Two frequently asked questions at any tire in dustry trade show are: ``What do you think of the show?'' and ``What do you think of the attendance?'' I was asked those questions at least 20 times during the recent American Retreaders' Association World Tire Conference in Louisville, Ky.
Everyone wanted to know whether the show was drawing the expected numbers, and was it a success.
So how did the ARA conference fare?
If you go strictly by the numbers, it was slightly smaller than a year ago.
The number of attendees, exhibitors and the amount of trade show floor space were all down slightly from the year before.
Total attendance, including exhibitors, declined by 124 from last year's conference to 5,241. Excluding exhibitor personnel, attendance fell by 97 to 3,128.
The 1995 show had 233 exhibitors, 20 fewer than last year, including 13 fewer scrap tire exhibitors.
Booth rentals accounted for 104,494 square feet of floor space, down from 108,778 square feet in 1994.
But the smaller numbers don't mean the show was a downer.
To the contrary, the trade show and many of the seminars were the best in years.
The trade show seemed upbeat. Most everyone I spoke with felt the same way.
I attribute that, in large part, to the many exhibitors who displayed working equipment on the trade show floor.
They gave the show excitement and action. No matter where you went on the exhibit floor, action was taking place.
The booths that had working equipment drew large crowds. People wanted to see how the equipment functioned and how it could help their business.
The ARA and the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association should encourage exhibitors to display working equipment to attract attendees to their respective shows.
Besides the educational advantages of the ARA seminars, the show also provided the opportunity for retreaders and tire dealers to visit with peers from around the world.
I asked one widely-known retreader whether he thought the trade show should be held every other year. ``No,'' he said. ``I like to see the people.''
It's not too late to nominate a tire dealer or retreader for Tire Business' annual Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award.
You have until May 31 to send in your entry.
Last year, we honored the late Lawrence P. Anderson, a tire dealer from Miles City, Mont., who made giving back to the community a significant part of his life.
Performing good deeds and public service work are among the things that make an independent tire dealer or retreader successful. Our award aims to recognize the efforts of individuals who are doing just that-making a difference, often without fanfare.
This year's winner will be honored in October at the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association convention in New Orleans.
He or she will receive the specially cast Tire Dealer Humanitarian medal, and TIRE BUSINESS will donate $1,000 to a charity of the winner's choice.
An entry form is located on the back page of this issue. If you know of someone who's deserving of recognition, please fill it out and return it with supporting material.
With so many negative things happening in the world today, it's worth singling out those who are doing something good.
Mr. Zielasko is editor and associate publisher of TIRE BUSINESS.