While some are probably going to miss the bright lights and fun of Las Vegas, there is still a lot of excitement planned for this year's Car Wash Show™ in Chicago. The Show, which is the largest carwash convention and trade show in the world, will take place in the nation's largest convention center, the McCormick Place. The venue is slated to host over 6,000 attendees and more than 300 exhibitors. From tunnel equipment, to towels, to air fresheners, a vendor for just about every facet of a car care operation will be on display.
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According to Gary Dennis, the International Carwash Association Board Chairman, Chicago is trending even or ahead of last year.
"We are very excited about the event this year. Chicago is a great city and the recent changes in the exhibition business there has allowed us to return. I think we will be able to reach a lot of attendees we haven't seen in a few years and I know many of the vendors are excited about that prospect."
With every Car Wash Show comes the opportunity to learn. Last year's show hosted standing-room only educational session, and this year show organizers are preparing for the same kind of attendance.
"Our educational events will be well attended," Dennis predicted, stating they paid close attention to the feedback they received from the attendees, which, he said had been very positive.
More than 20 hours of educational sessions are being offered which will cover three key components to running a carwash: Business management, marketing and brand strategy, and operations.
Meet, greet and network
There will be three networking opportunities for attendees thanks to the Chicago Car Wash Tours event, the 100 Years of Car Washing Celebration at the House of Blues in downtown Chicago, and the Networking Dinners opportunities. Please note: separate registration is required or an All Access Pass so be sure to check with the International Carwash Association (ICA) beforehand by visiting carwash.org or calling 888-422-8422.
The 100 Years event will include cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and live music from Jeremy Davis & The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra, sponsored by Qual Chem.
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"We are also excited about some new networking opportunities that will be available such as the networking dinners that are being planned across several Chicago restaurants where operators can get together to learn from each other," said Dennis. With this being the 100th anniversary of car washing, I'm sure everyone will really enjoy the festivities that are in store at the House of Blues event. All in all, I think it's going to be a great event this year."
Test your idea
The keynote address for the past shows have been given by atheletes, but this year, the address will be given by two people: Daymond John and Robert Herjavec who star on that ABC hit series Shark Tank. John is a branding expert, author and consultant and the person behind the fashion brand FUBU brand. Herjavec is the head of an IT security and infrastructure integration firm, The Herjavec Group. According to ABC's website, the show features a panel of self-made multimillionaires and billionaires who are looking for the next great invention. Entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to present an invention to the panel, which includes John and Herjavec. If a panel member likes the invention they can then work out a development deal with the entrepreneur.
Read also: A celebration of 100 years of clean cars
What's interesting about this year's keynote address is at least one lucky Car Wash Show attendee will get the chance to present an idea to John and Herjavec. The ICA allowed attendees to submit a short form describing their business idea via carwash.org.
Please note: An All Access Pass is required to attend the Keynote Session.
When: March 31 – April 2, 2014
Where: McCormick Place, South Building
2301 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60616
Hotel: Hyatt Regency Chicago
151 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place
2233 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Chicago, IL