Retail Briefs

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Nationwide Holds Masters Training Program

Atlanta — Nationwide Marketing Group last month held its Masters Mentor Summit, a three-day train-the-trainer seminar at the buying group's Prime Media TV production and learning facility, here. More than 50 group members attended, according to Steve Bryant, who runs the center and developed and presented the summit. The training focuses on the best practices used for finding, hiring, training and motivating employees to think like a team. The summit also covers the most effective ways to improve customer satisfaction and increase sales. The series is hosted by Nationwide and is provided to members without charge for materials, sessions, meals, lodging or ground transportation. The next Masters Mentor Summit is scheduled for September16-18, 2008. For more information call (336) 722-4681 or email

Abt Slates Benefit Golf Tournament

Glenview, Ill. — Abt Electronics will hold its 7th Annual Golf Benefit on July 14 at the Glen View Club in Golf, Ill. The event will benefit the For Autistic Kids Foundation, established by the Abt family to aid children with autistic spectrum disorders. This year's event will feature a $1 million hole-in-one shot. The golf club is the site of 1899 First Western Open, the 1902 U.S. National Amateur and the 1904 U.S. Open. For more information, contact Ricky or Bob Abt at (847) 544-2301 or visit

Best Buy Offering Free BlackBerry, GPS Set-Up

Minneapolis — Best Buy is offering free set-up and personalization on purchases of all new BlackBerry smartphones or any brand of GPS device now through July 12 as part of a new Walk Out Working summer promotion. Under the program, Best Buy's Geek Squad service staffers will provide at no charge such basic set-up functions as inputting home addresses onto GPS units or synching BlackBerry's to email accounts. In conjunction with the promotion, Best Buy put all BlackBerrys on sale through most of May, and offered Reward Zone MasterCard holders double points on purchases of mobile phones, car electronics, portable gaming, laptops, MP3 players, digital cameras and camcorders and GPS, plus triple points on purchases of related accessories. "While summer is often though of as a time to escape from technology, we believe technology can actually help our customers enjoy their summer even more," said Best Buy chief marketing officer Barry Judge.

Sharp Signs With ServiceBench; Friendly Couples With Warrantech

Fairfax, Va. — Sharp Electronics has contracted with ServiceBench, a subsidiary of NEW, to help manage the manufacturer's warranty program and automate its service dispatching, which will provide faster resolution of customer service requests. ServiceBench's Web-based service management software solution is also equipped with service-call analytics and customer satisfaction surveys to provide valuable service intelligence that will allow Sharp to monitor and improve service quality. Sharp is leveraging the service to expedite and automate the process of dispatching service providers under its Aquos Advantage program, which provides superior customer support to consumers who currently own or purchase a 42-inch or larger Sharp Aquos LCD TV. Separately, Warrantech has signed an agreement with PC service provider Friendly Computers and its new division, Computer Renaissance, to provide extended service coverage on computers and other electronic products throughout the 130-store chain.


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