By Robyn Cadamia
If there were one word to describe the 2011 CRA B.C. Regional Tradeshow, it would be “community.” More than 40 exhibitors filled the Cloverdale Exhibition Grounds Showbarn for the two-day event, which took place Jan. 14 and 15. Attendance was up by 13 per cent from last year, and all members seemed happy to be there.
By Robyn Cadamia
If there were one word to describe the 2011 CRA B.C. Regional Tradeshow,
it would be “community.” More than 40 exhibitors filled the Cloverdale
Exhibition Grounds Showbarn for the two-day event, which took place Jan.
14 and 15. Attendance was up by 13 per cent from last year, and all
members seemed happy to be there.
Tony Davey of Hilti Canada was only one of the exhibitors who described the B.C. show as having a “real sense of community” and a “down-home feel.”
“It’s one of my favourite shows,” Davey said. “A great way to kick off the year.”
The B.C. Local association provided raffle prizes and catering throughout the weekend and supplied a hospitality suite with enough food and beverages to please hungry CRA members at the end of the long days. Mandy Wellnitz, executive director of the CRA, believes the event’s quality was due in part to this high level of hospitality. “[The show] has really come up a lot of notches in the past couple of years because B.C. Local has really stepped it up,” she said.
However, the trade show wasn’t only about industry networking. It was also about the hard, cold products. Rental professionals were there to see what was new, and this was the right group of people to show them.
“These are very qualified people,” said Art Enns of Wallenstein. “They’re very knowledgeable in the industry.”
The exhibitors were just as eager to show their latest technology as attendees were to see it.
After two full days on the trade show floor, people were more than ready to proceed to the Cascades Hotel and Casino for more socializing at a banquet-style feast and awards ceremony. There, they had their palettes pleased and were treated to some unique entertainment to help them unwind. Kilt-clad comedian Johnny Bagpipes took the stage just after dinner with his musical shenanigans, and had the crowd slapping their tables in approval for the better part of an hour.
The whole event just wouldn’t be complete without the hard work of the CRA members being recognized and rewarded. Following the entertainment, B.C. national director Angie Venekamp handed out five awards on behalf of the association.
Mike Faulkner spent a great deal of time on stage humbly accepting awards on behalf of Rentquip Canada. Rentquip was chosen as both B.C. Supplier of the Year and National Supplier of the Year for 2010, and Faulkner himself was awarded Rental Professional of the Year.
The Alberta Regional Award went to Jim Johnson of Cavalier Industries, and the award for B.C. Rental Store of the Year was given to Russ Walsh of Chilliwack’s EZE Rent-It Centre B.C.
Just when everyone thought all of the awards had been distributed, and Angie Venekamp thought her time behind the microphone was through, B.C. Local president Jim Clipperton surprised her with a custom Appreciation Award for her hard work and dedication to the local and the trade show.
On that kind note, people offered congratulations and proceeded in high spirits to the hospitality suite, where they wrapped up the first show of 2011 with just a little more networking. Mandy Wellnitz commented on the camaraderie among rental professionals. “Competitors all work together. They all help each other out,” she said. “It’s a unique industry.”