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Sat January 01, 2000 - National Edition
Of course the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware crowd was in full force for the two-day event, which was held on March 22-23, 2000, at The Expo Center, Pennsauken, NJ. Robert and Will Buckley of Buckley & Co. had the home-field advantage, coming from Philadelphia, PA.
Aaron Thurman of Rich Construction made the trek from Dandridge, TN, to try his hand at the backhoe rodeo. Joe Quinn, J.D. Quinn Construction Company, came all the way from Stow, MA, to see what PhilCONX 2000 had to offer. The event had all the hallmarks of a classic trade show Ñ equipment, door prizes, beautiful women, even race cars.
To set PhilCONX apart from other shows, according to Sheila Kirby, the show’s coordinator, a demonstration area was added to the inaugural PhilCONX show in 1998. "We want to give show goers the opportunity to get their hands on the equipment," said Kirby. "We wanted to give contractors and exhibitors an area were they could give the equipment a workout in a job-site setting. We know it really makes a difference to get the machines in action."
While the equipment displays were what drew Matt Carew of JC Contracting, Brooklyn, NY, to PhilCONX, he thought the exhibitors put on a good show in the demo area, particularly JCB. Binder Machinery, South Plainfield, NJ, and Furnival Machinery, Philadelphia, PA, had a number of Komastu machines in the demo area. Binder’s Kevin DeGerolamo said the hands-on opportunities afforded by the demo area were invaluable. "Everything can look nice from the outside but once you’re in it, it makes a difference," he said. "Customers could see how the machines run. I think that’s what really generated some leads for us."
Ed Dowd of James D. Morrissey Inc., Philadelphia, PA, said, "The demo area was terrific. Cat had a great demo area." Dowd was similarly enthusiastic about the show as a whole. "I thought the show was terrific. I thought the displays were much better than ’98’s PhilCONX. There was a larger variety of equipment," he said. More than 125 exhibitors displayed equipment, attachments, financing and more at PhilCONX 2000. A total of 480,000 square feet of exhibit space was utilized.
As clouds rolled in earlier in the week, many were reminded of PhilCONX 1998 when rain turned the demo area into swamp land. PhilCONX 2000 visitors were greeted instead with delightfully warm weather and sunny skies. Mike Chenet of CC &T, Folcroft, PA, said the weather was a huge improvement from two years ago. "It’s important for us to have people walking around outside," he said. "We were able to spend some quality time with the attendees."
With picture-perfect skies, show goers, like Ed Bowlin of Ray Bowlin & Son Excavating, Pennsbury, PA, were able to hop on all types of equipment. Bowlin, who usually runs John Deere and Caterpillar equipment, said he liked the fact he could get on equipment that he doesn’t usually run, like the Kobelco Blade Runner. After placing second in the backhoe rodeo, Bowlin spent some time with his dealers, Plasterer Equipment, Sellersville, PA, and Giles & Ransome, Bensalem, PA.
More than just a medium for displaying the latest equipment, PhilCONX was also an opportunity for attendees to touch base with old friends, or get to know new friends a little better. "The people who we talked to are people in our community. We were working with familiar faces," said CC&T’s Chenet. "We introduced some new product lines at the show, which is a good way to show our customers that we’re expanding and growing every day." "We had really good turn out É I love these shows; I think they’re good for business. We have good production and we like to show it off and PhilCONX did a good job for us," said Drew Carr, Elliott & Frantz, King of Prussia, PA.