San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
Attendance at the Nationwide Marketing Group's summer PrimeTime! convention, held here this week at the Venetian Hotel, is up 19 percent over last year's show and 42 percent over the 2005 event based on pre-convention registration.
Ed Kelly, president of the $11 billion buying and marketing group for independent appliance, electronics and furniture dealers, said prior to the event that 3,500 attendees were anticipated, including some 2,400 individual members and guests, and more than 1,100 conventioneers from the vendor community representing 180 companies. Exhibitors include major manufacturers and service providers within the major appliance, consumer electronics and furniture industries.
This year's record turnout compelled Nationwide to expand the vendor show floor 20,000 square feet beyond the group's previous record for exhibition space. The show also broke previous Nationwide freight records, with more than 1 million pounds expected to be delivered to the Venetian. "Our vendor partners are bringing more products and more people, so they need more space," Kelly said. "Our PrimeTime! convention is truly becoming a can't miss event."
The show, held twice each year, draws thousands of independent dealers, major manufacturers and service providers. Members can attend educational seminars, hear nationally known keynote speakers, receive exclusive savings and review the newest product introductions with manufacturers.
This week's keynote was author and media personality John Kasich, a managing director of Lehman Brothers and former nine-term Congressman from Ohio, who was scheduled to kick off the convention yesterday.
Nationwide, headquartered here, has approximately 2,800 member dealers throughout the United States with more than 7,500 storefronts, and operates such specialty divisions as RentDirect-Nationwide and Specialty Electronics-Nationwide, serving the rent-to-own and specialty A/V retail channels.