Las Vegas - Nationwide Marketing Group co-founder Ed Kelly formally stepped down as president of the independent dealer organization at its PrimeTime! conclave here this week.
He was succeeded last
month by executive VP and longtime partner Robert Weisner, while director Les
Kirk was named COO.
Kelly officially retired from his day-to-day duties Jan. 1 and assumed the title of chairman. He told TWICE he will remain involved with the group and continue to visit member dealers, but is leaving Nationwide's operations to Weisner, Kirk and the other members of it management team.
"I started in this business when I was 19," he told PrimeTime! attendees. "After 51 years in the industry, it's time to go fishing and spend time with my grandchildren."
Kelly's retail business was one of seven founding companies that created Nationwide in 1971. Over the ensuing 40 years, the buying, marketing and services group has grown to approximately 3,000 members.
The show, which runs this week at the Venetian, Sands and Palazzo hotel and exhibition center complex, drew the largest crowds in PrimeTime! history, Weisner said, with some 4,000 attendees and 900 retail companies on hand.
He and Kelly noted that the group has recently expanded its ranks, grown its market share in appliances, and that members are opening hundreds of news stores and remodeling existing ones. "The dealers are feeling pretty good about business," Kelly said.
The show, which is being held concurrently with rival BrandSource's spring meeting in Orlando, Fla., runs through Wednesday.