In every measurable way, the 2011 SEMA Show reached new heights. Industry professionals gathered by the tens of thousands November 1–4 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, eager to do business in a specialty-equipment market that is clearly looking up after several years of downbeat economic news. From the Show’s educational conferences to its special events and the activity on the Show floor itself, the energy and enthusiasm were palpable and inescapable.
Sulahian has always had a knack for shows and events. Raised in Beirut, Lebanon, he got his start in business at age seven, assisting in his father’s tire enterprise. Immigrating to Southern California as a teenager, he soon realized that local swap meets offered little in the way of automotive parts, so he went to work filling the gap. His first booth featured mats, seat covers, wiper blades and related accessories.