In 1988, Eric Burg was 21 and had $40 in his pocket. Knowing no one in the field, he started his own advertising agency, working extremely hard and building his business one client at a time. Today, 33 years later, Apple Rock Advertising & Promotion, Inc. (dba Apple Rock) is a leading producer of event and environmental designs, including engineering, planning, and fabrication, project management for large and small trade shows, corporate meetings, retail & pop-up shops, and various indoor, and outdoor event including virtual and live streaming. They design and build both temporary and permanent physical environments, ideal for customer engagement, meetings and point of sale events. They specialize in bringing brands to life in a 3-dimensional way to evoke human interaction and hands-on brand experience. “We’ll go wherever someone wants to get in front of a customer and create a brand experience,” he says. Apple Rock is unique in that all their steps, from concept design to manufacturing, are done in-house with their team of talented engineers, designers, and planners. Apple Rock builds both custom and portable exhibits in-house, they are G7 certified for color correct graphic production, which is critical for proper branding, and ranks among the top 40 builders in the event industry. Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, they also have locations in New Jersey, and Nevada. Apple Rock also operates internationally in partnership with the Nomadic European brand.
“Apple Rock is a company focused on building a bridge,” Eric says of how they help clients communicate their unique visions to customers and prospects connecting their brand with tangible sales results. “I can’t think of another U.S. manufacturer that builds from the depth of what we do. We innovate, design, engineer, and build all in the same place.” It’s because of their unique, hands-on, and holistic approach to providing clients a custom solution from their vast menu of event and marketing services to meet their unique needs and goals. that has allowed Apple Rock to survive and thrive for over three decades. “That’s a big deal in our industry!” Eric says. It’s our innovation and ability to be flexible and creative that keeps clients coming back to Apple Rock; they can really do just about anything. “A large apparel corporation came to us with the challenge to turn three empty buildings into an event showcase, they needed to be gutted, renovated, and merchandised in only six weeks! We were able to get it done because our team rose to the occasion.”
With the onset of COVID-19 and the reduction in in-person events, Eric realized quickly he needed to pivot once again. He adapted Apple Rock’s Greensboro, NC manufacturing facility to produce PPE items like masks, gowns, face shields, hand sanitizer stations, and barriers after the state of North Carolina came to them with a request for a first order of 300 gowns that grew to an order of hundreds of thousands of gowns. Using their experience in environmental design, they’ve also developed modular testing sites, outdoor tents for drive-up clinics, and a portable bed that can be used in field hospitals and homeless shelters. As for events, Eric was also able to shift Apple Rock’s environmental design from the physical to the virtual, creating 3D virtual meeting spaces that allowed people to experience meetings and gatherings while maintaining social distance. They had already been working with virtual technology for years, so the transition was easy for them. “I was able to be agile enough to completely transition the company into something new during COVID because my whole life I’ve been an idea person. I’ve always done projects that others may think are impossible,” he says. He also plans to continue integrating safety and PPE products into Apple Rock’s business in the future. “It became apparent that businesses have to have better safety protocols and that the meaning of safety has changed, so we pivoted into the PPE world, got our FDA registration, and got a compliance officer. We plan to make this a permanent part of our business moving forward.”
While Eric and Apple Rock are planning on further developing their PPE and virtual event sectors, they’re also looking forward to the safe return of in-person events. By providing virtual events and PPE now, they’re contributing to the eventual return of live events, and are happy to be a thought leader in this area. After 33 years in business, Eric is confident that he and his talented team can take anything that comes their way and know they can continue providing excellent service and innovative ideas to their clients and communities.
President & CEO — Apple Rock Advertising and Promotion