(And I am NOT referring to MLB.)
I will confirm- the SEMA Show is everything the media present it as- an over the top conglomeration of anything and everything automotive. Last year was my first experience with the trade show and never for one moment was I underwhelmed with any portion of the spectacle held in Las Vegas, N.V. Prior to flying out of PDX this November, I fully expected to be less “star struck” when a Chip Foose or Shirley Muldowney unexpectedly strolled past my person somewhere in the Vegas Convention Center. Needless to say, those expectations were immediately shattered when I stepped through the doors and again witnessed the energy on the floor.
It really is a hard sensation to describe when you are surrounded by the hottest cars, trucks, vans (yes, even mini-vans!), SUVs, motorcycles, you name it, in the aftermarket. Couple that scenery with the latest accessories, tools, parts, machines, welders, light bars, paint guns, blah, blah, blah, and you can begin to imagine the absolute sensory overload that is the SEMA Show.
The SEMA Show is organized into different “halls” (aka- very large buildings) and I spent the majority of my time frequenting the North Hall location which included exhibitors who support the body shop/ detailing market segments. It is truly amazing to behold the shear amount of new products this portion of the aftermarket produces year after year and it took me a full day to comb HALF the isles of displays.
As a business owner at SEMA, you have to manage your time well especially if you are unable to attend the full week as there are simply too many people to speak with, informational sessions to attend, new products to demo, and booths to visit. (Plainly stated- you can’t just dither around if you want to make the most of the event.) Being my second show, I came with a game plan and made sure to keep my head down and a sharp eye when scanning the banners, signs, and marketing material in order to find the latest products which would bring better results and greater value for my customers. Happy to report the game plan was a success as I was able to interact with technical representatives from various manufacturers and perform hands-on demos with many new detailing products.
Another aspect of attending the SEMA Show is the human element. I would wager that the annual SEMA show brings together the cream of the crop from all portions of the automotive aftermarket whether that is- fabrication, tuning, painting, software, automation, etc. I spent some portions of the days and most of the nights interacting with some of the most talented and successful detailers in the world. Talking shop, techniques, products, processes, and even the occasional “nightmare” scenario were interactions that cannot be purchased or replicated by any other format other than human-to-human. And that’s pretty cool, in my book anyway, especially considering our 24/7/365 social media- wifi life.
Last and of most importance was the joy of socializing with my fellow C.Quartz Finest installers from across the U.S. These detailers consistently display their professionalism, character, and concern for their roster of clients even at a trade show possibly thousands of miles away. These detailers practice what they preach and deliver at a level that is always inspiring.
Out of respect for the game, I congratulate the Cubs on their World Series victory, however I have to tip my hat to SEMA as it really is the only show to be at in early November.