The annual Amusement Expo International is well underway in Dallas this week with a diverse smattering of representatives from across the industry in attendance. The Expo is co-hosted by AMOA and AAMA in conjunction with the National Bulk Vendors Association (NBVA) and members of the laser tag community. This year, 446 booths were filled by manufacturers, suppliers and more (that’s the largest number of booths sold since the spring shows were merged eight years ago).
The showroom floor opened today (03/15) to a rush of excited buyers, but the actual show is only a part of the Expo. Yesterday (03/14) attendees were able to learn from a full day of educational seminars that covered a broad range of topics. On the amusement side, two tracks focused separately on topics relevant to those in the FEC business and those in the street operator business. There were numerous invaluable sessions, but one speaker that stood out was sales guru Tony Leone who broke down the concept of the “sales funnel,” discussed the “DISC” personality profile and stressed the importance of aggregating marginal gains.
“You don’t have to be twice as good in this business to make twice as much money,” Leone said.
Another highlight of the Expo Education Day was Kevin Bachus of Dave & Buster’s, who hosted a session titled “Dave and Busted: How to Beat the Chains at Their Own Game.” Bachus broke down the necessary steps to take to stay relevant if a national chain is coming into your market, giving tangible advice to to help ensure success (look for more information on this and other seminars in a coming RePlay Magazine). After the seminars, attendees from all sides of the Expo gathered for dinner, drinks and entertainment at the All Industry Gala Reception.
Wednesday, March 15, marked the official opening of the show floor, with an awards ceremony and ribbon cutting to kick things off. The AAMA announced their annual awards for the year’s Best Manufacturer (Apple Industries), Best Distributor (AVS Companies) and Best Supplier (SuzoHapp). In closing, toppers from AAMA also announced 2017’s coveted Lifetime Achievement Award, which was given to David Cohen of Firestone Financial. Cohen joined the AAMA’s charitable foundation in 2002, and became a part of the AAMA Board in 2005. He’s led numerous philanthropic movements within the industry and beyond, and RePlay is proud to congratulate Cohen on the achievement.
“It’s with great honor that I get to stand here and thank you. I’ve enjoyed all the work I’ve done for Firestone and with this industry,” Cohen said. “I’m honored to join the ranks of others who’ve achieved this award.”
Erik Guthrie spoke on behalf of the laser tag community, followed by NBVA’s president Steve Schechner, and both praised the ongoing relationship and combined Expo format.
“Ours is the first equipment our precious little ones put a quarter into,” Schechner said. “We recognize the responsibility we have in introducing them to amusement.”