Monday, May 23, 2016


I think my first show was 1976 or 77. I think it was held at McCormick place in Chicago. Since then I have attended just about every show in a exhibitor capacity for companies that I was involved with at the time.

During this period many of the shows were held in hotel ballrooms because there weren't
enough exhibits to fill the space. But over the years the show began to grow with more car wash equipment companies offering equipment and introducing new products or services. I can remember when Belanger first introduced its cloth concept. Up until that time everything used to clean vehicles were made of bristle. The list of new opportunities for the operator goes on and on.
I still go to shows in a vendor capacity. It has amazed me how the show has grown over the
decades. To really appreciate all of the changes in the industry attending a car wash show on a
regular basis is a must, particularly if one is new to the business.

As a vendor my goals and objectives may be very different from those of an operator or investor attending the show. My first goal is to introduce my product to potential customers who come by my booth. These people have different interests depending upon what they are interested in doing. I have to quickly learn what their goal is and then determine if my product is a fit. I consider myself a problem solver. If I don't have what they are looking for I can make suggestions that might help them or tell them where to go to find what they are looking for. In this capacity I am also a consultant.

Unfortunately I do not get to attend a lot of the seminars. For me the most enjoyable part of the show is getting on the floor early and walking around to see what is new in the way of equipment and what my competition is offering. This is also a good time to get catch up with other vendors and see people I haven't seen in awhile because they are generally on the floor early as well. For me it's all part of a learning curve. Since the industry is constantly changing one has to be aware of those changes.

How do I maximize my time? Since I am a vendor the majority of my time is spent in my booth. I am tied down and can only see or be aware of what is going on around me. However, when I am not busy illustrating my product I spend down time surveying the isles for people I know and would like to talk to. After show hours I try to spend my time with potential clients over dinner. This is a great time to really catch up as to what is going on and particularly learn of anything new that may have occurred on the show floor.

Because the industry is constantly changing it is important to stay on top of all of the latest developments. To be in this business one must be a student of the game. I consider myself to be a student who is still learning.



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