Well, spring has arrived technically, though living in Chicagoland I think I’ll wait another month or two before I drain the snow blower. And we still have the heat on, and that’ll likely stay on for some time as well. However, for the industry at large, heating season is winding down, and it’s time to relax a bit and consider taking in a few shows. I’m not talking about much of the dreck that’s put out by Hollywood these days, but the industry trade shows that provide you with a one-stop-shopping experience where you can explore everything from trucks and tanks to back office software and environmental services.
You have the major trade shows and conventions including the Atlantic Regional Energy Expo, the National Association of Oil Heating Service Managers Annual Convention and Trade Show and the New England Fuel Institute’s North American Heating and Energy Expo. In this issue, we have the Spring Show Guide, which gives a nice rundown on the AREE and NAOHSM events, with the NEFI Expo to be covered in more detail next month as the details are finalized. You also have a wealth of state and regional shows coming up.
It’s true that we are in a time of economic uncertainty and the temptation is there to cut back on expenses. However, this also represents a time of opportunity. It is somewhat unlikely, though anything is possible, that we will see a return of higher oil prices in the near future. Similarly, while the economic impact will be trickling down to the customer, having a warm home is far more of a necessity than a luxury. One might expect some expanded degree of government support for the new administration and its policies to help deal with such challenges.
At the shows, you will find equipment, services and technology to make your business more efficient and more effective. I can also imagine that the vendors on the tradeshow floor will be working aggressively to get your business, generating opportunities that might not be here a few years down the road after an economic recovery is comfortably under way. Financing, of course, is an issue today, but you will also find financial service providers exhibiting what they have to offer.
During the convention portion of these events, you will find industry experts and peers willing to share insight on how to best succeed in the current environment. The same can be said for the many networking functions. Challenging times can be a lot less challenging through education and learning from other people’s mistakes and the opportunities they have found.
So give it some thought. As tradeshows go our industry events are located conveniently for most of our industry members, they are affordable compared to those in many other industries and they are entirely manageable where getting around and seeing pretty much everything that’s offered is concerned.
Also, you likely noticed an unusual image on the cover of our fuel oil magazine. It shows a technician installing an air-conditioning unit, which ties into our air-conditioning roundup in this issue. We also feature an article that focuses on some recent issues with propane supply ‘ not as some knock against propane, but as an educational piece for our many readers who supply both fuels. Both areas illustrate something that is becoming increasingly hard to overlook. To maximize success and minimize disclosure to risk, it pays for most dealers to look into diversify their operations.