By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle
As a small business owner, there’s always a struggle to balance everything that needs to be done. From sourcing and managing inventory to merchandising shelves and creating strong store displays to creating an online presence that adds value – and sales – to your overall business objectives, the list seems nearly endless. As a result, too often many of these challenges and responsibilities are overlooked. It’s with this in mind that the Independent Retailer Conference first came to life in 2011 – aiming to help merchants achieve their store goals through education, engagement and hands on opportunities from some of the leading industry experts in retail today.
“I’m a big believer in creating experiences for business owners that can help them add value to their businesses while learning along the way. This – along with the industry leadership specific to independent retailers that my partner Nicole Reyhle brought to the table – has really helped create the foundation of the Independent Retailer Conference. We wanted to create something that got retailers excited, motivated and energetic about learning, while also creating an experience that they enjoyed,” explains Independent Retailer Conference’s Kerry Bannigan, who along with Retail Minded’s Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, are the Co-Founders of the Independent Retailer Conference.
The Independent Retailer Conference has previously held their events in Chicago and New York City since 2011, as well as took place two times in 2014 on the show floors of ASDMarketWeek in Las Vegas. By hosting pop up conferences on site at trade shows like ASDMarketWeek and now the Craft & Hobby Association’s 2015 Conference & Trade Show (CHA MEGA Show), the Independent Retailer Conference is reaching more retailers than ever while also capturing them at valuable trade shows that serve as not to miss events for their businesses.
“Connecting with retailers onsite at a trade show like the CHA MEGA Show allows us to extend education to retailers during their buying trips, and ultimately delivering a comprehensive experience of buying for their stores while also gaining trusted, educational insight to help them operate their businesses. And since retailers are short on spare time as it is, this combination has proven to be very successful for them,” Independent Retailer Conference Co-Founder Bannigan states.
Commitment to Retailers
While delivering education is a top priority of the Independent Retailer Conference, how the information is delivered is just as important. Bringing together industry leading experts and retail thought-leaders, the Independent Retailer Conference delivers both flash sessions that last about 15 minutes each and one hour breakout sessions for more in-depth education opportunities. The real lure, however, are the select retail experts that join the Independent Retailer Conference for the duration of the event and welcome show attendees to engage, learn and connect with them to further support their businesses. For the upcoming CHA MEGA Show, this will include representatives from email and online marketing software company SnapRetail, Cathy Wagner of RETAILMavens, David Nawrocki of product photography company Retail Studio Effect, David Mehlham of MadeClose.com and serving as conference emcees will be well known craft and hobby retail thought leaders Kizer & Bender.
“SnapRetail is excited to support the CHA MEGA Show attendees through the Independent Retailer Conference because, like us, the Independent Retailer Conference is dedicated to the unique lifestyle and responsibilities of retail small business owners”, said Christian Kratsas, SnapRetail Content Marketing Manager. “By attending one of our seminars and speaking with our Retail Marketing Specialists, attendees can expect to learn how to grow traffic and sales through email marketing, social media and website management.”
Joining Kratsas and the entire SnapRetail team in their enthusiasm to support the attendees of the CHA MEGA Show and Independent Retailer Conference are Kizer & Bender, familiar voices to the CHA community.
“We couldn’t think of a better show to welcome the Independent Retailer Conference. Attendees of the CHA MEGA SHOW are constantly seeking intelligent support for their stores and the Independent Retailer Conference delivers just that. We’re thrilled to support them in their efforts in helping CHA MEGA Show attendees have a blast while learning important strategies they can use to grow their businesses,” states Georganne Bender and Rich Kizer.
With retail veterans like Kizer & Bender lending their expertise and industry leaders like SnapRetail on hand to share valuable market information to attendees about all things online marketing, attendees of the Independent Retailer Conference are in for a real treat. They can also get excited about meeting newcomer David Mehlham of MadeClose.com to the Independent Retailer Conference, who will share a unique perspective on the value of powering small businesses and craftspeople.
“MadeClose is all about small, independent business and we can’t think of a better place to meet like-minded people than the Independent Retailer Conference at the CHA MEGA Show! Our presentation and time spent talking to attendees will focus mostly on the power local businesses and craftspeople have in the overall economy and the benefits of learning about where and how our goods are made and making informed purchases,” Mehlham explains.
With a lot to learn among a variety of experts and industry leaders, attendees can confidently plan their schedules with trust that they will takeaway a ton by participating in the Independent Retailer Conference experience. And since the conference itself will be on the show floors of the CHA MEGA Show, time is on their side.
“Being among the vendors of the CHA MEGA Show is a huge advantage for attendees, allowing them to pop in and out based on their buying schedule,” explains Bannigan.
What to Expect
With a fantastic schedule of presentations taking place Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the CHA MEGA Show, attendees can expect to engage, learn and connect during the Independent Retailer Conference with like-minded merchants, industry leaders and savvy service providers specific to independent retailers. All attendees are encouraged to sit back, relax and take advantage of the non-stop education provided during the Independent Retailer Conference, as well as connect with the retail experts who will have tables for one-on-one attendee-expert support.
“Sitting down and engaging with our experts in conversations is something we encourage attendees to do. It’s this concept that has made the Independent Retailer Conference so successful for retailers, allowing them to gain personalized support for their stores. We want the attendees of the CHA MEGA Show to take advantage of this, and encourage them to ask questions and learn as much as they can,” Bannigan explains.
Additionally, attendees can expect interactive experiences from our pop up stage that leaves them better educated and more inspired – with takeaway tools to bring back to their stores. For a full schedule of what to expect at the Independent Retailer Conference at the CHA MEGA Show, CLICK HERE or visit IndieRetailerConference.com.