In mid-January in San Antonio, Texas, Mac Tools welcomed distributors and vendors to its annual Tool Fair for training, tool buys and a bit of rest and recovery.
This year’s theme, “The Pride and The Promise,” was evident throughout the exhibit hall. That theme was reinforced with five points for distributors to remember: integrity, loyalty, service, quality and solutions.
Mike Murray, Mac Tools president, touched on these items as well as the economy and other items in his opening address at the kickoff rally.
“2008 was a tough year,” Murray said, but he was encouraged that nearly 750 distributors attended the Tool Fair. “Despite tough times, we continue to see successes.” Murray pointed to several top distributors and other marks, like top Macstravaganza expos, as signs many things were going well.
Murray opened the event, not as somber, but with a realistic look at 2008 and much optimism for 2009.
“I think the bottom is here,” Murray said, shortly after citing a few sales numbers that were down year-over-year. He then pointed to the fact that 30 percent of Mac distributors were up in 2008 vs. 2007, and that the economy is driving the auto aftermarket toward an increase in cars with more time on the road, which means needs will increase for more service, more techs and more tools.
Murray touted the company’s 150 new distributors who were fresh from the revamped tool school training center in Columbus, Ohio.
He introduced several speakers, including John Force, team owner of John Force racing, Dave Rieff, ESPN racing commentator and pit reporter, Kenny Bernstein, owner of Kenny Bernstein Racing, and several Mac Tools Leadership Team members, who all spoke about what the Mac Tools team can accomplish in 2009.
“We’re in tough times, no use in sugar-coating it,” Bernstein said. “Distributors need to take the opportunity to do more every day … and think of everything possible to enhance their business.”
Promotions and prepared presentations at the kickoff rally featured several Professional Distributor cover story subjects, including Frank Gonzalez and Todd Smith, and regular columnist Joe Poulin.
“Don’t talk yourself into a recession,” Murray said in closing the kickoff. “Be there. The customer will remember later and buy.”
Following the kickoff rally, distributors had access to the vendors on the show floor for two days, as well as access to several training sessions covering several areas of the tool truck, from diagnostic sales and money management to toolbox help. There was even a “spouse training” for distributors’ significant others to learn more about the job.
Two Professional Distributor subjects even hosted two of their own training sessions. Former cover subject Gonzalez gave a talk on buying Mac and eliminating bad talk on the truck; columnist Poulin covered toting and promoting for increased sales.
Next year’s Tool Fair will return to Orlando, Fla.
Top 2008 Macstravaganza events
Mac Tools pointed to the incredible one-day Macstravaganza event sales of several distributors, including:
• Doug Etherington $64,780 net sales
• Mike Friesth $51,776 net sales
• Tom Neamon $44,460 net sales
• Jim Kattis $44,392 net sales
• Rich Delisanti $44,148 net sales
• Patrice Friest $36,860 net sales