With the inaugural American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) just weeks away, the buzz surrounding the show continues to amplify. The exhibitor list is still growing, and AIMExpo’s VP and General Manager Larry Little anticipates that by show time, close to 400 exhibitors will be on hand at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, showcasing the latest innovations to hit the marketplace for the 2014 selling season.
AIMExpo is the first show to bring together OEMs, distributors, manufacturers, dealers, consumers and the media all under one roof in the North American marketplace. The show kicks off with two and a half days dedicated to dealers and the media, and the AIMExpo team has made a concentrated effort to make the show an effective tool for dealers.
I hopped on a call with Little and his counterpart, Mike Webster, president, Marketplace Events Trade Show Division, in late August to see how show prep was progressing for the Oct. 16-20 event, and the duo’s energy was infectious.
“There’s a lot to look forward to,” says Little. “There’s a full show floor packed with OEMs and aftermarket manufacturers revealing new products and sharing 2014 promotional plans. Because the press is an important industry function, we’re building a very large media center located on the show floor for new reveals to the media. Taking that one step further, to help build the excitement, one wall of the media center will be glassed-in so dealers will be able to watch the live reveals. We really want retailers energized!”
Little stressed that education is key for dealer attendees. “The bottom line is if dealers came for the education component alone, it would be very worthwhile for them.” Webster echoed his statements adding, “Dealers can take what they learned and implement it immediately upon their return home to increase revenues and profits. That will be especially meaningful.”
“We want every dealer to leave the show excited and enthused that there’s a new way to connect with the industry — not just education, but seeing the new products and thanks to the favorable climate in Orlando, getting the opportunity to demo them at AIMExpo Outdoors!. There’s energy there,” said Little.
The team has one key message for dealers: The time is now. Visit www.AIMExpoUSA.com to register today. Dealer registration is free through Sept. 27. Don’t miss your chance to be part of this industry-changing event!
Eight Don’t Miss AIMExpo Dealer Experiences!
The Grand Show Opening: The AIMExpo will open with a flourish in the Chapin Theater on Wednesday morning. While details on the event remain under wraps, the AIMExpo team assures us this event is not-to-be-missed! “Our goal is to cause the hair of the back of everyone’s necks to stand up — you’ll leave this session pumped up for the show”, says AIMExpo’s Mike Webster.
The PowerSports Business Institute @AIMExpo: Curriculum includes 40 sessions organized into four tracks: Sales & Marketing; Digital Solutions; Service & Operations; and Powering Profits. MPN’s own Heather Blessington of Duo Web Solutions and Steve Jones of Gart Sutton and Associates will present at the event among some 22 industry experts slated to speak. You can check out the entire PowerSports Business Institute @AIMExpo educational lineup on pages 14-15 of this issue.
Frank Fritz from American Pickers: Vintage motorcycle enthusiasts and fans of History’s hit show American Pickers should get excited for this! Frank Fritz, one of the stars of the show, will be on-hand Friday night and Saturday to show off three vintage and collectible motorcycles from his personal collection, sign autographs, meet fans, give some advice on “picking”, and talk about his new book.
Empire Freestyle: Famed Street Freestyle Riders Nick Apex and Ernie Vigil from Empire Freestyle will be exciting the crowd at AIMExpo Outdoors! The duo will be performing street freestyle demos and filming for their popular viral videos Friday, October 18 through Sunday October 20.
AIMExpo HAPPY! Happy Hour: On Wednesday and Thursday AIMExpo invites dealers to kick off their evening at the AIMExpo HAPPY! Happy Hour from 6 pm to 7 pm in the lobby of the convention center. Take the time to decompress, hang out with industry peers and plan the evening ahead!
AIMExpo Outdoors!: The focus of AIMExpo Outdoors! is experiential, and the expansive outdoor venue will allow dealers the unique opportunity to test-ride some of the OEM units they’ve just seen for the first time at the show. Suzuki is slated to reveal new on-road models and ATVs, all available to demo, while Yamaha will offer test-rides of the new Viking SxS, plus the first opportunity for dealers to try out the new street triple FZ09. Kymco and Massimo will also give dealers an opportunity to test a sampling of their latest products on the street, or in the Dirt Demo area.
AIMExpo Adventure Course: Located at AIMExpo Outdoors!, open to the public on consumer days and available for trade use on trade days (contact AIMExpo for more information on trade use) will be the innovative AIMExpo Adventure Course, where attendees are encouraged to bring their own adventure bikes to test their off-road riding skills on a natural terrain course. Featuring rocks, logs, off-camber turns and mud and water crossings, this is something that is completely unique in the powersports show world.
AIMExpo Champion: Kenny Roberts, three time FIM World Grand Prix roadracing champion, and multi-time AMA Grand National Champion has joined up with AIMExpo as its American International Motorcycle Champion. As AIMExpo Champion, Roberts will play key roles in celebrating the inaugural show. He will Champion the show via pre-event publicity and promotion, play a role in the grand opening of the show, and share his experiences during the consumer portion of the show. To celebrate his joining up with AIMExpo, and pay tribute to his American dirt-track roots, AIMExpo has commissioned a Yamaha Star Bolt in Robert’s famous ‘track-graphic’ livery, which will be given away at AIMExpo!
And So Much More… The list of events and celebrity appearances at AIMExpo expands daily. From the inaugural Joseph C. Parkhurst Education Fund Live Auction to the International Motorcycle Safety Conference to NOHVCC holding their annual conference, the industry is taking great advantage of the show as a platform to bring all corners of the powersports community together. Be sure to pick up the AIMExpo Show Directory and the AIMExpo Show Daily on-site at AIMExpo to stay up-to-date on the latest AIMExpo show schedules, celebrity appearances and exhibitor listings.
Dealers Sound Off On The Inaugural AIMExpo
“It’s going to be interesting. As a Suzuki dealer, I know I will see Suzuki premiere some of their 2014 stuff. I also think that it will be a real advantage to have the manufacturers in attendance, to see new products on the motorcycle and ATV side, and also have a show to see accessories and gear.”
— David Koup, Koup’s Cycle Shop, Harrisburg, Pa.
“I’ll be there to meet and greet all the new reps and people I deal with day-to-day, learn more about new products and receive more knowledge on those products. Our main objective is motocross, so we’ll probably have a few consumers from the store check AIMExpo out.”
— Debi Venega, Palmetto Motorsports, Hialeah, Fla.
“Who is our customer? How do we communicate with them? What are their wants and needs? AIMExpo gives everyone a chance to speak to each other directly and answer these questions. The more dealers communicate with our customers and figure out who they are, the better.”
— Tom Stillman, of Honda Kawasaki KTM, Santa Monica, Calif.