In March, 1977, the first of what would become known as the Northeast Automotive Services Show, or better known as simply, the Northeast Trade Show, is presented by the North Jersey Auto Body Association (NJABA) at the Ramada Inn in Rochelle Park, NJ. The show is called “Allied Member Night.” The show was the brainchild of Ron Mucklow, NJABA president for 1977 and 78, George Threlfall, founder of NJABA along with former NJABA presidents Dave Demarest and Jim Bowers. It was a table-top show strictly for local jobbers, allowing them to show off their latest products. “This was the days before spray booths, frame machines and all that stuff” said George Petrask, NJABA president for 1981 – 82 in a 2017 magazine interview.
Ron Mucklow and George Petrask handed out a “bunch of tickets”, set up the room and waited for people to show. Nobody came, the two men thought it was a bust, and left for dinner. A short time later they returned to find throngs of people waiting for the doors to open. It was claimed that the fire department was called and no more people were allowed to enter the room because it was so packed.
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