The Convenience Distribution Association (CDA), formerly AWMA, the trade organization working on behalf of convenience products distributors in the U.S., wrapped up its 2016 Convenience Distribution Marketplace in Las Vegas last week.
The 2016 Convenience Distribution Marketplace was held Feb. 16-18 at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino and welcomed distributors and exhibitors from across the nation and outlined major improvements made at CDA over the past year. CDA’s distributor members represent more than $92 billion in U.S convenience product sales, serving a wide variety of small retail formats. Associate members include leading convenience product manufacturers, brokers, retailers, suppliers and others allied to the industry.
“Like many of you here, I come from a family-run business,” said CDA Chair Chad Owen, as he opened the 2016 Convenience Distribution Marketplace. He is the fifth generation to work at his family’s business, Chambers & Owen, based in Janesville, Wis. “We’re proud of that heritage; proud of where we have come from.” Owen said his company, over the years, recognized the need to change with the times and that many CDA programs and services “are helping us do that.”
CDA, he said, is adapting to deliver “a more robust menu of offerings—from an enhanced government affairs program, to webinars, to upgraded meetings and InfoMetrics. The list goes on and on. We are working to make the association more relevant in today’s environment.”
He noted that CDA is also working more closely with state associations and other national organizations, as well.
Owen recognized 2015 CDA Chairman Rob Sincavich, Team Sledd, Wheeling, W.V., for his outstanding work on behalf of CDA, “helping us navigate the rapidly-changing business we are in.”
Ricky Jones, Andalusia Distributing Co., Andalusia, Ala., was presented the CDA Hall of Fame Award during the opening session.
Expressing appreciation for the award, Jones said he was “humbled” and expressed appreciation to his family, his co-workers at Andalusia, and his friends for their support over the years. “I learned very quickly that it is our peers that we learn from the most,” he said.
Jon Burklund, Burklund Distributors Inc., based in East Peoria, Ill., accepted the CDA Dean of the Industry Award.
2016 Marketplace Keynote Speaker George Blankenship, the former innovator at Apple, Gap and Tesla Motors, challenged distributors in his keynote address to give serious thought to changes surrounding the distribution industry and look for their own out-of-the-box solutions.
“Your industry is going through significant change,” said Blankenship. “Somebody is going to figure out how to get long-term loyalty from your customers. The only question is, will it be you?”
Among other speakers were Tom Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), who outlined the broad attack being waged against tobacco use at the federal, state and local levels across the nation. And in a session on “Doing Business in a Culturally Diverse Market,” Dr. Rao Unnava, professor of marketing at the Fisher School of Business at Ohio State University, outlined some of the cultural factors that can affect business relationships with many “new American” c-store owners, including those from India.
Attendees also had the opportunity to take advantage of training seminars for InfoMetrics users on Tuesday before the official opening of the 2016 Convenience Distribution Marketplace.