How The Trade Group survived a pandemic and headquarters move — at the same time

26 Apr 2021


It’s taken 35 years, but Chris Stone and his founding partners managed to grow The Trade Group from a three-person sales team into a trade show exhibit design and fabrication company that holds down a roughly $60 million share of the multi-billion-dollar trade show industry. Over the last few fiscal years, The Trade Group boasted an impressive 20% growth rate, topping out at just under 200 employees in early 2020. Anticipating the need for a long-term office home that could accommodate their growth, Stone and his partners started hunting for a new headquarters. They signed on to build over 360,000 square feet of office space in Grapevine, Texas.

Their move just happened to fall in the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic that shuttered businesses around the world.

2020 was a trying year for most entrepreneurs, but the trade show industry faces exceptional challenges. The sector is dependent on everything that isn’t safe right now, from enclosed spaces to large crowds to interpersonal contact. Still, The Trade Group’s president is confident that his company will rebound in 2021. In fact, he sees this unanticipated lull as a great chance to reposition.

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