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Wednesday, 20 March 2013 23:04

Show Attendees React to AASP 2013 Northeast Tradeshow

After spending such a wonderful weekend at the AASP Northeast Tradeshow at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ, on Friday, March 8 through Sunday, March 10, I was curious to see how my reaction compared to those more experienced in the industry. Several industry leaders and a few exhibitors took a moment to talk to me about their reactions to the tradeshow.

Jeff McDowell, President of AASP NJ, was pleased with this year’s event, noting that, despite the snow, turnout was better than he thought it would be, and the number of attendees and the show as a whole “far exceeded expectations.” Regarding the seminars, McDowell stated that they were all much fuller than expected.  He found Larry Montanez’s seminars particularly useful, and in regards to the parts procurement panel, he stated “It was great; a lot of information got disseminated to people who weren’t fully aware of what’s going on.”


Though AASP NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant expected the same success with the show as in previous years, especially with the additional of the Parts Procurement Panel, he was “pleasantly surprised how well the show turned out considering the snowstorm that hit the area on the first night, but with a record number of pre-registrations, we were pretty confident. Shops in the northeast are pretty tough. They won’t let a few inches of snow stop them from attending an event like the NORTHEAST™ show.”

Bryant was pleased with the attendance at the seminars also, noting that the Insurer Parts Procurement panel discussion was very exciting since it was the first, to his knowledge, such panel that consisted of active shop owners talking about their experiences with the program. “It was great to see our region come out for such an incredibly important subject.”  He was also impressed with Larry Montanez’s seminars and Metropolitan Car-O-Liner’s Frame/Unibody measuring presentation held on the exposition floor.  BASF’s seminar on Paint Costs was standing room only due to the large number of attendees.

CCRE President Tony Lombardozzi was also impressed with this year’s event, noting that it was a bigger show than the last couple years, and an attendee for the past 25 years, he notes that it has gotten progressively better since moving to the Meadowlands. Lombardozzi states that, overall, it was a very good show, plus there was a lot of good information in the seminars, especially Digital Marketing by Frank Terlep of Summit Software & Marketing Solutions and the seminars taught by Larry Montanez of P&L Consultants.

Ever a proponent of collision shop independence, Lombardozzi took a special interest in the Parts Procurement panel, warning that “PartsTrader is a manipulative tool for the insurer to control the industry, [and] once they have control of the parts, they’ll control everything.” The customer’s interests cannot be a shop’s top priority if they are involved in a control with the insurer since that contract takes precedence and “you cannot serve two masters.”

Larry Montanez of P&L Consultants also believes that the Northeast Tradeshow “seems to have grown each year.”  He believes that, overall, the show was pretty well received as he noticed that there were more people in his classes than anticipated by pre-registration numbers, and he was particularly surprised by the number of people who attended the show on Friday night, given the snowy weather.

Montanez found particular interest in the seminar on alternate fuels as well as the two hosted by GM Parts.  He felt that the Parts Procurement panel elicited some good discussions, though he fears that programs such as PartsTrader are going to spread to other insurers. “Parts procurement is not going to stop because for every shop that pulls out, three more are willing to do what they ask to stay on their programs… if you’re unhappy being on a parts procurement program, you have no one to blame but yourself.”

With attendance higher than expected, vendors informed McDowell that attendees were making purchases in greater frequency and volumes than in past years, as well. Mike Clancy, sales representative for Mirka, noted that the show was very good and there was a lot of good traffic which surprised him given the weather. Bill Northrop of Reliable Automotive Equipment’s reaction was similar, though he noted that Friday night seemed a bit slower due to the weather. While it was the first time that Automotive Art exhibited at AASP Northeast, President Glenn Camacho received an acceptable number of leads and noted “so far, so good.”
Rick Weber, Parts Director at Maxon Mazda/Hyundai, was quite happy being at the Northeast Tradeshow where he could “see a lot of people, thank people you do business with and hope to meet people you can do business with in the future. It’s a win-win situation, and we’re already planning for next year.” Gina Mahan of Valspar agreed that the show went well in terms of traffic and responses, plus she was excited to show off their new look. Peter Teixeria, also from Valspar, added that it is nice to “represent the line, even for existing customers, [since it] assures them that we’re here for the long haul.”

Happy with the 2013 Northeast tradeshow, Bryant notes “Every year, we try to build on the prior show and make the next show a ‘must attend’ event. I think we accomplished that in every way. It's the only show of its kind and size that you can actually drive to, attend a few educational seminars, see just about everything that's new in equipment and technology, and be home in your own bed the same night.

NORTHEAST™ continues to be the leading regional show in our industry, and AASP/NJ is looking forward to our 37th addition next year. McDowell agrees: “It was a great show, [but] we plan to make it bigger and better! Don’t miss it next year!”

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