Like the old US Postal Service motto, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…” apparently nothing can stop the NORTHEAST Automotive Services Show. Despite a snow storm that dropped four to six inches across the region, over 4,000 automotive professionals turned out for the 38th installment of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ)’s signature event, held last weekend at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ.
Highlighted by an appearance by West Coast Customs’ Ryan Friedlinghaus (courtesy of Platinum Show Sponsor BASF), NORTHEAST 2015 had something for everyone over the three-day event.
“It turned out to be a pretty amazing weekend,” said a beaming AASP/NJ President Jeff McDowell. “We weren’t necessarily worried about the weather, since we have dealt with that once or twice in the past, but you can never be too sure. Even with a pretty nasty storm, we had a steady stream of attendees coming through the doors on Friday night. Then on Saturday, the house was packed from start to finish. We are extremely happy with the turnout. As someone who stops and chats with every vendor during the show, I am proud to say that everyone was thrilled. No one more than us at AASP/NJ.”
NORTHEAST 2015’s educational sessions covered a gamut of topics across the automotive repair spectrum. The annual SCRS and AASP/NJ co-hosted East Coast Leadership Meeting and Resolution Forum filled the room, while the much-anticipated Industry Showdown between Larry Montanez and Kristen Felder – brilliantly moderated by Edward Kizenberger – proved to be both as entertaining and educational as promised.
“I think we had just the right mix of debate, discussion and education,” McDowell adds. “The demand was so great on some of the sessions, we had to schedule them twice. We also moved our demo area to the center of the show, which added a new dimension to the show floor. That went over really well.”
The over 320 booths that sold out the show floor were manned by vendors who came away impressed.
“BASF always enjoys participating in the NORTHEAST show as it allows our regional team the opportunity to interact with the customers while demonstrating what BASF has to offer the industry,” says Tina Nelles, marketing services manager for BASF Automotive Refinish. “Attending the NORTHEAST show is important to BASF as it demonstrates to the industry the importance of the region and the ability to interact with our customers. It allows us firsthand to hear our customers’ challenges and opportunities to help drive customer success.”
Gary Ledoux, assistant national manager for American Honda’s Collision Parts Marketing group, flew in from California to attend NORTHEAST and was immediately blown away by what AASP/NJ had put together.
“This is a wonderful show,” he offers. “There is a lot of energy and people here. We chose this show to be the springboard for our ProFirst Certified shop program. We’ve heard a lot of buzz about it already, and people have been stopping by the booth to talk about it. It worked out great.”
“The show is growing in a great direction,” offers Innovative Solutions representative Todd Witten. “The buzz is out there that it’s a good show to come to.”
Valspar Marketing Manager Gina Mahan credits much of NORTHEAST’s success to its stellar location in the region. “The unique thing about the show is that its population is so dense; this show brings in a lot of people in one space,” she says. “We see entire body shops coming out, whereas we may only see one or two people from a shop at a national show. Keeping it regional in New Jersey is great because we have so many people coming out with their entire staff to look and see what this show is all about.”
McDowell says AASP/NJ has already begun planning the NORTHEAST 2016 show. “The minute one show ends, we’re already onto the next one,” he shares. “We have grown by leaps and bounds since moving back to the Meadowlands. The show has sold out two years in a row. We actually had to turn some vendors away. We are now taking a look at expanding even more so that we can make sure everyone who wants to take part in NORTHEAST has the opportunity to do so. As we approach our 40th show in a couple years, we have never been as excited to see what the future brings.”
The NORTHEAST 2016 Automotive Services Show will be held March 18-20 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ. For more information, visit the website, the NORTHEAST Automotive Services Show on Facebook, The NORTHEAST Automotive Services Show on YouTube (www.youtube.com/AASPNJNORTHEAST) or follow the show on Twitter @AASPNJNORTHEAST / #NORTHEAST2016.