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Nationwide’s NeXt Gen Is For Future Independents

DALLAS — Nationwide Marketing Group has embarked on a program to alleviate a challenge faced by all independent retail groups – succession planning and getting the younger generation interested in taking over existing family-owned retailers.

Alex Knock, public relations and communications director, said the NeXt Gen initiative is designed to provide information to the younger generation of independents to see if they would be interested in this business — or to provide succession planning, which is a major issue for all independents.

At last winter’s PrimeTime!, 140 people attended a NeXt Gen gathering; at this month’s show, a keynote and a lunch was organized for “people under 35 or think like people under 35,” as one of the group’s executives put it. More NeXt Gen events are planned for future PrimeTime! conventions.

Dave Bilas, executive VP, said that succession planning is a key area of concern for members. “In some cases it is the retailer’s general manager who takes over” once the family who owns the business wants to retire.

He noted, “We had three meetings to address this issue, and it is not just Nationwide — it is all independent retailers. We think 80 percent of independents don’t have a plan. [NeXt Gen is also designed] to work with our members and share ideas on succession plans that make sense.”