In a virtual 2020 Spring Leadership Days Executive Industry Briefing held Thursday, Auto Care Association President and CEO Bill Hanvey was clear: The association and AASA, as co-owners of AAPEX, are planning for the 2020 show to happen.
“Here is what I know has been a consistent theme of mine: Right now what I can tell you is that AAPEX is taking place,” Hanvey said.
It may, however, look a little different than in past years due to social distancing guidelines and other precautions, which is to be expected.
“We take our responsibility as co-owners very seriously,” Hanvey said, adding “we’ll be following the health and hygienic guidelines established by professional organizations and associations who are experts in event planning along with those established by our host properties.”
Show organizers are acutely aware of the considerations being made in the offices of exhibitors around the world in light of the coronavirus pandemic. “The show cancellation deadline has been extended to Sept. 1 to accommodate exhibitors who may be hesitant to commit right now due to pressures caused by the pandemic and the shutdown, Hanvey said. ”This means you can commit today and make a decision based on the facts in the future rather than on the uncertainty of today.”
Amen to that!
In fact, I’m doing my own travel planning right now in anticipation of the show. I, for one, cannot imagine a year without AAPEX. I once told someone that AAPEX has become like Thanksgiving to me. A year without Thanksgiving would be very strange. I have no doubt that the Auto Care Association and AASA are working together to get this right. They’re doing their due diligence and keeping in contact with the people and organizations that help ensure AAPEX magic happens every year. And if circumstances change, they’ll deal with them then and so will we.
“Our Repair Shop HQ, which is now located on the first level, has seen tremendous commitment from major suppliers and distributors who want to expand their brand to the shop owners,” Hanvey said. “Our international section which is now located in the adjacent Caesar’s Forum, is seeing expanded commitment from our current pavilion organizers and the addition of new countries and pavilions.”
People under lockdown in the U.S. and elsewhere have realized working home can get you pretty far — but there’s still something missing.
“There’s nothing that can take the place of face-to-face meetings and negotiations,” Hanvey said on the call. “AWDA has been meeting consecutively for 73 years and will not be deterred in keeping that record intact. Their commitment to the independent aftermarket distribution in some cases goes back four generations.”
Hanvey thanked Mark Finestone, EVP, merchandising, marketing and supply chain for AutoZone, for serving two years as chairman of the association. His dedication to the industry is something we’re all appreciative of, Hanvey said.
Hanvey also thanked his staff which has been working tirelessly – and remotely — to keep the industry moving forward during this unpredictable time. “We’ve got your back,” Hanvey said.
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