Approximately 300 mobile distributors from across the country converged at the Hilton St. Petersburg hotel in St. Petersburg, Fla. last week for the third annual Ace Tool Co. National Dealer Expo, marking the largest national such gathering to date. The pleasant mid May weather enhanced the two-day event as mobile distributors viewed the latest offerings from 57 exhibitors and attended training seminars. In addition to distributors and exhibitors, about 50 Ace Tools sales associates from throughout the country attended the expo.
Distributors also had a chance to receive special discounts from exhibitors in a comfortable setting that included meals, refreshments and live entertainment.
“It’s our way of showing a ‘thank you’ for our customers and vendors and give them one-on-one time to meet in a space away from the regular business,” noted Pete Hofbauer, president of Ace Tool Co. “Everybody was very busy.” Hofbauer said the 57 vendors were specially selected and the expo is intended to be an intimate gathering.
John Cross, vice president of Ace Tool Co., added that exhibitors gain valuable insight from distributor customers in the expo’s personal setting. “There is a tremendous advantage to this, to get that information for product development,” he said.
Exhibitors and attendees both agreed the expo was worthwhile. Exhibitors noted the two-hour “sneak peak” on Friday afternoon and the all-day trade show on Saturday resulted in sales. Distributor attendees were pleased by the opportunity to see new tools and have a chance to learn about the tools in person from manufacturers.
Attendees also had a chance to learn about the tools in eight training seminars held over the two-day period. Seminars were held during trade show hours. Exhibitors are given the chance to hold training seminars on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Glenn Hayashi, a mobile distributor in Willowick, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, said he came to the expo primarily for product knowledge. “Product knowledge helps me sell the product to the customers,” said Hayashi, “If they (customers) don’t know what’s new, they don’t have any ability to buy it. There are a lot of customers out there clamoring for the knowledge. If the distributors don’t have it, who are they (customers) going to get it from?”
Many customers, for instance, do not know that AGM batteries are becoming more important, Hayashi said.
Fifty-minute training sessions were provided by Innova Electronics, Milwaukee Electric, Walter Meier, Autel US, Bosch Automotive, Associated Equipment, Ingersoll Rand and Makita USA. Seminars drew up to 50-plus attendees.
Hofbauer noted that the annual expo will continue in the same, intimate format.
To view a photo gallery of the show, click here.
Ace Tool Co. has provided tools and equipment to the mobile jobbers for over 40 years through nine strategically located distribution centers across the country. Ace’s core value is to provide superior customer service supplying products and innovative solutions from leading industry manufacturers at the right price to make customers more successful.