COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Nonfood buyers said the decision by the General Merchandise Distributors Council here to pay for the travel expenses of its qualified retailer and wholesaler members should boost attendance at its health and beauty care and general merchandise trade shows.
"We never considered pulling out, but maybe we pared it down to one person attending," said Curt Maki, vice president, nonfoods, Topco Associates, Skokie, Ill., of the GMDC HBC Marketing Conference. "Now we can send three or four people to get more people involved."
GMDC has seen attendance at its annual HBC show drop by 25% in the past four years, which some in the industry attribute in part to a series of competing buying shows staged by Efficient Consumer Response Management, Cleveland.
Al Jones, category manager, Imperial Distributors, Auburn, Mass., said he expected that the move would increase attendance at GMDC. "To attract new people, this is critical," he said.
Some buyers, however, said that the efficiency of the ECRM shows has made them a better alternative.
"They absolutely take all of the follow-up work out of the buying process for both sides," said Ray Wallace, director of nonfoods, Cub Foods, Atlanta.
He said he usually attends two or three ECRM shows each year. He said the lack of expense involved in attending the ECRM shows might have been a lure at first, but the format is what makes him come back.