Keystone Automotive Operations’ annual aftermarket event – BIG Show East, sponsored by ReadyLIFT Suspension Inc.– was held Feb. 24-25 in Washington, D.C. According to a press release, the event saw record breaking attendance and a surge in sales signaling a strong start to the year.

“We saw double digit attendance growth year over year and our sales were much, much better than anticipated,” Vice President Bill Rogers. “Our customers were engaged with our team and suppliers, which made for a very productive and exciting couple of days.

“We are extremely pleased with how things turned out. We know our customers have a choice on who they buy from and the fact that they showed such overwhelming support for our event means we are doing something right in serving their needs. It was a humbling and rewarding experience for me and the team. We are very thankful for everyone that attended,” concluded Rogers.

BIG Show East attracts a broad mix of automotive aftermarket specialty business segments including speed and performance and truck and off-road. The 194,000-square-foot exhibit hall was filled with more than 200 exhibitors and featured a 4,000-square-foot products showcase area, product spotlight theater and a wide assortment of customized vehicles and trailers.

This year’s event theme, “Celebrate Industry Milestones”, recognized many iconic industry brand anniversaries – Chevy Camaro – 50 years, Jeep – 75 years and Keystone – 45 years.

The New Products Reception on Friday night, sponsored by Raybestos, included opening the entire show floor for the evening, with a spotlight on the newest, most exciting aftermarket products for 2017.

“Our goal this year was to provide more face-to-face time between our staff, suppliers and customers in an environment that focused on networking and product information gathering,” said Kaur. “Based on the feedback, the opportunity to visit and spend more time learning about companies and products was really well received. At the end of the night we had to turn the lights out to get folks off the floor. That’s when you know you’ve really provided a quality experience for everyone.”

Saturday was packed with activities. Prize giveaways and celebrity appearances by Rutledge Wood in the Magnaflow booth and World Champion drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. in the K&N booth were a few of the highlights. A happy hour sponsored by Spyder closed the event.

During the closing customer appreciation reception, hosted by Warn, a variety of prizes including a trip for two to one of the 2018 events and cash awards were given to many lucky guests. The evening highlight was a short film by Warn that was shot in the scenic mountain and sand dune landscapes of Oregon.

BIG Show West, Keystone’s next event, will be held at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas March 17- 18. For information about the event go to keystonebigshows.com.