CHICAGO-A record number of Gourmet Catalog Store Member buyers attended the group’s annual member meeting held here last week during the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago.
“We were pleased by the way GC Store Members stepped up to the plate when the IH+H Show was expanded to 3-1/2 days. We had over 130 buyers at our Saturday morning meeting and luncheon,” said Janis Johnson, president and founder of Gourmet Catalog & Buying Group. “Our members were ready and waiting when the doors opened at 12:30.”
The meeting consisted of four Table Talk Sessions focusing on topics including social media, cooking schools, small store idea sharing, and online selling. The breakout sessions encourage store members to share information and learn from each other, according to Johnson. “Learning from other stores like ours is one of the most rewarding reasons to attend trade shows. The Table Talk Discussion Groups provided a great forum for this learning, by bringing small groups of stores together to talk about one specific aspect of our business,” said Mary Fricke of Cooks’Wares in Cincinnati, in a statement.
In addition, Alessi’s executive team spoke to the group about the company’s history and product lineup, and the group reviewed their strategy for working the show floor.
“Overall, this was one of the best shows we have had. Starting off the day with a networking meeting and ending the day on the show floor was energizing to Gourmet Catalog members. Our vendor members commented that the number of GC buyers they saw was greater than ever and the number remained consistent through all four days of the show,” Johnson said.
The group also recently bestowed its annual Best Vendor Award winners on the first day of the Housewares Show. Store members began their voting process for the awards as part of Gourmet Catalog’s Start the Year Member Conference, held during the January International Gift & Home Market in Atlanta. Each store member votes for the best Gourmet Catalog vendor in seven categories. The Best Overall Vendor is determined by the top number of votes in all categories.
The winners for each category include Harold Import Company for Best Shipping, Best In-Stock, Best Customer Service and Best Vendor Overall; Le Creuset for Most Creative Program and Best In-Store Fixtures/Display; Wusthof for Best In-Store Signage and Mastrad TopChip for Most Innovative Product.