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The American Wholesale Marketers Association’s 2011 Show attracted more attendees than any show the group has held since the recession began.
More than 1,500 people participated in the event held in Las Vegas with the largest increase among buyers – distributors and retailers – with attendance up more than 29 percent over the previous year. The number of exhibitors and amount of square feet of exhibit space also outpaced the past five years due to the addition of the new foodservice pavilion and more exhibitors participating for the first time.
Specific improvements compared with the previous year include overall attendance up 20 percent; a majority of exhibitors – more than 80 percent – indicated show met or exceeded their business objectives; and unprecedented buying power, with 70 percent of attendees saying they make final decisions for products and services, compared to 40 percent across the trade show industry.
“We are thrilled with the results and the level of participation and engagement of our members in the show,” said Keith Canning, managing partner, Pine State Trading Co. and 2011 AWMA chairman. “Two years ago, our board approved a strategic plan to reinvent our annual event so that it provides more value to both attendees and exhibitors. Since then, we completely revamped the educational program by adding more sessions on industry issues and best practices, invited leading retailers to speak and share their insights, and added new categories to the expo including a foodservice pavilion to showcase foodservice equipment, products and services – a growth category we are all extremely interested in.”
The foodservice pavilion featured 35 companies; most exhibiting at the AWMA Show for the first time. “The distributor is the key component between the foodservice supplier and the consumer and the AWMA Show provides a direct connection with these decision makers,” said Jerry Ryker, executive vice president of business development at Land Mark Products. “Distributors are our partners and we are listening to their business issues so that we can respond.”
AWMA’s 2012 Show, to be held Feb. 15?17 at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, continues to evolve to meet the needs of distributors and retailers. New for 2012 will be an operations pavilion on the show floor that features technology products and services, warehouse management systems, transportation and other key services that support distributor operations. Other pavilions include Foodservice and Candy & Snacks with the balance of the expo featuring the latest in tobacco, OTP, novelty and other core categories.
“Our goal is to continuously improve the show each year and find more ways to add value to exhibitors and attendees,” said Scott Ramminger, AWMA president and CEO. “Our post?show survey results indicate that we are going in the right direction with a majority of both exhibitors and distributors rating the 2011 show as providing more value than previous shows. This was a critical measurement for us along with other data that indicates greater value and satisfaction among all participants.”
The AWMA Show attracts c?store retailers, brokers and all of the top wholesale distribution companies in the U.S. as well as hundreds of local and regional distributors. “Every one of the top 50 distributors registered their team for the 2011 Show and in some cases they brought 10 or more people,” Ramminger said. “Additionally, the buying power and concentration of decision?makers attending the AWMA Show is significantly above other industry events. In fact, the average distributor who attends is making product decisions for more than 2,800 retail outlets and nearly 20 percent of attendees provide products and services to as many as 10,000 stores.”
The changes that AWMA has implemented over the past few years have been driven by extensive member feedback. “This customer?centric approach has been the key to our ability to turn the show around,” Canning said. “What excites me the most is not just having more people show up, but they are fully engaging in the show. In fact, nearly every education session was full to capacity each day – even at 7:30 in the morning in Las Vegas!”
More information about the 2012 AWMA Show can be found at: www.AWMASHOW.com.
The American Wholesale Marketers Association is the only international trade organization working on behalf of convenience distributors in the United States. Its distributor members represent more than $85 billion in U.S. convenience product sales.