ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — From the Virtual Carwash Tour on Monday, Oct. 1st, to the trade show’s conclusion, which occurred yesterday at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET), attendees and exhibitors were treated to another impressive Northeast Regional Carwash Convention (NRCC) event, which featured plenty of networking, buying and selling opportunities, learning, entertainment and all-around great returns on the investment to attend.

The NRCC show is an annual event that is hosted by one of the northeast region’s five associations: Car Wash Operators of New Jersey (CWONJ), Connecticut Carwash Association (CCA), New England Carwash Association (NECA), Mid-Atlantic Carwash Association and New York State Car Wash Association (NYSCWA).

Marking its 29th anniversary and taking place from Oct. 1-3 in the Atlantic City Convention Center, this year’s event was hosted by CWONJ and the event’s chairman, Doug Rieck.

On Tuesday, Oct. 2nd, attendees were afforded learning and networking opportunities in the form of three powerful and productive educational seminars: Traditional Early Bird Panel & Buffet Breakfast, featuring veteran carwash operators answering questions from the audience; Dissecting the Club Plan, which also featured a panel of experienced operators; and How to Protect Your Wash From Cyber Attacks, presented by AJ Davison, Hoffman Car Wash’s director of IT.

During the well-attended Dissecting the Club Plan session, which was standing room only to latecomers, operators shared their experiences with implementing, marketing and operating successful loyalty and unlimited carwash programs.

“No one has ever gone out of business by offering a loyalty program,” one of the panelists, Dave Ellard with Triple Play Car Wash, candidly remarked.

Later, Davison’s session breached the important topic of protecting your business’ exposure to cyber-attacks. Drawing from an unfortunate previous experience, Davison noted that his eyes were opened to the risk and calls his company’s brush with cyber-crime “lucky,” even though the event played out unbeknownst to the company or its customers for about a month and some 2,000 customers were affected. “Fortunately, we found out about it earlier than most people do. We got lucky and we learned a few things when we were breached. … I’m sure many of you in here today think you’re safe or it won’t happen to you. But, the reality is, you are dead wrong.”

Following these educational sessions was the Keynote Address with Jay Rifenbary: No Excuses! Incorporating Core Values, Accountability & Balance Into Your Life/Career and then the Awards Luncheon at noon. NRCC organizers presented the Emerging Leader, Most Distinguished Person and Hall of Fame awards to worthy recipients.

“This [Hall of Fame] award means going above and beyond to make sure this event is first-rate to attendees. This individual is a first-class carwasher,” said presenter Ron Bousquet of this year’s Hall of Fame receipt, Bob Katseff.

The Award Luncheon was followed by a bustling trade show at a spacious exhibit hall within the Atlantic City Convention Center, where hundreds of exhibitors met with interested buyers. On the evening of Oct. 2nd, NRCC 2018 showcased another relaxing and fun Welcome Reception at the beautiful The Water Club in the Borgata.

On Oct. 3rd, early birds feasted on breakfast and marketplace awareness during Sonny’s Enterprises’ Paul Fazio’s State of the Industry presentation. Fazio shared his remarks, supported by important industry research, on the current trends in the professional carwash market, including widespread consolidation, as well as an outlook on the future.

Following this eye-opening session, the exhibit hall opened at 9:30 a.m. ET, and the event concluded, as mentioned, at 2:30 p.m.

While the event came to a close yesterday, its impact will have a far more reaching effect. New friendships and business relationships were forged and old ones maintained.

This event continues to embrace technology as a critical way to enhance the attendee experience. In addition to its Virtual Carwash Tour, attendees commented to our team throughout the event that the show’s app, which was free to download and use, was “impressive and very helpful.”

With a stated mission of growing the event and advancing its learning program, the organizers of NRCC 2019, which will mark the event’s 30th anniversary, will surely have a high bar to aim for based on this year’s successes.