Distributor Driven for 30 years

Distributors' outlooks at Matco expo show the company is on right track.


Matco Tools celebrated its 30th anniversary this year with distributors and vendors in Las Vegas in March. After 30 years, there wasn’t much pearl on display, but there was plenty of chrome. And enthusiasm.

Despite the down economy (that’s starting to sound like a broken record, isn’t it?), Matco distributors were remarkably upbeat throughout the expo.

At the opening night’s rally, Tom Willis, Matco Tools president, and Tim Gilmore, Matco Tools VP of sales, helped celebrate Matco’s 30th anniversary by reviewing Matco’s top distributors over the years and company highlights. Ernie Lauber, Matco Tools VP of marketing, then took the stage to get distributors charged up for the show floor, recount the past year and talk about some of the great new tools and deals Matco developed.

Lauber thanked the 850-plus distributors in attendance for their hard work and service that, coupled with continued tool innovations, keep Matco at the top. The bulk of his time was spent on tool innovations coming for customers that got distributors excited.

For tool storage, he touted innovations in tool carts for 2009, like the new MSC11, which is a cart that is customizable by the tech, Matco’s exclusive Toolbox Configurator for helping techs create their own tool storage solutions and the company’s new uniform tool storage solutions for larger shops/dealerships.

In hardlines, Lauber reviewed the new and exclusive titanium ratchets that come in four colors and will be launched in September. He discussed the improved access of the 88-tooth ratchets which boast the smallest swing arc and highest torque, and talked about expansions in socket sets as well as the Silver Eagle master sets targeted for the new techs and as take-home sets.

The company has upgraded its air saws and drills, but, more importantly, launched a new air-hammer line that is the strongest in the market and has a metal-valve system for longer life.

And in cordless tools, Matco’s new “Who’s your daddy” 1/2”-drive cordless impact features 725 ft./lbs. of breakaway torque for increased applications that would normally go to air impacts. The cordless lines feature 12.8V, 14.4V or 18V power in a “full line of impacts, drills, screwdrivers, flashlights, polishers and shears with the most torque, variable speed, longest battery life and smallest housings, all serviced by one universal charger,” Lauber said.

On the show floor, more than 100 vendors were on hand to showcase the newest tools and equipment for the Matco tool dealers, who were out in force each day. Every booth seemed to be two- or three-deep with distributors the majority of each day.

“The main thing was that everybody had a great attitude,” said Matco Tools Top 10 distributor Aaron Bergman, of Emden, Ill. (Bergman was a Professional Distributor cover story subject in September 2007).

Bergman admitted that he arrived in Las Vegas for the show a bit negative “because of the economy.” But being around all the other positive distributors was infectious for Bergman who turned his attitude around quickly at the show.

“All the new items, and being around the positive people were the biggest benefits,” Bergman said of his time at the expo.

Bergman said he took advantage of toolbox specials at the show that “moved easily” once he got them back on the truck and in front of customers.

He also attended several of the training seminars, including going to one twice regarding new credit/PSA enhancements.

Aside from the four days the tool expo floor was open to distributors, training sessions in Las Vegas included Toolbox Sales Training (identifying prospects and valuing trade-ins), Contests (to increase TP business), Relationship Selling (targeted how to sell to different personalities), Diagnostics Training (from OTC), and Uniform Tool Storage Training (regarding Matco’s new dealership storage options).

Next year’s Matco Tools Tool Expo is set for Cancun, Mexico.

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