A who’s who of automotive repair industry representatives, vendors, speakers and educators joined over 5,000 attendees at the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ)’s NORTHEAST 2016 Automotive Services Show last weekend at the Meadowlands Exposition Center (MEC) in Secaucus, NJ. The 39th version of the NORTHEAST show burst at the seams as the association’s flagship event broke all records in attendance, booth space and seminar registration.
“I think for the first time in my life I am kind of speechless,” said AASP/NJ President Jeff McDowell, unsuccessfully trying to hide a huge smile. “Leading up to the show, we all had a good feeling. There was definitely a buzz. But to see it turn out like this? Well, we couldn’t have predicted that in our wildest dreams. There were lines of attendees out the door and down the steps waiting to get in. We had to add two additional registration counters just to get everyone in. It was unbelievable. I’ve still got goose bumps.”
BASF topped off the guest list by bringing industry personality KC Mathieu, who spent the weekend delighting the crowd with autographs and pictures. KC also made a group of 25 vocational students’ year with a special Saturday afternoon luncheon / Q&A session. “First experience in New York/New Jersey! Having a great time, thanks for the great welcome,” Mathieu posted on his Facebook site. “Thanks to everyone again that came by to say hi and to the students I had the pleasure to speak with – you guys are awesome!”
KC wasn’t the only one impressed by NORTHEAST. Exhibitors were overwhelmed by the turnout as well.
“I couldn’t come up for air the whole show!” Nick Mattera of Innovative Solutions and Technology / Pro Spot International said. “The booth was constantly busy with technicians and shop owners.” “Traffic was awesome!” added Honda’s Gary Ledoux. “It was outrageous. I couldn’t believe how many people were here.”
“This weekend was the most packed I have seen the show in a long time,” noted Albert Kemperle’s David Green. “It was nice to see so many people from our industry in one place. We saw people from as far north as Maine and Rhode Island and as far south as Delaware. The speakers and the topics were all on point with the changes going on in the industry. I know that was part of the reason for the large crowds. Overall, it was a great show!”
“It’s been great; the traffic flow has been wonderful,” observed AkzoNobel Sr. Marketing Communication Specialist Kristine Muscedere. Guido Pippa of Accudraft credits the show’s “outstanding” attendance as the key incentive to return every March. “NORTHEAST really does a great job of bringing people out,” he says. “Year in and year out, we’re always impressed with what they do, how many people actually come out and how many serious buyers come to the show. Geographically, it’s definitely a great thing for us. It’s such a perfect venue.”
“I thought last year’s show was one of the best ones that we’ve been a part of,” offered Sherwin Williams Automotive NY/NJ Area Sales Manager Carmine Mirtuono. “But I’d say this year surpassed that.”
While he expanded his booth for 2016 in anticipation of heavy traffic, Keith Egan of R.W. Mallon / Collision Equipment Company was still completely blown away by how much attention his display received at this most recent NORTHEAST.
“We had a fantastic show this year!” he says. “In fact, our phones have been ringing off the hook every day since we got back.”
Egan, who expects to do six-figure business as a result of sales generated through the show, says that a positive experience was shared by everyone who worked to represent his company throughout the event.
After participating in NORTHEAST for 25 years, Axalta Business Development Manager James A. Powell still looks forward to exhibiting at the region’s largest event.
“It’s getting bigger and better every year, and more people are getting involved,” he says. “I’ve seen tags from Vermont, Maine and Pennsylvania. This is growing, and we’re glad we’re part of it.”
According to McDowell, AASP/NJ is ready to take the next step at the NORTHEAST 2017 show. “We’ve dreamed about it. We’ve talked about it. Now I think it may be time to do it,” he says, referring to the show’s expansion to a second level of the Meadowlands Exposition Center. “We’ve proven that NORTHEAST is the top regional automotive services show in the country. And we’re still hungry. We want to make it so there are only two can’t-miss shows the automotive professional has to attend each year: NORTHEAST in the spring and SEMA in the fall. That’s our ultimate goal and NORTHEAST 2016 took a hell of jump towards that goal. We couldn’t be prouder.”
NORTHEAST 2016 was presented with generous support from the following show sponsors: BASF (Platinum Show Sponsor); Ford (Gold Show Sponsor); American Honda Motor Co. (Attendee Bag Sponsor); Axalta Coating Systems (Attendee Prize Sponsor); Pro Spot International (Attendee Lanyard Sponsor); and Harbortouch (General Sponsor).
Check out exclusive video of NORTHEAST 2016 at www.youtube.com/AASPNJNORTHEAST. Visit the NORTHEAST Automotive Services Show at www.aaspnjnortheast.com and on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @AASPNJNORTHEAST.
The NORTHEAST 2017 Automotive Services Show will be held March 17-19 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ.