"Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."
– John F. Kennedy
I'm not in the habit of quoting past presidents, in fact I don't quote people, in general – it's hard enough to remember what comes out of my mouth, let alone someone else's! But we've got a lot of change in store for Dealer Expo 2009, and so I thought this would be a good way to kick off this month's message.
At this year's Dealer Expo and in the May issue of Dealernews we introduced the change in the number of show days to four from the previous three. We're also breaking up the two exhibit halls so each has one dedicated day – Friday is devoted to Lucas Oil Stadium, and Monday is devoted the Indiana Convention Center. On Saturday and Sunday you'll be able to visit both exhibit areas. The primary reason for making this change was to make it easier for you to plan your show experience and get the most accomplished in the shortest amount of time.
We are also trying to make things more efficient and effective by creating large pavilion exhibits, where like-minded exhibitors will be grouped together. Many of you give serious thought to your footwear at Dealer Expo because you know you're going to walk many miles while you're at the show shopping for the parts, accessories and apparel. I'm not suggesting you give up the comfy shoes, but with the changes to how we are organizing the exhibit floor, you should be able to get more done with fewer steps.
Lucas Oil Stadium, which opens on Friday, Feb. 13 will house several pavilions. Big Twin Country will be the first pavilion you visit as you enter the exhibit area at street level, and will feature companies that focus almost exclusively on products for the Big Twin segment. Once you've made your buying decisions in this area, you'll make your way through the Gear and Sportbike Pavilions where you'll find a fashion stage featuring apparel previews from the leading gear companies from around the world. The Sportbike Pavilion has its own personality, and all the fun and cutting-edge design you've come to expect from this market. Spend time viewing the sportbike custom display while listening to the DJ and discussing the latest innovations in sportbike accessories and gear. Tools & Equipment is dedicated to service managers and other personnel in your store who need the latest in tools and diagnostic equipment. The New Vehicle Pavilion, introduced at the 2008 show, has moved to Lucas Oil Stadium and been expanded to include more than 60 new companies with new vehicle offerings.
Dealer Expo has become a launch pad for companies from around the world to introduce their product lines to the U.S. market. There are International Pavilions for each country, and in them you'll find products from Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, South Korea, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
At the Indiana Convention Center, which opens on Saturday, Feb. 14, we will begin to create a more organized show flow with the introduction of three new pavilions, all located on the second floor. Leave yourself plenty of time to visit the Scooter Pavilion where you can learn how to incorporate scooters and the associated apparel and accessories on your sales floor. This is one of the fastest growth segments in the market, so make sure it's on your list of things to do. Business Services will highlight the latest technology to help you minimize the time spent crunching numbers and tracking inventory so you can spend more time with your customers. Finally, our newest companies to Dealer Expo will be featured in the New Exhibitor Pavilion, making it easy for you to earmark time to spend with the companies who are just getting started. (You won't want to miss the possibility that one of these companies may have the hottest accessory for 2009 in its exhibit.)
If the companies you're looking for are not located in one of the pavilions in either Lucas Oil Stadium or the Indiana Convention Center, you'll be able to find them in the exhibit areas of the convention center. Visit www.dealerexpo.com and use the Map Your Show tool to create a custom list and road map before you even get to Indianapolis.
Woodrow Wilson said "If you want enemies try to change something." If you don't like the changes we're making, or you've got better ideas (and we know you do), please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd rather be friends.
Tracy Harris is vice president of the Advanstar Powersports Group, parent of Dealer Expo and Dealernews.