Especially in today's economy, retailers can use every opportunity to fill their war chest with information that will help them do better business -- getting it for free makes it even better.
The first in a series of regional retail education seminars by National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) will be June 30 in the Chicago area, aptly titled, "How to survive and thrive in today's economy." It is free for all, whether members of NSGA or not, and is just the first of a series NSGA (www.nsga.org) will sponsor in several metropolitan areas with similar formats.
"We long thought we needed to have more seminars other than our management conference," NSGA vice president Bill Webb told SNEWS®, "and these regular conferences are the best way to address the needs of smaller retailers.
"We're making an entire day of providing educational content at a critical time in the economy so retailers can maximize profits," he added.
With two morning sessions addressing current needs, a complimentary lunch and a session that covers a new health plan offered by NSGA, as well as the opportunity to find out about other NSGA services, the five-hour meetings are intended to be concise.
"A lot of the smaller retailers who can't attend the management conference can attend seminars that will help them operate more profitably," said NSGA's Larry Weindruch.
At the workshop, the group will present the results of its bi-annual "cost of doing business survey," which was released at the end of 2008. (Click here to read a Dec. 12, 2008, SNEWS story, "NSGA survey: Specialty retailers improve profits from '07 to summer '08.") Survey results can help bring retailers up to speed on trends in today's time, Weindruch said.
In addition, a session on trends in retail real estate will cover negotiating tips to get better lease deals, including negotiating purchase agreements.
The day will wrap up with a session on NSGA's new integrated health plan for members that focuses on plans for businesses with 100 or fewer employees, said David Wierkiewicz of Wells Fargo. The plan allows small businesses to leverage the purchase power of a large entity by partaking in a group and offers other services such as personalized portals for each member's business, human resource help lines, assistance in administering benefits, and help lines for free answers on legal matters such as labor law.
The first education seminar on June 30 will be in Lake Forest, Ill., and a second is already set for Schaumberg, Ill., for July 16. Additional ones this year are still being arranged.