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Exclusive Truck-Product Showcase Opens at Carlisle Truck Nationals

SEMA Member News—July/August 2011

TORA Readies for Second Annual New Products Showcase

The Carlisle Truck Nationals held in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is one of the largest gatherings of light-truck enthusiasts in the country. It will also host the second annual TORA New-Product Showcase on August 5–7, 2011

The Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) and its member companies are gearing up for the second annual TORA New Products Showcase. Carlisle Events will once again host the Showcase at the Carlisle Truck Nationals, August 5–7, 2011, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Last year’s inaugural event drew 35 products from 15 TORA-member companies, including two full-size display trucks. This year’s event promises to be even bigger and better.

“The event came together very quickly last year,” said TORA Chair-Elect Melanie White of Hellwig Industries. “Even with minimal time to market it, the response from our members was very positive, and the post-event feedback made it easy to plan for a second event in 2011. If you are an TORA-member company and have not signed up a new product or products, there is still time to get in. Registration is online and takes just a few minutes.”

A Thursday-evening member mixer will be a new event feature this year. The mixer will be held right in the New-Product Showcase tent and will add another networking opportunity to the TORA calendar.

“The Carlisle Truck Nationals is an excellent venue for our members to connect with each other and with thousands of light-truck enthusiasts,” said TORA Chair George Lathouris of Keystone Automotive. “The Truck Nationals is a first-class event, and Carlisle Events is a wonderful partner. If you are an TORA-member company, you don’t want to miss this second annual TORA New-Product Showcase. And if you’re a company that is on the fence about joining TORA, this incredible opportunity for 12 months of product exposure should convince you of the value of an TORA membership. New Products Showcase registration and TORA memberships are available here. Don’t wait to take advantage of either one!”

  TORA Logo

The TORA New Products Showcase provides member companies with the opportunity to display new products in front of one of the largest gatherings of light-truck enthusiasts in the country. But product exposure does not end with the Truck Nationals.

Each product is professionally photographed during the event, and each photograph and product description is then posted to a gallery on the TORA website, where it lives for 12 months. The photographs and descriptions are also played in a looping video in the TORA booth during the SEMA Show in Las Vegas and during the TORA Fall Nationals awards reception at the SEMA Show. Additionally, products may be featured from time to time in SEMA eNews.

All of this product exposure is provided as an TORA-member benefit. Companies need only pay for shipping of their products to the Showcase. Carlisle Events and SEMA take care of all the unpacking, set-up and teardown and will even package and ship product back following the event. Registration is open through August 1, 2011.

Don’t delay! Register now.

TORA Member Spotlight

DFW Camper Corral—The Truck Accessory Store (808 E. Division St., Arlington, TX 76011; is owned by Ed Abbott and employs 45 people in four retail locations, including Arlington, Dallas, Mesquite and Fort Worth, Texas. The business seeks to provide its customers with the best value and service in automotive aftermarket accessories and treat its customers and vendors like the employees and ownership itself want to be treated.

DFW Camper Corral is in the midst of a location change, but the process has not been without complications.

“When we opened 33 years ago, there were car dealers of every make and 16 truck cap and accessory dealers located along the same street,” Abbott said. “By 1997, the dealerships and all but one or two of the aftermarket dealers were gone. After a very lengthy evaluation, we chose a new location in Arlington because of its proximity to new-car dealers, high traffic count, shopping, restaurants and major freeways.”

The site was placed under contract, and all of the necessary zoning changes were started with the city of Arlington in mid-2008. But just as everything was approved and DFW closed on the real-estate purchase, the new-vehicle markets crashed.

The project was revived in the summer of 2010, with a cautious eye on what economic conditions DFW would find in mid-2011. Other than that brief hiatus, the ongoing construction process has been relatively on time, with only minor delays.

Among Abbot’s recommendations to fellow TORA members regarding this type of project are doing one’s homework to ensure that city zoning restrictions can accommodate your kind of business. But, he said, if you build it, they will come.

The new location is slated to open in late summer 2011.