Sept. 1, 2016
New product introductions are always a highlight of ALOA

There are 106 reasons why you may want to attend the upcoming ALOA convention in Orlando, Florida. 106 refers to the amount of exhibitor groups currently scheduled to have booths at the convention.

Beginning in 1980, I have attended every ALOA convention without fail. While apprentice locksmiths are probably most attracted to ALOA for education, my interest has always been on the introduction of new products. My anticipation builds as it gets closer to ALOA convention time.

A bundle of new products have been introduced at ALOA since 1980. Just consider automotive products. Transponder was not in the locksmith vocabulary in 1980. Ford had a double-sided key but it would be several years before GM and Chrysler followed the trend.

Cylindrical lever handle locksets, electronic key machines, sidewinder keys, auto remotes, and dozens of other products and inventions have sprung up over the last 36 years to provide additional ways of doing business and additional ways to make a profit.

My ALOA rememberances are based on unforgettable events. Every ALOA convention city seems to have great places to eat. I especially remember ALOA conventions in New Orleans where you can find great food at any restaurant in town. Remember the smoke and fumes coming from the sewers during an ALOA convention in Baltimore? Sounds bad but it is just another way to keep all those ALOA memories alive.

During the 1980s I worked for a manufacturer. A locksmith informed this company that he had an invention which could bypass their patents and that he would have a booth at the ALOA convention to introduce his new product. ALOA conventioners were probably unaware of the large group of company lawyers who walked the ALOA aisles that year with legal briefs at hand.

What new products will the ALOA convention have this year? Company names we have known for many years are no longer on the 2016 ALOA exhibitor list. This can only mean that other newer companies have taken their place and that means new and different products to learn about, purchase and sell. It's another year for the big show and I can hardly wait.