The American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA) has approved a three-year plan for its annual convention and expo that includes a series of changes intended to strengthen the value of the show.
The decisions were made at the association’s Sept. 14 board of director’s meeting, where, under the direction of AWMA’s Convention & Expo Committee, AWMA senior staff, and an industry expert and trade show consultant, the board adopted short-term and long-term strategies. Some of the changes are to rebrand the show as “The AWMA Show – The Convenience Distributor Conference & EXPO,” and to align the show with current business challenges, consolidation among member firms, and difficult economic times.
“Our top priority for the 2010 show and beyond will be building and delivering more value for everyone,” said Sherwin Herring, Southco Distributing Co., and the 2009 AWMA Chairman of the Board. “That starts with creating an event that attracts a greater number of our distributor members. Our members have told us that they need to gain enough value from the show to send their management teams and this will start with us providing a strong educational program that will appeal to the varying needs and interests of category buyers, foodservice executives, top management, technology and operations staff.”
Additional changes include expanding the scope of products and services in the exhibit hall beyond the traditional categories of candy, snacks, tobacco and merchandise. A new focus will be in the areas of foodservice, technology and operations-areas that provide significant opportunities for distributors to build their business, deliver more solutions to their customers and improve operating efficiencies.
“Our members have historically relied on several key categories for the majority of their business, and while those categories continue to play a critical role, as the convenience industry evolves distributors need to be at the forefront with new products, programs and merchandising ideas,” added Scott Ramminger, president and CEO of AWMA. “A category that has been growing for years is foodservice and our members are interested in having access to the latest in foodservice programs, products and equipment at the show. By aligning the educational program and the scope of products in the exhibit hall with the needs and interests of key decision-makers, the result will be a compelling business opportunity for distributors, brokers and retailers who attend.”
In addition to rebranding the show as The AWMA Show, in 2010, the association also will change the days of the week the show runs to Tuesday through Thursday, with the exhibit hall open on Wednesday and Thursday. Other changes include refreshing the exposition with new hours, the addition of the AWMA Café for lunch and holding the industry reception on Wednesday evening in the exhibit hall.
“We are very excited about these changes, and while we are cautious in these difficult economic times, we are focused on building the value of the show and creating the premier conference and tradeshow for our members. The 2010 AWMA Show will be held March 9 – 11, 2010 (exhibit hall open on the 10th and 11th), at the Las Vegas Hilton, and I encourage every member of AWMA to attend,” added Herring.
The American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA) is the only international trade organization working on behalf of convenience distributors in the U.S. Its distributor members represent more than $85 billion in U.S. convenience product sales. Associate members include manufacturers, brokers, retailers and others allied to the convenience product industry.