At the 2010 Matco Tools National Business Conference and Tool Expo at the Moon Palace Resort in Cancun, Mexico, this past February, the company marked 31 years of "Taking it to the Streets." The Expo not only highlighted a strong 2009, but forecast an even-better 2010.
At the opening night's rally, Tom Willis, Matco Tools president, and Tim Gilmore, Matco Tools SVP of sales, gave updates to the hundreds of distributors in attendance.
Gilmore said that Matco finished 2009 by taking market share through growth in the U.S. and Canada, while distributor retention was the company’s "highest in history." Willis followed with news of seven straight months continued improvement, assessing that "recovery is under way."
Ernie Lauber, Matco Tools VP of marketing, said new products at the show were up 30 percent, and that the Tool Expo helped Matco jump to a "great start" in 2010, where the first quarter showed growth both sequentially and year-over-year.
"We had a record number of new and exclusive products" at Tool Expo, Lauber said, which in turn "came close to a record in purchases per distributor.
"Everyone was very upbeat and the general feeling was that things have not only stabilized, but are improving," he said.
"Our distributors were glad to see Courtney Hansen [Matco’s Spokesperson] and our Expo live" for the tool demos and in-depth looks at product features, Lauber said. "They cannot wait to use the DVDs on their trucks to help value-sell Matco tools.
"Everyone was very excited about all of the new product, especially our new and exclusive Muscle cart, 1/4" Pit Bull air ratchet with industry leading torque, 88-tooth ratchet [the eighty8] with market leading accessibility and torque, and additions to our exclusive cordless, lithium-ion Infinium line, like our 10.8-volt impact and kit, polisher and cutting tools," Lauber said.
"What is real exciting is we are seeing all of our Expo sales sell through to technicians due to the strength of our distributors and the productivity gains these tools have for a tech."
On the show floor, more than 90 vendors were on hand to showcase the newest tools and equipment for the Matco tool dealers. In the center of it all, Courtney Hansen was taping interviews with vendors, brand managers and district managers about new tools and their features.
"The Expo was really good," said Mark Menozi, Matco’s No.4 distributor of 2009 and the PD cover feature from the February 2010 issue. "It was a good time, there were a lot of vendors and a lot of products there this year."
Mark said he took advantage of several pricing specials in his orders, including several toolboxes of which two were even pre-sold.
Aside from the four days on the show floor, Matco hosted several training sessions that covered product features sales tips, as well as business advice and help.
The 2011 Matco Tools Tool Expo will return to the popular Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, where Lauber expects a record attendance.
"I’m glad to have it back in the States," Mark said. "I’m already signed up to go."