This annual customer event sets the standard by which all other customer events should be measured.
(Pictured above: The Cannata Report’s Frank Cannata flanked by Jack Stargel, CEO of Stargel Office Solutions (L) and Jack’s son, Tyson, vice president, Star Managed Services (R), during the company’s open house at Minute Maid Park in Houston.)
We received an invitation from Tyson Stargel, vice president of Stargel Office Solutions, to provide a keynote address at the dealership’s annual technology show. Held at Minute Maid Park in Houston, home of baseball’s Houston Astros, this is quite an event. This year’s theme was “Take It Back.” We were blown away by the size of the venue, including the Union Station Lobby attached to the park where much of the action took place.
When a dealer invites us to an open house, we normally expect 50 to 100 customers. Stargel has been doing this for many years and attendance has grown from 75 people to more than 500 customers. The event includes food, beverages, a presentation from Stargel Office Solutions, and a baseball game.
Vendors are scattered around the periphery of the room where the event is held. Customers typically arrive at 4:30 PM, eat, walk around the room and receive hardware demos from Stargel’s vendors, such as HP, Toshiba, Xerox, Lexmark, and DocuWare.
Jack Stargel, CEO of Stargel Office Solutions, is a member of Select Dealer Group (SDG), and when he discovered we were presenting at the SDG meeting on May 9, he invited us to participate in Stargel’s Open House on May 7.
This was by far one of the best organized open houses that we have ever attended. It is a different type of audience than we are used to—they listened closely to all of the presentations, including ours. We absolutely loved the experience.
At the SDG meeting, Jack and his two sons Tyson and Slade spoke about the history behind the open house and how they’ve developed it as it has grown. The result is an event that brings together existing and potential customers to see all the products and services Stargel provides.
The sales team is charged with encouraging prospects to attend and are compensated for it. Jack credits Toshiba for the years it has sponsored this event and made it possible to keep expanding. The size of this open house has precluded any one manufacturer supporting the entire cost. However, Toshiba remains the leading sponsor.
This is the second dealer event we have presented at this year. The other was an internal sales meeting at Impact Networking. We continue to be impressed by the quality of these dealers’ events. The vendors that sponsor these meetings are doing far more than helping a local dealer. It helps promotes the image of the independent office equipment/solutions provider dealer. It projects beyond a limited area as it alerts the manufacturers, software companies, and leasing companies there is great merit in helping dealers sell more of their products.
It is a win-win for everyone. Most of all it continues to demonstrate the vitality of the distribution and one of the many reasons venture capitalists find our industry so important. Dealers are proving every day that they understand how to win and that is no small feat in such a competitive environment.
We are in the midst of our annual dealer survey and we have dealers who are kind enough to participate every year. This allows us to see just how well they are growing their businesses. You have to be impressed when you see a dealer like Jack Stargel grow his business five times through one of the worst economic periods (2008 – 2014) we have ever experienced since the Great Depression.
Congratulations to Jack and his two sons, Slade, and Tyson for the outstanding job they are doing in Houston and we wish them continued success. Thanks, guys, for having us, we really enjoyed it.
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