Dealers Gather to Prepare for the Future
March 11, 2009

Bekaert Specialty Films recently gathered its Panorama dealers in San Diego for the company's annual meeting and conference. The event drew the largest number of dealers in its history.

A slow economy may have window film dealers in a slump so far in 2009, but it hasn't diminished their outlook for the future. Manufacturers and distributors continue to hold meetings, conferences and such, and dealers are still choosing to travel and attend-despite the economy.

Bekaert Specialty Films (BSF) reports that its Third Annual Panorama Dealer Meeting conference held March 5-7 in San Diego drew the largest number of dealers in the event's history. Dealers may be taking advantage of downtime in order to plan for or learn to identify present opportunities. BSF's educational seminars focused on the commercial end of such opportunities that may arise out of the stimulus package. (CLICK HERE for related story). The Act distributes funds to multiple government departments including the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, General Services Administration, Department of the Interior and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to invest in energy efficiency while improving and modernizing real estate and facilities. In an encouraging example, BSF officials site similar department facilities on Panorama's past client list, including: United States Department of Energy, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, J. Edgar Hoover Building, Ronald Reagan Building, National Geographic Society Campus, United States Department of Labor-all located in Washington, D.C.

"We have been helping small business owners succeed for more than thirty years," explains Christophe Fremont, president of Bekaert Specialty Films. "We are committed to being true business partners and as industry leaders, believe investing in our network will bring long-term success. This conference is another example of the tools, education, training and services we offer to our Panorama Preferred Partners to help them thrive in the markets of today and tomorrow."

Panorama dealers aren't the only flocking to dealer meetings in record numbers. St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M recently held its annual meeting in Las Vegas and, according to Jon Hanbury, marketing manager for the company's Energy Management division, the event drew approximately 250 attendees-a record number.

3M officials say the company's focus was on both residential and commercial window film applications, new products and key updates for its Prestige Series dealers. Jay Conrad Levinson, author of Guerilla Marketing, served as the event's keynote speaker and Yahoo provided dealers with solutions for online advertising.

SAGR Products, a Gettysburg, Pa.-based distributor, reported strong numbers and participation for its 24th Annual Dealer Training Conference on February 28, at the Eden Resort and Suites in Lancaster, Pa. The event drew the support and presence of executives from two of SAGR's manufacturing providers, including Harry Rahman, national director of business development for Huper Optik, and Jennifer Shorr, vice president of sales and marketing, domestic, for Commonwealth Laminating and Coating (SunTek).

SAGR's general manager, Terri Fair, awards Lynn Jones of Lynn's Truck Lettering in Carlisle, Pa., the "SAGR Sole Survivor 2009."

The event's keynote unabashedly dealt with an issue dealers are no doubt facing in the current market: "What To Do When the Phones Stop Ringing," presented by business development specialist Andy Mastroianni to approximately eighty in attendance, some from as far north as Massachusetts.

The event took a turn for the lighter side with its themed attraction: "The SAGR Products Survivor Challenge," an uptake on the popular television series. The company lined up ten contestants to compete in eight challenges, including the Bugged Eyed Tint and The Rim Trim contests. SAGR officials say they designed each challenge to not only be fun, but provide serious meaning pertaining to business survival. As the event reached its finale, there were only two remaining survivors: Dan Clites of Tintco in Philadelphia, Pa., and Lynn Jones of Lynn's Truck Lettering in Carlisle, Pa. The final count awarded Lynn Jones the "SAGR Sole Survivor 2009" by a vote of one.

"My gratitude to everyone who attended to make this event a special success," says Terri Fair, SAGR's general manager. "Nothing has really changed here at SAGR Products. We continue to be a dedicated group of good people looking to serve with quality products and to learn and grow with the help of our valued customers and partners. It was a very successful day, with everyone learning and having a great time. I look forward to the planning of next year."

While the industry, and world at large, remains hinged on the idea of an economic rebound, dealers attending these events are preparing for whatever lies ahead.

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