Forty-three seminars. Eighty-five exhibitors. Oh, and don’t forget the golf and the opportunity for fine dining.
The Pool Industry Expo in Monterey, Calif., last month had something for everyone.
True to its roots, the show appealed primarily to pool service technicians, but there also were offerings for builders and retailers.
“The city sells itself,” said Bill Hoy, PIE co-director and owner of Skyline Pools in Menlo Park, Calif. The show moved to Monterey more than 20 years ago. Its location enables attendees, 3,869 of them this year, to combine a chance to gain valuable industry knowledge with the opportunity to relax in a leading tourist destination.
This year, some unseasonably warm weather might’ve lowered attendance figures.
“We wanted to bring the whole crew, but we couldn’t because they were too busy because of the weather,” said Joe Lopes of Pristine Pool Service in Fresno, Calif.
This was the second time at the show for Francisco Torres, a service technician at Vasco — The Pool People in Hanford, Calif. As in his previous visit, he availed himself of the seminars, brushing up on LED lights. He said that after taking a lighting class during a previous PIE, he was able to improve his company’s lighting business.
Eighty percent of the showgoers are from Northern California, according to Hoy. However the event also draws heavily from Southern California and throughout the nation.
The seminars ranged from the very basic — “Pool Service Technician 101” — to control-system troubleshooting, water chemistry and tax plans for small businesses.
“Where else are you going to learn all this?” asked Don Koss, a co-director of the show as well as one of its founders. Koss said he and Hoy continually evaluate the seminars to decide which should be added for the following year’s PIE.
Exhibitor Jason Wise, vice president of Wise Software, said the show was a success for his company. “It was slow earlier, but it picked up the final day and we saw our best show sales in three or four years,” he said.
Another feature of PIE is that some manufacturers bring their new products there as a sneak preview before the annual International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo, which is held about a month after PIE. This year’s Expo is in New Orleans Nov. 6-8.
One of the regular features of PIE is the museum, set up along the entrance corridor, with pool-service relics from the past. Old vacuums, empty glass chlorine bottles and logos from long-defunct equipment companies are in glass cases. Above, there’s a display of the T-shirts that are designed for each year of the show. The PIE golf tournament, held the Wednesday prior to the show’s opening, drew 68 golfers for the scramble.