Last week, Phoenix Bats hit the road down to Nashville, Tennessee to attend the annual American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Convention and show off some of our products at the convention trade show. It was an excellent trip, both fun and productive, so we wanted to share a little bit about our experience.
About the ABCA: From their site, “the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Its nearly 13,000 members represent all 50 states and 25 countries.
Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches in June 1945, Association membership has broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA, Pacific Association Division, High School and Youth.”
About the convention: “The 2020 ABCA Convention, held in Nashville from January 2-5, 2020 concluded after four jam-packed days of baseball featuring 7,100 coaches and more than 350 baseball companies in attendance.
The convention, which was held in the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, featured more than 50 clinics across the main clinic hall, Youth Coaches Session and Expo Theater.
In addition, attendees explored the nearly 200,000 sq. ft. ABCA Trade Show, participated in Q&A and Hot Stove Sessions, celebrated coaching peers receiving awards, took part in committee & divisional meetings, networked at the ABCA Coaches Social and more throughout the weekend!”
Interview with Brian Chenetski, Senior Vice President of Sales
What were your goals for attending the conference?
The overall goal was to make connections in the industry and to solidify relationships and connections that we already have. Being a national company, we have coaches in California, Florida, all over the country that we’ve worked with over the years but not met in person. More than anything, it was a networking opportunity and a coming out party for our metal bats.
What was the trade show like?
We were just an exhibitor in the trade show; we didn’t participate in any of the meetings. It was a great experience and we learned that we offer a superior level of customer service and customization and just a superior overall product. We just blow everyone else away with what we offer our customers. We had a good feeling about that beforehand, but it was great to be able to confirm that. It allows us to get a feel for not only where we currently stand in the market, but where we can improve as well. It allows us to solidify the things we’re doing better.
The most important thing that you can gain from these shows, and this is the largest one in the industry, is the perception and exposure you get. And we got some glowing reviews across the board and really great feedback in real-time from people trying our products. It’s a chance to gauge the perception about what we’ve been doing for years and what we’re planning on doing.
What did you feature at the trade show?
We featured our wood bat line that we’ve always had, and we really focus—because it’s a coach’s convention—we focus a lot on our fungo and training bats. We actually didn’t bring any game wood bats because we were so focused on the fungo and training bats. We also showcased a couple prototypes of our new line of metal bats that featured our new logo, and we let people try those out.
What was the most popular feature?
The fungos are really, really popular, and we’re one of the most popular fungo manufacturers in the bat-making industry. The fungos are always the belle of the ball for these kinds of shows.
The way that we really set ourselves apart in this industry, especially from the bigger name companies, if someone walks up to one of their booths, they’re getting an impersonal experience of talking to a minimum wage intern, not the people who make the bats. Whereas when they walk up to our booth, they’re meeting Joel, the CEO and part owner, Brad, the President, and myself, and we’re the people who answer the phone or chat online. When you come to our booth, you’re talking to an expert and you’re getting a personal touch too.
For more baseball resources and articles, check out our Phoenix Bats Blog, or if you’re looking for your next wooden bat, check out our killer line of baseball and softball bats. Our experts are always on standby to answer questions and help you find the perfect bat.