By Alan Wolf
For members of the AVB buying co-op, the group’s annual fall Convention in late August is a chance to catch up with friends, review the successes of the summer, see the newest vendor wares and learn of AVB’s latest initiatives.
This year’s show, running Aug. 24-27 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Dallas, will be all that; but in addition to the first-time venue, what makes the 2019 Convention so special is that it also marks the 50th anniversary of AVB.
Associated Volume Buyers, founded during a Southern California fishing trip in 1969 by a handful of visionary merchants, would go on to become the largest member-owned buying organization in the country, serving nearly 4,000 independent appliance, home furnishings and consumer tech dealers.
To commemorate the occasion, AVB and its core BrandSource division are pulling out all the stops this month with a gangbuster cluster of seminars, social events and anniversary celebrations.
The latter kick off Saturday evening, Aug. 25, with a 50th anniversary reception and fireworks display at the Gaylord Texan’s Glass Cactus nightclub. But it’s back to business the next morning when CEO Jim Ristow delivers his State of the Union address to attendees and announces new cutting-edge programs and services for members.
Along with Jim’s address, BrandSource’s top Dealers of the Year, representing each region of the country, will be recognized before their peers and vendors for their outstanding marketplace performances.
Capping the morning events is a not-to-be-missed marketing roundtable led by AVB’s Chief Marketing Officer John White. Joining him on stage for a robust exchange is a distinguished panel of experts including:
- Mary Putnam, VP of Marketing & Brand at GE Appliances;
- Patrick Tam, a Strategic Partner Manager at Google;
- Pinterest authority Nathan Engels, creator of WeUseCoupons.com and WannaBite.com; and
- Instagram expert Allison Chaney, Chief Digital Training Officer at Boot Camp Digital.
White will return Sunday afternoon with a primer on 5G networks and the impact that the blindingly fast mobile technology will have on almost every aspect of our businesses and lives.
Also doing double duty are panelists Engels and Chaney, who will conduct back-to-back sessions on ways to leverage Pinterest and Instagram for maximum engagement. The two join a full roster of Convention seminar speakers including Wells Fargo’s Alicia Zich, assessing the financial health of members’ businesses; Serta Simmons Bedding’s Bob Muenkel on closing the sale; Guardsman’s Dan Miller on the profitability of protection plans and SquareTrade’s Katie Green and Patrick Trichilo on boosting warranty attachment rates; and Dr. Mike Petersen, president of The Furniture Training Company, sharing ways to improve the customer experience.
The learning will continue with BrandSource’s second annual Heavy Hitters Academy, a specialized program for members’ hand-selected sales staffers that includes product training, specialized educational sessions, networking opportunities and an awards ceremony.
Speaking of networking, opportunities will abound with a meet-and-greet for first-time attendees on Saturday, and a Women in Business Luncheon, a “Paint & Sip Party” for spouses, a Young Professionals networking event, and a Convention-wide cocktail reception on Monday.
And of course there’s the Convention Expo itself, when the massive exhibition floor opens and members can peruse the latest and greatest products and services in home appliances, furniture, mattresses, bedding and consumer electronics.
And if that’s not enough, attendees can also participate in a Furniture Town Hall; train on BrandSource’s backroom platform LINQ; sit in on a Young Professionals education session; and learn what’s new in bedding at Mattress University.
The four-day event formally ends on Tuesday, Aug. 27, with a Farewell Pool Party on premise at Paradise Springs.
Besides AVB’s 50th birthday, the 2019 Convention marks the start of a three-year run at the Gaylord, with return engagements slated for August 2020 and 2021. For more information visit www.abvevents.com.
YSN is published by BrandSource parent company AVB Inc.