ARMO at the 2016 SEMA Show
The Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) kicked off the SEMA Show in Las Vegas with its annual industry awards reception, held at the Westgate Resort & Casino. With the first day of the Show in the books, ARMO members headed to the reception to enjoy drinks, dinner and networking with fellow restoration professionals.
Accomplished car builder and TV personality, Tim Strange emceed the event in a progressive style. The council awarded one deserving individual and one deserving member company with its annual industry awards.
ARMO Person of the Year: Dave Mihalko Sr., Restoration Specialties & Supply
Dave Mihalko Jr. and Jeff Mihalko of Restoration Specialties accepted the ARMO Person of the Year award for their late father.
Dave Mihalko bought his first car—a ’29 Model A Ford—in 1955 at the age of 14. His $35 investment ignited a lifelong passion for classic cars. In 1980, he became owner of Restoration Specialties & Supply. His passion for classic cars extended far beyond the Model A, and his collection included a ’63 Porsche 356 and a ’56 Thunderbird, which he purchased for his wife, Mary Alice, on their 50th wedding anniversary.
Mihalko was a pioneer in the field of providing restoration supplies and was a familiar face to thousands in the hobby. He was a 54-year member of the Antique Automobile Club of America and was one of the original members of ARMO. He exhibited a lifelong dedication to the restoration industry and hobby and was a longtime supporter of SEMA and ARMO.
ARMO Business of the Year: Auto Custom Carpets Inc.
Auto Custom Carpets Inc. was named ARMO Business of the Year. Accepting the award was Ken Howell (center), owner of Auto Custom Carpets.
For years, Auto Custom Carpets Inc. dominated the market with vast, quality product offerings and speed of delivery. This year, ACC raised the bar even higher by putting a focus on its customers and launching initiatives to help make doing business with ACC easier than ever. That includes going live in the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) with more than 1 million products at the SDC’s highest Platinum level.
ACC also launched ACC Bridge, which is the company’s online product configurator. Its simple plug-and-play architecture is designed to be embedded into a customer’s website, allowing ACC to take the database burden off its customers and allow them to focus on promotion and sales growth.
ACC also launched a new website and is making major strides with social marketing like never before.
General Membership Meeting
ARMO held a general membership meeting at the SEMA Show, with more than 40 members in attendance. Select-committee members provided updates on council initiatives and provided insights on volunteer opportunities. The meeting featured a special presentation on “Data and E-commerce in the Restoration Market.” Todd McLure led a panel discussion on how data and e-commerce in today’s market go hand in hand and how to best utilize this approach for restoration businesses.
Restoration Builder’s Panel
Well-known restoration builders addressed a crowd of 130 attendees looking to gain insights on best business practices and tricks of the trade and walk away from the SEMA Show with applicable information. Panelist included Tim Strange of Strange Motion Rod and Kustom; Robert Whitter, an independent restoration specialist; Chris Ryan of Ryan’s Rod and Custom; and Jim and Mike Ring of Ringbrothers.
The panel kept the crowd engaged as they recounted for attendees how they got started as restoration builders and how they find their customers, sharing advice they wished they knew when they were getting started. Topics during an open question-and-answer session at the end included whether and why the builders turn away restoration builds, how they source parts and their policies on whether they allow customers to bring in their own parts.