When the Boss Is Away...
Papadeas' relationship with IASCA goes back much further than one year, however. His professional interest in car shows can be traced to what he is arguably best-known for, the Spring Break Nationals, an annual event he founded that sprang from an Alpine Electronics-promoted program. "I went to an Alpine dealer seminar in 1987 in Palm Springs," he remembered. "I heard about Car Audio Nationals. This was a promotional event that was designed to increase my sales by stimulating the competitive spirit within my customers." The theory is that if Customer A is beat by Customer B in an installation competition, then Customer A will buy more in order to win a future contest.
"When I went to the seminar and started to listen, I thought, 'This is really cool,'" he said. "The main prospect was to do better in sales, because at that time I had just taken over the business when the family started to disperse." (Sound Crafters was started by several members of his family; today, he is the only member still in the business.) Papadeas bought into a car audio nationals event and held the first one in 1987, calling it "Sound Crafters' Car Audio Show Down." It was held in a parking lot down the street from the store. Fifty cars from shops around the state participated, and the spectacle attracted about 20 to 30 passersby. Today, the Spring Break Nationals rope in 20,000 attendees. Considering it a success, the next year's event was held at the Ocean Center, Daytona Beach's convention center and arena. The name of the event was changed to the Spring Break Nationals, coinciding with the college tourist season, and it embarked on a major growth curve.
By the 1989 event, Papadeas got more than he bargained for. The onslaught of competitors, eager to get their cars noticed, and the steady stream of curious, vacationing college students, were more demanding than they had ever been. In the end, a handful of judges worked from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. to inspect 280-plus cars from all over the