Critical topics like remaining relevant in the digital age and the essentials of brand reinvention were on the table as more than 200 industry leaders gathered at the Nobu Eden Roc Resort in Miami Beach for RetailSpaces '16.
The event featured three productive days of thought-provoking presentations, business meetings and a good bit of fun. Participants included a diverse mix of C-suite executives and store development leaders representing traditional retail, chain restaurants, supermarkets, banks, convenience stores and even theater chains.
Retailers not only learned about the latest trends, but also had the opportunity to have uninterrupted face time with executive leadership from a diverse group of suppliers and services providers.
Fortune 500 retailers agreed that this year's retreat was well worth their time.“I enjoyed the presentations featuring the 'Hot' new concepts. Given our fast-paced lives, this is a great opportunity to be educated,” says Walgreens' John Miologos.
Diverse, Effective Programming
Provocative sessions included a discussion moderated by Joe Jackman of Jackman Reinvents (appropriately) titled “Reinvent or Die” that featured execs from Darden Restaurants, Abercrombie & Fitch and home-goods retailer At Home.
Additional noteworthy speakers included Bill Mitchell, President of Dunkin Brands International; Joe Magnacca, CEO of Massage Envy; Deborah Brand, VP of Development and Design of Taco Bell, and Lee Peterson with WD Partners.
"Building a Global Brand: Topgolf's construction approach" – led by VP of Construction Kevin Miner, received extremely positive feedback from attendees.
A true innovator, Topgolf is a global sports entertainment company headquartered in Dallas, with almost 30 venues throughout the US and the UK. Miner addressed the challenge of maintaining brand consistency while still giving properties a local feel. He also shared the unique delivery method Topgolf has been using, building 7-10 new venues a year.
Heath Carr, CEO of Shinola, the upscale buzz brand retailer of watches, bicycles and leather goods, discussed the origins of his company and its commitment to Detroit and American manufacturing, during a keynote interview with RetailSpaces executive producer Michael Owens.
Carr shared his views on the role of brick & mortar stores as central to the Shinola brand experience; fulfilling a mission to become an integral part of their local communities, Shinola is adding restaurants and tattoo parlors in several new locations.
The days were long, but we incorporated a mixture of exciting activities, including a speedboat tour of the Miami Beach Coastline and Star Island, a sushi social at Nobu and a dinner with entertainment from acclaimed illusionist Dan White. White who has been profiled in Vanity Fair, The New York Times and is a regular guest on the Tonight Show is also a creative consultant for Kanye West, who happened to be staying at the resort with the Kardashian family for the duration of our event...adding an extra buzz (and security) to the event.
Monday night featured a Havana Nights themed dinner party at Villa Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a historic mansion and estate on Biscayne Bay. A good number of attendees dressed the part with women wearing flowing dresses and festive makeup and men decked out in white pants, guayaberas and fedoras.
A Three Pronged Approach
RetailSpaces brought together decision makers in a relaxed, invitation-only gathering that provided guests with a balanced, three-pronged approach to relationship building:
Content. Peer-led discussions led by and featuring innovators from within the retail industry.
Business Meetings. More than 40 leading service providers and suppliers. This year’s roster included AGI, Core States Group, Bose, Cushman & Wakefield, EMG, Oracle, Regency Lighting, Rogers Electric, Tandus Centiva and WD Partners. The key to success here is pre-planning, which makes it possible for retailers to schedule one-on-one business strategy meetings with suppliers weeks in advance.
Remarkable Networking. Speedboat tours, a sushi social at Nobu and a party at an historic Italian Renaissance style-villa. These are events and activities attendees won't soon forget.
Why Retailers Keep Coming Back
Every year, we strive to make RetailSpaces stronger than the year prior, by finding the right balance of locations, intriguing speakers, essential topics, and unique networking activities. Survey feedback for this year’s retreat was almost universally positive.
“Last year's experience for me was a ‘Win’, and I would consider this year's a Win Win since I met with so many more potential sources to add as Vendors for our Company,” says Don Herzog, with footwear retailer Steve Madden.
Also returning was Abercrombie & Fitch’s Andy House, who called the event “Amazing,” elaborating, “Once again, the scale of the event and retailer mix was right on. There isn't a better event that has the right mix of speakers, one-on-ones and excitement."
Newcomers were equally impressed. “This was my first RetailSpaces and it was truly a great experience. I thought the speaking sessions and meetings were well organized and very informative,” says Burberry’s Jessica Luculano. “Furthermore, the events were set up in a way that made the entire weekend feel more inviting and less ‘conference’ like.”
In 2017 we’re kicking it up another notch. For three days, RetailSpaces will take over the entire Miramonte Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, which will be transformed into a private retreat to be called the Influence Hotel.