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Notes from the floor

October 11, 2010
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The spring trade show season is winding down, with another Car Care World Expo behind us. The staff of the International Carwash Association deserves much credit for hosting a very well-received event, which produced many interesting tidbits.

Among the most interesting items from the show:

In-booth education: Sonny’s and N/S really struck gold by hosting on-floor educational sessions. Many sessions were standing-room only and the content was an excellent benefit for attendees. Carwash operators who need proof that suppliers are committed to their success did not need to look any further than these two booths.

New products unveiled: Equipment and chemical suppliers used Car Care World Expo as a forum to launch new products. Belanger, in particular, went very big by displaying no fewer than nine of its new conveyors on the show floor. You could barely walk 10 feet at Car Care World Expo without tripping over a Belanger DuraTrans XD display.

Exhibitors go hog wild: Car Care World Expo had some spiffy motorcycle displays, trading off the growing motorcycle fad that is sweeping the country. PDQ even had the legendary Teutal family from motorcycle design shop Orange County Choppers in their booth signing autographs.

Valvoline also displayed a beautiful Orange County Chopper bike that is part of a current contest, and Wash World even raffled off a free Harley.

10,000- and 15,000-mile motor oils: The lube industry just can not catch a break. High-end synthetics unveiled by major suppliers this year — and showcased and discussed at Car Care World Expo — are the latest salvo in the lube market’s fight against extended drain intervals. Without a doubt, lubes will be able to sell a 10,000- to-15,000-mile synthetic at a premium price, but that premium will not come near the aggregate ticket amount from 3 to 5 trips to the lube.

You can not fault suppliers for giving consumers what they want. Really, this should be another push to encourage lube operators to consider diversifying and adding new services to encourage repeat visits and pad their bottom lines.

Too close for comfort: Speaking of the lube market, some suppliers and attendees voiced frustration about how close together the ICA’s Car Care World Expo and the Automotive Oil Change Association’s Convention & Fast Lube Expo are scheduled. For the past two years, they have only been a couple weeks apart.

For both suppliers and attendees, there is almost no advantage to the shows being scheduled so close together. Furthermore, because Car Care World Expo is the larger show, it probably becomes a no-brainer for people torn between the two. This is a situation that needs to be resolved in coming years.

Overall, this was a good trade show season and exhibitors and attendees both seemed happy. We enjoyed the chance to meet many of you in person and look forward to seeing you at the fall regionals.