Inside This Issue - News
Total Store Expo signals new era
September 9th, 2013
LAS VEGAS – More than 5,700 retailers and suppliers descended on the Sands Expo and Convention Center here last month for the first National Association of Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo.
Executives said the inaugural edition of the industry’s biggest trade show — a combination of three former NACDS events — came during the association’s 80th anniversary and marked a turning point for chain drug retailing and community pharmacy.
“NACDS is at a really interesting point right now,” association president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said during his remarks on the show’s first day. “And this meeting culminates a period of change — an exciting period of change. This group has the advantage of eight decades of experience. Yet it runs on the same verve and vision of the association’s first days.”
He stressed that Total Store Expo, which will shift to Boston next year, is the latest effort in NACDS’ quest to provide cutting-edge events that meet retailers’ and suppliers’ needs.
Coming during the association’s 80th anniversary, Total Store Expo is the natural evolution of NACDS’ quest to give retailers and suppliers a convenient and efficient forum to exchange ideas and conduct business.
“We take the retailer and supplier relationship very seriously,”Anderson said, noting how NACDS is constantly looking foward and ensuring that its conferences keep pace with the changing dynamics driving that relationship.
“NACDS now has the benefit of 80 years,” he noted, recalling a remark the association’s first president George Gales made about the association having no past being as true today as it was in 1933.
“That futuristic vision still describes today’s NACDS,” Anderson told the showgoers assembed in the Sands’ ballroom for the opening session. “We have done some important things together in recent years to better prepare for our future.”
A big part of that future, he reiterated, is forging closer ties between retailers and suppliers.
Total Store Expo, Anderson noted, brings together a powerful group of retailer and supplier executives and is expected to be a key event in NACDS’ annual roster of meetings.
More than 900 different retail and supplier companies attended the event, and the 1,300 retailers at this year’s Total Store Expo represented companies that operate more than 145,000 stores.
NACDS says that 18 chairmen, 475 presidents and CEOs and 225 chief operating officers and executive vice presidents were among the attendees.
In addition, the association pointed out that many of the companies that came to the new show sent a large, multidisciplinary contingent.
In remarks made prior to Anderson’s, NACDS chairman Bob Narveson — president and CEO at the 90-store Thrifty White Pharmacy chain — noted that his company was one of many who fully embraced the three-shows-in-one format.
“We brought the right people to this meeting,” he said, noting that Thrifty White personnel had 243 meetings scheduled over the event’s four days. “We put together the right meetings with suppliers, and we prepared for the meetings.”
Narveson was among the dozens of retail and supplier executives who expressed enthusiasm about the outcome of the first Total Store Expo. Many of those who gave the show favorable reviews noted that it was unlike any other NACDS trade show they had attended. Most singled out a specific part of the show that they found to be most rewarding.
“For us, the Meet the Market was great,” said Whitney Burns, vice president of Waltman Pharmaceuticals Inc., which was showing its acne medication Zapzyt at the show.
“We got to see buyers we would not be able to see otherwise,” she said, noting that the one-on-one meetings held prior to the exhibition’s official opening allowed Waltman to see buyers from 27 different companies. “We made some excellent contacts.”
On the pharmacy side, several retail executives noted that this year’s show provided them with a wider range of suppliers than they had seen in recent years when the NACDS Pharmacy and Technology Conference was a stand-alone event.
“There’s quite a bit more on the technology and services side this year,” Thrifty White vice president of pharmacy operations Justin Heiser noted after three days of walking the show floor. “That is certainly good to see, because that is the direction of the industry.”
Heiser noted that the timing of Total Store Expo served as a perfect follow-up for meetings held in April at the NACDS Annual Meeting.
“There’s a lot that happened at the Annual Meeting that has carried over to this meeting,” he said. “Seeing many of the same people here helps those things progress from concept to reality.”
When NACDS originally came up with the idea for Total Store Expo, the association stressed that it would bring together executives from several sides of the industry, fostering communication between people from different disciplines.
Many of those at this year’s event said they were able to attend meetings in which they would not have otherwise been involved. Those meetings, they noted, attracted a wider range of executives than in previous years.
“The good elements of the Marketplace were here with the added benefit of being able to see the supply chain people in some cases,” Beiersdorf Inc. vice president of sales Joe Oliveri noted. “Also, due to the new show format more of the top executives from our retailers were in attendance and we were therefore able to have some very productive meetings.”