The Michigan Region convened June 10-12 for the group’s annual meeting at the Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City, Mich. Over 200 attended, including 52 member dealers. The three-day event was packed with information, education and networking opportunities, plus a multitude of products and programs from manufacturers to increase both sales and margins.
Opening night featured an outdoor member reception under a big-top tent on a perfect late-spring evening. The reception was an ideal venue to give members a chance to catch up with one another, as well as with the vendor partners who helped make the event happen. In addition, two new members were announced and welcomed at the reception: The Appliance and Furniture Mart from Garden City, Kans., (Eric and Heather Cenatiempo, owners) and Synergy Appliances from Grand Rapids, Mich., (owned by Michael and Cynthia Davis).
The following day, vendors provided training sessions, often to standing room-only audiences, with product and program updates. The sessions were so well attended and received that members suggested having multiple sessions at future meetings.
Day Two was highlighted by BrandSource’s digital experts Brian Wattier, Matt Berry and Laura Dake, who assisted the Michigan attendees with website and LINQ training. The e-commerce specialists also offered tips on effective online merchandising, including featuring products with the best margins; pushing stock models to reduce special orders; and using group promos and special buys to help maximize margins and continue to outpace the industry in sales volume.
In addition, website pricing strategies and the use of electronic price tags were discussed and debated.
Commented Region Manager and organizer Brad Cole, “We have never had so much information at a Region Meeting. The presentations and roundtables, and the LINQ, marketing, website and digital tag training was awesome. Our members received valuable information that they could take back to their stores.”
He added, “With the most vendors present ever, members were able to have more one-on-one conversations with manufacturers, as well as take advantage of all the specials. And we can’t forget the fun – the barbeque and networking event at the shores of Lake Michigan was once again the reception of the year!”
The highlight of the event, as always, was the cookout and beach party on the beautiful beaches of Grand Traverse Bay. This year, Mother Nature drowned out a portion of the bayfront, thwarting a volley ball competition. However, a quick pivot to a cornhole bag tournament on higher ground provided a great, friendly competition that was enjoyed by dozens of participants. And although it was a new contest, the winners had the same name as past competitions. As has been the case for several years, the game was dominated by the host family, with the Coles schooling everyone and earning bragging rights as the 2019 champs.
“This year’s event was phenomenal!” agreed attendee and board member Neil Boff. “We were jam-packed from the beginning to the end with vendor training and meetings, and outside of the evening events there was hardly time to catch your breath.”
“This was one of the best meetings we ever had,” Boff added. “I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.”
Hats off then to Brad Cole and his family for putting on another flawless event. The Coles were fantastic hosts and kept the entire event moving along without a hitch.
Looking forward to next year already!