San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
The spotlight's on major appliances this week as the first days of spring bring a double dollop of white goods activity.
Two of the industry's most important events — the Annual Member Meeting of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) in Washington and the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show & Conference (K/BIS) in Orlando, Fla., both unfurl over the next seven days, keeping flights full between those two cities.
First up is AHAM, which returned to the nation's capital yesterday for a three-day program of governmental, business and industry topics and speakers. At press time, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was still scheduled to deliver the welcoming dinner keynote address, although a deputy was on standby given the nation's war footing.
Also slated to address the industry trade group is Hal Stratton, chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and David Seiders, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Stratton is expected to provide an overview of the economy as it impacts construction and the appliance industry.
Other AHAM highlights include a White House briefing with Bush Administration officials on the president's agenda for 2003, and AHAM president Joe McGuire's annual report on the state of the association.
From Washington, the focus shifts to Florida where K/BIS holds forth April 10-13 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. There, majap makers will share floor space with some 700 kitchen and bath manufacturers filling nearly 4,000 booths in the 400,000 square foot facility.
Highlights of the show, which is owned by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), include keynote speaker Bill O'Reilly, host of Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor," who will speak on the topic of politics and current events and how they relate to investing in the home and the environment. O'Reilly will kick off a full K/BIS conference program that will cover topics including design, business development, sales and marketing strategies and professional growth in over 55 seminar sessions, roundtable discussions and professional development courses.
In addition, NKBA will also hold its annual business meeting and luncheon, with Herbert Kohler of Kohler Co. serving as this year's guest speaker. The group will also host 25 separate luncheon roundtables designed to provide an open forum of discussion on the industry's hottest topics, ranging from outdoor kitchens to gender perspective design.
Majap dealers and vendors will have an event all their own Friday night, April 11, when the North American Retail Dealers Association (NARDA) holds a 60th anniversary bash and charity fund-raising dinner at the Wyndam Resort. The gala will celebrate the 60th birthday of the independent dealer trade association by promoting organ and tissue donation awareness and funding, and will be the centerpiece of its yearlong Gift of Life campaign. That effort encourages retailers, manufacturers and buying groups to have their employees and customers "donate life" by signing up as organ and tissue donors.
Honored at the dinner will be J. Con Maloney, CEO of Cowboy Maloney's Electric City and Gary Shapiro, president/CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).