NEW ORLEANSThe organizer of the North American Tire & Retread Expo plans to make the show even bigger in 2016, following the inaugural event April 15-17, in New Orleans.
We signed a contract for the convention center for six years and next year we have already contracted the hall next to this hall, said Gus Lima, CEO of Latin Expo Group L.L.C., producer of the expo held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. I'm always very positive for the expectation that we will fill that, too, he said.
This year's inaugural show attracted 112 tire, retread and tire repair equipment suppliers, some with working equipment. Of these, nearly 50 were from China. In all, 1,041 registered visitors were in attendance, according to figures provided by Latin Expo Group.
For a first show we're very satisfied, Mr. Lima told Tire Business on the exhibit's second day. Actually, it was really beyond my expectation. We have been lucky to have some major exhibitors from the retread tire industry here and some from the tire industry.
And I think that in the future, next year, I hope they realize that this is a place, a show that is a home for tire dealers and tire companies to come.
Mr. Lima also produces the Latin American & Caribbean Tyre Expo and the Latin Auto Parts Expo, both of which are held in Panama. He said he started a trade show in the U.S. to provide the tire and retreading industries a home where people can come to buy, sell and talk about tires without distractions from other sectors of the automotive service business.
He focused on retreading because for the past 10 to 15 years that industry segment has been ignored in a show atmosphere, he said.
Eric Pilla, whose company Ohio Rack Inc. of Alliance, Ohio, exhibited at the expo, said he had some success at this year's show. Foot traffic was not busy, he said, but the expo produced some quality leads and generated prospects he had not seen at other shows.
Francisco Rivero, administrative manager for Tube & Solid Tire Ltd. in San Antonio, also described traffic as a little slow, but said he expected as much from a first-year show. We're happy to be here, happy to participate and show ourselves to our customers.
In planning the expo, Mr. Lima said he wanted to create a non-stressful environment where attendees could sit and be able to discuss business.
To promote this, he reserved some beautiful areas within the show for people to congregate, including one in the middle of the hall that featured a baby grand piano and couches where attendees could relax and listen to soothing music.
Financially, Mr. Lima said he hoped the show would break even, stating that would be a positive thing. He anticipates the expo likely will follow the same script as his tire and auto parts shows in Panama where the first year they broke even, the next year they made a small profit and the third year was when they kicked into high gear.
I'm very happy because my expectation was realistic, he said of this year's expo.
I'm grateful to the companies that have decided to invest in this show. The feedback that I've received from those companies has been very positive and there is no doubt that since this is a first show a lot of companies are hesitant to invest and a lot of visitors want to wait and see if we are going to be here next year, and if it's not a one-shot deal.