The International Carwash Association (ICA) wrapped up another show in Las Vegas, and while attendance was not especially impressive, the expo was.
Total attendance numbers (attendees and exhibitors) were just above 9,000. In the past, numbers have exceeded 10,500.
But it seemed that everyone that did show up was there to shop, and exhibitors claimed 2007 to be one of their best years ever.
“This continues to be a very strong buying show,” explained Mark Thorsby, executive director of the ICA. “People come here ready to purchase equipment, products and services.”
The ICA tried out two new members-only events and were happy with the results.
“Particularly, the vendor members seemed to really appreciate the opportunity to mingle with attendees in a sort of non-pressure environment [during the members-only Celebrate event],” Thorsby said.
The association’s New Investor Program was so successful, they will be repeating it at regional trade shows in 2007. The program’s goal was to draw 175 attendees – instead, 250 people showed up.
Thorsby said the ICA will put on the exact same program for the exact same price at a few of the regional tradeshows to be announced later this year.
“So whether you do it in Las Vegas or if you do it in Atlantic City, it doesn’t matter, the product will be the same,” he said.
The ICA was also pleased with some of the more unusual vendors that attended the show, including a distributor for a teeth-whitening system.
“There were a lot more of these kind of off-beat exhibitors that are becoming much more mainstream as our carwash operators continue their search for additional profit centers.”
The diversifying theme continued throughout the show, including ICA President Frank Lash’s State of the Industry address and Michael Treacy’s keynote presentation. Both men stressed the ever-evolving nature of the carwash industry and encouraged carwash owners to continue searching for new arenas of growth and development.
In keeping with diversification, the expo featured 125 new products released by 80 companies. Thorsby said this is great news for attendees who continue to say their number one reason for attending the show is to see new products.
And the ICA is diversifying, too. Recognizing the changing climate of the industry, President Lash said the association would work to improve its educational initiatives, its website, and would convert much of its text information to video.
“We shot a lot of footage for one of these programs on the show floor,” Thorsby said. “Interviewing and talking to people about their best practices. We keep hearing that our members want more video, not more reading, and so we’ll be answering that need.”
To see more of what the ICA is working on, visit the association’s website at www.carcarecentral.com
Kate Carr is the editor in chief of Professional Carwashing & Detailing® magazine. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org