Sudden Resurgence

Aug. 21, 2019

As a person who has attended ALOA conventions for decades, the 2019 convention in Las Vegas was a pleasant surprise. My recollections extend back to my youth when our whole family travelled across country by car each year to wherever ALOA was being held. Aisles were filled right up to closing time on Sunday afternoon in those days.

During the last few years, might I say decades, ALOA has attracted what seemed to be lessening crowds of locksmiths. Perhaps it was the convention locations or the aging of locksmiths as a group, or for some other unknown reason. Whatever the cause, convention aisles were often rather quiet. Exhibitors whom I talked with over the years mentioned noticing the same thing.

ALOA 2019 seemed to be back on track. For two days of exhibits there was a constant flow of attendees in the aisles. Many regular exhibitors had booths along with a large group of new exhibitors for locksmiths to visit. As in the last few years, automotive booths were the busiest. Automotive booths attracted mostly young people, which is a welcome sign for the future of our business.

For the first time that I can recall, companies large and small had displays of their electronic access control products. While not as busy as the automotive booths, at least it is a start towards what the future of locksmithing will be. In conjunction with the 2019 ALOA convention, a large number of classes concentrated on electronic access control training.

Probably the most telling sign from ALOA 2019 was the fact that I did not recognize most of the attendees who passed by the Locksmith Ledger booth. This can only mean that a fresh crop of people are showing interest in locksmithing. While there were still many traditional locksmith products and tools on display, this new group of locksmiths spent their time where new and fresh products and ideas were on display. All-in-all I left Las Vegas with a much better feeling about the state of our industry.