Uni-Select Ontario hosted another successful annual “Woodbine Night” for 2019.
The event took place on the evening of June 12 in the paddock of the Woodbine Racetrack, in Rexdale, Ont. Vendors, jobbers and automotive service providers came together to enjoy an evening of fun and networking. Besides the Greater Toronto Area, people came in from Milton, Guelph, Stratford, Hamilton, and Barrie, among other places.
As per the norm, all attendees were treated to a lavish buffet spread with rounds of drinks. While the vendor booths were teeming with people eager to discuss business, tables at the venue were full of jobbers and their customers dining, networking and relaxing.
Vendors at this invitation-only event paid to take advantage of this exclusive platform. Due to the space constraint at the venue, only 40 vendors were allowed to participate this year. Uni-Select invited only those who are connected to its banner program. Additionally, the organization requested its members to bring their banner customers to attend as well. According to Uni-Select’s Ontario team, the idea was to bring in people who had good reason to be present at the trade show.
“This event is not an ordinary trade show. We call this an experience because nobody creates this kind of experience for their customer base,” said Kam Sukhram, Marketing Manager at Uni-Select. “We give the attendees a sense of belonging to a very strong network. They meet people, exchange ideas, and feel very special. Besides the sales side of it, a lot of information exchange takes place. So many elements are connected to this single trade show.”
Sukhram added that even vendors are happy to participate as in one night they get to meet hundreds of automotive service providers. There is a subtle sales program that goes on behind the scenes. Uni-Select requests vendors to come up with promotions and it prints flyers for them. Customers attending the event visit the booths, pick up flyers and have a month’s time to decide on what products they would like to purchase. The idea is to give the shops the opportunity to relax and enjoy the event, then go back and take time to make decisions.
“We never have to worry about how successful the event is going to be,” said Sukhram. “It generates a lot of buzz months ahead of time. We do not promote it. It has a life of its own.”
Uni-Select chooses a different theme for the event every year. The theme for 2019 was “Members’ ASP Incentive Trip to Punta Cana”. The trip is also part of the organization’s efforts to create “experiences” for people.
Although the venue had the capacity to hold only 500 people in a sheltered area, tickets were sent out for 700 people with seating space created outside overlooking the paddock. “We didn’t want to compromise,” explained Sukhram. “If we have a good location and good food, people come in and have a good time.”
The day was truly put together for the benefit of the customers; the sole focus was on creating an experience for the people.
“I don’t think any vendor is going to go home tonight disappointed even if they are not able to earn a penny or do something productive. The customers are able to meet them in a tension-free setting. Everyone sees this as an opportunity to build relationships,” concluded Sukhram.
After an exciting action-packed night, Uni-Select is already gearing up for its next big event—the Annual Charity Golf Tournament—that is to take place on July 16.