said, and on-site construction of the booth itself about 10.

And now it’s time to take it all down. The show closed at 4 p.m. Friday, and CES rules dictate that tear-down not begin until 5 p.m. Berry said a crew would be on-site Friday night, then would return Saturday and work through the night, if necessary, to meet the deadline of midnight Sunday. Any exhibitor who hasn’t cleared out by then is subject to additional fees.

For good reason. Kirsten Dimond, vice president and general manager of Sands Expo, said the next show will begin load-in Monday morning.

That’s the case, as well, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the largest of the 11 local venues involved in this year’s CES. Maria Phelan, communications manager for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said the World of Concrete show will begin its load-in Monday morning.

Many exhibitors rely on local help. Josh Cruz, a Google public-relations representative, said he couldn’t provide details of the company’s tear-down operation for security reasons. But he said Google’s Playground exhibit area, with its much-touted ride, was constructed by a local exhibition firm. That took a month, he said, but the ride will be gone by the end of the weekend.

Even some of the smaller exhibitors relied on local companies. Monica Abramov, co-founder of Lunata Hair, which was showing its cordless, rechargeable curling iron and wand, said she and her co-founder flew in from Toronto with just their samples.

“The great thing is, we hired Freeman (exhibit and event planners) to do our panels, so we came and it was all set up,” she said.

Others may choose to divide and conquer. Patricia Rouval of La France Tech said the country’s massive presence at Sands was the product of 364 French companies, all of which were responsible for handling their own transport. Maxime Sabahec of Business France said the displays were done by a local firm.

Total numbers for the logistics of handling the equipment and structures for the more than 4,400 exhibiting companies are not available. CES representatives did not respond to requests for comment. But Dimond said Sands exhibitors will use more than 700 full-size semi-trucks for the move-out, which will generate enough trash to fill 100 dumpsters.

And given that most of the trucks used for the tear-down also participated in the load-in, that would explain all of those parked semis frequently spotted in parking lots near the Strip — at least one of which contains half of Whirlpool’s 75 appliances.

“They’re sitting somewhere in Vegas, in case we need a spare,” Tayebi said.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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