Corvette Expo was the “brain child” of Byron R. Cooper owner, with his Brother Ronny, of Cooper’s Corvette Center in Knoxville Tennessee. Byron opened Cooper’s in 1967 on Broadway in the North end of Knoxville in a rented 4 car garage. Byron remembers the rent was $45 per month and was sometimes hard to come up with. The main focus of Cooper’s was repairing damaged Corvettes for individuals and Insurance Companies, painting Corvettes, customizing Corvettes and mechanical repair; with more work than Byron could handle, he asked his brother Ronny to join in the business and a partnership was formed that continues today. In 1969 the Brothers bought a building close to their old location at 5611 N. Broadway, they still operate there today. The purchase of the new larger facility allowed the Cooper’s to also sell Corvettes as well as repair them.
Early in 1976 Byron came up with the idea to have a Corvette show and open house at their business location on Broadway and invite several of the vendors that he and Ronny had met through the Corvette business. He talked with several of the neighboring businesses to gain enough space to do a Show and Swap Meet, but soon found that there simply was not enough space on location at Cooper’s to promote such an Event. After shelving the idea for a while, it stayed on Byron’s mind and several months later, Byron decided to rent a local location and continue his plans for a Corvette show. The Jacob Building in Knoxville’s Chilhowee Park was rented, a date was set, flyers went out, posters went up, ads were placed, calls were made, and Corvette Expo was born.
On the first weekend in March 1977, Corvette Expo opened its gates to a full house and a huge crowd of Corvette Enthusiasts paying a $2 general admission. As they say, the rest is history….Corvette Expo celebrated their 35th anniversary in 2012 making Corvette Expo the longest running Corvette Event in the Nation continuously operated by the same owners. Also in 2012, Corvette Expo was inducted into the Bloomington Gold® Corvette “Great Hall”.
Over the years, Corvette Expo has been held at several locations in the Knoxville area as well as in Atlanta. A Fall Event was added in October of 1990. Cooper Events currently promotes 2 Corvette Expo’s each year at the Sevierville Convention Center in Sevierville, TN.
Corvette Expo is still owned by Byron and Ronny Cooper. Brenda Cooper, Byron’s wife, runs the office on Broadway and Byron is responsible of the promotion of the Events and Ronny handles the Vendors that attend the Event. The Cooper’s also promote the Pigeon Forge Rod Run twice a year and the Knoxville Christmas Fair each November.
Corvette Expo is a show for the Corvette enthusiast that is celebrating its 39th year this year. It is held twice a year Spring and Fall in East Tennessee.