Greetings, members! Summer is coming to a close, and the year seems to be moving along very fast. In talking with member companies, I am still hearing good news about the state of the restoration industry; however, I also hear about how member companies are just barely hanging on. Several manufacturing companies have reported record sales in both the first and second quarters of this year. However, those same companies are quick to point out that they do not see a trend toward total recovery.
As for retailers, I have heard that shows seem to be well attended, although some venues report not many dollars are being spent by hobbyists buying parts. One vendor stated that families may be attending shows as an inexpensive way to have a summer vacation, and they simply are not spending any money toward “fixing that old car in the garage.” To this end, I encourage all member companies to participate in the various programs being offered by SEMA—particularly the webinars. These programs can help you by providing you with ideas to grow or sustain you business in difficult times. I know that my company has been receiving more customer inquiries via the Internet than we ever have before, and this trend is forecasted to do nothing but grow.
I am pleased to report that the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) select committee elections are complete. We had three incumbents return: Roger Niehaus of Auto Custom Carpets; Sandy Patterson of Source Interlink Media; and Jim Vinarski with Carlisle Events. Three vacant seats were filled. Those seated are now held by Harry Weimann of WyoTech; Jeff Yager of Hemmings Motor News; and Jim Christina with Dynacorn International. Each of the returning and newly elected members has specific functions on the select committee. Details can be found on the ARMO section of the SEMA website (www.sema.org/armo).
As a reminder, any member can serve on the various task forces chaired by select committee members. You can participate as a “member at large,” which is a great way to get involved with the various ARMO programs. By participating via teleconference and scheduled face-to-face meetings, you can not only learn how the council functions but also help the industry, other members and even yourself by working through licensing issues or youth awareness programs. These committees are also a great way to network and allow others to get to know you. Many consider this a stepping stone to serving on the select committee.
I regret to report that the Collector Car Appreciation Day resolution that I mentioned during my last SEMA Member News article failed to make the U.S. Senate calendar for consideration. The D.C. staff did a great job of securing sponsorship. Given the fact that we have a new administration and so many items in front of our legislators this year, our timing was not the best. Members of the SEMA staff in the Washington, D.C. office have assured me that they will continue to pursue a national day of recognition for our industry/hobby.
Finally, be sure to make your plans to attend the SEMA Show this year and visit the ARMO booth. Our New Products Showcase task force chairman, Roger Niehaus, has been working to recognize all of the participants from the New Products Showcase held in Carlisle earlier this year. We will have one less vehicle in our booth display in order to accommodate the promotion of members’ new products. Be sure to stop by and see the 64 new products for 2009 from our member companies.
Don’t forget that this is the time to call for reception sponsorships. This is a great opportunity to get your company’s name in front of 450-plus of the who’s who of the restoration industry.
Sponsorships are available for numerous levels and various budgets. As with last year, the ARMO event is chaired by Sandy Patterson. If you would like to become a sponsor, please contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jan Desma at email@example.com.
Please remember to contact any one of your select committee members and give us your thoughts or needs. We would love to hear from you, and don’t forget to tell your friends about ARMO and get them to become members!
Harry Weimann of WyoTech
Jeff Yager of Hemmings Motor News
Jim Christina with Dynacorn International