Open Season

March 20, 2019

It has been a long hard winter in most parts of the country. From rainfall and floods to deep snow, we have seen it all. With the beginning of spring come conventions, almost like dandelions popping out of the ground.

My earliest recollection of any type of locksmith convention was ALOA, which at that time occurred every two years. There was no other, so the ALOA convention was a big deal. My father, mother and three other siblings would jump in the car and travel across country to wherever ALOA was held.

Whenever any undertaking is successful there are bound to be imitators. Probably the first groups to enter the convention business were Locksmith associations. I can remember when conventions such as New Jersey Locksmith Association, New York Locksmith Association, Serlac, Texas Locksmith Association, Greater Philadelphia Locksmith Association, The Greater Chicago Locksmith Association, California Locksmith Association, Yankee and Red Deer in Canada all had very successful annual conventions. Sorry if I missed any but those were all conventions which I personally attended more than once.

All of these locksmith association conventions filled a purpose. They were profitable ventures and filled association bank accounts. Locksmith association conventions were also localized so locksmiths could attend without losing a week of work while attending a national convention.

It was not long before distributors discovered convention benefits. Distributors could stage a weekend convention, attract buyers and make sales. In individual cases distributors have worked with local associations for the benefit of all. Yankee and Greater Philadelphia Locksmith Association are two fine examples of flourishing annual conventions.

During the last decade or two there do not seem to be enough weekends left in the year for every convention to be scheduled. There may also be other reasons but many of the associations mentioned above no longer stage conventions. As a result the importance of local locksmith associations has diminished almost to the point of extinction.

In addition, many of the same trainers are brought in for local distributor conventions so the need for locksmiths to attend a national convention is less necessary. Add in information available on the internet and most conventions simply no longer have much of an attraction value.

In a few weeks the International Security Conference (ISC) will convene in Las Vegas. ISC always meets in Las Vegas and has a second eastern conference later in the year in New York. 20,000 people attend the Las Vegas ISC Conference. If we were voting on the topic, my vote would be to follow the lead of ISC and stage only two large locksmith conventions, one east and one west and in the same cities year after year. Presently the amount of conventions is like ice cream. Too much of a good thing loses its taste in a hurry.