More than 2,680 service technicians, parts store owners and other automotive aftermarket professionals attended the Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Parts Store and Tech Expo on Feb. 10-11 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Guests attended training seminars on a wide range of automotive aftermarket topics. Many of the automotive industry’s best trainers held classes on light‐duty, heavy‐duty, diesel, electrical and auto body topics. In additional to technical training, repair shop owners and service writers had the opportunity to improve skills in the areas of customer relations, shop management and personal growth. The Grand Rapids event saw the largest ever attendance level at just over 2,680 attendees. In addition, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, event hosted nearly 1,265 automotive industry professionals. Auto‐Wares has been hosting this training event for 19 years and has filled more than 47,000 training seats.
The group says a popular feature of the Tech Expo event is always the large vendor tradeshow. This year, more than 250 manufacturers were represented across the 210‐booth exhibit hall. Attendees were able to speak directly with manufacturer representatives about a number of topics including: new products, industry trends, brand features and benefits, and promotional opportunities. Purchases at the tradeshow enabled customers to earn special discounts only available to those in attendance.
There were numerous opportunities during the tradeshow to win prizes as well. Between the two events, Auto‐Wares and its vendor partners gave away $57,000 in prizes ranging from home electronics to fitness equipment. The grand prize was a trip to the Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper National Convention in Las Vegas during industry week in November of 2018. A first for the Tech Expo event, the Young Automotive Network Group (YANG) held a regional meet-up. YANG provides young auto care professionals in their 20s and 30s the opportunity to network with industry peers, enhance knowledge and improve leadership capabilities.
The event also serves as an Auto Value & Bumper to Bumper Parts Store and Service Dealer marketing conference. Members received updates on program activity, learned about new initiatives and developed marketing strategies for 2017 and beyond. Many store owners bring their best installer customers, helping to strengthen relationships, says the group.