New Business Deals: Taffy Event Strategies, Emerald and More Announce Show Launches, Partnerships

April 23, 2024

From new show launches and business ventures to strategic partnerships and acquisitions, the trade show landscape has been buzzing with event companies announcing new business moves and agreements this spring. 

Taffy Event Strategies to Launch High Performance Expo (HPX) Next Year 

Full-service trade show and management company Taffy Event Strategies is gearing up to launch a new show for the automotive racing and performance industry, High Performance Expo (HPX). Set for June 3-5, 2025, at the Charlotte Convention Center, the inaugural business and consumer show will be the exclusive business and consumer show of the North Carolina Motorsports Association (NCMA).


Created for professional race teams, manufacturers of new cars and high-performance parts, retail performance shops, industry experts and enthusiasts, HPX 2025 will feature vibrant displays, educational programming led by industry experts, curated networking and sponsor opportunities and interactive activations for automotive fans everywhere, according to Taffy Event Strategies officials.

“The car culture and racing community in the southeast is like no other – it’s authentic, high quality and so passionate,” said Jenn Heinold, president of Taffy Event Strategies. “This community deserves an event that they can call their own, that’s why we are launching the High Performance Expo.” 

She continued, “Charlotte is the perfect East Coast location with natural ties and partnership opportunities for this dynamic industry. Stay tuned for big name sponsors, partners, exhibitors and consumer-facing activities.” 

Trade show industry veteran Dana Teague will serve as HPX’s general manager. 

Emerald Acquires B2B Digital Media Platform Hotel Interactive 

Emerald has acquired Hotel Interactive (HI), a premier conference and leading multi-channel hosted buyer business with a portfolio of 15 in-person annual events serving various segments of the hospitality and senior living industry sectors. 

With this acquisition, HI joins Emerald’s Connecting Point Marketing Group (CPMG) to create an expanded portfolio of industry-leading hosted buyer events that drive engaging one-to-one executive connections within strategic vertical market segments. 

Hervé Sedky
Hervé Sedky

“The partnership between CMPG and HI represents a significant step forward in Emerald’s portfolio optimization strategy, enabling us to enhance our leading hosted buyer platform,” explained Hervé Sedky, president and CEO of Emerald. “Together, the two companies represent a portfolio of 29 annual wholesale buying events that are unmatched in serving their target markets within selected segments of the hospitality, restaurant, healthcare, retail and grocery industries.” 

He added, “Our shared goal is to leverage best practices, innovative technology and strategic investments to deliver unparalleled value to both new and existing events and accelerate our growth opportunities.”

All HI employees have joined the Emerald team, with HI President Rich Viola continuing to lead HI’s portfolio events and B2B digital media offerings, including its Business Interactive Trade Alliances & Conferences (BITAC), HealthTac trade shows and FSM Summit and digital newsletters and websites including Hotel Interactive and Senior Living News.   

“Because HI and CPMG serve many of the same industries, we will now significantly expand both the scope and scale of our business, focusing on making our two brands the undisputed leaders of these specialized business segments,” Viola said. “We also promise to deliver an even higher level of client satisfaction, as our combined event portfolio will offer unmatched benefits and value to our customers.” 

CloserStill Media Acquires Majority Stake in UK-based Elite Exhibitions

Business events, exhibitions and conferences producer CloserStill Media has acquired a majority stake in Brighton, UK-based Elite Exhibitions, producer of leading cruise ship design trade shows in the U.S. and Europe. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Joining CloserStill’s growing Future Transport and Infrastructure group, Elite Exhibitions produces the annual Cruise Ship Interiors Design Expo (CSI) shows in London and Miami, events for the marine design and build sector that were launched in 2019.

CSI Expo
CSI Expo

Elite Co-founders CEO Toby Walters CEO and Commercial Director Sam Murray will continue to lead the Elite team.    

“We are truly excited to be partnering with CloserStill Media – a company who share our passion for launching new products whilst taking a thoughtful approach to growing events,” Walters said. “This partnership will provide both our team and our business the ability to pursue new opportunities whilst accelerating our growth.”

According to CloserStill officials, the investment in the high-growth cruise ship sector complements both the company’s Automotive Interiors Expo events in the U.S. and Europe and its Influence Group business in North America, which serves the built environment and design sector across multiple verticals, including hotels, restaurants and retail.   

“Elite is a dynamic, fast-growing business and the cruise ship sector is an attractive sector and is complementary to several of our existing shows in the transportation sector as well as broader design and built environment space,” said Gareth Bowhill, CEO of CloserStill Media. “Toby and Sam are creative, talented leaders who have built a unique culture with their dynamic team, and we are excited about what the partnership will bring to the expanded CloserStill group.” 

Clarion Events North America Chairman Greg Topalian Launches On Deck Ventures

Greg Topalian
Greg Topalian

Greg Topalian, chairman of Clarion Events North America, is launching On Deck Ventures, a new event consulting firm offering strategic guidance, venture funding and impactful connections to support businesses build trade shows and events in high-growth and emerging industries. 

Topalian, who brings a wealth of knowledge and vision to On Deck Ventures with more than 25 years of industry experience, said this new venture fills a void of supporting entrepreneurs with both needed investment and advice and guidance. 

“I am excited about the opportunities ahead for On Deck Ventures and the impact we can make within the events industry,” Topalian said. “The combination of my work with Clarion and with these early-stage businesses provides an opportunity to redefine industry standards, foster innovation and unlock unparalleled potential.” 

As part of its launch, On Deck Ventures announced strategic partnerships with The Fora Group, which operates Ai4 and RETCON, and the launch of Yotta, a new event serving the data industry.

Messe Frankfurt Selects Convention Data Services for The Clean Show for 2025 and 2027

The Clean Show
The Clean Show

Global trade show producer Messe Frankfurt selected event registration, business intelligence and lead management partner Convention Data Services (CDS), a Freeman Company, to provide registration, contact center and lead management services for its biennial event, The Clean Show, in 2025 and 2027. 

The Clean Show — a North American expo for laundering, dry cleaning, textile care services, supplies and equipment — brings together industry professionals to network, educate and share the latest technologies.

“CDS provides registration services for various other shows in our portfolio, and we are happy to grow our partnership,” said Shermell Williams, senior operations manager at Messe Frankfurt. “We appreciate CDS’ proactive engagement, which helps foster a seamless event experience.”

Have a trade show-related new business deal to share? Reach out to


Don’t miss any event-related news: Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter HERE, listen to our latest podcast HERE and engage with us on LinkedIn!

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact