Above: Jeff Ragusa presents Frank Cannata with a trophy honoring him for supporting ICDA and veteran’s causes. Joining Frank and Jeff are Carol and CJ Cannata.
Next month we will celebrate our 43rd year in business. Our objective since January 1979 has been to help manufacturers receive the optimum results from selling their products to the independent dealer channel. With such an objective, we sought out OEMs and were able to engage with them successfully. To do this, we needed to stay in close contact with dealers to learn and understand their issues with their OEMs. To get the best results, manufacturers needed to be aware of any potential problems that would impede the dealer’s best performance. NOMDA/BTA Conventions and regional meetings were the best vehicles for that.
In 1976-77 a group of independent copier dealers came together to address their grievances against a particular manufacturer. This became CDA (Copier Dealers Association) led by Paul Shields, who owned Copytronix, a dealership in Jacksonville, Florida. Today there are seven such organizations. How each independent dealer group operates is exactly how it was laid out originally by CDA.
In 1982, Shields invited me to a CDA meeting. It was the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship. In 2021-2022 we presented at SDG, CDA, and, most recently, ICDA (Independent Copier Dealer Alliance). In all except CDA, CJ and I presented as a team. We have been doing this since CJ joined us in 2013.
We have already committed to speaking at American Co-op, BPCA, CDA, ICDA, and Pro Dealer Group in 2023. These groups provide dealers with an invaluable forum to share best business practices and learn from experts in their respective fields.
On November 30, we attended the ICDA meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. This is a group with fewer members than the other groups. Their meetings have a well-balanced agenda that addresses several key areas.
At the most recent meeting, members heard from Nick Capparelli, managing director of LEAF Commercial Capital, who discussed the areas where leasing companies can best assist dealers in achieving their respective goals. He was not selling LEAF but how the dealers can work more effectively with their leasing providers.
Next was Chuck Schmidt, senior business development manager for Static Control Components. His presentation focused on his company’s cartridge line solutions for major OEMs. This company has an excellent working relationship with HP, providing competitive cartridges for the printers they manufacture. It was an excellent presentation and offered some answers for MPS.
Mark Fry, attorney at law, Phelps Dunbar LLP and legal counsel for ICDA, answered questions regarding non-competes in the states where members’ businesses are located. It was highly informative as well.
CJ and I presented our message on why dealers need to diversify.
Wes McArtor, president of Nexera, concluded the presentations on the benefits his company could provide if allowed to collect machine performance data from all ICDA members. In addition, he offered some especially important pandemic data from a substantial number of dealer clients. The meeting concluded with an open discussion about what are the members doing to adapt to the challenges of the post-pandemic environment.
At both the CDA and ICDA meetings, we were invited to stay for the entire meeting and appreciate these organizations’ trust in us. Not every independent dealer organization extends the same courtesy.
We were given two distinct honors from ICDA members at the recent meeting. We were voted in as honorary members of their organization, and CJ and I are welcome to attend any or all of their meetings. We were also given an impressive trophy of an American Eagle with our flag.
Jeff Ragusa, president of Applied Business Concepts in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, stated, “The trophy is intended to acknowledge Frank Cannata’s service as a U.S. Marine and his ongoing commitment to our veterans who have given so much to our country.”
We were overwhelmed by this generous display of respect from this group of dealers. We are incredibly grateful and will do our best to continue our efforts to help dealers and our veterans as best as possible.
This may be self-serving, considering what we just shared with you. If you are interested in working with a group with open territories and a chance to collaborate with dealers that hold meetings that are highly relevant to the members, then ICDA is an organization to consider.
We highly recommend all the other groups, including American Co-op, BPCA, BTA, CDA, Pro Dealer, and SDG. They all offer excellent value. ICDA provides a unique situation. Due to their smaller numbers, they offer more open territories. That plus the fact they have well-structured and highly informative meetings.
The next ICDA meeting is in March, and CJ and I have already agreed to present in San Antonio. If you would like to sit in on that meeting and determine if it is the right one for you, please get in touch with CJ (email@example.com) or me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let us know of your interest in learning more about ICDA or any of the other groups.
Becoming a member of any of these groups will help dealers learn a great deal when they start sharing their best business practices. Each dealer’s challenges are not unique and learning how others deal with the same situation is priceless.