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LAUREL, Md. - The Retailer's Bakery Association -- commonly known as RBA -- has changed its name back to the Retail Bakers of America.
Bernard Reynolds, RBA's e.v.p., told Progressive Grocer the name change marks the organization's formal return to its original designation when it was founded in 1918 and incorporated in 1927.
"The name change came about as part of a larger strategic planning initiative that got under way a few years ago under the leadership of Larry Merritt, owner of Merritt's Bakery in Tulsa, Okla. and RBA's immediate past president," Reynolds explained.
As the strategic planning process unfolded, Reynolds said that although the RBA had opened its doors to a wider variety of member companies in recent years, "We're the original home of independent retail bakers, and our activities will now reflect our core membership and core mission to serve them accordingly."
From a branding point of view, Reynolds said RBA's name restoration will further bolster the 3,500-member association's identity for professional U.S. retail bakers as it seeks to spotlight its new focus on continuing education via print, the Internet, and CD-based materials, rather than on basic bakery training.
"In many respects our 'new' name won't change very much, but it will make education our primary goal to ensure that everything we do ties back to the needs of our core members," noted Reynolds.
Looking ahead to Marketplace 2005 -- RBA's annual convention, which is set to take place next year at Chicago's McCormick Place on April 16 to 18 -- Reynolds said his organization will "seek to make next year's show a vehicle -- as it was in Orlando -- that delivers face-to-face learning opportunities and educational events."
Reynolds continued: "When we got to Orlando this year, we presented the first phase of the strategic planning process to have our board understand the current assessment and long-range future goals of our organization. We feel very comfortable with what we got out of it, particularly the clarity of our goals and vision, which is what's most important."
Reverting to its founding name, Reynolds said, will also provide the RBA "with a good platform to explore new educational opportunities and authorize us to continue exploring other member services, such as insurance programs and energy cost-saving plans, that will help our independent corner baker members improve operations and profitability."