Keystone News

A One-Stop Shopping Experience For Truck Accessory Jobbers

Let The BIG Shows Begin

Forty years is a long time to remain relevant. For Keystone Automotive Operations, the leading and largest wholesale distributor of specialty automotive parts in North America, decades of longevity in a dynamic industry can be attributed to four Ps: partnerships, products, performance, and personnel.

Keystone has learned a few things during its impressive history. Never lose sight of your core business; master the fundamentals that keep your doors open; practice integrity in all that you do, resulting in meaningful, long-lasting partnerships; and invest in the right personnel to produce quality results. Those values, ever present during the days of legendary racer and company founder Joe Amato, are still revered and practiced today.

Capitalize On A Growing Market

The Keystone BIG Shows are a representation of these quality characteristics, bringing together three of the strongest forces responsible for helping to shape the aftermarket, with the end result of stronger relationships, growth and prosperity:

• A passionate manufacturing community dedicated to product innovation
• Business-savvy retailers and restylers looking to capitalize on aftermarket opportunities to drive sales
• A trusted distribution partner committed to delivering on consumer demand and providing customers what they need when they need it, so they can close the sale.

The specialty automotive equipment market has grown from 7.2 billion to 36.2 billion, a staggering 500 percent over the past 25 years. And there are no signs of stalling — analysts forecast an upward trend through 2018. As a business owner in a mature and expanding industry now is the time to invest in your future. And there’s no better way to ring the cash register than at the Keystone BIG Shows. The first show is slated for February 20 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the nation’s capital. The Gaylord Texan in Dallas will host the BIG Show on March 5. Together, the events serve as the largest wholesale only buying opportunities.

All aftermarket segments are represented, giving every kind of customer a chance to gather, share market intelligence and receive a customized business-building experience in a more intimate setting with hands-on product demos and education, as well as appealing purchasing incentives to bolster profit potential. There’s something for everyone, from speed, restyling and truck accessory shop owners to Jeep® specialty installers and more.

“The BIG Shows are the single most important days of the year, not only for Keystone but also for our suppliers and our customers. It’s the only time we are all in the same place at the same time with the opportunity to really help each other grow,” said Eric Fairchild, Keystone’s director of north east sales and U.S. customer support. “It is the perfect storm of opportunity: teaching, learning, communicating, building relationships, investing in your business and more. The BIG Shows are unmatched within the industry,” he added. “They give the supplier and jobber the opportunity that SEMA intends to offer, but with a more personalized approach and the added benefit that you can buy what you see. Regardless of business size, you can’t afford not to be there.”

Rolling Out The Red Carpet

Corby Phillips, national sales manager at Warn Industries, has been attending the shows for eight years. “Warn’s two biggest selling seasons are spring and fall. The BIG Shows are the perfect time of year, giving the jobber an opportunity to see our new products and prepare for the hobbyists and hunters to come out of hibernation for spring sales,” said Phillips. “The combination of warming weather and tax returns create an ideal scenario for the jobber to make the sale in the following 30-90 days.”

WEATHER GUARD® has been exhibiting at the BIG Shows since 2009, witnessing them outgrow the Secaucus and Atlantic City, N.J., venues. “This year marks our sixth consecutive year as the primary sponsor of the BIG Show West in Dallas,” said Mike Katz, national sales manager. “The BIG Shows always give us a fast start to the year, allowing us to showcase new products, launch exciting promotions and offer crazy, tough-to-pass-up, one-day show deals, so jobbers can stock up heading into the season.”

Products Showcase and enjoy a reception sponsored by Pendaform™ the night before the show. “The showcase offers customers a focused look at a variety of new products on display across all aftermarket segments," said Tim Williams, VP of sales and marketing. “It’s a great opportunity to see what new items can directly benefit your business or complementary items you may not have considered that can diversify your offerings and increase your growth potential. “On a personal level,” continued Williams, “I really love the ability to get in front of the customers, educate them about our product and talk about current trends, as well as throw out some great programs and promotions for them to take advantage of.” Hint, hint… they’ve been known to give away a truck or two!

Talk shop with your favorite manufacturers and be introduced to a variety of new lines that can kick your business up a notch. Take advantage of enticingly deep deals, promotions and giveaways, allowing you to stock up on your fastest-moving items and new products at a lower price. That means more built-in margin for you and increased profits upon closing the sale. And, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with fellow enthusiasts and industry celebrities. Chip Foose, Vic Edelbrock, Richard Rawlings and Brian Deegan have been known to stop by — just to name a few.

Keystone has managed to combine an engaging atmosphere, great events and, most importantly, business-building opportunities effectively. This gives attendees a one-stop shopping experience that is sure to wow and deliver long-term results. “We want to be part of the process to really help our customers market themselves as a local source for new and innovative products,” said Larry Montante, Keystone’s VP of category management.

So what’s in store for 2016? “Well, you’ll have to come out and see us! You can plan on a lot of excitement, entertainment, celebrity meet-and-greets, prizes, cash giveaways and more. It’s a perfect time of year to see new products and talk one-on-one with the manufacturing experts — all while having fun!” said Melissa Holland, Keystone events manager. “We’re committed to making the shows bigger and better every single year. It’s truly a team effort to ensure customers have a fantastic experience, and we certainly have the right people to make that happen.”

But Don’t Just Take Our Word For It — Take THEIRS!

PendaForm’s Williams couldn’t agree more. “In one spot, you have all of the people that make the products, distribute the products and sell the products—all those who help you make money. It’s a one-day show that makes that BIG of a difference. “You have to figure out a way to break away from the shop for a day”’ he added, “because it’s entirely possible you can meet someone and see, learn or buy something so important that it equates to 10 times more than you can sell in your shop that day. What you learn and see, and have the ability to purchase at the price being offered, can make a huge impact. It’s an investment in your future.”

For three veteran showgoers, breaking away from the shop has made all the difference. “We have two showrooms and install everything we sell,” said Glen Smith, general sales manager at BlackJack SpeedShop. “We work on a variety of vehicles, including Jeeps, trucks, modern muscle and even hot rods. I’ve attended the BIG Shows four or five times. It’s beneficial to meet the vendors and actually see the product and take advantage of deals, especially lines like Warn that go deeper at the show just for those attending. It’s a hands-on experience for us.”

Added Chris Schexnider, Classic Tint’s general manager: “Our core business is window tint and bedliners, but we’ve seen a big uptick in truck accessories. I’ve been attending the BIG Shows for four years. Our favorite part is being able to meet the vendors, see the new products and displays, keep up with what’s happening in the market and take advantage of the deals. Last year, we stocked up on WeatherTech® liners and UnderCover Flex. Also, I consider my relationship with my Keystone sales rep more like a friend.”

Access to new products, vendor interface and new-business opportunities are key reasons to attend, noted Jeff Hanks, VP at Cap and Hitch. “Our business is installs and truck accessories. I attended my first BIG Show in ’08. It’s great to talk with the manufacturers and put names with faces. Our favorite aspect is the New Products Showcase, and there are a lot of deals and promotions. We stock up on the small stuff, and Karen Liedel (Keystone sales associate) points us in the right direction of how to diversify our business.”

Quick Quiz

Where can shop owners across every aftermarket segment gather to meet with the industry’s top manufactures, discuss current trends, learn about new lines, see new products post-SEMA Show, and have a trade show experience that will increase their revenue? The Keystone BIG Shows, of course.

So be sure to: • Book early for best hotel rates
• Keep reservation and registration info handy
• Check parking structure height restrictions affecting raised vehicles
• Schedule time with your Keystone sales associate
• Download the BIG Show app to keep track of schedules
• Grab a floor plan to map out your day
• Check out show sponsors WEATHER GUARD and ReadyLIFT®
• Visit the Keystone booth for business-building tools and your top manufacturers
• Diversify with new product lines
• Attend the New Products Showcase and Customer Appreciation Receptions to enjoy great food and mingle with manufacturers, colleagues and the Keystone team
• Place orders early and often. Big Show deals are one-day specials — no exceptions
• So if you find a steal, BUY IT! STOCK IT! SELL IT!

 

Recent Articles

Keystone Automotive Announces 2019 RAM Project: The TerraRAM

Exeter, PA – Keystone Automotive Operations announced during its BIG Show at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX, plans to build a customized 2019 RAM 1500 show vehicle – the TerraRAM.  Modeled to be the Ultimate Overland Adventure Vehicle, the TerraRam will be a fully self-contained, on- and off-road explorer that combines rugged good looks with the latest technology and performance improvement products available in the aftermarket.

 

“We wanted this project to be a collaborative one where we have a chance to showcase the products and brands going into the build along with our customers that will be instrumental in putting the whole thing together,” says Larry Montante, VP of Category Management. Playing off the BIG Show theme, “The Ultimate Road Trip”, TerraRAM will be taken on a year-long odyssey that will feature Keystone customers contributing to the build along the way. Larry adds, “We think it will be a terrific way to build a community around the project and shine a bright light on the suppliers and installers that help make it happen.”

 

Shrouded under a cover on the exhibit hall floor during BIG Show, the TerraRAM drew a lot of attention and questions from attendees and exhibitors. “The show is a great platform to create some excitement for the project. We have a clear vision about the features we want to build into the truck and look forward to flushing out the finer details over the next 30 days as we sift through the proposals we received from suppliers that want to be part of the project,” says Larry. “Suffice it to say, the TerraRAM will embody the spirit of travel wherever the road leads.”

 

Plans for the TerraRAM include featuring the latest in solar and satellite technology to improve off-grid connectivity. Additionally, extensive suspension improvements, exterior and interior upgrades, performance enhancements and a few surprises from Keystone’s RV supplier partners will help make the vehicle a home on the road. The company’s goal is to deliver a comfortable, self-sustained earth traveler that can thrive in the most remote locations and harshest conditions. 

 

The truck will be equipped for boondocking, rock-hopping and interstate travel (but only as a last resort) and have an extensive array of technology and performance products provided by the distributor’s supplier partners. “Through terraRAM we hope to illustrate the value aftermarket products have in helping enthusiasts realize their vision for how they want their vehicles to look and be used,” commented Harneet Kaur, Directory of Marketing at Keystone.

 

According to Kaur, this TerraRAM is more than a typical truck build project. “While our intention is to create a vehicle capable of far reaching journeys, we also intend to follow the journey that makes it capable,” she says.  By documenting the build and following the vehicle across the country as it goes from stock to the TerraRAM, the company hopes the product and installer profiles they produce and promote on social media and other select media outlets, creates awareness and interest for the sponsors’ products and the vehicle itself.

 

Keystone invites the industry and enthusiasts everywhere to take part in the TerraRAM’s journey in 2019 by following the project on Keystone Social Media Channels, TheEngineBlock.com and selected media outlets.  

 

Keystone is the leading distributor and marketer of automotive aftermarket products and services, uniquely positioned to offer customers and suppliers substantial scale, the most comprehensive inventory selection in the industry, high levels of customer service, and innovative marketing support. Keystone is committed to expanding its offerings to meet the ever-growing needs of its customer base, providing them what they need, when they need it.


70 New Suppliers to Exhibit at BIG Show

EXETER, PA – Keystone Automotive Operations’ BIG Show is adding a lot of new features… and exhibitors to its event March 8-9 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas.  In addition to a Warn sponsored keynote by Ken Schmidt, a double-header concert featuring Tim Montana and Karen Waldrup and casino night presented by WeatherGard, the BIG show is attracting new suppliers as exhibitors like never before.

“We have more than 70 suppliers exhibiting this year that weren’t at our 2018 event,” says John Spaulding, Director of Events for Keystone Automotive Operations. “The interest in BIG Show as a way for suppliers to connect with jobbers, dealers, installers and retailers continues to grow. Our show platform is becoming the premier destination for introducing new products, selling to new customers and engaging with the market in ways that most of us can’t in our day-to-day roles. It’s a vital part of our business and we know our customers and suppliers look forward to it every year.”

New items are essential to the aftermarket and its more than just model year changeover that’s driving new product development. Innovative solutions for improving vehicle performance, whether it’s suspension, exhaust, engine, tires and wheels or accessories that enhance the overall functionality, are creating sales opportunities for aftermarket product resellers and installers. Events like BIG Show play a pivotal role in showcasing these opportunities and connecting all the supply chain players in an effort to grow sales for everyone.

“The show experience has been designed to focus on new products,” says Spaulding. “We have a New Products Showcase with more than 180 new items on display. In addition, 36 companies are exhibiting new Point-of-Purchase tools that give our attendees ideas about how to merchandise and sell new products in their stores.” New suppliers will be highlighted on the BIG Show floor map and will be prominently featured throughout the event.

Brand new suppliers to Keystone will be showcased in a special sales promotion at BIG Show. Golden tickets representing extra bonus discounts will be given to every attendee. The tickets can be used for purchases from the 40 exhibitors at the event that are new to Keystone.

“Our sales initiatives and on-the-floor activity are all about helping our customers grow their business,” states Vice President of Sales for Keystone Automotive Operations, Fred Petrivelli. “We know that these new product and new lines can have an incredible impact on their sales and profits and want to make sure they are aware of the opportunities so they can make informed decisions about the best way to serve their customers and their businesses in the future,” he adds.

The Keystone BIG Show is the industry’s largest distributor event in North America drawing thousands of attendees from Canada and the United States. Host to more than 200 exhibiting companies, nearly 100 show vehicles and an agenda packed with special events and networking opportunities, the BIG Show is the place to be March 8-9 in Grapevine, TX.

Keystone is the leading distributor and marketer of automotive aftermarket products and services, uniquely positioned to offer customers and suppliers substantial scale, the most comprehensive inventory selection in the industry, high levels of customer service, and innovative marketing support. Keystone is committed to expanding its offerings to meet the ever-growing needs of its customer base, providing them what they need, when they need it most.

Keystone’s Parts Via Program to add Broader e-Commerce Reach and Loyalty Benefits for Its Members

Exeter, PA - In 2017, Keystone Automotive Operations launched Parts Via, an innovative sales network that linked organic site traffic at its brand  partner’s websites to local brick and mortar business via a “Buy Now” button. The profits from the online transactions are shared among the participating supplier partners and dealers while the free, ship-to-store delivery option served as a catalyst for driving consumer traffic to the local business. This new, incremental business stimulated add-on sales, installation revenue and service opportunities, furthering the value of the Parts Via Program to its membership.

The company announced that it is launching Phase II of Parts Via to the automotive aftermarket during its annual BIG Show March 8-9, 2019 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX. This phase includes program enhancements that expand e-commerce reach through a consumer facing website and marketplace store. In addition, Parts Via members will be part of a new customer Parts Via loyalty program.

“Our development roadmap for Parts Via has always included growing the network though enhanced tools and participation,” stated Bill Rogers, President of Keystone. “We recognized early on that a consumer’s path to purchase is one with many forks and the decisions made by them along their journey impact where the final purchase is made. We wanted to build a program that put our partners in the best competitive position to capture the sale regardless of where and when a consumer chooses to buy something, whether it is in a store or online.” He concludes.

Keystone will be previewing its new consumer website www.partsvia.com during the BIG Show as part of the Phase II rollout. The site will complement the “Buy Now” functionality on partner sites and have the added benefit of hosting all the Parts Via partner products in one location. The new site will include a robust parts look-up tool, fresh content and ship-to-store / ship-to-home options. “This will further expand the opportunity for our brick and mortar Network Dealers to participate in an on-line sale that may have otherwise gone around them.”  Also, a new appointment scheduling feature that will allow Parts Via Network Dealers to promote available installation times will be added soon.

Understanding the sheer volume of business generated through online marketplaces that brick and mortar businesses are not participating in, prompted the company to look for a solution that allows their customers to claw back some of that lost revenue. Keystone has launched its Parts Via Amazon Marketplace store. This storefront will sell products under the Parts Via banner and generate similar benefits for the member Network Dealers. The storefront’s current 2,661 SKUS are made up of high-volume MAP brands that help maintain margins throughout the supply chain.

“As we thought about the introduction of Parts Via Phase II, we wanted to leverage some of the unique capabilities we are providing our customers and wrap them into a loyalty program,” said Larry Montante, VP Category Management. “We are introducing the Parts Via Loyalty program in conjunction with the Phase II launch.” The new loyalty program employs a tiered approach to participation that makes getting involved easy and scalable for future growth regardless of a business’s size, focus or markets served. As a Parts Via Network Dealer’s participation and engagement with Keystone grows so to do the benefits of being in the Parts Via Loyalty Program.

The dealer’s benefits will be determined by their status within the Silver, Gold and Platinum levels of the program. Some examples of the benefits include dealer web locator placement and positioning, Parts Via profit share, installation network inclusion, marketing support, BIG Show benefits, preferred product access, exclusive promotional opportunities, unique travel and event incentives, and Keystone services incentives.

“Just like airline mileage programs, we intend to award points and member benefits based on sales and other goals,” says Montante. He adds, “We will be using an online rewards tracking program that will allow our customers to monitor their status in real time and redeem their points on a variety of member rewards.” The availability of these new tools and services will allow Keystone to expand the Parts Via value proposition to its Brand Partners and Network Dealers driving more business back into local businesses.   

Keystone is the leading distributor and marketer of automotive aftermarket products and services, uniquely positioned to offer customers and suppliers substantial scale, the most comprehensive inventory selection in the industry, high levels of customer service, and innovative marketing support. Keystone is committed to expanding its offerings to meet the ever-growing needs of its customer base, providing them what they need, when they need it.

Keystone Now Offers Black Horse Off Road

Keystone Automotive Operations Inc. has added Black Horse Off Road to its stable of truck and off-road product offerings.

Long Island-based Black Horse Off Road has grown from a small wholesaler of accessories to a nationally-recognized brand during the past 15 years, according to Keystone. The company offers grille guards, bull bars, brush guards, safari bars, hard tonneau covers, no-drill side step systems and running boards, bumper guards, lighting solutions, and electric winches.

The company’s latest offering, the Black Horse Armour Bull Bar, is constructed of heavy-duty stainless steel in an aggressive and modern angular design, available for a variety of makes and models.

Black Horse Off Road recently announced a partnership with American Luxury Coach (ALC), which debuted a limited-edition Black Horse Series 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 at SEMA 2018.

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