NMEDA conference: Group emphasizes end users

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) will hold its annual conference and expo in Daytona Beach, Fla., March 3-5, where its theme, “the business of caring,” will speak to the automobile industry as whole, rather than a specific objective. 

“People come to our guys in a difficult situation,” said Danny Langfield, CEO of NMEDA. “They want to be mobile; they want to feel like they have their independence back. So we can say it’s just a car dealer selling a car, but it really isn’t. You’re in the business of caring.”

Approximately 75 exhibitors are expected to attend the three-day event, as well as more than 225 dealers.

The biggest difference at this year’s conference: three general sessions, including a highly anticipated discussion called, “The Rolling Disrupters.” The panel featured Dr. Rory Cooper, a bioengineer and professor at the University of Pittsburgh; Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham, a wheelchair motocross athlete; Sam Schmidt, a former Indycar driver; and Noah Currier, founder of Oscar Mike Apparel and OMFoundation—all trailblazers and wheelchair users.

Why are their voices especially important? Two words, says Langfield: "end user."

“At the end of the day, our dealers are successful when they keep one thing in mind: the end user that’s actually going to drive away, sometimes with tears in their eyes going, ‘I can't believe this; I got my independence back,’” he said.

For dealers wanting to update their retail location without spending $250,000 on a renovation, there will be a new learning track called, “The Physical Experience: Your Store, Your Customer.”

“If you say, ‘My store is kind of old and dodgy; I don't like it; I want to refresh this thing,’ think about how your customer experiences your store,” said Langfield. “What’s the first thing they see? What are the colors? Is it accessible? Some of these guys might have owned their store for 15, 20 years and they don't think about it anymore.”

As for next year’s conference, NMEDA and the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED) have agreed to co-locate their events to better serve their mutual members.