Neil Golub is the executive chairman of the board of Price Chopper Supermarkets.
FMI’s return to an annual trade show — FMI Connect: The Global Food Retail Experience — was an important step in maintaining the connectivity of our industry.
For many senior executives, this is the only place where they get to see “what’s new” and visit with the movers and shakers of our trade partners at the highest levels. For our up and coming trainees and executives, it is an opportunity to experience the industry from a global view.
I was involved in the launch of the FMI Connect concept, and I remain an advocate. My company, Price Chopper Supermarkets, sent a large number of associates to the event.
For those looking for exposure to ideas, trends and the realities of retail food it is a terrific education. At this year’s show, a number of Price Chopper associates mentioned that the new world of communication via the internet was an eye opener.
When it comes to our trade partners who attend FMI Connect, it is important to recognize that attendees from different levels of a retail organization are looking for different things at the show. For example, senior management often doesn’t get to see new equipment designs on a day-to-day basis that might fit our needs for next generation stores.
At the same time, members of the Price Chopper engineering team get valuable information from equipment manufacturers, often seeing what others are offering that they had not seen before. The team wanted to see even more displays of equipment at this year’s show.
Beyond all the “stuff,” it is the personal relationships and contacts that make the biggest difference for all of us. Our people really enjoyed meeting their peers from other companies and found the exchange of information and ideas to be very worthwhile. I think we’re going to end up bringing more people to FMI Connect in the future.
As FMI, under the leadership of Leslie Sarasin, expands its vision of FMI Connect and its partnerships with other trade organizations, the show provides all food retailers with the one place to go see and hear what’s happening. This year, FMI partnered with United Fresh, Interbev Beverages and PPMI. In 2015, Sabor Latino, Women Impacting Store Brand Excellence (WISE), and the National Supermarket Association will also be part of the show. The efficiency and cost effectiveness of one annual trade show for our entire industry makes all kinds of sense.
Speaking for many at FMI, we strongly encourage retailer participation; for many it is a real eye opener. For our trade partners it is the place to show your moves. Please make plans to join us in Chicago, June 9-11, 2015.
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