creating a unique space with customized building and mill work

Amazing Corporate Interior Transformation

What does the term millwork really mean? If a picture’s worth a thousand words, these photos are worth a million. In this office space, old-world style meets new-world technology; millwork, crafted by any person or team, simply cannot exceed the quality seen on display here. And it was designed and crafted with a singular purpose: to bring the jaws of onlookers to the floor.

Corporate Interiors (millwork) are one of our specialties. To showcase our capabilities, our team pulled out all the stops in this office space. The office was designed, from soup to nuts, by BlueHive sister-company, Continental Woodcraft and their Engineering department. And although the space was designed by Continental Woodcraft’s CAD Engineers, Hivers (BlueHive Group employees) from all parts of the BlueHive Group collaborated when brainstorming about the space prior to its design. At the head of those brainstorming sessions was BlueHive Group President & CEO, Paul Hanlon, for whom the office space was built.

When describing the initial meeting and purpose for the office’s construction, John Lasell, Continental Woodcraft Engineering Manager, had this to say:

“You know, they take people on these tours [of the BlueHive Group headquarters] and they can show people exhibits, you can show what Paris [Marketing] does, but you’d never really see what we [Continental Woodcraft] do. So, this is what he [Paul Hanlon] wanted: When people see it [the office] he wanted them to be taken back by it.”

And, while looking at the finished product, the team’s success is undeniable: this office space is stunning.

The space was designed by Hivers, but design wasn’t the only element of their involvement; nearly all components of the office were manufactured, assembled, and installed in-house by the Continental Woodcraft and BlueHive teams. Raw materials were shaped and formed with care by the diligent and hard-working hands of our cabinet-builders, who called upon their collective experience of over a century when creating the space. Our two CNC machines were programed and run by technicians who were able to make magic in many areas of the office. The most notable contribution of the CNC machines and their operators can be seen in the Hanlon family crest which sits on the wall behind the desk.

Paul Hanlon’s reasoning behind creating the incredible space?

“Our [the BlueHive Group’s] culture fosters the belief that if we can’t do it for ourselves, how can we do it for our clients?”

And the ability to create jaw-dropping spaces is reaffirmed at first glance when looking into this new office.

When a client, business partner, or notable figure enters your office space, wouldn’t you want their jaw to hit the floor too? If so, talk to us.

See more of the completed office.

Warehouse for BlueHive on Stafford Street Worcester

Do You Know What Happens at 243 Stafford St. Worcester?

If you’re from Worcester, you’ve probably driven by this building on Stafford St. a thousand times. Maybe you’ve even wondered what goes on in that building whose garage doors are adorned with those blue beehives. Well today, after reading this blog, you’ll know exactly what goes on in the building at 243 Stafford Street.

As those in the exhibit industry know, we (BlueHive) create jaw-dropping environments that immerse trade show attendees in awesome at exhibitions across the globe.


But the work doesn’t stop once the exhibit has been constructed, it’s only just begun.

Before a trade show booth is shipped to a show’s respective location, it’s inspected within the warehouse to ensure that all components utilized in that booth are included. This means that all crates (within which trade show booth components are stored) being shipped are properly and thoroughly inventoried and that all components of the booth are inspected to ensure each singular piece (of which there can be thousands) of the booth is at top-notch quality


After the show, if the booth is a custom-built, client owned structure, the exhibit must be stored until it is needed once again at the next trade show outing. But before the exhibit components are put away into storage, the components are inspected by our warehouse team for damage caused either at the show or during shipping back to our warehouse. Damages are accounted for and repaired and missing booth components are replaced.

After working their mending magic, warehouse workers give the crate in question a blue sticker, signifying that the crate (and the components stored within it) are ready to ship when the trade show halls call once more.
All this happens within the building at 243 Stafford St., Worcester, behind the garage doors adorned with those blue beehives.
The mystery of 243 Stafford St., Worcester, MA, is solved. 😉 🐝 🍯




paxman graphic

Traveling for Trade Shows: Challenges, Benefits, and Awesome Places

Whether it’s people or tradeshow booths, the exhibiting industry is all about travel. Representatives from companies that are exhibiting, project managers/sales professionals from the exhibit house, and construction workers who’ve brought these fantastic structures into being all have to travel to make this industry the fruitful world that it is. But did anyone ever ask: how does the travel involved in your work make you feel? Eric Troy has. This is what he found out.

We interviewed a few of our friends (BlueHive employees) involved in the myriad aspects of an exhibit program: Jillian Webb, BlueHive Exhibits Account Coordinator; Dawn Marie Raczka, BlueHive Exhibits Director of Business Development; and Justin Walsh, cabinet maker, exhibit fabricator, and tradeshow booth set-up specialist; to see what their favorite parts of traveling for the exhibit business were, how they handle the challenge of personal and work life balance, and their favorite places their tradeshow travels have taken them. Here’s what we found out:

What are your favorite parts of traveling for the job?

Justin Walsh:
“Visiting new places–that’s a given–and seeing the final product. As an exhibit builder, we get to see and set-up the booths at the shop for client preview, but the real satisfaction comes when you set up the booth at the show and see the tradeshow running from start to finish.”

Jillian Webb:
“Seeing new places, working with people I normally wouldn’t get the opportunity to meet, and getting to experience things first hand at the show floor. It’s one thing to organize and coordinate the different aspects of a tradeshow booth, but it’s an entirely different thing to be on the show floor seeing the culmination of your hard work come into fruition.”

Dawn Marie Raczka:
“One of the favorite parts of traveling for my job is attending the opening of the tradeshow and hearing we have been successful for a job well done. Due to the technical components or size of an exhibit, there are shows we plan one year out. There are hundreds of exhibit houses in the domestic United States and when clients elect for BlueHive to become their exhibit house of choice, it is because they trust that we can fulfill their marketing strategy. When I am down working together with my team and my client in the trenches, there is a connection that brings a closeness. For me, what I do is not about the sale, but rather, it is about seeing my client succeed within their company and their program. Thus, an additional component of traveling to a tradeshow is the opportunity to share a few meals together, as well as having the chance to see each other face to face.”

How do you balance professional and personal obligations while traveling?

Justin Walsh:
“Work comes first, as usual, but once you’re done for the day, it’s time to go out and enjoy yourself. Either with clients, business associates, or by yourself, when you’re away from home, you make the best of it.”

Jillian Webb:
“It can be difficult finding the balance between your professional and personal life while juggling work travel. I always try to prioritize my personal life when I’m at home and plan things around my travel schedule.”

Dawn Marie Raczka:
“As a Director of Business Development, I truly do not balance professional and personal obligations very well. I fit my personal obligations around my professional working life. One positive attribute is we receive our client tradeshow schedules typically one year in advance. And, I typically plan my travel six months out, which is very helpful in planning my personal obligations.”

What are some of the coolest places you’ve had the opportunity to travel to for work?

Justin Walsh:
“A few of my favorite places have been San Antonio, TX; New Orleans, LA; and Chicago, Il.”

Jillian Webb:
“I think the coolest place I’ve had the honor of visiting was Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day. To be there with veterans walking the grounds was an amazing and humbling experience.”

Dawn Marie Raczka:
“Wow, some of the coolest places I have traveled for work have to be Portugal, Ireland, the lake region of England (Northern England), and Vancouver, BC. Yet again, truly, for me it is not about the destination, but rather about the people I am with.”

Well, there you have it folks! Although every job in the tradeshow world is different and presents its own unique challenges, we can see from the answers of our friends that at least one thing is certain when traveling for tradeshows: The moment the tradeshow hall’s doors open to the public and an exhibit is successfully displayed to attendees is one of satisfaction and a definitive highlight to everyone involved in the exhibiting process.
Until next time, this is Eric Troy, signing off.

Welcome to BlueHive

Trade Shows: Ten Things that Happen Behind the Scenes Before the Show Opens

Trade show booths are like a giant set of Legos, and like the iconic building blocks, when assembled these 3D creations can be awe-inspiring and thought-provoking brand statements. But what happens behind the scenes to bring these ideas to life? Eric Troy pulls back the curtain to reveal how it all comes together.

1. How is a booth design decided?

Coordination and conversation between the exhibit house and the client must take place before a design can be decided. The client describes aspects of the booth they would like to a project manager, who then relays those ideas to the 3D design team.

The 3D designers then create a computer rendered image of the booth and discuss the concept with the engineering department. This is where the imagination of the booth designer meets the practicality of the engineering department. The engineering department helps narrow down design features that are impractical or that simply cannot be created.

Following this, the design can be brought to the client for review. If they are satisfied, then the booth can be brought to life!

2. What makes up the structure of a booth?

The structure of a booth is largely made up of hollow wood panels. While some booths are exceedingly large, they are nothing more than many smaller parts brought together. These panels range in size to accommodate any booth design and can be made of flexible substrates to allow curved panels, and thus, curved walls.

3. If booths are made of wooden panels, why isn't there always wood seen?

Plastic laminate is what is seen on the surface of the booth (unless it has had vinyl graphics or other objects adhered or affixed to its surface). Plastic laminate can be textured or smooth and comes in a nearly unlimited selection of patterns and colors. After a panel has been built, both it and the back of the plastic laminate are sprayed with contact cement and joined together.

4. How are panels held together?

Although there are exceptions, two essential parts for the joining of panels are rotolocks and a combination of wingnuts and carriage bolts.

Rotolocks are a two-part fastening system installed on the thick side of a panel. Adjacent panels will have different rotolock components. One will have a male rotolock and the other a female. When the male rotolock is turned it extends and interlocks with the female, thus binding the two panels together.

Carriage bolts are set in predetermined locations where holes have been drilled at equal measurements. Once the carriage bolt has passed through both panels, a wingnut is threaded onto it, bringing the two panels together.

5. How are arches put in elevated locations?

Some booth configurations boast large arches. Raising these arches into position with manpower alone is simply not possible, so how do assemblers get that archway in proper position?

Fork trucks are used to raise the arch into position until fasteners that join the arch and supporting walls are put into place. If the arch is very large, two fork trucks may have to raise the arch into position by lifting the arch at an even rate.

6. How do booths acquire color?

Though there are many ways a booth can achieve its colorful appearance, vinyl graphics are a vital element in achieving this task. Vinyl graphics can be categorized into two general types. Cut graphics and printed graphics.

Cut graphics come on rolls in nearly any color and size.

Printed graphics are custom creations that can be adorned with company names, logos, and catchphrases, but the possibilities of images printed on the vinyl are nearly endless.

7. How are vinyl graphics applied?

Once the booth's structural components have been built and assembled, the graphics can be applied.

Vinyl graphics are made up of two sides. One with the image or color that shows on the booth, and the other with a thin layer of adhesive. Transfer paper is attached to the adhesive side of the vinyl graphic.

Vinyl graphic applicators start by marking the location the vinyl will be applied. After this has been determined, they tape the vinyl as close to where it will be applied as possible. Next, they peel back the transfer paper, exposing the adhesive.  Graphic applicators work from the center of their desired vinyl location outward, adhering the vinyl to the surface. This allows them to remove air that may have come between the graphic and the surface by pushing it toward - and eventually out of - the edges of the graphic.

8. How is a trade show booth transported?

Crates are storage containers for the pieces that comprise an exhibit and serve as storage containers for the booth when the exhibit is not on the road. Typically, crates are moved with a fork truck into the trailer of an eighteen wheeler which delivers the booth to its destination.

9. How are items in crates kept from moving during transportation?

Crates are fabricated to accommodate each component of a booth. To do this, jig sticks are installed in specific locations inside the crate. Jig sticks are pieces of plywood wrapped in a thick foam that prevent movement of booth components held inside. If improperly installed, the contents of the crates can move, hitting other items and damaging the contents of the crate.

Properly jigged crates are essential for the longevity of a booth's life.

10. How are exhibit components accounted for after a show?

When a newly made booth is ready to be disassembled and the crates have been properly jigged, workers create a content list for each crate. These lists are very involved and account for every piece of the booth down to the nuts and bolts.

When the booth has been returned to its resting location, workers inspect the content of each crate and cross-reference them with the list to see if any parts are missing or damaged.


building standing desks for your booth

Standing Desks: The Benefits

Standing desks have been gaining popularity in the workplace in recent years but what could motivate so many people to give up that nice cushy office chair? Below are five benefits of standing desks that have motivated many to make the transition from sitting to standing in the office.

1.Reduced back pain and improved posture

It's all too easy to slouch in the comfort of our office chairs, but this improper posture can inflict a multitude of harmful effects on the body. Back pain is distracting and can be distressing. It detracts from our ability to focus on the task at hand. When properly adjusted, standing desks minimize the opportunity for slouching that is ever-present while occupying an office chair. This can greatly reduce back and neck pain for standing desk users.


2. Increased energy throughout the day

Who isn't looking for ways to increase their energy levels in the workplace? In a study called the "Take-a-Stand Project", workers using standing desks reported a decrease in fatigue when compared to those using conventional sitting position desks. The increased energy levels reported by standing desk users returned to normal levels upon return to a sitting position. Don't let the participants of this study be the only beneficiaries, save the money on that break-time coffee and give a standing desk a try!


3. Improved mood

Studies have shown that sedentary time is directly linked to anxiety and depression. Keeping active, in itself, improves our mental state. This alongside the benefits of reducing back pain and higher energy levels surely give standing desk users a reason to smile.

4. Increased calorie burning

When we keep our bodies in a sitting position, they burn fewer calories. A standing desk can keep our bodies active and although the amount of calories burned can vary between individuals, it is proven that active bodies burn more calories than those which are sedentary.

5. Increased productivity

A concern some have with standing desks is that they will detract from a worker's focus on the task at hand. On the contrary, with improved mood, reduced back-pain, and higher energy levels, focusing on the task at hand becomes much easier. Reducing bodily distractions allow workers to perform at the best of their ability and has a good chance of increasing workplace productivity.


By Eric Troy

rental booth benefits

Five Benefits to a Rental Booth

Custom designs are always the most popular option, but how can you still make a significant impact on the exhibit floor without busting the bank? The answer is a rental booth, and these five benefits highlight just how effective rental solutions can be.

1) Ease of entry into the world of trade shows

A  trade show booth can be an expensive endeavor. The initial investment can be intimidating especially to those who have yet to experience the benefits of trade shows.

Rental booths come in at a fraction of the cost of their custom counterparts, allowing your company to invest those precious marketing dollars in other avenues.


2) Increased flexibility of booth

For companies considering investing in a custom booth, but are on the fence regarding design, rental booths offer an exciting opportunity to mix and match.

Rental booths allow companies to experiment with their graphic and structural design to see which version performs best on the road.


3) Quicker and easier process

Rental booths are partially comprised of prefabricated components which simplify booth construction and allow a faster production rate than that of a booth made from scratch.

This expedited process could make the difference of being an attraction or an attendant at the tradeshow just around the bend.


4) Capture all show related costs

When the show is over do you want to continue paying for your booth? An owner of a custom booth has to pay storage,  repair, refurbish and eventually, disposal fees when their booth comes back to its resting location.

A rental booth comes with none of those pesky month-to-month costs, once the show is over, so too is your financial commitment to it.


5) Solve overlapping show problems

Trade shows at different locations can often occur simultaneously.  For companies who have an existing custom booth and an active trade show presence, this is a predicament that arises far too often.

It begs the question, “Which show should our brand be represented at?” A rental booth could be the perfect remedy for conflicting trade show schedules, allowing your brand to attend two trade shows at once AND keep you within budget.


By Eric Troy

thinking about trade show design companies

Five Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Exhibit House

Trade show programs are big investments for companies and they come with an element of risk. Be sure you choose the right partner to work with by asking these key questions before pulling the trigger. 

Who will you be working with?

Companies will often have a “pitch team” which handles initial dealings with new clients. When a client’s business has been assured and work begins, often a separate account manager will take over instead of the familiar face you came to trust in your initial dealings. Don’t get left without a friend.

There’s nothing better than working with friendly faces!

Does the exhibit company design and build their exhibits in-house? And, are graphics designed and produced in-house?

As at BlueHive, if all designing and production work is done in house, quality screening is under the manufacturer’s control every step of the way. This allows for production guarantees across the entire process, as well as an opportunity to save money but cutting-out white labeled vendor costs.

Do they provide onsite representatives at the show?

This one sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s never guaranteed. Knowing the company you partner with will be supervising setup and teardown services ensures quality assembly and disassembly through familiarity with the product.

Ensure you use an exhibit house that provides on-the-road support.

Do they provide turn-key show services?

Turn key show services include booking and ordering of freight, labor, onsite services, rigging of banners, electrical and a/v needs. These components are integral to a successful show and need to be included in your planning.

What warehousing and storage services do they offer?

After the trade show, your booth will  be disassembled and stored until your next outing. Depending on your outing locations, remote warehouses can save your budget being eaten-up by shipping costs. Make sure you don’t pay for the mistakes of an ill-prepared exhibit house.

Ensure you use an exhibit house that provides on-the-road support.

trade shows for millennials

How to Attract and -Importantly - Retain Millennials

Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers, and Millennials all face one challenge; the differing views, values, and outlooks characteristic of each generation and how to effectively communicate between them. However, while generations past enjoyed the ability to disconnect, the world inhabited by Millennials has broken down all the boundaries of conversation, learning and, perhaps most significantly, business. Eric Troy explains how the workplace is evolving to incorporate the ideas of a new generation, and what you can do to keep these valuable young minds close.

In 2014, thirty-six percent of the workforce consisted of millennial employees. By 2020, this will have risen to fifty percent, while by 2030, an anticipated seventy-five percent of the workplace will be comprised of individuals born between 1982 and 1996. It is an inevitable future. Just as the Traditionalist generation passed the reins to the Baby Boomers, and they to Generation X, so too must the Millennials learn from their predecessors, and vice-versa.

You want the best the Millennial generation has to offer, but in order to attract and retain those shining representatives you must first ask a question:

What do they want?

Millennials see the workplace as more than simply a means to an end. They want to be involved with something bigger than themselves. They want to feel of value to the organization and not like just another cog in the machine.

  • They want to be involved with something bigger than themselves.
  • They want to feel valuable.
  • They want to progress.

How do you do that?

Show them what your organization does to engage its employees.
Company events where employees of all types congregate are a great way to show this upcoming generation that your company wants its employees to share more memories than their workday trials and tribulations.

These events show that there are open lines of communication between all employees, not just immediate co-workers. They help create a more cohesive and less daunting work environment which appeals to the team-oriented, collaborative views of Millennials.

Millennials are collaborative and team-oriented.

Inform them of training and development opportunities
Millennials are always looking toward the future and how they will shape it. They have grown up in a time of immense technological advancement, and have had to constantly adapt their minds to keep up with each new form technology has taken. This makes Millennials keen and continuous learners that not only thirst for new information, but thrive on it.

Be sure to make apparent the opportunities for further training and advancement your company offers to its employees. Let them know that you are willing to invest in their skills and that employment in your company isn’t just a way to pay the bills. It’s a place where they can better themselves and strive toward future goals.

Allow them to be casual (within reason)
According to the Society for Human Resources Management 2015 Employee Benefits Survey, 62 percent of organizations allowed casual dress once a week, while 36 percent allowed it every day. Why? Physical comfort creates a more welcoming workplace, and Millennials prefer an environment where suits and ties are replaced by jeans and fashionable gym shoes.

However, disciplined mindsets are also important for a successful business, so be sure to implement boundaries. No flip-flops and pajama pants!

Mix It Up
Variety is the spice of life, and as Steelcase reports, it’s not just a Millennial thing. People of all generations crave informal, casual and authentic spaces at work. Inspiring, breakout spaces can benefit the holistic well being of workers while helping to promote employee engagement. Add the occasional day when employees can work from home, and you’ll be right up there with the most desirable businesses. Oh, and don’t forget… free food. A few $10 pizzas can go a long way!

Inspiring spaces, like the BlueHive lunch room, create holistic wellbeing, as well as encouraging community.

Server racks for trade show booth design software

Trending Technologies that will Benefit Your Trade Show Performance

Exhibitors are like gardeners, and the plants to which they tend are the partnerships created in the halls holding the event. For exhibitors to maximize the crop of commerce they hope to cultivate, utilizing trending technologies in booth design and incorporating them into their marketing strategy is essential. Below are three great technological tools that can help benefit your next tradeshow outing.

1. Phone Charging Stations
There are certain items we don’t dare leave the house without. Wallets, car keys, coffee perhaps, and my number one essential, the cell phone.  This is a necessary tool in the businessperson’s arsenal but, such a valuable tool is rendered useless without a charged battery. How thankful and fortunate a person would feel if they found a station where they could recharge their battery! To whom would they show their appreciation? Who else but the representatives of the company working the booth of course! It’s not surprising to see that phone charging stations are on the rise in the tradeshow business. Charging stations are a sure way to attract attendees to your booth!

Charging stations are a sure way to attract attendees to your booth!

2. Mobile Apps
Walking into a tradeshow, you are immersed in a sea of booths and representatives of the many companies present. But since time is of the essence at a tradeshow, how will attendees find you? The more time your client has to spend looking for you, the less time you have to share conversation and create the foundation of a prosperous business relationship. Apps can send messages to smart devices of nearby users alerting attendants that your booth is nearby, and since smart devices are ever-present in the hands of most individuals, what better way to assure you are found by your clients than to send a notification directly to their phone?

People are always on their phones! Make sure your message reaches them.

3. Wearables
If you have been to a tradeshow, you surely will have noticed the number of people with lanyards around their necks, a name tag hanging at its bottom. Tech companies have been developing new and creative accessories that accompany those nametags, allowing users to transfer data with ease, thus streamlining the lead generation process.

One product on the frontier of wearable data transfer devices is Poken. Poken is a compact device that attaches to your nametag and, by simply touching two Poken devices together, users exchange virtual business cards. Taking it one step further, an exhibitor is able to share more detailed digital information with attendants by use of the Poken Touchpoint, a small stationary device that can be placed in your booth.

Lanyards and cell phones are learning how to communicate.

Another wearable data-transfer device is the RFID chip and can be used to track consumers behaviors. The information garnered by the chip will allow you to recognize and analyze patterns in your target market, granting insight into consumer trends and enabling you to develop a marketing strategy that caters to your clients.

Written by Eric Troy

entryway to an exhibit hall

5 Things Your Boss Wishes You Knew about Trade Shows

1. Attending a tradeshow is not the same as utilizing it.
Having a display at a tradeshow alone may land your business a few leads but, to have the successful outing you desire, simply being there isn't enough. You've got to entice potential prospects and those who pass by your booth. Consider your trade show exhibit's design and the experience your soon-to-be clients will have while there. Create something that people can't help but be interested in! 

2. Create a lasting impression.
As soon as a potential buyer leaves your booth you run the risk that they might forget it ever existed. It is therefore essential to create an experience that makes a lasting impression. Know how to ask the right questions, gather crucial information in your conversations, and plan for future contact. Having promotional items that represent your brand is a great way to remind those potential buyers of your services and their experience with you!

Provide your visitors with promotional items so they can remember your brand even after the show is over.

3. Never start with a sales pitch.
"But I'm at the trade show to sell!!!" I know, I know, give us a second here. Your ultimate objective while at the trade show is to generate new sources of revenue for your business. But the fastest way to deter these new sources is by starting with a lengthy sales pitch. Don't make your audience feel forced into listening. If they appear interested , talk to them and create a comfortable atmosphere between yourselves before turning the conversation to the side of business.


Create a comfortable environment for your visitors before starting to sell.


4. Trade shows are expensive... but they are an investment well worth making!
Consider all your company has invested to present itself at the show. Costs from the booth to the shipping, the time of the employees representing your company, workers who set-up the exhibit, internet access... the list goes on. But ask yourself, "where else could you gain the exposure you can at a tradeshow?" Your brand will be seen by thousands of people looking for just the right company to help them achieve their goals. Being at a tradeshow offers you a perfect opportunity to develop new contacts and clientele. There's no place to generate leads on new business like a tradeshow!

Your brand will be seen by hundreds, maybe thousands, of people in real time.

5. Enjoy yourself!
It is always important to present yourself in a professional manner... but this doesn't mean your booth can't be a fun and energizing place! Create a game that showcases your brand and presents your products to the audience in a way they will enjoy! Give them something to remember. When you have fun you create a more enjoyable experience for your prospective clients... and what better start could a new business relationship have than one initiated with a smile?

Written by Eric Troy