National Dealers Expo 2014 showcases tools and training for mobile dealers

Ace Tool Company held its fourth annual National Dealers Expo 2014, at the Hilton in St. Petersburg, Fla. May 16-18. 

The event hosted hundreds of customers from around the United States, with 70 vendors on-hand to provide tool knowledge and training for attendees. 

"It's definitely the best show we’ve ever had. We received numerous comments and emails from customers about the personal attention we provide them, and events,"  said Pete Hofbauer, president and CEO of Ace Tool Co. 

"It's a thank-you to our customers, not only for their business, but to gain feedback in a more casual environment," said Hofbauer. "It also gives a lot of our support staff, that don't really get to interact with our customers first-hand, the opportunity to meet with customers." 

Vendor support, training and takeaways

The National Dealers Expo 2014 featured 10 training sessions from a number of different vendors, including manufacturers like Ingersoll Rand, Autel, Bosch OTC, Lincoln Industrial and more.

"We had an overwhelming response to our training sessions this year with standing room only," said Hofbauer. "The vendors had a great chance to not only display and demonstrate their product, but also answer some of the questions that the jobbers get every day."

With all the vendors on-hand, distributors were able to see new products and talk with manufacturers one-on-one.

"We design our expo to provide customers the opportunity to get a good deal on the products, and provide them with special payment terms so they have a chance to stock up their truck with these new and exciting tools."

Ace Tool Co. encourages vendors to show off their new tools and technologies and be on-hand for one-on-one interaction with the dealers.

"Each one of our vendors did that, and it really went well."

Mobile site launch

At this year's show, Ace Tool displayed the company's new mobile website. The new site features responsive design, allowing users to view the website on an adjusted screen size to fit a smartphone screen, making the site easier to read and navigate. The site provides distributors access to the Ace Tool Co. ( website for detailed product information, pricing and the ability to place orders right away. 

"We were able to launch it and get first-hand feedback from customers at the show. "It was exciting to see people see value in a tool like that," said Hofbauer. "It has a good search engine so a customer coming onto the truck looking for an item can search and get the information fast. There's no special sign-on. It's not an app."

The mobile site allows distributors the ability to review products on the truck or in the shop with customers. Without a login, the site provides retail pricing to show shop customers. Once the distributor logs in, he or she has access to "jobber pricing" and can place orders for product. 

As for next year's show plans, Hofbauer advises Ace Tool Co. plans to hold its fifth annual National Dealers Expo, with dates and location yet to be announced.