Anniversary celebration, industry optimism drive The Rental Show 2016
Highest attendance in 10 years
The commemoration of the American Rental Association’s (ARA) 60th anniversary and the continued optimism for growth in the equipment rental industry combined to create a successful 60th edition of The Rental Show® in Atlanta from Feb. 21–24 at the Georgia World Congress Center.
The sold-out show floor had 665 exhibiting companies, including one manufacturer, Clarke, that has been at every show since the first in Omaha, Neb., in 1957. Rental attendance was the highest in 10 years, since ARA’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2006.
A full day of seminars on Feb. 21 led into an engaging keynote session to start the morning on Feb. 22. During the session, keynote speaker Earvin “Magic” Johnson told the audience that the same strategies he has used for his business ventures can work for the rental industry as well. “You gotta over-deliver to your customers, your clients and your partners. My ‘secret sauce’ of success has been to over-deliver,” Johnson said.
The opening day of the trade show after the keynote was frenetic, which pleasantly surprised exhibitors, and the remaining two days on Feb. 23–24 provided more positive buying activity that left attendees and exhibitors weary but still smiling.
“Everything moved along well. People were very optimistic and very energetic on the show floor,” said Christine Wehrman, ARA CEO and executive vice president. “You could see how excited they are about the year ahead. Attendees were pleased with all that the show offered….It bodes well for rental operators in the coming year.”
Attendees noticed that upbeat attitude as well. “I know I am biased after a few great years, but I haven’t heard anything but positivity and excitement from other members and vendors. All you had to do is stop and look around on the show floor – everyone was smiling,” said Josh Nickell of Nickell Rental, Newnan, Ga. He said his company placed several orders on the show’s first day, taking care of business earlier than usual and continuing to buy throughout the show. “I’m really excited about some new product categories we’ve discovered at the show this year. They will make great additions to the fleet and help us access some niche markets.”
Erin Stubbs of Busylad Rent-All, Tupelo, Miss., said the attitude of attendees was a little better this year. “A lot of people were buying on the first day. At almost every booth we visited on the first day, we had to wait in line to get an order written.”
Exhibitors were equally pleased with the show. “There was great activity on the floor this year,” said Clay Eubanks of Takeuchi Manufacturing (U.S.), Pendergrass, Ga. “The show exceeded expectations.…It seems that attendees from all across the country were excited, buying and have had good years. Section 179 will help many of them too.”
For JLG Industries of McConnellsburg, Pa., “we weren’t quite sure what to expect” coming into the show, according to Alan B. Loux, vice president of marketing. “There’s been some doom and gloom out there because of the energy markets, but I can’t say that’s reflective of the customers coming through The Rental Show. The fundamentals of the industry are there. Construction looks to be positive for the next few years, so it should be a good year, and we were seeing that sense of optimism here in Atlanta.”
As ARA moves forward into its seventh decade of operation, plans are already beginning for its 61st annual convention and trade show. Next year, The Rental Show will take place in Orlando, Fla., from Feb. 26 to March 1, 2017.
About the Author
Chris Coleman is the public relations contact for The Rental Show.