It wasn't the most scientific of surveys, but a straw poll conducted by TIRE BUSINESS during the recent National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association trade show indicates an overwhelming majority of tire dealers and suppliers favor combining the conventions of the NTDRA and the American Retreaders Association. It's the first survey we know of that shows tire dealers and retreaders-in addition to the industry's suppliers-support a joint tire show.
This lends impetus to the planned meetings in Cleveland, Nov. 7-8, when an industry task force will explore the feasibility of consolidating these and other gatherings into an international Tire-Rubber Industry Week.
The prospect of such a meeting, however, raises important questions which task force members need to consider while in Cleveland.
Would tire dealers and retreaders be as keen for such consolidation if asked to pay more to attend a combined convention and trade show or if their annual dues must be increased to sustain operations of these associations?
Are exhibitors prepared to pay higher booth rental fees to compensate the associations for what is likely to be a loss of revenue resulting from show consolidation?
Would combining the trade shows of the ARA and NTDRA lead ultimately to the merging of these two associations? And if so, would that be in the best interests of association members and the industry at large?
Will a joint NTDRA-ARA convention and trade show bolster flagging dealer and retreader attendance at such events as hoped? And if so, will this justify the higher fees charged suppliers for exhibiting at such a show?
Most importantly, if not a joint tire-rubber trade show, what will it take to induce more dealers to attend and participate in such industry events?
Many of these questions cannot be answered with certainty, of course. Yet task force members cannot avoid addressing them if they are to give trade show consolidation the careful consideration it deserves.
These issues must be weighed carefully and unemotionally. Answers to these and other questions will determine the fate of the consolidation proposal.