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I started my career during the last gasps of an old media world, where the number — 30 — at the bottom of a printed page meant “End of Story.” It signaled to editors and news page paginators (anyone under the age of 30 heard of them?) that no more words were forthcoming from the reporter. It was time to size up the columns and go to press.
LCT hits 30 years this month, and in many ways the timing of this anniversary coincides with a big “30” mark for the limousine industry. The end of a news story simply means that’s all there is to say that day; tomorrow will bring another story. In that sense, a story is more like a chapter, ending for only a brief period until the next one can be told.
The limousine industry is at a major “30” transition point, with old tales told and new ones waiting. LCT’s anniversary in 2013 wraps up a lot of endings, with some more welcome than others, but all leading to big changes.
Lincoln Town Cars: That story is definitely over, with the retirement of the wide, sturdy stalwart of a sedan that dominated the limousine industry for two decades. The passing of the Town Car feels like losing those first generation Pan Am Clipper jets, the Boeing 707s and original 747s with the legroom, food and classy service that once defined air travel. (I remember those planes from my youth, when my family dressed up for a red-eye across the Atlantic). The new story here is that we now see a free-for-all vehicle market, one that includes the crossover styled MKT Town Car vying in a wide field of more choices and competitors. This is one new story that will take a long time to write.
Great Recession Gone: Thank goodness that drama is over, for now. Reflecting the wider improvement in the industry, LCT Magazine returns to its first full-agenda year since 2008: 12 issues and three events: International LCT Show, Leadership Summit and LCT Show East. We’re seeing the number of limousine operators and vendors grow again, and more industry sales across the board.
Back to the Future: One reason LCT returns to Atlantic City, N.J., for its East Coast Show is because our main competitor for the last 21 years decided last year to move its annual trade show out of there. Definitely the end of one story, driven by a tawdry tabloidy tale and a split partnership, but also a continuance of an even older story: LCT launched the first major industry trade show in Atlantic City in 1984.