The Keystone BIG Show, an automotive aftermarket trade show arguably second only to the SEMA Show in importance, will be held Friday, March 5th, and Saturday, March 6th, at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. The in-person show will be followed March 15-19 by a virtual event.
Why is the Keystone Show of any consequence to automotive enthusiasts? As with SEMA, this is where warehouse distributors, shop owners, and installers come to see all the latest parts and accessories. With the cancellation of this show in 2020, along with the SEMA Show, it’s been more than a year since local sources for information and advice in communities across the country have been able to attend a trade event. For an industry based on new products and innovation, it’s difficult not to have access to the companies and brands that are an integral part of the automotive aftermarket.
It could be argued that the virtual trade shows that took place during the pandemic were informative, and to some degree, this would be a valid argument. However, with many parts and accessories, it’s how they are made that makes a big difference, something that’s hard to ascertain from a small image on a computer screen. This includes the fit and finish, a judgment call that shop owners and warehouses need to make before purchasing what you see at a local speed shop or truck center.
Manufacturers representatives do a good job trying to get to all the accounts they can in their territories, but items such as replacement sheetmetal, fabricated bumpers, winches, lift kits, or large shop tools and equipment, aren’t easily transported or shown. Brochures, catalogs, and electronic images only go so far, and this is why this event and the SEMA Show, are so important to this industry.
Despite the inability to hold large automotive consumer shows and events in most areas, sales of automotive parts and accessories have skyrocketed during the coronavirus, due in part to stay at home orders, work from home mandates, and a lack of other activities. Coupled with difficulty in getting your vehicle into a shop that has a following, it has also given a lot of vehicle owners the incentive to do-it-themselves, thus increasing sales of parts, accessories, and tools to perform the installations. The question is, will this phenomenon continue once the majority of Americans have been vaccinated, and COVID-19 has receded?
[Images: Keystone Automotive Operations]