Mike Bell

CEO of the Year Award

Title: Chief Executive Officer
Company: POP Displays USA

 
2018 marked a new era in the life of Mike Bell as he took leadership as (as he was appointed) Chief
Executive Officer of POP Displays USA. In a short period of time, he is leading the company in obtaining
the reputation of being considered a leader in the retail and display market. The company recently
opened their manufacturing and distribution facility in East Point Georgia and this move is already
positively affecting the community in a major way.

Mr. Bell is a visionary who brings an impressive background to his role of CEO at POP Displays. It
encompasses various aspects of manufacturing, packaging and displays, and third-party logistics. He
began his professional career at The Clorox Company where he held various positions progressing his
way throughout the company. After leaving, he worked at KIK Custom Products, The Scotts Miracle-Gro
Company, XPO Logistics, and We Pack Logistics. Each of these companies helped in developing a solid
foundation for his business development, operations management, and executive leadership skills which
aided in his transition to CEO of POP Displays. When asked why he decided to make the move to POP
Displays, he responded “I decided to join this company because I saw the combination of a strong
reputation in the industry, and an opportunity to put my skills to work in making it a more efficient and
sustainable enterprise.” His proven success in partnering with private equity firms and key stakeholders
to quickly assess a situation, develop an improvement strategy, and put the company on a successful
trajectory is a key attribute for POP Displays.

The East Point area has been growing consistently over the past few years. Various businesses, from
retail to restaurants to industrial, have been eager to be a part of this robust area. One of the most
impactful additions to the area is POP Displays. In March of this year, the company announced their
decision to invest approximately $7.9 million into Fulton County by opening their new manufacturing,
production, and distribution facility in East Point. Mr. Bell explained that part of the reason for the move was to “take advantage of the superior logistics network, gain more flexibility for growth and expansion, and to help get our costs in line to compete more effectively in a global industry”. Job tax credits and a collaboration with local and state economic development teams also played a part in the decision to move to East Point.

While deciding on the final location for the facility, POP Displays was provided with a $300,000 Regional Economic Business Assistance (REBA) grant from the Fulton County Development Authority. This grant acts as an “incentive program that is used to help “close the deal” when companies are considering Georgia and another state for their location or expansion.” In addition to this location, they also maintain offices as well as their design and engineering studio in Rye Brook, NY. As a result of the move to the area, POP Displays will hire approximately 280 full-time positions and 165 temporary employees for the company’s anticipated growth.POP Displays USA was established in 1953 and is headquartered in Rye Brook, New York. Initially, it began as a direct manufacturer for the infant display industry. They were the first full-service manufacturers in the business. Due to less than favorable results, they decided to invest in facilities and equipment that would boost their manufacturing integration capabilities. Currently, they are owned by CounterPoint Capital Partners. Their vision is two-fold: “to be recognized as best-in-class for permanent

display solutions, and to develop and deliver desirable, feasible and sustainable merchandising
solutions”. When walking into a typical retail or grocery store, one will likely notice product displays that visually highlight their items for sale. Those products are not arranged that way by accident—visual
merchandising is being used to help the products sell themselves. That is where the expertise of POP
Displays come into play. The company specializes in taking an innovative approach to design and develop
custom merchandising solutions in mixed materials to help retailers and brands grow. Although there are
other companies in the display business, POP Displays incorporates interactive technology that fuses
physical and digital technology to help navigate the buying process of customers. They also took the lead
in being the first to utilize LED lighting in cosmetic displays. What differentiates them is that they
“challenge the status quo and think differently in order to drive shopper engagement and address
retailer needs”. According to Mr. Bell, POP Displays has the “ability to customize solutions for our
partners, and to provide insights and analysis on how various display alternatives will perform in the
marketplace”.

The company has put a lot of emphasis on providing customers with innovative merchandising solutions
as well as incorporating a way to engage shoppers and create a memorable shopping experience. This
has truly paid off for POP Displays. Their long client list is very impressive and continues to grow. Some of the major heavy hitters include L’Oreal, Maybelline, CVS, Walmart, Sally Beauty, Revlon, Physician’s Formula, just to name a few. Their expertise in the display industry has been noted by such companies as Maybelline, L’Oreal, Betty Crocker, Dove, and Margaritaville. They have been awarded 5 Global Shop Gold Awards, 4 Global Shop Silver Awards, 6 Global Shop Bronze Awards, 4 Design of the Times Awards, and two Pop Up Gallery Awards. nearly 200 Outstanding Merchandising Awards including Display of the Year and Global awards as well as a number of other merchandising awards.

In November, POP Displays accomplished a major feat with the launch of H-E-B supermarket’s new
in-store beauty boutique in San Antonio, TX. They were very instrumental in manufacturing all of the
store fixtures, the overall store design, and creating an interactive, hands-on shopping experience for the customers of the supermarket. This store-within-a-store, called Beauty by H-E-B, is a 4,000 square foot boutique in the H-E-B supermarket. It houses an expanded selection of beauty and personal care
products in four different sections: color cosmetics, hair care, naturals, and skin care. With a key focus of product trial, customers can experience mirrored testing stations, digital screens throughout displaying instructional videos, as well as a mirrored, voice-activated screen allowing shoppers to take photos to share on social media. This is one of many examples of how POP Displays is assisting retailers up their game to compete in the beauty and retail industry.

Since taking the helm as CEO at POP Displays, Mr. Bell has helped the company increase revenues by
29% in 20 months; tripled EBITDA to a new company record. He leads a team of 350 employees, and has
now moved the manufacturing and distribution center to a LEED certified, state-of-the-art facility in East Point, GA. He stated, “now that we are in Atlanta, our goal is to grow, and to bring the benefits of our restructuring and relocation to our customers, who have been incredibly supportive throughout the
process. POP Displays is not only creating state-of-the-art displays and creating jobs in East Point, they continue to take an active part in the communities where they exist. They have donated tools and materials to Habitat for Humanity, partnered with L’Oreal to support sourcing that meets their ethical, diversity and philanthropic goals.

They have also worked with WestHab in assisting those in need find employment, and have worked with WestCop to help low income, at-risk individuals become self-sufficient.
The company serves a broad national and global network of customers. Their focus is on developing
their “new two location strategy, which gives us the capacity and flexibility to meet our needs for the
near future.” The future plans involve anticipating the customer’s needs and strive to stay on the leading edge of consumer behavior. “POP Displays has always been an industry innovator, and we intend to
continue that process through the application of new materials and processes to make product
presentation more efficient and seamless.”