Tuesday, June 30, 2009

ISN Show - Part III

Another cool design from Waterloo Toolboxes. Sometimes a sale starts with the outward appearance. Northcoast Tool (Filmtec) had a large booth and stayed busy throughout the two days of the show.
George Stockin, of Lock Technology, insisted he had the coolest booth on the show floor. Tests performed by Steve White of Electronic Specialties indeed proved that George had the coolest booth temperature, by 10 degrees. An advertising specialist was called in for an unbiased confirmation. This is not how Steve typically demonstrates the effectiveness of his tools.

Rich Hulden, Sunex, just forked over a ton of cash to this mobile distributor, in exchange for a very nice order. Before he could pocket the cash, another person arrived at the scene, looking for a handout. I don't think he met Rich's criteria for a "cash-back" exchange.
More orders were written than at any previous ISN show. These gentlemen wrote them wherever they could find a flat surface. This happened to be a tool cart in the Mountain booth.

What was everyone from Lisle doing? Writing orders as fast as possible of course. They had ISN Select Extreme Deals.

Another shot of the expansive Sunex booth.

This show had everything. Even live alligators!

Monday, June 29, 2009

ISN Show - Part II

Today, just some photos and minimal commentary about the show. Tomorrow I'll post more photos and include some "factoids" from ISN.

The TechShop booth embodied the definition of "cutting edge" (paper-cutting edge that is.)
Waterloo Toolboxes introduced some cool designs. This is their latest on one of the their bigger boxes. I believe Forrest Thompson said they'd be ready to ship by July, 2009 (just 2 days from now).
Just a portion of the Makita booth. In addition to great deals on Makita, they offered a huge flat-screen tv with Blu-Ray DVD to one lucky jobber.

Sam Adams of Clore is shown here, writing orders with one hand, and snapping his fingers to the beat of the loudspeaker with the other.

Chicago Pneumatic featured a tropical theme and rocked it with their very own Steel Drum Guy (not as loud as a Steel Drum Band, but just as fun to listen to. Only thing missing was a Rum Runner.)

Along the hallway leading to the show's entrance, ISN featured various manufacturers' products in these glass cases. I thought it was a very effective way to highlight new products and get the dealers thinking about tools before they even entered the show.

DMT featured knife-sharpening tools.

Sunex expanded their presence. I think their booth was a 40X60 ft. And they had some screamin' deals and cool new products.

It was all about selling tools!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

ISN Show - Part 1

The ISN Tool Dealer Expo opened early yesterday afternoon in Orlando, FL at the Gaylord Hotel. The Gaylord was a nice change from last year's venue. It allowed enough room for all vendors and dealers to stay in one location. Because all the events were held inside, there were no worries about the potential of walking from your room to the show during inclement weather.

Prior to the show's opening, ISN's management welcomed the vendors at a pre-show meeting. Scott Pilkenton announced the awards they will present to key suppliers tonight. He also reviewed the exciting Give-A-Ways they are highlighting at the show. Some of the gifts include a 2010 Camaro (Black and Really Hot!), 2009 Porsche Boxster, 2009 Dodge Challenger, 2009 Dodge Ram, 2009 Four Winns Boat, Ladies Coach Purse PLUS a $500 gift card and much more. The value of the raffle awards is estimated to exceed $200,000! And, it makes for an exciting finish this evening.

This is ISN's 9th event in 8 years and they predicted the biggest turnout in the history of the Expo. Numbers heard on the floor ranged from 700 - 850 dealers. Traffic yesterday was steady and never overwhelming. Most vendors were quite pleased with the turnout. When the Expo opened this morning, the show floor quickly filled up and there were new dealers signing up at the registration desk to get inside.

So far today, all indicators point to a very successful show. Many of the vendors report better sales yesterday v. the first day of the show last year. One day does not make a trend, but let's hope this is and indication that our business is ready for change. I've got to get back to the show floor - don't want to miss out on any of the excitement!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Orlando Florida, Here I Come!

After Las Vegas, I think Orlando, Florida is the city I hate the most when visiting for business purposes. Oh sure, they have a lot of great things going on to attract the business visitor....

Great weather..... Excellent golf courses and lots of them....
Great hotels, lots of restaurants and many many bars (very important to tool people)

Easy to get around.....
Let's not forget the Mouse and his house.
Well, this week I'm looking forward to it. The economy is still shaky and the news I'm hearing from many manufacturers is shaky as well. While earlier this year (April, May) it felt like many of us were moving back into the positive sales lanes, I recently have heard much discussion that June and now July are looking really dismal. So I hope to have a lot more discussions on the ISN Tool Expo floor and will let you know what I hear when I'm back at the desk next week.
As it is, I'm leaving 91-degrees, hot and humid Akron, Ohio for 91-degrees hot and humid Orlando. Will be just like home. Have a great week y'all!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Scootering with Camera in Hand

Testing my skills at riding and shooting. Obviously, I wouldn't recommend this for everyone. Especially since the results are not all that compelling. Big scooters for big people. Did I hear someone order a Big Mac?
I caught a lot of grief from my kids for committing this "dangerous" act.

Though my youngest son finished his scolding with this comment, "though if you would have been taking movies, that would have been cool."

Friday, June 12, 2009

TEDA Meeting, June, 2009

The TEDA meeting got off to a great start with the annual Golf Outing. Returning to Turf Valley Resort this year, we were off to a 9 a.m. shotgun start with approximately 74 golfers. TechShop provided the golf towels and tees again this year. One of the golfers, sporting a snappy swing and a beautiful TechShop golf towel.
Here's one of the foursomes. Is Steve trying to improve his lie?
After a long morning/afternoon of golf in the warm, 80+ degree weather, TEDA held a cocktail reception in the evening. It was a nice way to end the day, very relaxed, and lots of good conversation.
Wednesday morning, Glen Pratt kicked off the business meeting by introducing Rob Halbritter (Mid-States Tool). Rob addressed the group on overall business conditions and challenges we are all facing. He commented on the life cycle of the small business, ending with, "we need to beat the 40-year death rate of small business. We need to continue to be successful distributors and weather this economic storm and dance in this economic rain."
Glen returned to the podium for his annual State of TEDA address. TEDA is a group of 9 shareholder warehouse distributor members, with 12 locations.
This year was the 15th annual vendor's meeting, the 9th annual trade show. Even though we've all faced tough sales conditions this year and late last year, Glen announced that they had nearly the same number of attendees as last year. There were 138 registrations, and 73 exhibits. He was also pleased to announce they added 6 new vendors this year. He commented on TEDA's commitment to creative marketing through the use of their website and the TEDA Toolbox.
On to the sales story..... Glen reported that though driving mileage is down, he felt it was offset by the age of vehicles. He commented on the slowdown in consumer spending and the crazy fear-mongering as reported by mainstream media as contributing factors in the sales decrease they saw last year. (He specifically excluded the trade press from these comments. Thanks Glen!) In 2007, the TEDA members had a 9% increase overall. They suffered minor sales decreases through the third quarter of 2008, but 4th quarter really hit hard, with a 20% decline in sales. And historically the 4th quarter has been their best sales period. Overall, they ended 2008 down 8%. Not bad compared to what I've heard from others.
Good news, through the end of May, the TEDA group is flat v. same period last year. (However, last year was a down year through May, 2008)
Miscellaneous Numbers:
Specialty Tools and Hand Tools make up 38.8% of the members' total volume.
Shop lights was a bright spot in 2008 (get it, bright spot..). Their sales were up 14%. Unfortunately, it's a small category for the group and didn't carry much weight. Their next best performing category was Electric/pneumatic tools which were flat. All other categories were down.
Shop Equipment (3.5%)
Specialty Tools (5%)
Electrical Test Equipment (5%)
All other categories had sales decreases in the double-digits.
90% of all new products sales were generated by promotion in the TEDA Toolbox.
By report's end, Glen expressed an optimistic outlook for the remainder of the year. He is seeing more supplier's look to "green" initiatives and Hybrid tools for new products.
Glen then took a few moments to recognize the 2008 President's Award winners. This award is made based on a supplier's volume, growth and member participation. 2008 Award winners are: Ajax Tool Works, Bayco Products, Cal-Van, John Dow Industries, Legacy Manufacturing, Lisle Corp., Mayhew Tools, Midtronics, Schumacher Electric, and Sunex Tools.
Then the Golf Awards were announced. I'm happy to report that for the first time in 7 years, I actually was on a team that played well (not much thanks to me though. We were carried by our scratch golfer and a woman who had only excelled at putt putt before now.)
Trade Show Stuff

Craig Rae, President of SMC had some new products on display.

Cliff Resnak from SK Tools was happpy to report that SK is alive and well. They're focusing on their core lines. (I apologize for the glare on the photos)
Shop-Vac is beginning to take a hard look at the automotive aftermarket. Ron Geczi, VP of National Accounts brought a stainless steel version of the Shop-Vac. It was designed specifically for the automotive aftermarket, and can't be found at Home Depot, Lowe's or any other big-box retailer. (Unfortunately this photo does not do justice to the product.)

Paul Neu, Neu Tool Supply, talks with Sandy Allen and Rachel Purcell of Porta-Sol.

These guys don't need no stinkin badges! But it's Bob McInturff of Neu Tool Supply and Scot Holloway of Bartec.

Bob Hendry, of John Dow Industries, shows off his recently awarded President's Award.

Michael Gering, M. Eagles Tools Warehouse, chats with the Irwin people.
GearWrench featured some new tools and new sets. This is a 17 pc. metric combo set.

Clore/Solar had a full table.

Sunex featured new sets as well.

Spent some time talking with Scott Ironside, as is evidenced by the abundance of photos of SUNEX new products.

It was good to see these companies are investing in new products, new sets, new packaging. They're not afraid to invest in their future in times like these. Once the economy picks up, these are the companies that will be successful and able to pick up market share quickly.

Makes me Laugh

This blog has earned $16.85 YTD. Good thing I have a day job.....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Hybrid Golfer

Have you tried the new hybrid golf clubs? I guess they're not so new anymore. Stand tall you noble swingers of clubs and losers of balls.....
A recent study found the average golfer walks about 900 miles a year.

Another study found golfers drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year.

That means, on average, golfers get about 41 miles to the gallon. Kind of makes you proud. Almost feel like a hybrid golf machine...
(special thanks to Mark for his insight into the golfer's world.)