The American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) has revealed its plan to move North America’s premier powersports trade show to a new host city in 2017, with Columbus, Ohio, set to welcome the industry next fall. The Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) will open its doors to hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of dealer and consumer attendees next September 21-24, 2017 for the landmark fifth year of the event.
Geographically, Columbus is ideally placed with 41 percent of both franchised and independent dealerships in the U.S. located within a 500-mile radius, including major markets like Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, and more. Ohio’s state capitol is also the 15th-largest city in the country, and consistently ranks among the top cities for business growth.
“The key questions are ‘Why Move’, and ‘Why Columbus’,” said Larry Little, Vice President and General Manager, AIMExpo. “When we debuted AIMExpo as a new platform for the powersports industry, Orlando proved an outstanding launch location, but the vision was always to visit other geographical centers. Carefully listening to the exhibitor and greater industry community it was clear that our next step would be to a location more immediately accessible to the retailer population.”
“Why Columbus?” Mike Webster, Senior Vice President, MIC Events added, “Ideally situated among one of the highest concentration of dealers anywhere in America, the Greater Columbus Convention Center is the perfect size for AIMExpo to take over the whole convention center and to own the town. The city center location and adjoining hotels will deliver the tight-knit industry experience attendees have also requested. Columbus is a model of urban revitalization and the ‘after-show’ atmosphere with hundreds of restaurants, bars, and markets, all within just a few blocks must be seen and experienced to be appreciated.”
Following a recent visit by legacy AIMExpo exhibitors to the new convention center and greater Columbus area, their reactions captured why the motorcycle and powersports industry will appreciate the move.
“After coming here, I’m blown away,” said Chris Sackett, Vice President of Bell Helmets. “The hospitality, the way people are treating us, the amount of stuff to do, the weather – it’s been absolutely beautiful. Once people actually come here and see it, it’s definitely the right place to have this event. I’m now 100 percent sold.”
"I’m a smaller company but I took a chance with AIMExpo - was an inaugural exhibitor - and every year it has paid off,” said Todd Wilson, President of HMC Industries. "Now that I’ve been able to visit (Columbus), it blows my mind. This place is great. I’m absolutely positive that [dealer proximity] will be a game changer for the show."
Since its inception in 2013, AIMExpo has shown impressive growth each year in Orlando, Florida, with 2016 showing its most significant growth to date for dealer registration, increasing to 130 percent of this point last year. With this strategic move in 2017 to the largest logistical region for dealerships, those numbers are sure to grow even higher.
Hundreds of exhibitors will showcase the latest the powersports industry has to offer at AIMExpo in just a few weeks in Orlando, October 13-16. In addition to new product launches, the latest innovations being showcased on the show floor, and an expansive demo space outdoors, AIMExpo attendees will have the opportunity to connect with others throughout the industry at numerous networking events, while dealer attendees can take advantage of the unparalleled curriculum of the Powersports DEALER Seminars presented by Powersports Business during the two trade days of AIMExpo, October 13 & 14.