Spotlight On: Bradley Caldwell, Inc. Taking the Typical Out Of Trade Shows

Spotlight On: Bradley Caldwell, Inc.

Taking the Typical Out Of Trade Shows

Before Instagram. Before Pinterest. Before the internet was even part of daily life, Bradley Caldwell, Inc. (BCI) was creating dynamic visual and multi-sensory experiences with their trade show themes.

The family owned and operated wholesale distributor of Pet, Home, Tools & Fencing, Lawn & Garden, Pond, Wild Bird, Equine, and Livestock products services retail centers in 16 states throughout the East Coast. With 350 employees and 23,000+ stocked items, the Poconos Mountain based company continually seeks ways to advance the industry, such as the Training Facility they will be opening in spring of 2018 in Hazelton to educate dealers on new products and merchandising practices.

It’s initiatives like this that earned BCI president Jim Bradley the 2017 Pet Age ICON Award for leaders with a proven history of commitment to the pet industry. The award is based on integrity, experience, and leadership—and it’s these same qualities that led BCI to partner with Illustrated Designs, Inc. (ID) to transform typical tradeshows into complete and memorable experiences.

Ahead of Their Time

Being ahead of their time is nothing new for BCI. Thirty years ago, they came to ID with the idea of doing something different with their private trade shows—something unique that would not just inform customers and vendors but engage them. Trading merely informational events for multi-faceted memorable experiences, the partnership of BCI and ID produced pirate ships, jungles, dragons, entire Wild West towns, 007 inspired spy games, and more.

“My fondest memory was from a Derby theme in 2002,” says ID president Tracey Piechocki. “We invited attendees to wear their finest, funniest, most creative hat to be judged during a hat parade. We expected maybe a dozen people to participate, but when over 100 people came wearing hats that they made, we knew that everyone enjoyed the fact that the trade shows had a theme.”




For an Atlantis themed event, ID designed and assembled decor including banners, fish mobiles, and a sea horse game. The mermaid costume was designed by ID and sewn by a Philadelphia costume designer.


It’s Bradley. James Bradley.

When it comes to themed tradeshows, the key is to create a full experience. “When a client understands the importance of creating an experience,” says Piechocki, “we can really take their existing messaging and have fun designing an event that has a lasting impact on their brand.”

Creating a fun escape from busy everyday life is exactly what Jim Bradley had in mind when he posed for photo shoots as James Bond for a 007 inspired event. Images from the photo shoot were incorporated into signs, banners, and a large projection screen that doubled as advertising space for vendors, as well as an interactive spy-themed game.







The trade show entrance was flanked with posters of photos from BCI president Jim Bradley’s Bond-inspired photo shoot, and each aisle banner featured a BCI take on a different 007 movie poster.




A Match Made in Trade Show Heaven

For BCI, trade shows are an opportunity to build relationships with customers and vendors. The themes, décor, 3-D displays, grand entrances, games, prizes, entertainment, and top-notch food all serve to set BCI apart from their competitors, and create a memorable space for people to learn more about the brand, explore new products, and purchase products at event only special pricing.

With each event, BCI trusts ID to bring his vision to life. Piechocki and the ID team conduct theme research and strategize how to best implement the theme within an open floor plan space. Taking into account the overall theme, the space, and the event goals, ID designs, builds, and installs décor using a variety of materials including Sintra, fabric, wood, and foam.

Jessica Grenot, BCI’s Advertising & Events Manager, appreciates the collaboration with ID. “From the biggest theme to the smallest detail, they take great care in everything they do,” says Grenot. “Quality is of the utmost importance to the ID team, and many of the things they build for us can be repurposed and used from year to year.”

Over the years, the partnership between BCI and ID has flourished. “I have personally worked with Tracey Piechocki and Illustrated Design since 1998,” says Bradley. “During that time we have worked on almost 40 projects for BCI ranging from small regional shows to our full blown Atlantic City Showstopper. Tracey and ID have been with us on all projects from beginning to end. They have helped us pick and develop themes. They designed and produced all the décor, decorating, and layout, and were a big part of the negotiations with the facilities. ID always came in on budget and gave us more than our money’s worth.”

Bradley looks forward to their continued collaboration. “We are currently contracted with the facilities we use for several years out, and know that ID will be a partner with us for all of these future projects.”

Photo Gallery





ID designed and built a larger than life 3-D dog house, dog bowl, and bone to display pet products for a backyard themed event.







When BCI started to expand westward, ID developed an East Meets West theme, including a 26′ dragon that spanned two ponds. Banners and a pergola completed the overall decor.





For a Wild, Wild West themed trade show, ID built an entire town out of banners, with vendor and sponsor names on the buildings. The event even featured a live gold miner!






BCI’s Caribbean Pirate theme included a sunken ship in the middle of the show floor. The monitor doubled as the hourly treasure hunt game, as well as advertising for the vendors.












Illustrated Designs, Inc. has been creating themes for memorable trade shows and corporate events for 30+ years. From concept to installation, their innovative design team develops comprehensive themed experiences including design, print, fabrication, and installation of signs, banners, decor, and 3-D displays. Want your next event to be memorable?

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