The mood following the 21st Northeast Regional Carwash Convention (NRCC) was upbeat and enthusiastic after show officials characterized this year’s expo as the best in its history. The convention drew more than 1,450 attendees and featured 251 exhibits Oct. 18-20 during its first year at the renovated Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J.
“This was our best NRCC in our 21-year history,” said Julie Stanton, show facilitator. “We had a great mix of attendees and vendors and 25 new exhibitors. And with our new venue, I expect that number to grow.”
“I felt a lot of optimism throughout the show,” said Show Chairman Dave DuGoff of the Mid-Atlantic Carwash Association, which served as this year’s host. “After several difficult years, operators are ready to invest in their businesses again because they have a gut feeling that our industry is solid, the service we provide has perceived value, and it’s only a matter of getting a few sunny weekends once in awhile.”
The show’s theme, “Soaring Again,” was readily apparent during the Welcoming Reception which was held in the high-roller Signature Suite on the 49th floor of the Taj Tower. The meet and greet included an array of hors d’oeuvres and beverages and offered picturesque views.
Educational offerings included a customer service presentation by The Ritz-Carlton, a session on social media marketing strategies to boost carwash volumes, and a panel discussion on how operators are reinvesting in their carwash facilities.
“This was the best NRCC I think we’ve ever attended,” said Karen Barbalunga of Barbalunga Enterprises in Pittsfield, Mass. “The quality of the educational programming and the huge show floor was very impressive.”
The keynote address was delivered by Capt. Scott Shields of Bear Search and Rescue and Joseph Hudak, a paramedic instructor with the New York fire department. The men shared their experiences during 9/11 and the Katrina disaster and discussed how to overcome adversity through teamwork and leadership.
Award recipients included Bill Bascom of Car Lovers Car Wash in Charlottesville, Va., who received the 2010 Most Distinguished Person Award for his efforts on behalf of the carwash industry and the Mid-Atlantic Carwash Association. The NRCC Hall of Fame Award was presented to Doug Rieck of Manahawkin Magic Wash in Manahawkin, N.J.
After spending the previous seven years at the Borgata, moving the show could have been a risk with trade show budgets tight, but the NRCC’s gamble paid off and set the tone for 2011.
“There were a lot of factors involved in moving the show but we wanted a more cost-effective venue for our attendees and vendors, and we wanted all of our vendors to be on the same show floor,” said Suzanne Stansbury, NRCC board member.
The 2011 NRCC will return to the Trump Taj Mahal and is scheduled for Oct. 3-5. The New England Carwash Association will serve as host.