Dealernews Top 100 2010: New deadlines, category changes

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Twenty years ago, the publishers of Dealernews decided to launch an annual competition that would recognize dealerships for their efforts in store design and merchandising. They called it the Top 100 Program.

Today, the Dealernews Top 100 Competition is the industry’s largest, longest running and most prestigious program recognizing North American retailers for achievements in not only design and merchandising, but e-commerce, marketing, customer service, community involvement and a host of other activities essential to success in today’s market.

We are constantly looking at this important competition, revising and tweaking to make sure it not only stays relevant to the business climate but enables you to get ahead of the game, because the powersports industry as a whole depends on how well you do each day.

A few years ago then-publisher Mike Vaughan and I expanded the entry application so that the judges could get a more accurate picture of how you do business, and you in turn could use the exercise as a way to examine your business. (You have to admit, the entry questions are good ones.) So for the 20th Anniversary year, we’ve made a few changes.

New deadline. For starters, we’ve moved up the entry deadline by more than a month, to 11:59 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, 2010. (You’ll read why in a minute.) Choose your Merit category. We’ve expanded the Merit Award categories – and, for the first time, you will be able to choose which Merit categories you wish to enter.

Easier process. Finally, we’ve taken the entire entry process online (yes, you may applaud now) through a partnership with mBLAST. The 2011 Top 100 Entry Form -- and instructions -- will be available in early June, giving you roughly four months to work on your applications, take photos, and think about new ideas. You will have the ability to create an online account, start your Top 100 entry, upload your files, revise your entry over the summer, and keep it all confidential until you hit the “SUBMIT” button.

‘Dealer Idol.’ Retailers who enter the Top 100 Competition this year will be automatically entered into the brand-new Consumers’ Choice Award hosted by our sister property, the International Motorcycle Shows. We’re giving consumers across North America the chance to vote for their favorite dealer from the list of those who have entered the competition by the Oct. 1 deadline. Voting will take place online starting in early October (hence the earlier deadline noted above – please don’t forget that).

All together now. Finally, for the 20th Anniversary Year, we’re planning a reunion: The February 2011 Awards Gala will be a homecoming of all dealerships who have won a spot in the Top 100 from 1992 to present day. Mark your calendars now; It should be quite a party.

But wait; there’s more. We have something afloat that will get the attention of many more dealers. Watch for more news on the Top 100 Competition in next month’s issue, in the DealerNEWS ALERT e-newsletters, and on www.dealernews.com/top100. And if you have questions, contact me at mslepicka@dealernews.com. — Mary Slepicka