CHICAGO (July 14, 2:55 p.m. EDT) — Extrusion equipment supplier Bandera Luigi Costruzioni Meccaniche SpA could not exhibit during the last two days of NPE 2003 because its booth was shut down by show officials.
Bandera shared booth space at the Chicago show with its U.S. sales representative, Vistar Machinery International Inc. of Canyon Lake, Calif. On the fourth morning of the show, Bandera manager Stefano Palmieri arrived at the booth to find it shut down by the show organizer, the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
Palmieri said Bill Boyer, Vistar's president, had warned him the night before that the booth might be shut down because Vistar could not pay its portion of the booth fee. Vistar and Bandera exhibited at NPE 2000 without any problems, Palmieri said in a telephone interview from his office in Busto Arsizo, Italy.
Boyer said he had expected to represent more companies at the shared booth but they did not provide their payments in time.
Barbara Voss, SPI's show director, said she gave Vistar every chance she could. SPI accepted a check from Vistar the day of exhibitor move-in but the check soon bounced, she said.
“Vistar expected more participation at their booth,” Voss said in a telephone interview. Vistar signed up for an NPE booth in spring, well after the exhibitor space draw.
“I've never had to shut down an exhibit before in my 23-year tenure in this business,” Voss said.
Bandera initially contacted Plastics News after the show to explain the shutdown. Palmieri said he wanted to publicize why Bandera's booth was vacant for the last two days of NPE because it could have provided the wrong image.
“We are not having financial problems,” Palmieri said.
A few days after his telephone interview, however, Palmieri tried to retract any publicity about the booth closure, indicating via e-mail that a story on the situation could be more damaging than silence.