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Attendance Up 30% At Nationwide Show

Las Vegas – Nationwide Marketing Group’s semi-annual buying convention, PrimeTime!, has drawn over 3,400 independent dealers and vendors, the $10 billion buying organization reported.

Attendance at this summer’s event, which runs through tomorrow at the Venetian Hotel here, represents a 30-percent increase over last year’s turnout. “Our growth is astounding,” said Nationwide’s executive VP Robert Weisner, who recalled that the very first PrimeTime! show in 1992 attracted roughly 600 members and vendors. “It’s an exciting time.”

Contributing to the record turnout was the addition of new member dealers and two recently added divisions, Rent Direct-Nationwide, representing the rent-to-own channel, and Specialty Electronics-Nationwide, which serves the specialty A/V dealer.

This year’s show theme, “I Am Nationwide,” placed the spotlight “on those who have made this organization what it is today,” said president, Ed Kelly. “Each one of our members has their own stories, their own struggles, and their own success. By highlighting their stories throughout this event via our success story contest, in our member meetings, at our PrimeTimeTime! kick-off event, and on the show floor, we are able to give dealers inspiration and new ideas through proven strategies utilized by their peers. It’s the ultimate form of networking.”

The convention itself features 179 vendors and member service partners who have filled 188,000 square feet of show floor, including newest vendor partner Bosch, the premium majap manufacturer. “The addition of Bosch as a vendor partner further complements the lifestyle appliance offering available to Nationwide members,” said Adam Thomas, Nationwide’s VP of marketing-appliances. “Bosch’s market strategy, along with our national alliance, will further strengthen our members’ brand portfolio.”

To help streamline the show’s ordering process, Nationwide added stations on the show floor for MemberNet OMS, the group’s new order management system, allowing dealers to place orders on the spot with key representatives.

Nationwide also unveiled new and enhanced member service programs including MemberNet TV (offering closed circuit HD programming for members’ stores); MemberNet Rewards (a sales incentive program); the Masters Methods ( a specialized sales training program for managers and HR professionals); and MemberNet2 (the group’s enhanced member Web site).

Rick Weinberg, national merchandising manager – appliances, also announced a new effort, “Independents for Independence,” that emphasizes energy efficiency programs such as Energy Star. “There is a tremendous opportunity for all of us as Nationwide Marketing Group to assist the consumers in local marketplaces to better understand what they can do to conserve energy,” Weinberg said. The program will offer dealers point-of-sale materials and targeted advertising and training to help promote energy efficiency on their sales floors.

The next PrimeTime! convention will be held Feb. 11-14, 2007, at the Swan and Dolphin Hotel in Orlando, Fla.