NPE without Chicago?

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A story tucked away in our July 20 issue might have shocked some readers. Headlined “SPI looks at NPE venue change,” it notes that the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. is going to consider whether to hold the next NPE somewhere other than Chicago's McCormick Place.

Before you panic — or rejoice — keep in mind that few U.S. venues have the combination of size, location and capability that McCormick Place can offer. Can you imagine having NPE in Orlando or Las Vegas? You'd miss out on a huge number of attendees — like those drawn to Chicago — who are an easy one-tank trip away.

Still, some exhibitors again were left with a bad aftertaste from their McCormick experience this year. Some are upset about labor union rules. That's always an issue, but especially so during this recession, where many firms are watching their budgets closely.

NPE organizer SPI said it is doing a thorough review of the show's location. A stronger economy in 2012 will make a lot of exhibitors forget about these problems. But in the meantime, SPI needs to continue to work with Chicago officials to address these concerns.