Convenience Store News

NOV 2016

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74 Convenience Store News | NOVEMBER 2016 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Spotlighting major industry events OUT ABOUT & Growing Past the Growing Pains CDA focuses on assistance, education at its Convenience Distribution Business Exchange By Angela Hanson C onvenience Distribution Association (CDA) President and CEO Kimberly Bolin kicked off the annual Convenience Distribution Business Exchange (CDBX) event with a rosy forecast for the future of the organization. "CDA is on a great trajectory," Bolin said during her opening remarks, citing the collective expertise of the event's attendees and advances in technology as reasons for her optimism. The seven-year CDA veteran assumed the chief role permanently in April. CDA 2016 Chairman Chad Owen, vice president of business affairs for convenience distributor Chambers & Owen Inc., echoed Bolin's optimism during the annual Chairman's Address portion of the event. However, he also reflected on the challenges he's faced during his time in the chairman role, comparing the experience to riding a rollercoaster during a hurricane. When Owen stepped up as chairman, it was at a time when the CDA — formerly, the American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA) — was being retooled and reinvented as it faced a challeng- ing business environment, he recounted. Tobacco, a primary profit center of convenience stores, was under attack, with reduced sales affecting the bot- tom line for everybody. Consolidation was also a major issue for the CDA to contend with. "The association is poised for a very bright and successful future. Retooling was needed. We did that, and now we're on a roll," Owen stated. Following through on work that was begun under the previous chairman, Owen described to the CDBX crowd how he oversaw a series of major staff changes at the association; the launch of improved programs and com- munications for CDA members; and the transition to a new Convenience Distribution Marketplace event, which will be held for the second time on Feb. 15-17, 2017 in Orlando, Fla. CDA officials spent a year working with manufacturers and association members to determine what they really wanted in a trade show and how their time spent at the event could be made as valuable as possible. "It was the definition of teamwork," Owen said of launching Marketplace. CONTINUED ASSISTANCE Today, the Convenience Distribution Association is the trade organization working on behalf of conve- nience products distributors in the United States. Its distributor members represent more than $92 billion in U.S convenience product sales, serving a wide vari- ety of small retail formats. Associate members include leading convenience product manufacturers, brokers, retailers, suppliers and others allied to the industry. With much of the "growing pains" now behind Convenience Distribution Business Exchange September 12-15, 2016 Scottsdale, Ariz. "In the past, it was appropriate to have a five- to 10-year strategic plan. Now, it's not even a one-year strategic plan. It's looking at everything on a continu- ous basis, seeing what changed from six months ago, and what's on the forefront of people's minds." — Kimberly Bolin, Convenience Distribution Association President & CEO

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