COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- In a time of industry consolidation and impersonal electronic communication, a 32-year-old method of conducting business meetings is attracting many new enthusiasts. The eight- and 16-minute Controlled Casual Conferences go off like clockwork during the two annual marketing conferences put on by the General Merchandise Distributors Council here. The events bring buyers and suppliers into a non-adversarial, relationship-building environment that fulfills the ...

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