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A return to Las Vegas prompted a robust number of attendees, nearly 400 exhibitors and 80 first-time exhibitors to make their way onto the 160,000+ square-feet of exhibit space of the 2006 edition of the Car Care World Expo.
The show’s sponsor, the International Carwash Association (ICA) said more than 9,200 people attended the show.
Last year’s show attendance in San Antonio, TX, was just over 8,200 while the 2004 show, also held in Las Vegas, topped 10,600.
In his welcoming speech, ICA President Bob Katseff , of Turnpike Car Wash, Peabody, MA, said the number of carwashes is also growing.
In the past year, the number of carwashes operating in the U.S. climbed above 100,000 for the first time, with annual sales volume reaching more than $24 billion.
With more than 400 exhibitors, there were bound to be many new products, from new designs in brush materials and spray nozzles, to complete wash systems.
A growing trend is in remote sensors, enabling owners and managers to monitor their operations over the Internet, including streaming video from on-site cameras.
The published exhibitor floor plan was color-coded to indicate displays which featured new products and near the front of the exhibit hall, the ICA set up a display which featured many of the new products.
As usual, the show presented a wide variety of seminars which appealed to both potential investors and established owners.
Problems with the labor force were discussed as well as day-to-day operations.
One session gave a quick rundown on add-ons which could boost business, like adding an ATM machine or coffee bar to leasing out unused parts of the property. Another session focused on using the Internet and web pages to draw in new customers.
Despite a 6:30 a.m. start, more than 30 people gathered to talk about a perceived problem with sudden acceleration of Jeep Cherokees.
Prompted by a fatal accident at a Connecticut carwash, the roundtable discussion was a last-minute addition to the schedule and was moderated by ICA General Counsel Bruce Kramer.
The ICA is gathering data about the phenomena, including a reporting system on accidents and incidents involving sudden unexpected acceleration.
A DaimlerChrysler representative was in attendance, however he did not offer any comment in response to the concerned carwash owners’ and industry leaders’ discussion.
Without leaders, no industry could advance itself and this year, Car Care World Expo recognized several people for their dedication and commitment to their businesses and communities. Recognized leaders were:
- Most Valuable Carwasher, presented by Professional Carwashing & Detailing® magazine; Juan Carlos Avila, Splash Car Wash, Wilton, CT;
- Industry Leadership Award; Paul Fazio, Sonny’s Enterprises, Inc., Tamarac, FL;
- Community Service Leadership Award; Harry Cole, Cleaning Systems, St. Rose, LA;
- Leadership in Innovation Award; Thomas Hoffman, Jr., Hoffman Car Wash, Albany, NY;
- Association Leadership Award; David A. DuGoff, College Park Car Wash, College Park, MD;
- Past President’s Award, Jack Anthony, 7 Flags Car Wash, Vallejo, CA; and
- Distinguished Service Awards; Jimmy Branch, Speedy Car Wash, Panama City, FL, Mike Hansen, Dultmeier Sales, Omaha, NE, and Doug Newman, Connecticut Car Care, Milford, CT.
The Car Care World Expo 2007 will be again held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from March 26-28.
And speaking of the future, Katseff said among programs ICA is looking at are: “peer counseling/coaching groups,’’ the potential of cooperative buying of electricity and natural gas and the possibility of a national health insurance program for ICA members.