AKRON-Organizers are still hopeful discussions on combining the annual trade shows of the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association, the American Retreaders Association and other industry groups still can take place as scheduled, Nov. 7-8 in Cleveland. However, the fate of that proposed gathering remained in doubt as TIRE BUSINESS went to press Oct. 26, when it was still uncertain whether or not the ARA would be taking part.
Saying their association had not been consulted regarding the date or the agenda for the proposed Cleveland gathering, ARA officials have pushed for a separate meeting beforehand with their NTDRA counterparts. This is necessary, they contend, to assure that the ARA and NTDRA will enter the November discussions on a reasonably equal basis.
If the two associations can't get together before the meeting on Nov. 7, the ARA will not be there, according to that association's president, William Babek of Babek Commercial Tire in Avenel, N.J.
Mr. Babek said the ARA wants to be part of the Cleveland gathering, but has ``definite concerns'' regarding the agenda and the scheduling of the meeting-about which, he said, the retreaders association has had ``absolutely no input whatsoever.''
``If this is going to be an industry meeting-and our trade show is going to be a major contributor in putting together a joint show-we need to have input on the agenda. And at this point in time, that issue has not been addressed,'' he told TIRE BUSINESS Oct. 23.
``Unless we can get some meaningful dialogue,'' Mr. Babek added, ``we will not be able to attend.''
James Faught, who proposed the industry meeting in September during his term as NTDRA president, said the NTDRA ``welcomes the chance for further dialogue'' with the ARA.
However, with the date of the Cleveland gathering fast approaching, he said, finding a mutually acceptable time and place for such premeeting discussions has been difficult.
``They (ARA officials) want to make sure they're on an even footing-and that's fair,'' Mr. Faught said. ``It just hard to get everything coordinated'' (in time).
Nevertheless, the Flint, Mich., dealer, who has agreed to chair the industry task force on the matter though his NTDRA term of office expired Oct. 14, apparently will proceed with the November meeting, despite the ARA's objections.
Mr. Faught said he has received confirmations from nearly all those invited to participate-except for representatives of the ARA and those suppliers who are part of the industry's retreading segment.
So, with scarcely two weeks remaining before the Cleveland meeting, Mr. Faught and officials of the two associations were scrambling to find a mutually acceptable time and place for such discussions.
Even so, the owner of Northwest Tire & Service in Flint, said he remains hopeful that the two associations can resolve their differences in time for the November meeting.
Meanwhile, even these difficulties have their brighter side, he asserts: ``We've had more dialogue with the ARA over the last two weeks than we had in a lifetime up to now.''
Mr. Faught added that he hopes all parties will remain ``patient and open-minded'' until the November gathering can take place.