Harold Wallace has seen the changing landscape of industry and advertising. Being in the business all his life, his goal is to bring a unique and creative approach to the trade. Galloway-Wallace Exhibits does this by creating large and small displays using materials such as aluminum and Styrofoam.
Wallace grew up in Edmond and graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1975 with a degree in marketing. After graduation, he worked for his father’s agency in Oklahoma City.
“It was a traditional advertising agency my granddad started in 1930s and my dad took over in 1956,” Wallace said.
In 1982, he purchased the agency from his father and continued the tradition. The Galloway-Wallace Agency handled bank and consumer-type advertising for companies like Potter’s Sausage, Harris Meats and Townley’s Dairy. As those markets were consumed by larger ones or renamed, and changes began to occur in other businesses, it became apparent that a change was needed at Galloway-Wallace.
“By the mid-80s, we saw the good growth area for our company was to work with business-to-business type accounts,” Wallace said. “That’s what we’re doing today.”
While Galloway-Wallace Advertising in Oklahoma City continues in the more traditional vein creating ads for print media, brochures for dealers and 16- to 24-page in-house publications, Wallace created another entity, Galloway-Wallace Exhibits, which develops, builds and manages exhibits for his clients’ trade show events.
“When we started to think about how trade shows were an interesting aspect of the whole marketing communication effort, we asked, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to execute the whole thing and take over production?’ That led us to getting more involved in the trade show business,” he said.
At first, production was in a warehouse in Oklahoma City, but today Wallace has more than 10,000 square feet in an office, shop and two warehouses in far north Edmond, near the Red Bud Energy Plant.
“I had been looking for a way to expand my warehouse and general facilities for parking trailers and the things it takes to build and maintain trade show exhibits,” Wallace said.
“I owned 160 acres of land. As I stood and watched the construction of the energy plant, I realized that UPS, Federal Express, all the trucking companies and everybody else would be coming out to them. Maybe this isn’t so far out in the country after all.
“I then decided to take a small part of the land and build an office, shop and another warehouse. It’s really turned out to be a win-win deal. Now, I’m in a nice location with plenty of room to spread out.”
With clients like Terex, John Deere, Hitachi and Volvo, where big machinery is the name of the game, Wallace needs the room. Building exhibits so these companies can present their construction equipment and industrial machinery requires large displays.
“The largest, single exhibit was one we built for Terex,” Wallace said. “It was an outdoor display used in the 2002 CONEXPO Show, which is a construction equipment show in Las Vegas. The structure was made to be the same shape of Terex’s logo, similar to a chevron or bowtie. It had four offices, an entrance, and reception area downstairs; then two grand stairways on either end going upstairs to a second story, which held about 150 people. The display area outside was about 45,000 square feet.”
These large displays require break-down and set-up. The parts are shipped to Chicago, Orlando, Las Vegas or wherever trade shows are held and then built with Union labor under Galloway-Wallace supervision. When the show is over, Wallace stores the large sections, portable flooring and bleachers in and around his warehouses.
Galloway-Wallace also does smaller displays for companies that may have only one or two shows a year.
“In that situation, we provide the basic structure and then customize it for each show by putting on new facings and small things to make it special for their equipment, presence or message they want to get across,” he said.
Presenting the client’s message in special ways is what drives Wallace.
“What we’re working toward is being a creative workshop for many different kinds of displays. We’ve tried to move beyond just the typical plywood and laminate to have a lot of aluminum framing and lots of different structures or facings using Styrofoam, cloth or metal, if that’s the appropriate material to have,” he said.
Styrofoam has become not only a fun material to work with, but a popular one because it is versatile and light to transport. An aluminum frame was used to build a deck and carved Styrofoam simulating rocks became the backdrop for a 2005 CONEXPO exhibit. Styrofoam first became the display concept for Hitachi Mining Products at the 1996 MINExpo Show in Las Vegas.
“Hitachi likes video because it’s easy to show different applications and different machines working where,” Wallace said. “We came up with the idea of having a rock video theater with a mine shaft entrance.”
The structure was to be made of Styrofoam. Although everyone agreed the concept was cool, no one knew how to build it.
“It was the first time we’d ever tried to do anything with Styrofoam. The bottom line is we searched the Internet and tried all kind of possibilities with set makers. Out of our research we found a guy who had retired from Walt Disney studios living in Oklahoma City. He helped us draw the basic dimensions of how to cut the Styrofoam into interlocking pieces, and then we carved it with his assistance,” Wallace said.
“We also worked with a company called Taylor Foam that cut the pieces per our drawings into the basic shapes. We then carved and customized them to look like rocks, like you see at the Bass Pro Shop in Oklahoma City.”
Galloway-Wallace hired hostesses who were dressed in hard hats, work boots and tank tops. They brought customers and prospects into the mine to watch the video. The Styrofoam mine shaft was as big a success as Galloway-Wallace Exhibits continues to be. Wallace’s goals are simple and straightforward.
“We are an Oklahoma-based company interested in doing more business with Oklahoma-based companies,” Wallace said. “We are interested and capable of putting together not only trade show displays, although that’s our strength and main creation, but also unusual presentations or customizations for commercial buildings or different kinds of permanent displays. That’s an area we’re interested in developing.”
The bottom line is Galloway-Wallace Exhibits focuses on helping companies present themselves in a creative and interesting way.