DALLAS–Gourmet Catalog & Buying Group will hold its 11th annual member conference Jan. 8-9, 2014, during the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Show at AmericasMart in Atlanta. Guest speakers at the event will include business management and exit planning experts Tom Shay and Patrick Ungashick.
Called Start the Year, the two-day, members-only conference offers store and vendor members a chance to network, introduce and review new products, and participate in sales demonstrations and learning opportunities. Highlights include small-group discussions, guest speakers, a networking lunch, a buffet supper and a vendor showcase.
Shay and Ungashick will speak on Wednesday, Jan. 8. Ungashick will discuss exit planning “with a radically different approach,” according to the Gourmet Catalog Group, while Shay will address financial management as it is relevant to a retailer. Shay is a lifelong small business owner and manager, and has authored 11 books on small business management and co-authored a book on retailer/vendor relations. Ungashick is the author of “Dance in the End Zone: The Business Owner’s Exit Planning Playbook.”
The vendor showcase, held within the AmericasMart complex on Jan. 9, is an exclusive trade show for Gourmet Catalog members. Vendor members will preview products and offer hands-on education about popular features. “This event is the only place you can get more than 150 vendors in one room that will take the time to show you what their products will do,” David Freeman, owner of Kitchenware Outfitters, said in a statement released by Gourmet Catalog Group.
Event attendance is already at an all-time high, according to the buying group. “Start the Year is the only event where independent retailers can interact and connect with company principals to receive face-to-face support, new line introductions and product demonstrations,” said Janis Johnson, founder and president of Gourmet Catalog. “People choose to connect. This conference enables the connection in multiple ways.”