Gourmet Catalog’s 12th annual Start of the Year Member Conference held January 7-8 at AmericasMart in Atlanta featured record breaking attendance and a sold out showcase, officials said.
“Our 12th annual Start the Year event was our best yet,” said Janis Johnson, president and founder of Gourmet Catalog. “We have heard such encouraging feedback from both store members and vendors on what a great event it was. Seeing everyone with a positive outlook for 2015 was encouraging and heartwarming.”
The two-day event focused on networking, new product introductions, sales demonstrations and learning opportunities for members. Keynote speakers included Bob Negen from WhizBang! Training, presenting topics ranging from productivity to social media. Faye Gooding, CEO of Le Creuset, also presented offering her insight into retail. Members also participated in open discussions, sharing ideas and information.
“We were especially impressed by how willing the other retailers were to share ideas and offer solutions to each other,” said Suzanne Lane from Gray Goose Cookery in Old Mystic, CT. “It is a very supportive atmosphere.”
The Vendor Showcase drew a record number of vendor lines, filling the exhibition space, the company said. Store Members had access to 180 Gourmet Catalog vendor member presidents and top executives who were showcasing upcoming and top-selling products.
“I am always so impressed by the relationships I see being built and strengthened between the stores and in turn the vendors,” said Krista Jenkins, national sales manager for RSVP International, Inc. “The sharing of ideas fuels the creativity of each customer and encourages new methods and concepts, which increases business overall.”