The American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) has revealed its plan to move “North America’s premier powersports trade show” to a new host city in 2017, with The Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) at Columbus, Ohio, to be the chosen venue for the event from 2017.
|(Photo: Greater Columbus Convention Center)|
The show is to remain a 4-day expo, but will be held a month earlier than its current mid-October slot in September – with September 21-24 booked for 2017.
Owned and operated since 2015 by the Motorcycle Industry Council in the United States (MIC), the organizers are saying that “geographically, Columbus is ideally placed, with 41 percent of both franchised and independent dealerships in the U.S. located within a 500-mile radius [of Columbus], including major markets like Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, and more.
“Ohio’s state capital is also the 15th-largest city in the country, and consistently ranks among the top cities for business growth.”
The move also continues the US powersports industry’s tradition of staging its most popular trade events in the Mid-West, with Advanstar’s now closed Dealer News International Powersports Expo having been held at Cincinnati, Ohio, for many years before it moved to Indianapolis, and Easyrider’s Events’ V-Twin Expo being staged at Cincinnati since its inception.
|(Photo courtesy: brandcolumbus.com)|
“The key questions are ‘Why Move’, and ‘Why Columbus’,” said Larry Little, Vice President and General Manager, AIMExpo. “When we debuted AIMExpo as a new platform for the powersports industry, Orlando proved an outstanding launch location, but the vision was always to visit other geographical centers. Carefully listening to the exhibitor and greater industry community, it was clear that our next step would be to a location more immediately accessible to the retailer population.”
“Why Columbus?” Mike Webster, Senior Vice President, MIC Events, added: “Ideally situated among one of the highest concentrations of dealers anywhere in America, the Greater Columbus Convention Center is the perfect size for AIMExpo to take over the whole convention center and to own the town. The city center location and adjoining hotels will deliver the tight-knit industry experience attendees have also requested. Columbus is a model of urban revitalisation, and the ‘after-show’ atmosphere with hundreds of restaurants, bars and markets, all within just a few blocks, must be seen and experienced to be appreciated.”
Following a recent visit by legacy AIMExpo exhibitors to the new convention center and greater Columbus area, their reactions captured why the motorcycle and powersports industry will appreciate the move.
“After coming here, I’m blown away,” said Chris Sackett, Vice President of Bell Helmets. “The hospitality, the way people are treating us, the amount of stuff to do, the weather – it’s been absolutely beautiful. Once people actually come here and see it, it’s definitely the right place to have this event. I’m now 100 percent sold.”
"I’m a smaller company, but I took a chance with AIMExpo - was an inaugural exhibitor - and every year it has paid off,” said Todd Wilson, President of exhaust manufacturer HMC Industries. "Now that I’ve been able to visit (Columbus), it blows my mind. This place is great. I’m absolutely positive that [dealer proximity] will be a game changer for the show."
Since its inception in 2013, AIMExpo has shown impressive growth each year in Orlando, Florida, with 2016 showing its most significant growth to date for dealer registrations, increasing to 130 percent as at this point last year. With this strategic move in 2017 to the largest logistical region for dealerships, those numbers are sure to grow even higher.
Of this year’s show, the MIC says that “hundreds of exhibitors will showcase the latest the powersports industry has to offer at AIMExpo in Orlando, October 13-16.
“In addition to new product launches, the latest innovations being showcased on the show floor, and an expansive demo space outdoors, AIMExpo attendees will have the opportunity to connect with others throughout the industry at numerous networking events, while dealer attendees can take advantage of the unparalleled curriculum of the Powersports Dealer Seminars presented by Powersports Business during the two trade days of AIMExpo, October 13 and 14.”