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A Day in the Life of an RCS Reporter at the CRA Trade Show

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July 10, 2021 at 3:00 p.m.

By Cass Jacoby, RCS Reporter.  

My day beat for beat at the CRA Tradeshow. 

8:30 a.m. — Today is the day! Very little captures the excitement of a field trip when you are an adult, but going to a tradeshow on a workday comes pretty close. Set up started at 9, but at around 8:30 my friends (and co-workers), Megan and Colin picked me up to go get coffee (it’s more than a brand, it’s a lifestyle). “This will be” plays on the radio and we all sing along as we make our way to Empowerment Field.  

9:00 a.m. — Megan, Colin and I arrive at Empowerment Field caffeinated and ready for a day of learning about roofing innovations and saying hello to the roofing community. After ten minutes of “looking for our table” (mainly getting distracted by everyone else’s cool swag) we find the promised land: table 88. We grab our tent, sandbags and swag from the car and basically run to set up our station.  

With the temperature outside already nearing the 80’s we broke out our brand-new red tent. We set up the frame with the tarp around it and in a beautiful act of teamwork popped up our giant palace of a tent. Home sweet home.  

9:30 a.m. — I put on my long-sleeved RCS t-shirt, truly believing that I would wear it all day in the heat, and marveled at the box of goodies we had. Megan focused on hanging a sign in the back of the tent as Colin and I set up the table with mountains of RCS swag. We had bumper stickers, koozies, pens, golf tees, magnets, coasters, pins, sticky notes, window stickers, fandana's and, the most prized object on the table, the RCS lunchbox we were raffling off.  

Happy with the look of our booth we had a small photo shoot. Then the announcer came on the microphone... 

10:00 a.m. — The CRA Tradeshow had begun! I looked around and realized all those empty tables from earlier were now covered by tents, fully stocked with demonstrations and swag with smiling faces behind them. I discovered we could put our magnets on the metal parts of our tent and did some last-minute decorating.  

People started to trickle in, coming up to our booth and asking us about RoofersCoffeeShop®. “We are where the industry meets,” Megan (or as Colin and I dubbed her: mini-Heidi) proudly announced to people curious about our booth, giving them a little taste of what the Coffee Shop has to offer.  

I took notes from what a seasoned pro of industry shows Megan is, mentally flagging good talking points.  

Colin, our videographer tapped on my shoulder, “I have the camera all set up, let’s go explore some booths!” I grab some of our bookmarks with our website on them and head off into the show with Colin. 

10:30 a.m. — Looking back to see a supportive thumbs up from Megan, Colin and I set off to find the coolest booth at the CRA (besides RCS of course). We headed first over to Malarkey’s booth. I told the man working at the booth that Colin and I had just finished writing a handful of articles about their smog-resistant, recycled shingles and the company's green initiatives. “It is so cool that you use old tires to make shingles,” I say. “It sure beats them sitting in a landfill,” the man replies.  

Then we headed over to DaVinci Roofscapes, where I got to see their composite slate up close — I even got to touch it! I take notes on the different panels for future article reference, writing down maybe twelve synonyms of “wood-like” and trying to note all the color options.  

Then we headed over to Beacon, where we said a quick hello and filmed a little bit of their booth. I compliment them on their matching polo shirts and they tell me I am brave for rocking my long-sleeved shirt in the 90-degree heat.  

Colin and I decide to head back to the tent to apply some more sunscreen, and so that I can (sadly) change out of my RCS shirt in exchange for pinning a bunch of RCS pins and stickers to a shorter sleeved shirt.   

11:30 a.m. — Megan is all smiles at the tent and is giggling with a few patrons. “We got some business cards for our raffle!” she reports. “We got some footage!” Colin says back.  

I respectfully fold up my RCS shirt. Megan is itching to go out and get some interviews, so I man the table as my friends' head towards the front of the show to go look at the Sashco caulking demo (complete with an ever-raining roof display). 

11:40 a.m. — A kind gentleman is walking around the CRA making sure people have on sunscreen, I tell him thank you for reminding me to reapply and put on my now third layer of sunscreen. While manning the booth I tell a couple of patrons about our RCS club and how they can generate more leads by being able to answer homeowner questions directly on our sister site AskARoofer. I hand out quite a few of our bookmarks detailing the program and encourage people to check out our website.  

Our friends at Beacon approach the tent, jokingly asking if they could film me and asking where our cameraman went. I tell them that Colin and Megan are over on the other side of the tradeshow, but to look out for them so we can grab some more footage. As they are a member of R-club, I offer them our exclusive pin and they happily apply them to their polos. I talk to them a bit more about podcasts and RLW’s at RoofersCoffeeShop and then they took some of our golf tees while remarking, “Tournaments are coming up!”  

12:15 p.m. — Colin and Megan come back with great news, they just got some stellar interviews and saw some cool displays. “Cotney has a nerf gun shooter for swag, what a cool idea,” Colin says. “National Women in Roofing has a booth and they talked to us for a while,” Megan says, setting down her collected swag from being a sharpshooter over at Cotney. I happily report back that I have had some lovely conversations, and the sun is officially high enough so that our table is covered in the shade.  

“No more emerging from the shadows to talk about our cool window decals!” I joke. Colin heads to the car to get his hat as Megan pulls out an ABC Supply branded sunscreen stick and reminds me to apply sunscreen on my hands. “You look a little red,” she says. “I think it’s the reflection of our tent!” I reply. We run tests and discover the tent does give off a bit of a red glow. “We are super dedicated to wearing our company colors,” I joke.  

Colin returns to the booth looking fashionable in a cowboy hat. Picking up the camera, I ask who wants to come with me to explore the west side of the show. Megan happily volunteers and we head towards the SRS booth.  

12:40 p.m. — Megan and I film the SRS booth and say our hellos. We both decide that the bucket hat that they are giving away is of the most prized items of swag we have seen and decide we would both like one. We grab our bucket hats and happily put them on, “Do I look like Paddington the Bear?” I ask. “Yes,” says Megan. “In the absolute best way.” We giggle over towards the Estimating Edge booth.  

“You both just lit up this side of the tradeshow,” the man at Estimating Edge says. We thank him for the compliment and mention that we just finished a great podcast with Estimating Edge for RoofersCoffeeShop. “We love RoofersCoffeeShop!” he replies. “We have to get a picture!” Megan and I pose for some pictures and happily chat about the newer features of Estimating Edge.  

Megan and I then visited DECRAIKO and GAF (under their tent printed to look like a shingled roof!) before deciding we will have to return to the tent to drop off the swag we have been acquiring.  

1:00 p.m. — It's lunch time! Megan grabs our included lunch while Colin and I hydrate. We all power up to sandwiches and cookies the size of our face. Megan surprises us with some drinks from the bar and we all fit our RoofersCoffeeShop coozies on them, excited to rock more merch. We toast to RoofersCoffeeShop and a really fun day (and also that we all grew out of our middle school haircuts).  

A little boy pushing his own stroller runs up to our booth and I hand him a roofing respect sticker. He tries to stick it to his shirt without taking off the film on the back. I ask if I can help and then ceremoniously place the sticker on his shirt. He gives me a big grin, then takes the sticker off his shirt, sticks it to his forehead and runs off to show his dad. “We couldn’t ask for better marketing than that,” I smile.  

1:30 p.m. — We continue to take turns going back the tradeshow while reminding people that we are raffling off our lunchboxes. I go to see the Sashco demonstration for myself and try to figure out the magic behind the ever-rainy roof they have set up.  

With only thirty minutes left of the show, the announcer is almost constantly announcing winners to raffles and directing winners to their prizes. We all start itching to pull a business card out of our mason jar and discover who won the lunchboxes the more prizes we hear.  

1:45 p.m. — We can’t take it anymore! We pull two business cards and Megan runs off to the CRA tent to have the winners announced. When she comes back Colin makes sure to call our winners and direct them to our booth. Megan and I make sure we are easy to find by dancing out front of our tent.  

2:00 p.m. — With the tradeshow done and the lunchboxes given away, it's time to move out. Everyone starts to pack up their swag and their tents, and within ten minutes the field is nearly clear. Megan, Colin and I take our packed-up tent and boxes and head to the car, excited to feel some much needed AC and riding high from how lucky we are to have such a fun day of friends, sun and roofing be a part of our job. 

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