Start your engines, er, entries!

Publish Date: 
Mar 26, 2014
By Mary Slepicka

The reason I love this gig is not because of the motorcycles, or the PG&A, or the racing, or the events. It’s because of the dealers.

I get no bigger kick then when I visit your stores, talk to you on the phone, and read about what you’re doing. Looking at photos of your stores on your website is like shoe shopping. OK, I’m gushing, but it’s true. And I’m a realist: Your successes, small and large, are the reasons Dealernews is in business and why I have a job… so thank you for that.

About 13 years ago I attended my first Top 100 awards night. I’d been a business editor for, oh, about 20 years in a couple of other industries, but I’d never seen a reader appreciation event quite like Top 100. The pride in the room was palpable. Imagine slugging away in your shop for 51 weeks a year and then coming to Dealer Expo and the Top 100, and walking around like royalty (and deservedly so).

Then there’s the networking aspect. I remember a dealer coming up to me at one Awards Gala and saying, “If you could just lock the doors so we could stay in here for two days and just share ideas and talk about what’s keeping us up at night, imagine what we could accomplish.”

Well, two days locked in we can’t do (fire marshal restrictions and all), but in December we can make the introductions.

The 2014 Top 100 Awards Gala will be Thursday night, Dec. 4, in downtown Chicago, in conjunction with the 49th annual Dealer Expo. Our traditional dinner gala will include a full and entertaining awards program designed to make you all feel very good about what you do.

There’s much more to Top 100 than an evening out. There are regional and national marketing programs, the ability to be in a “club” with other progressive retailers, and much more. Just going through the entry process is a worthwhile team exercise.

As I write this, the 23rd annual competition is about to open at www.dealernews.com. Check your DealerNEWS ALERT enewsletters for updates. Entries are due Sept. 1. The “100” will be announced in early November, and the Merit Award winners, the Top 10 Dealers and the coveted Dealer of the Year will be revealed Dec. 4 in Chicago. I hope to see you there.