The US schmoozefest for IBDs went according to plan, says organiser Lance Camisasca

DealerCamp delivered

Last week more than 450 manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, media and advocates convened at the inaugural DealerCamp at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah.

The outdoor demo and expo event attracted retailers from 120 shops in 31 States and one Canadian province. A total of 220 shop representatives attended, previewing product from 53 bicycle industry brands. Both retailers and exhibitors praised the event’s location, timing and format.

“I had time to talk to vendors and to demo bikes, which was great,” said Tracy Player, buyer for Cambria Bicycle Outfitter in Cambria, California. “I didn’t feel like I was competing for face time. And the business cards I pocketed were from the heads of companies. If you want to talk to leaders, you have a better chance of doing it here than at a big trade show.”

Lifeboat Events created DealerCamp to provide an intimate opportunity for bicycle suppliers and retailers to conduct business in a bike-friendly mountain resort setting.

Greg Mouton, buyer for Pro Sports Center in Eureka, California, combined the trip to DealerCamp with the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City. “The timing was great and gave us a chance to set pre-seasons before the end of summer,” said Mouton.

Both BH/Pivot and Advanced Sports International brought in their sales representatives for meetings in Park City right before DealerCamp.

Pat Cunnane, president and CEO of Advanced Sports International, said, “We were able to save time and money by holding our national sales meeting right before this event. This allowed us to get some big orders confirmed during DealerCamp.”

Chris Cocalis, president of BH/Pivot, said of the event. “These were the exact dealers we wanted to come. The quality of our time here was awesome compared to other trade shows.”

Ann Corbett, VP of sales for DeFeet, was pleased that her company participated in DealerCamp. “It’s been a great event. The quality of the dealers has been outstanding. We’ll be following up on many meaningful interactions, and we picked up some new accounts,” said Corbett.

DealerCamp kicked off July 29 with an opening reception attended by more than 400 people. The evening included a live auction to benefit the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame. Lifeboat Events’ Christopher Zigmont emceed the lively bidding, which raised more than $3,600 to support the Hall of Fame’s efforts to preserve and restore its treasure trove of cycling artefacts.

The next two days featured an outdoor demo and expo at the base of Deer Valley Resort. Attendees rolled test bikes straight out of the expo onto the area’s mountain roads, and accessed cross-country and downhill trails from the resort’s lifts.

Lifeboat Events also held a DealerCamp advisory board meeting during the event. Industry leaders from Advanced Sports International, BH/Pivot, BionX/Magna Marque, Ibis Cycles, Marin Bikes, Quality Bicycle Products, SCOTT USA, Shimano, SRAM and WTB serve on the board to provide feedback on DealerCamp’s format and timing.

Benny Cruickshank, SRAM’s events and promotions marketing manager, welcomed the opportunity to provide input. “Everyone seemed really positive about the event and discussed ideas for making it even better,” said Cruickshank. “I appreciate the Lifeboat team taking the time to get the opinions of the companies involved.”

Lance Camisasca, president of Lifeboat Events, said DealerCamp met all of its goals. “We set out to create an event that focuses on quality, not quantity,” said Camisasca. “Seventy percent of the attending retailers were shop owners, managers or buyers. Our exhibitors recognize the value of interactions with these key decision makers. And retailers appreciate the opportunity to test and order new product in person at the right time in the buying cycle.”

DealerCamp will return to Deer Valley next year. Lifeboat Events plans to announce 2011 dates later this month.

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