Editorial: A new approach to Canadian Rental Mart
Patrick FlanneryFeatures Business Intelligence editorial equipment rental rental events rental mart
The pandemic hiatus gave us a chance to refresh and renew your trade show.
At last, we’ll all get together again at the Canadian Rental Mart on Sept. 27 and 28. A live Rental Mart show hasn’t happened since 2018, because the show was on a two-year schedule and, well, we all remember what happened in 2020. We had already moved the 2020 Rental Mart date to the fall in an attempt to get away from the cluttered spring show schedule and, when COVID broke out in March, we initially thought it would all be over by then. Oops. We had to cancel that date as well and instead host two online versions in 2021. Kudos to our events team for working fast to make those successful. In late 2021, with vaccination rates hitting critical mass and restrictions lifting, it looked like we could go ahead with a live event again in the traditional time slot in March 2022. Omicron took care of that. So now we’re back to our fall date but this time the show will go ahead…promise.
It’s hard to find silver linings in such a long layoff, but there may be a few. One is that (I hope) your interest and enthusiasm to make the time to come out to the show will be way up after such a long deprivation. A lot has changed in equipment and technology since 2018 and this will be the first chance in Ontario since then to browse the latest rental-ready stuff. We all love getting together to chew the fat with our rental friends and the Rental Mart is still the biggest gathering in Canada. But the other silver lining is that the long break has led to long discussions about how we might make the Rental Mart a compelling experience. So we’ve changed and refreshed things…a lot of things. All the details were in our August issue (“Rental Mart Refreshed,” page 22). But I want to circle back and highlight a couple points here.
Shows need a sense of event, so we’ve doubled down on offering some high-profile speakers and social opportunities in addition to the equipment exhibits. The program has been located right on the show floor in our Centre Stage area – easy to find, easy to know when a session is taking place. We’ve timed them for mid-afternoon when things are often getting a little quieter and maybe you’re ready to take a seat after walking the hall all day. The bar will be open and the seating is at round tables so the feeling is less like a lecture hall and more like a social event. And the presentations are not to be missed. Tony Clement, former minister of health and industry and former candidate for leadership of the Conservative party will deliver insights on the supply chain issues all our businesses have faced along with his suggestions for how to fix them. This is a guy who used to be in charge of these issues for the whole country, and you’ll have a chance to meet him and pick his brain. When Tony is done, the American Rental Association will have its first-ever event at a Canadian Rental Mart. Josh Nickell and James Auerbach will talk about ARA member benefits – including the new insurance partnership that the ARA is now offering in Canada. The next afternoon, on the 28th, we have another very special first-time event: the Women in Rental panel. I’m going to be joined on stage by five impressive female leaders in the rental industry for a lively and interactive discussion about their stories and the industry in general. If you’re wondering how to get talented young women involved in your store, this is a session you can’t afford to miss. As an added bonus, Canadian Rental Association members should check out the trip to the Blue Jays game happening after the show on the 27th. The Blue Jays will be playing the Yankees in what should be the heat of a pennant race. Fun!
We’ve refreshed and renewed the Rental Mart. Come check it out! It’s your show.
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