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News: Matco Tools Expo

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A record number of Matco Tools distributors, 90,000 sq. ft. of expo space, 110 suppliers and 170 new products with more than 65 New & Exclusives — that was just the beginning of the 2007 Matco Tools Expo. The annual event was held Feb. 24-27 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando, FL. While the Expo floor was filled with celebrities — including Top Fuel Dragsters Cory McClenathan, Tony Schumacher, “Hot” Rod Fuller and Antron Brown — the real stars of the show were the Matco distributors who came from across the country to see what the suppliers and Matco had new to offer. Matco also rewarded the Top 200 distributors with a sneak preview hour on the Tool Expo floor.

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Courtney Hansen, host of Spike TV’s “Powerblock” and new spokesperson for Matco, interviewed suppliers throughout the show. A compilation of those interviews will be produced into a DVD that will be played on Matco distributors’ trucks.

The 17th annual National Business Conference heralded the theme “Inspire the Desire.” Tim Gilmore, vice president of sales, welcomed the distributor teams and announced the 75% growth in the Canadian market in 2007, outstanding for a brand that did not exist in 2005.

Gilmore highlighted a few Matco customer events that were held throughout 2007. These events provide distributors a chance to showcase larger equipment as well as New & Exclusives. “Customer events show the value of the Matco brand,” said Gilmore. At events throughout the United States, teams of distributors hosted hundreds of customers and potential customers, gave away incredible prizes — including a 2007 Ford Mustang — and raised money for charitable causes — one team raised $10,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network!

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It was announced that 2007 was a record year for new and exclusive introductions, a Matco core competency. “New products are the lifeblood of our business,” said Ernie Lauber, vice president of marketing and eCommerce. He stressed the importance of developing tools that offered true innovation and value-added features for the technician. Matco’s product development teams look for tools that can help improve safety, ergonomics and comfort for the technician. In fact, through the Matco online PI (Product Ideas) program, Matco is offering $1,500 to any technician who submits a tool idea, and $500 to his or her distributor, if that idea is accepted.

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Technicians like having choices, and now they can design their own toolboxes in person on the truck or online at www.matcotools.com with Matco’s new Toolbox Configurator. “With the online feature, technicians can determine the dimensions they need, capacity and cost,” Lauber said. Matco’s new lineup of toolboxes makes it a leader in its drawer, capacity and color options offered for its toolboxes, he said. At Expo, a contest was held to determine attendees’ favorite color.

A variety of contests were held throughout the event, and John Shelton of Blue Springs, MS, was the winner of the drawing for a fully loaded 2008 22’ Freightliner tool truck.

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The Expo included a variety of training classes, such as Financial Planning, Managing Your Time & Your Collections, Toolboxes, Merchandising and more. These well-attended classes offered attendees valuable business advice.

In other announcements, Matco has produced a new publication, Torque magazine, which is included with this issue of TechShop. In it you’ll find exciting new products and informative Matco-related articles.

The action-packed event ended with a Family Fun Carnival. More than 2,000 distributors and their families spent the last night of the Tool Fair eating great food and enjoying the carnival atmosphere in the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort ballroom. It was an enjoyable ending to a week of education, camaraderie and product knowledge training.

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Nashville Hosts Cornwell’s Tool Rally
More than 400 Cornwell dealers and their families descended upon Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel March 14 and 15 for the 80th annual Cornwell Quality Tools Tool Rally. Approximately 140 manufacturers participated with a total of more than 1,500 attendees.

Bill Nobley, president, expressed his sincere thanks for the largest turnout in Tool Rally history.

Nobley attributes Cornwell’s sales success in 2007 — even given the difficult economic climate in late 2007 — to “focus(ing) on the basics. We take care of our Cornwell dealers, and they take care of their customers. One of the main reasons we continue to grow is that we sell exclusively through our dealer network. We do not have any direct sales to end users. Our approach generates a high degree of loyalty and motivates the Cornwell dealer network to aggressively pursue sales. Our Tech Credit division also provides a convenient method for customers to finance their purchases from the Cornwell dealer network.”

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Among the dealers honored at the Tool Rally was Sean Fenton from Washington state, who was awarded the Top Dealer of the Year for the fourth year in a row. Fenton has been with Cornwell for approximately 12 years.

Cornwell’s aggressive recruitment program to expand its existing dealer network was launched in 2007. Their efforts incorporate a significant trade media program, a redesign of the corporate dealer-oriented website, a series of new recruiting tools including informative new literature and DVDs, and special incentives for new dealer recruits. Additionally, the expanded training program is housed in new classroom facilities, which include a mock-truck interior to help distributors understand how to merchandise their own truck.

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According to Scott Mata, national sales manager, the show was a great success. “Our tool box line is now available with multi-sized cabinets, different drawer configurations, different trims and colors. If there is something the technician wants in a toolbox, he’ll be able to find it with Cornwell. This has been our most successful tool rally in our history, especially with the launch of our new toolbox line.”

In addition to the trade show, training classes for distributors were held throughout the two-day event. Classes included Collecting with Confidence, Becoming #1 in Your Territory and Merchandising for Profit.

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Next year’s Tool Rally will be held in Anaheim, CA, March 13 and 14.

Brush Research Manufacturing Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Los Angeles — This year Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) marks its 50th anniversary in providing custom and standard industrial brushes. Often known for its patented Flex-Hone Tool, Brush Research has made a name for itself as a leader in the art and science of surface finishing. From its roots in a small, two-employee office in East Los Angeles, to its present three modern manufacturing facilities, BRM has expanded to include more than 75 employees and a worldwide distribution network.

Tool Manufacturers Present Award to Congressman Duncan Hunter
Tarrytown, NY — On February 13, 2008, Representative Duncan L. Hunter (R-CA) was presented the Hand Tools Institute American Manufacturing Champion award by representatives of the institute, a trade association of American hand tool manufacturers. This award was created to recognize legislators who demonstrate strong support for manufacturing. Representative Hunter is the first recipient of this award.

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Scott Meyer, president Emeritus of HTI, presented the award to Hunter in his offices in Washington, DC. During the presentation, Meyer said, “The Board of Directors of the Hand Tools Institute voted unanimously to present this award to you, Congressman Hunter, in recognition of your tireless efforts to combat predatory trade policies, ranging from currency manipulation to illegal subsidies designed to achieve industrial supremacy at America’s expense. Thank you, Representative Hunter, for fighting for American manufacturing and American workers.”

Others from HTI present at the award ceremony were Earl Cunningham, president and CEO of Eklind Tool Company, Franklin Park, IL; Robert Benedict, president of Ajax Tool Works, Franklin Park, IL; and Rich Byrne, HTI executive director, Tarrytown, NY.

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Chance To Win Ultimate Garage Offered
Baltimore — GearWrench announced the launch of its latest sweepstakes where tool enthusiasts can enter for a chance to win the ultimate assortment of GearWrench products valued at more than $5,000. “The Ultimate GearWrench Garage” sweepstakes began March 1 and will run through June 30 of this year. Interested participants can enter online or submit their entry by mail for a chance to win. See the GearWrench ad on pages 22 and 23 for more information.

“Our ‘Ultimate GearWrench Garage’ sweepstakes allows one winner to turn their toolbox into the ideal garage where they have all the essential tools right at their fingertips for a variety of jobs in the garage and throughout the home,” said Marc Mangus, GearWrench senior brand manager. The Ultimate GearWrench Garage winner will be selected in a random drawing scheduled to take place on or about July 8. The prize package consists of a variety of GearWrench tools including the award-winning X-Beam, which has been recognized for its patented 5° ratcheting mechanism, and also full sets of GearWrench’s innovative hand tools including screwdrivers, socket sets, pliers, ratcheting wrenches, pry bars, flex hex keys, pass-thru wrenches and flare nut wrenches, as well as a full 75-piece tap & die set. The garage is stocked with a variety of sets and sizes including metric and SAE.

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For more information, go to www.gearwrench.com.

Bosch Acquires Accu Industries
From aftermarketNews Staff & Wire Reports
Stuttgart, Germany — The Bosch Group is acquiring the operating assets of Accu Industries Inc., located in Ashland, VA.

Accu Industries employs 45 associates and generated sales of roughly $16 million in 2007. The company sells tire changers, wheel balancers and wheel alignment equipment. With the acquisition, Bosch is strengthening its automotive aftermarket division and further expanding the workshop equipment business of its diagnostics business unit.

“Above all, we want to improve the distribution and service offered by our Bosch Diagnostics business unit in North America. In this market, Accu Industries is well established in the aftersales segment, and is therefore a logical extension to the business we already have in the U.S.,” said Hans-Peter Meyen, member of the executive management of the Automotive Aftermarket division.

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Accu Industries will become part of the existing Bosch Diagnostics business in the United States. The president of Accu Industries, Tommy Saunders, will remain with the company in a senior management position.

In the future, Accu Industries is to assume responsibility for wheel and tire service in the U.S., in the area of both sales and technical support. The assembly activities of Accu Industries will also be an addition to the global production network of Bosch Diagnostics.

Snap-on TV Added to Website
Lincolnshire, IL — Snap-on Diagnostics has added Snap-on TV to its website http://diagnostics.snapon.com. This new feature consists of streaming video that is designed to give automotive technicians an overview of Snap-on Diagnostics’ hand-held tools, including SOLUS PRO and Vantage PRO. Visitors to the site can watch Snap-on TV by clicking on the Tech Central link to open the viewing page.

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“Snap-on TV is on-demand programming for automotive technicians that is only in its infancy,” said Chris Hockett, technical marketing specialist for Snap-on Diagnostics. “We plan to have automotive technicians themselves add to the content library with their own videos demonstrating their favorite techniques and interesting case studies. These will be called ‘Real Techs — Real Stories.’”

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