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SEMA Show Earns Praise of Specialty Dealers

November 21, 2000

The recent 2000 SEMA Show produced by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) in Las Vegas attracted more than 80,000 attendees who crowded the booths in search of the latest innovations in the $23.2 billion per year (in retail sales) industry.

This industry has experienced an average of 8 percent in annual growth of manufacturer sales over the last 12 years, according to Charles R. Blum, president of SEMA. The specialty accessories and appearance segment has grown a phenomenal 66 percent since 1994.

"The SEMA Show has been growing as fast as the specialty equipment industry," Blum said. "Today, it is a must-attend show for buyers from all over the United States and from countries all around the world. It is where manufacturers unveil new models and concept vehicles and make major announcements. Not surprisingly, media attendance at the show continues to rise. And if the Las Vegas Convention Center completes its addition in time for next year, we look forward to a substantially larger show that will accommodate far more exhibitors."

"I have been in the business for 40 years and I wouldn't miss the show,k" said Jerry Roman, president of Roman Chariot in Cleveland, Ohio. "Not only is it the most important show in the industry, but it keeps growing every year. I enjoy walking around and seeing the new design additions made to older cars and vice versa, older cars with new, restyled appearances. It helps me to combine different features to create new looks for my customers' cars."

Charles Holden, president of Melrose, Mass.-based Capworld and head of the Truck Cap and Accessory Alliance (TCAA, a SEMA Council) also attends annually. "I learn a lot from the educational seminars, which offer valuable information and operations expertise to small business owners," he said.

"The opportunity to see the latest new products and improvements/enhancements to existing products is also key in keeping me up to date with the changes in the market," Holden said.

SEMA provides complimentary seminars which focus on restyling, truck accessories, racing and performance, street rods and restoration, wheels and tires and import performance. The association also offers a variety of seminars on business strategies, tactics and trends.

Barbara Rawls of Trucker's Toy Store in Moorehead City, N.C., is a veteran of more than 10 years of SEMA shows. "Attending the show helps me learn about new products and technical advancements," Rawls said. "I also meet and brainstorm with industry professionals from different markets, which helps me create ideas for my own market. This is the one unique show that displays a wide variety of products at the same place at the same time. I value the opportunity to not only see the products, but to touch and feel them and determine quality and ease of installation; all the information one can't find in a brochure. This helps me tremendously in marketing my products to customers."

According to SEMA member David Emerson, president of UNI-SUN Incorporated in Lombard, Ill., thw show has grown from 98 booths and 14,000 square feet in 1967 to more than 6,000 booths and 1.2 million square feet this year.

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