The final months of the calendar year are always among the most important for the independent retail channel.
And after spending a few days together at Nationwide Marketing Group’s PrimeTime in Orlando, the group says retailers are poised to make the most of the back half of 2022.
“Our members who attended PrimeTime were curious and kept asking, ‘What’s next?’” says Patrick Maloney, EVP of membership for Nationwide. “We’ve had a ton of opportunities to connect with them and explore the future at this show. After seeing how engaged they were with all of the education, networking and buying opportunities in Orlando, we’re all excited about what lies ahead for this channel over the next few months.”
A theme that came out of PrimeTime in Orlando was normalization across the channel. Inventory levels, while still improving, are closer to normal.
Normalization was also a major theme of the opening keynote discussion, which featured Nationwide President and Chief Member Advocate Tom Hickman asking Wells Fargo economist Charlie Dougherty pointed questions on the macroeconomic factors impacting independent retailers’ businesses.
“We’ve heard from our members that there’s a lot of mixed messages going around about the economy and where we’re heading,” Hickman says. “We felt like it was really important at this show to sit down and ask the questions that were pertinent to our channel and our members. And what we heard from Charlie is that the economy is normalizing back to the way it was in 2019. That feels right, and I think it was comforting for our members to hear that we’re getting back to a point of some stability.”
PrimeTime in Orlando was also the host to a massive milestone in Nationwide’s efforts to give back. Bringing its four-year partnership with No Child Hungry full circle, Orlando — which played host to the first meal packing event at PrimeTime back in 2018 — was the site of the 2 millionth meal packed.
“Four and a half years ago we met the Nationwide family for the very first time at a PrimeTime event, and the journey to packing this 2 millionth meal has been absolutely amazing,” says William Lowry, president of No Child Hungry. “Giving back is built into the DNA of this organization, and it’s been incredible to see and meet so many members along the way. The work to feed kids across the globe will continue, but this is such a huge milestone that we’re so happy we got to celebrate here in Orlando.”
Education was also once again a major component of the PrimeTime experience.
Over the course of the four-day event, the Nationwide Learning Academy drew nearly 4,000 session attendees to its 61 classes. The NLAs covered topics across 14 different tracks, including the in-store experience, website management, data and analytics, leadership, human resources, product training, business and financial services, digital marketing, social media and more.
In all, PrimeTime in Orlando saw nearly 3,800 attendees come together to learn, network and do business with one another. The Expo itself featured 150 different vendor partners across more than 200,000 square feet of exhibit space. That included more than a dozen outdoor partners as well.
Nationwide will now set its sights on a fall slate of Regional Member Meetings before heading to Dallas and the Gaylord Texan for the 60th edition of PrimeTime, March 25-28.