Business Booms on Trade Show Floor
With overall attendance at this year’s Show up by 10 percent over last year, many suppliers were kept busy throughout the day with distributors stopping by to discuss the products and services being offered.
“You can’t put a price on the relationships that you can build here and that we build by participating in this organization, and don’t think relationships don’t mean something,” said Nick Zaden, vice president, director of purchasing at City Wholesale Grocery Co., Birmingham, AL. “They mean everything in our business,” he commented as he walked the exhibit floor, pausing to speak with suppliers.
“On a scale of 1-10, this is a 10,” declared Joseph Noorda, executive vice president/COO at Gem State Distributors Inc., Pocatello, ID. “I’ve been talking to technology guys, and there are definitely a couple of changes that we will make.”
In fact, Noorda said his company will be taking advantage of technology services provided by Ai2-Access International, Chicago, IL, distributor of mobile order entry equipment, including two new iPad apps for improving sales and productivity. “We already had planned on it, but this gave me an opportunity to see it first hand,” Noorda explained. “That is a beautiful program.”
Doug Katich, Ai2 CEO, said the AWMA Show is the most important trade show that his company attends each year. “It allows us to have a major high touch with our customer base,” he said. “This show is always fun, friendly, and most importantly, it is exciting. We do about a dozen shows a year, but this is the best that we attend.”
Jeff Allen, president, Allen Brothers Wholesale Distributors Inc., Philadelphia, PA, said as he walked from exhibitor to exhibitor, “This is very impressive. There is great stuff here. I’ve seen some technology that is fantastic. R.E.D. Stamp has an automatic strapping machine that is very interesting.”
Allen also said he was impressed with the many exhibitors in the Foodservice Pavilion, expressing interest in the Piccadilly Pizza program and that his company joined the Java Classics coffee program six months ago.
“This is the best distributor show that we attend in the entire country,” commented John Gluhak, director of beverage sales at Grocery Supply Sales & Marketing, Missoula, MT. “If I only had one show that I could do, this would be the one. We get more business from this show than any other that we do in the country.”
“This is an opportunity to not only meet with our existing partners, but to also have a dialogue with new customers that want to get more into foodservice,” said Jerry Ryker, executive vice president of business development at Landmark Products, whose products include Piccadilly Pizza. “We get to talk about what is going on with both existing customers and new ones. What more could you ask for?”
At the Galactic booth, Brian Fruge, national account manager, said he was pleased with the contacts he had made during the first day of the show. “We’re here to solidify relations with our current customers and to try to build our business with new customers – and to show our support for AWMA,” he said.
“This show gives us an opportunity to talk to all of the people we need to talk with in one place,” pointed out Jeff Hinds, account director, information management solutions, Management Science Associates Inc., Pittsburgh, PA. “Today we have been demonstrating a new rebate management system and Vender Express. The response has been excellent. It gives distributors a common platform with their venders. We met with a couple today so far who I think may become customers.”
Scott Bolles, Northern Sales Company, Sumner, WA, was the $2,500 winner on Thursday, February 16th, 2012, at the AWMA Show. The expo continues Friday, from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. A special $10,000 cash drawing will be awarded at 1:45 p.m., and successful bidders for the Silent Auction will be announced.