Bruce Weber, president of ISN, draws the name of a cash prize winner during the awards dinner, assisted by Melissa Sanders.
More than 1,000 distributors from across the country gathered at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando last week for the 13th annual ISN Tool Dealer Expo, marking the largest such gathering to date. Distributors viewed the offerings from more than 150 exhibitors and attended 27 different training forums during the three-day expo.
Scott Pilkenton, ISN senior vice president of marketing, said the turnout surpassed last year's event, which had been the largest to date. He said sales at the show were significantly higher than in 2012.
"This is the year we have had more people taking advantage of training than ever," Pilkenton said. "There was a vibe there that we were there to help them with their business."
Pilkenton noted that this year's venue offered wider aisles than last year's. He said the number of exhibitors was about the same as in 2012, but the exhibits were larger this year. He said more exhibitors than ever brought the booths they plan to display at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in the Las Vegas in the fall.
Tool categories that were noted by attendees included air conditioning equipment and diagnostic equipment, Pilkenton said. The interest in air conditioning equipment can be attributed to the fact that air conditioning season is upon the industry right now. As for diagnostic tools, Pilkenton said the diagnostic category has become very big for distributors in recent years due to new tool innovations. "This was probably the biggest year ever for that," he said, noting that Bosch, Launch Tech USA, Autel and Power Probe experienced their best ISN shows ever this year.
Pilkenton further noted that many attendees took advantage of the financing program offered by ISN's finance partner, Lease Corp. of America.
Approximately $1.6 million in cash was taken, Pilkenton said. Over $250,000 worth of prizes and more than that amount in discounts were given to attendees. Distributors had a chance to receive special discounts from exhibitors in a comfortable setting that included meals, refreshments and live entertainment.
More than 500 wives attended the spa. Attendees also received free haircuts on the show floor. One of the best attended on-show attractions was Jimmy Riffle and the Gator Boys, featuring live alligator wrestling, sponsored by Milwaukee Electric Tools Corp.
Most of the 27 training forums were repeated over a 2-day period. More than 1,000 attendees participated in the forums that were designed to help them build their businesses.
The show concluded with a Saturday night awards dinner, which featured live entertainment, vendor awards and $250,000 in prizes. Prizes included varying sums of cash along with vehicles, a fishing boat and vacation trips.
Bruce Weber, president and CEO of ISN, was master of ceremonies during the awards dinner. He thanked everyone for coming and presented the awards along with Pilkenton.
Prizes were sponsored by ISN, Ingersoll Rand, Redback Boots, Makita USA Inc., Redline Detection LLC, Lincoln Industrial, Wilton/JET, Irwin Industrial Tool Co. and Power Probe.
The 2014 ISN Tool Dealer Expo will be at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Fla., June 21 and 22.