Meeting in the Middle: Attendees and Exhibitors Align at SEMANovember 3rd, 2022 by Chris Collier
As attendees and exhibitors reflect on day two of the 2022 SEMA Show, day three dawns and delivers new opportunities for growth. 40-year industry veteran Mel Villalon of Paradise Tinting in Long Beach, Calif., has seized SEMA’s potential since the 1990s.
“I have been coming to SEMA since the early ‘90s—probably 15-plus times,” Villalon says. “It’s become sort of a tradition to come and have a ‘playcation’ away from the daily stress, while seeking a first-look at something that may become lucrative. I’ve seen companies that have a tiny table in a booth at their first time exhibiting and then grow to [provide] an OE [Original Equipment] item.”
The SEMA experience is a multi-decade commitment that continues to deliver results for Patric Fransko, owner of Window Film Pros in Newport Beach, Calif.
“I started [going] in 1999,” Fransko says. “This will be my 22nd SEMA Show. The only one I missed was cancelled because of COVID. I like catching up with friends old and new from all over the world. I also like using this as a way to gauge industry health. You can learn a lot by paying attention at this show.”
The 2022 SEMA Show marks five total for Hunter Garwood, general manager of All Pro Window Films in Raleigh, N.C.
“While it’s nice to check out new products, I enjoy catching up with people in our industry,” Garwood says. “We chat on social weekly about personal and business life, but it’s nice to see each other in person. It’s also a nice little getaway from a fast-paced shop back at home. This year, we are specifically focused on customer experience and how to integrate new products and services into our business; looking at adding financing for our customers this year.”
Industry dealers strive to discover impactful products at SEMA and dozens of suppliers are filling that need. Hexis, a provider of sign vinyls and wrapping films, digital printing media and protective laminates, unveiled the addition of seven new colors to its wrapping-film line up: Naïade Green Satin, Mystery Black Gloss, Boreal Forest Iridescent Gloss, Polaris Blue Gloss, Deep Black Wet Satin, Pleïades Gray Gloss and Austral Sea Iridescent Gloss.
This year’s show is Protec Window Film’s eighth and an opportunity for its team to display its new nano ceramic film, which comes in a wide selection of visible light transmission (VLT) levels: 3%, 5%, 15%, 20%, 30%, 35%, 50% and 70%.
“It’s been a blessing, and we’re very happy to be here,” says Oscar Lopez, manager at Dallas-based Protec Window Film. “We notice there are more people than last year—more booths and people are more aggressive this year. We were at WFCT in San Antonio as well, and it was an amazing event too.”
Founded in 1993, Eagle Enterprises occupies three design and manufacturing plants that encompass 50,000 square feet. Its core business centers on the design and manufacturing of graphics in various market sectors such as marine, recreational vehicles, automotive, fleet, rail, manufacturing and retail. The company is showcasing its Eagle Cut Template Program, a cutting software that includes hundreds of graphics.
“This year has definitely been an improvement,” TJ Clayton, sales at Eagle Enterprises, says of the show’s comeback after COVID-19. “The people that are coming are truly seeking actual business, looking for something new. The difference in the prospects have been huge. It’s still nowhere where we want SEMA to be, but we’ll get there.”