ATD Tools, Inc. recently held its 2012 National Vendor Expo in St. Louis, April 12-13. The warehouse distributor buying group is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year and used the occasion to present the show, which was the first event of its kind.
"The reaction from vendors and the sales representatives who attended was overwhelmingly positive," said Bill Robinson, President, ATD Tools Inc. "Many vendors asked for larger space at our next show, so I guess that means we'll have to start thinking about when we will have the next bigger show."
The Expo was composed of 62 participating vendors. Sales representatives from warehouse distributor members were the main attendees of the event, with a focus on offering product training for the 145 sales representatives.
"What a great opportunity to meet with the ATD staff and their members' executive teams," said George Stockin, President, Lock Technology. "When we get a chance to help our distributors sales force learn how to sell more of our products, it's a win-win for everyone."
The Expo featured a unique format, with each booth giving 10-minute demonstrations on their company's products to two salespeople at a time. The attendees would then rotate to the next vendor's booth for another 10-minute demonstration. This ensured both parties would get time with each other and avoided the issue of missing one another because of a booth being too busy. Two 15-minute breaks were taken -- one in the morning and one in the afternoon -- and the Expo stopped from 12-12:45 PM for lunch, which featured assigned seating to promote new networking. Upon closing the show floor at 4 PM on Friday, all sales representatives had an opportunity to attend any or all of the three featured one-hour training sessions provided by Makita, Ingersoll Rand and GearWrench.
"It was a very good show," said Dan Reynolds, National Sales Manager, Fluke Corporation. "It was nice to know that with that large of a group we were going to be seeing everyone and given the chance to present our products and promotions. I thought the group at ATD did a great job of organizing it and keeping it moving. I would consider attending again."
The show concluded Friday with a Chairman's reception for vendors and ATD member owners, as well as a dinner and vendor awards ceremony. Companies honored with vendor awards included:
- Lincoln Industrial, Vendor of the Year
- Lisle Corporation, Outstanding Sales Representation
- Ingersoll Rand, Best New Products
- Clore Automotive, Best Promotions
- Grey Pneumatic, Outstanding Customer Service/Fill Rate.
"The ATD Expo was an extremely valuable opportunity for Apex Tool Group/GearWrench," said Jim Leavens, Director of Automotive Marketing, Apex Tool Group LLC. "In two concise and very well organized days, we were able to have valuable face time with over 130 ATD member salespeople tasked with taking our products to the street every day. I cannot think of a more cost-effective way to have dynamically communicated our brand's value proposition directly to a group of individuals this large, who are in the ideal position to affect sales."
"Having attended more shows than we care to even remember, we knew that we wanted to capture the best of what we had seen and build an event that could truly stand apart," said Robinson. "From the reaction of vendors and show attendees, I'm really pleased to say that we accomplished that goal."
ATD is made of up seven members that combined have 30 locations across the United States: Ace/Nestor, Medco, Auto Systems Warehouse (ASW), AutoWares Tool, California Tool, Delegard Tool, and Tools and Equipment Warehouse. ATD also has its own line of tools which can be found in any of the 87 versions of Simply the Best, Auto Source Today and Pro’s Choice flyers they distribute each year. For more on ATD Tools, visit www.ATDtools.com.