On the merits of its concept alone, WreckWeek promises to be a winning trade event come June 18 – 23 in Fort Worth, Texas, according to the exposition’s producer, AT Expo Corp, and its president, Doc Calitri. “The event is a microcosm of the nation’s key automotive service trades interacting. Body shops and repair garages have long had a relationship with towing companies, rewarding them for the damaged and broken-down vehicles they bring in.
“Moreover, tow companies have often diversified into body and auto repair, and vice versa; many repair operations have purchased tow trucks. Some then focus on growing the towing business and in return, this feeds their repair shops and growth.”
WreckWeek’s Players and Winning Dynamics
The premiere of WreckWeek, sponsored by BodyShop Business Magazine, will intersect collision, auto repair, and towing. WreckWeek will be located inside the Fort Worth Convention Center in a hall adjacent to TowXpo Dallas/Fort Worth, the towing industry show celebrating its 26th year.
“Body shop and auto repair shop owners will have easy access from the WreckWeek hall into TowXpo,” said Calitri. “Tow company owners will be able to pass as easily into WreckWeek’s exhibit hall. Many of them have an interest to crossover onto the floor where exhibits showcase the equipment needed to operate a body shop and auto repair facility.”
American Towman Magazine, producer of the world’s largest tow shows, including TowXpo Dallas/Fort Worth, is the other leading publication behind WreckWeek. Partnering with BodyShop Business gives the event thorough penetration into the body and repair fields, as well as its owners and managers.
BodyShop Business is bullish on WreckWeek’s prospects. “We are excited to partner with American Towman on their event next June, to help shops find efficiencies and more ways to improve their bottom line,” says Dean Martin, Publisher of BodyShop Business, “We look forward to a long partnership with WreckWeek.”
WreckWeek has also partnered with DRIVE, bringing to Fort Worth the leading management program for the automotive service industries. Aside from seminars that help one to grow a body or repair shop profitably, an attendee will be able to tap into DRIVE for a business analysis of his current shop.
DRIVE too, is bullish on the event. “Increasing one’s success in the collision and repair shop markets is the ultimate goal of those who will attend the 3-day sessions,” says Bill Kilpatrick, founder of DRIVE. “Teaming up with American Towman and BodyShop Business carries tremendous potential for the event and we see big developments ahead as we plan the conference portion of the show.”
Doc Calitri points out the promise of WreckWeek’s location:
“Dallas-Fort Worth’s growth will soon overtake Chicago as the nation’s third largest metropolitan area,” said Calitri. “In fact, all the cities in the Texas triangle are booming, giving WreckWeek a strong base of collision and repair centers close by. The many direct flights into Dallas-Fort Worth are another key ingredient for building a broad attendance base.”
It is projected: 275 exhibitors will fill both halls: collision and auto repair equipment comprising the WreckWeek hall: lifts, body straighteners, paint booths, diagnostic tools, etc. TowXpo alone features 125 exhibitors on a floor displaying wreckers, transport trailers, dispatch systems and motor clubs, plus a myriad of accessories to the towing trade.
WreckWeek’s Marketing Tentacles and Value to Shop Owners
WreckWeek will cultivate a national draw, and also pull from Texas body and auto repair shops. “BodyShop Business, DRIVE, and American Towman will have all marketing guns ablaze toward bringing in shop owners and managers from around the nation,” said AT Expo Corp.’s Doc Calitri.
American Towman shows are known for their awards programs that help attract attendees from all over the nation. For WreckWeek, American Towman is developing awards that recognize “trust” and “experience.” According to American Towman Publisher Dennie Ortiz, tow business owners nationwide will be nominating body shops around the nation for a “trust” award. Aside from being able to display a wall plaque signifying the trust-worthiness of the establishment, body shops coming to receive the award in Fort Worth would garner invaluable media publicity.
“The relationships between body shop owners and tow bosses will have a dynamic effect on WreckWeek,” said Ortiz. “Tow bosses can play a role in motivating hundreds of body shop owners to attend WreckWeek.”
One leading towing company based in western Massachusetts, Hampshire Towing, is a great example of WreckWeek’s “Triple Draw.” Hampshire operates a tow yard with a fleet of thirty tow trucks, and a multi-bay garage for body shop repair and mechanical repairs on the same property in South Hadley. The owner of the businesses is Bill Johnson.
“I will be in Fort Worth for WreckWeek,” Johnson said. “There’s so much I can scout for all my operations.”
When asked if the DRIVE Conference is an attraction for him, Johnson said, “I would like to see its program offering guidance on how to best deal with the insurance companies that are constricting the freedom of body shops. One does not have to operate under the yolk of an insurance company’s prescribed rates, or methods. I don’t. I hope DRIVE will show the way for shop owners to take back control of their profitability.”
The DRIVE Conference does indeed address the insurance issues, according to Dave Saline, a DRIVE executive. One thing is clear in speaking to Saline and Johnson: there are options in dealing with the insurance companies, and a shop does not have to be on insurance companies’ preferred lists to succeed.
The DRIVE Conference will run concurrently with TowXpo’s American Towman Academy. These educational venues draw about ten percent of the business owners attending the exposition, usually representing the most progressive minded among them looking to grow their businesses.
With BodyShop Business, DRIVE, and American Towman combining their influence at WreckWeek, the exposition aims to be the most valued trade event in the automotive service industries in 2024.
Sponsored by American Towman.