Just days after a nor’easter slammed the East Coast, more than 5,000 collision repair professionals trekked to Secaucus, N.J., for the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey’s (AASP/NJ) 2017 NORTHEAST Automotive Services Show.
The skies cleared and some of the snow began melting just in time for the three-day event, which took place at the Meadowlands Exposition Center. The agenda included education, training and the latest in tools, technology and equipment.
“We pulled out all the stops this year,” said Jeff McDowell, president of AASP/NJ. “And it turned out better than we could have imagined. From the sold-out show floor to the constant flow of attendees to the packed seminars to our new decorative branding, it was a tremendous, tremendous success. Everyone from AASP/NJ is running out of adjectives. Thrilled, proud, amazed. You name it. It was one hell of a show.”
Many exhibitors echoed McDowell’s sentiments.
“When you have something that you just plan on every year, it’s huge,” said Guido Pippa of Accudraft. “The show keeps getting better and better, so we’re not afraid of putting in bigger units and getting bigger floor space. Just knowing that it’s there and having [an association] as good as AASP/NJ is really something you can hang your hat on and count on.”
Sherwin-Williams Automotive’s Carmine Mirtuono added: “The most important reason we are a part of NORTHEAST is to demonstrate our engagement and dedication to the industry, by staying close to our current and potential customers, as well as having the opportunity to bring additional training opportunities that are important to the industry.”
As the collision repair industry evolves, the NORTHEAST show has evolved with it, said Rick Weber of Maxon Hyundai-Mazda.
“If you have the right people [involved] and they’re progressive, they evolve with the times – and the show has evolved,” Weber said. “Look how many people we have here. There’s no question.”
A ‘Weatherproof’ Show
NORTHEAST’s training and educational slate saw record numbers turn out to see such industry stalwarts as Mike Anderson and Larry Montanez III as well as the show’s exclusive “Path to Certification” panel discussions.
“We had over 200 people come in to see Mike Anderson alone,” McDowell says. “We’ve never had this kind of response to our seminars. It just shows you our industry is hungry for knowledge, and with NORTHEAST you can find it right in your backyard.
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Overcoming the potential travel complications of the snowstorm earlier in the week showed that NORTHEAST is “weatherproof,” McDowell added.
“The Monday prior to the show, everyone was talking about two feet of snow and a nor’easter,” McDowell said. “Well, we got some of that. But by the weekend, everything was back to normal. The show is representative of our region. We prepare, and we get things done. I think Mother Nature appreciates that. And so do our vendors, who we can’t thank enough. The show doesn’t exist without them or all the attendees and presenters who come out in the snow, rain, cold, heat, etc. We look forward to taking a big step next year. Stay tuned.”
The NORTHEAST 2018 Automotive Services Show will take place March 16-18 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, N.J.