Canadian Rental Service

Quebexpo holds its ground

By Carroll McCormick   

Features Shows

Despite bad weather that closed some roads on the first day of the show, the 26th annual regional trade show in St-Hyacinthe managed to bring in 388 rental professionals to this year’s Quebexpo.

Despite bad weather that closed some roads on the first day of the show, the 26th annual regional trade show in St-Hyacinthe managed to bring in 388 rental professionals to this year’s Quebexpo.

Uniquip Canada Inc. had a wide range of equipment on view. On hand were Benoît Leroux, sales manager (left, in red); Guy Fortin of Location D’Outils Thetford; Serge Briand, customer service representative (right, also in red); and Guy Carrier of Location D’Outils Thetford.

Quebexpo presented a good mix of tools, light construction equipment, and (seen above) heavy construction equipment.

Abmast technical representative Richard Lavioe shows off some new products.


Carmix Canada owner Norm Maurice explains his
self-loading, mobile cement mixer to a customer.

The next generation: the entire staff from Tri-Tool Inc came to see the goods. From left: Kyle Trineer, Guillaume Tremblay, Micheal Desousa, Charles Bourassa, Guillaume Pilon, Dean Trineer (owner), Dawn Bissegge and Marc-Olivier Tremblay.

March is a weather wild card here in Quebec, but this year it was a sweetheart, bringing April, even May-like weather to some areas of the province. This was great for business, says Marc Pruneau, Quebec sales manager for Abmast Inc. “January, February and March were very good for the rental centres. Sales have been good, because busy rental shop people have said that they don’t have time to repair equipment this year.”

Pruneau and technical representative Richard Lavoie greeted visitors in a redesigned booth, with a new image. “People are more confident this year. We have had more visitors than last year,” Lavoie says. Pruneau adds: “This year is perfect. There is always someone here.”

Red-shirted staff in the spacious Uniquip Canada Inc. booth were busy fielding questions from visitors and meeting with manufacturers’ representatives. Virginie Archambault, marketing manager, agrees with the weather forecast: “There is an influence. When the weather starts warming up earlier, they can work earlier and then enjoy their summer.”

On the economic front, she adds, “We think that the biggest part of the economic crisis is behind us, but people are still being prudent. But we can feel the winds of change. It is always a good sign when people come here and say, ‘What do you have that is new?’ This year will definitely be better than last year.”

Archambault congratulated the Canadian Rental Association (CRA) and l’Association de Location du Québec, which organizes this event. “I think [they have] done an amazing job of bringing people together. It is reassuring in these hard times.”

 The 79 exhibitors filled the cavernous main exhibition hall and smaller second hall with their merchandise, including scissor-jacks, heaters, pumps, compactors, hard hats, ladders, chippers, insurance, saw blades, fans, cables, wheelbarrows and rakes. Brand names on display included Echo, Multiquip, Hertz, Corniver, Rhino, Hilti, Hitachi, Northrock, Titan, Compac, DHP, Kubota, Eliet, Weber and Tsurumi.

A new brand in the halls this year was Carmix, which offers mobile, self-loading cement mixers manufactured in Italy. “Last year we had our equipment outside. This year it is inside. Because of this we have more people looking at the equipment,” explains Carmix Canada co-owner Dolores Maurice. Her husband and partner, Norm, says, “We have already booked for 2011 and have expanded our booth for next year. We are optimistic.”

It takes a lot of visitors to crowd a venue as large as this, but they were there. Michel L’Ecuyer, with Lou-Mec in Laprairie, says he made his big equipment purchases last year, but he still had some items on his to-buy list. He has been coming to the show since 1985, and thinks this will be a good year for the rental business.

Gilbert Therrein, owner of Location GGL in Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil, was looking for some equipment to round out some of his equipment lines. A five-year visitor to Quebexpo, he also feels the weather is helping sales. “This is good because the season is so early this year.”

Brad Smith, an exhibitor of industrial supplies with S&S Supply Limited, from Mount Pearl, N.L., thought the show was a bit slow. Still, he comments, “We made some sales with some unique products we have. We though the show was OK.”

John King, the owner of Total Equipment Sales, from Pickering, Ont., wonders whether there is more selling being done on the Internet than before. “I don’t think that buying is done at shows like it was in years past.”

George Olah, who does marketing for Diversco Supply Inc., in Cambridge, Ont., has been coming to Quebexpo for eight years. His assessment of the business climate? “I’ve heard some guys say ‘we’ve had a good winter and we’re going to need new product’ and other guys who say they have not had as good a winter. You hear both sides.”

Diversco, which, as Olah puts it, “sells products that heats things,” sported a new freezer line, called Porta Gaz, with propane and electric models on display. The latest models of tent heaters were on display, as were established favourites. With a nod to the salutary effects of continued strength in the construction industry and government construction projects, Olah says: “A lot of the rental industry is driven by the construction industry. Considering everything, it has not been a bad show. It is nice to have traffic, but it is important to have quality buyers. These are all professional buyers in this show.”

Professional buyers and their protégés, that is. Dean Trineer, the owner, Tri-Tool Inc., St- Lazare, brought his whole crew from his rental centre with him. “A lot of rental centres do not bring employees here. Whenever I can, I bring them down. It makes them feel like members of the family.”

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