It was everything a trade show should be.
If you wanted one-on-one contact with hundreds of potential customers, if you wanted to hobnob with your peers in the industry, if you wanted an ideal setting to tout the virtues of your equipment line, if you needed to bolster your bottom line despite a sagging economy, and if you wanted to have a lot of fun in the process, then the Philadelphia Construction Expo was the place to be in 2003.
Throughout the two-day show, March 11 and 12 at the Fort Washington Expo Center, the overriding question was, “What bad economy?” Certainly, we’ve all seen better years, but a sale is a sale, and the overwhelming response from exhibitors was that there were plenty to be had.
“This has been nothing but a pleasure,” said Joe Deriscavage, of Blade Equipment Inc., Bridgeport, PA. “The people here at the show are super and I’ve received so many sales leads and some sales at the show. This really has been fun.”
Deriscavage wasn’t alone in his praise for the show.
Gary Sorrelle, equipment consultant of Deer Creek Equipment, said, “We were pleased that the majority of attendees were interested in the John Deere product line,” he began. “The tractor scraper concept was of great interest to a lot of people. We received a number of good solid leads that we’re going to be following up with in the next several weeks. This was our first year at the show, and I thought the quality of the attendees was good, they were legitimate customers.”
Ralph Stang, territory manager of Northeast Stihl, a manufacturer of augers, drills, saws, and construction tools, attended his first Philly Expo and his time there flew by.
“I’ve been very busy [during the show],” he said. “I go to a lot of shows and this is the busiest [show] I’ve ever been to.”
Jack Boccuzzi, account executive of Russell Reid Responsible Wastewater Management, who shared booth duty with Joe Cicchetti, of Mr. John, based in Glen Gardner, NJ, succinctly summed up his thoughts on the show. “This is the best show I’ve been to in 15 years,” he said.
Hale Trailer Brake & Wheel Inc., with locations in Voorhees, NJ, and Allentown, PA, had a terrific two days. At the company’s outdoor display, a Talbert 55SA and a BWS tag-along sold. Although both had already sold by mid-morning on the second day, Dann Cheney, of Hale, was still receiving offers for these two pieces of equipment.
Other trailer dealers reported brisk sales, such as four 50-ton trailers, along with many tag-along trailers up to 25-ton capacity.
Joanna Chavez, of Eagle Power & Equipment, Montgomeryville, PA, said she was very impressed with turnout at the expo.
“There were a large number of owners and operators who make purchasing decisions that attended. It was just a classy show, from the people that attended to the way the show was put together, there was a genuine excitement. And everybody was real excited to see the new Case equipment. We got a lot of really good leads on the Case mini-excavators and our new Takeuchi line,” she said.
Tom Marasheski of Giles & Ransome said, “Our simulator went over really well. People loved it, they thought it was cool, experiencing Cat controls on both the skid steer and backhoe loader, working with various attachments,” he said.
King Surety, a bonding company based in Willow Grove, PA, racked up many prospects as well as quite a few new customers.
An asphalt distributor was sold off the floor, as is, and Olympic Supply, of Chalfont, PA, a distributor that sells ground-engaging tools and breakers, had a very successful show.
What makes a great trade show, besides, of course, selling your wares, is a fun environment, and the “Greatest Show in Dirt” provided that, too.
As you look through the myriad photographs of the goings on at the show, you’ll often see a man who goes by the moniker of “El Wingador.” The photographer had little choice but to include the wing-slayer in many, many pictures simply because a slew of exhibitors requested to be in them with the big man. At virtually every exhibit that El Wingador (a.k.a. Bill Simmons) visited, there was at least a 10-minute conversation involving the finer points of Buffalo Wing preparation and, naturally, questions about how anybody could scarf down 154 wings in just 30 minutes, as he did at the most recent Wing Bowl.
CEG held its own version of Wing Bowl with a competition to determine who could eat 10 wings the fastest. Karen Zajick, of Norris Sales, Plymouth Meeting, PA, took home the $100 prize on day one, while John Gonnella, of Car-Tel, Cherry Hill, NJ, ate his way to the finish line on day two.
Operators lined up by the hundreds to participate in the backhoe rodeo with its $5,000 in cash prizes. Norm Bates, Shanahan & Luff, Newtown, PA, won the won the first-day competition, earning $750, and the overall winner was James Stredny, of Rencor, Shawanese, PA, taking home $1,750.
With another successful trade show now in the books with a record number of attendees lining up to check out the latest in exhibitors’ wares, CEG Productions is making final preparations for the Cleveland Construction Expo April 11 and 12 at the Cuyahoga Fairgrounds. We hope to see you there, as well as at next year’s Philadelphia Construction Expo, which will be better than ever in 2004.
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