Christopher Kimball Speaks at GC Catalog Conference in Atlanta
GC Buying Group wrapped up a successful 15th annual Start the Year Member Conference and Vendor Showcase on January 10 and 11 at AmericasMart during the International Gift and Home Furnishings Show in Atlanta. The Dallas-based buying group reported “record high numbers” for retail attendance and vendor participation for the two-day event.
The exclusive member meeting includes a full day of education and idea sharing for stores. The meeting kicked off with an open discussion topic with stores sharing personal experiences regarding best sellers. The discussion was led by Chris Wiedemer, owner of Cooks World in Rochester, N.Y., and Martha Nading, co-owner of the Extra Ingredient in Greensboro, N.C.
Education and strategic partnerships were on the schedule for morning and afternoon sessions.
Michael Gill of Pointy, who traveled from Dublin, Ireland, to introduce GC members to an exciting product and service that instantly allows stores and products to be found online locally. Gill stayed for the Thursday vendor showcase on the following day to answer questions and assist stores with more information.
Special guest speaker Christopher Kimball of Milk Street, best known for his years at the helm of Cook's Illustrated, spoke to GC stores about his and well-received new venture that combines cooking school innovation with a best in class, carefully curated assortment of products. An added feature of Milk Street is a social media option for independent retailers.
Education continued for the afternoon session. Paul Erickson of RMSA engaged store members with “Nine Secrets to Compete and Win.”
Bobby Griggs of Hammer Stahl reinforced the importance of proper sales staff training through his special presentation on “The Best Practices to Train Your Sales Team.” Store Members also heard from peers on cooking schools and demo programs.
GC Advisory Board Members Larry Oats of KitchenArt, W. Lafayette, Ind., and Steve Fricke of Cooks’Wares, Cincinnati, led the open discussion on the two related topics.
Day two presented the highly regarded Vendor Showcase, a private tradeshow for GC members where stores have a first look at many new products, learn firsthand how products work and have the opportunity to communicate specific needs. Exclusive special offers and personal networking with vendors add to the overall experience for store members.
“The Gourmet Catalog Start the Year Conference is a valuable tool to see our customers and kick off the year on a positive note. The energy and enthusiasm our retail partners bring is palpable,” reported Clark Stone, national sales director of Wusthof.
According to Janis Johnson, president and founder of Gourmet Catalog and GC Buying Group, “Both store and vendor members expressed great pleasure with this year’s special event. Everyone commented on the overwhelming, prevailing energy in the store meeting and vendor showcase.”
Doug Huemoeller, president of Kitchen Window in Minneapolis, followed up the conference with a note that read, “Thank you for putting together one of the best Start the Year meetings ever! Fantastic new content. Please thank your entire team.”
Next Month at the Housewares Showt
The GC team is preparing for the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago March 10-13, where the group hosts a private breakfast meeting to prepare independent stores for buying success. The printed Review Workbook is the group's most valuable tool when tackling such a large show. For those eager to return to Atlanta, GC’s Summer School event will take place during The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market in July.