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    AWMA Summit & Business Exchange to Set New Attendance Records

    Politics, foodservice distribution and the customer relationship will be focus of upcoming c-store wholesaler event.

    FAIRFAX, Va. -- The 2012 AWMA Summit & Business Exchange (ABX), to be held Sept. 10-13 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Amelia Island, Fla., is on pace to set new attendance records as convenience distributors and suppliers prepare for the annual conference that will feature timely educational programming and dozens of private, face-to-face meetings with business partners.

    "This year's attendance for both Summit and ABX are at an all-time high," reported Scott Ramminger, president and CEO of the American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA). "We are up 11 percent in distributor company participation and 17 percent in manufacturer company participation. This is a testament to the value that is delivered by this annual event."

    While the ABX is sold out, Ramminger urged AWMA members not participating in those pre-planned, face-to-face business discussions between trading partners to attend the 15th annual AWMA Summit program. The Summit opens with a reception Monday evening, followed by Tuesday general sessions and an evening reception.

    The 2012 AWMA Summit will kick off with a political update by Reid Wilson, editor-in-chief of National Journal's The Hotline, Washington's premier daily tip sheet on politics, campaigns and elections. Wilson will provide an insider's look into the current political environment in this heated presidential election year.

    Wilson regularly contributes political analysis to National Journal Daily, National Journal Magazine, 2012 Decoded and his weekly column, On the Trail. He frequently appears on MSNBC, CNN and C-SPAN, and is a political contributor to Sirius-XM Radio.

    Before becoming editor-in-chief, Wilson was editor of Hotline On Call and served as a staff writer at The Hill newspaper. During the 2008 election cycle, Wilson authored a popular political blog at RealClearPolitics.com and hosted a nationally broadcast political talk show on XM Satellite Radio.

    After Wilson's presentation, the Summit program will turn to the opportunities and challenges provided by foodservice for convenience distributors. According to AWMA's InfoMetrics data, foodservice sales by convenience distributors totaled nearly $625 million from Jan. 1 through May 26 of this year, an increase of 17.7 percent. Unit sales increased 5.2 percent during that period.

    In a session entitled "Foodservice Opportunities and Challenges," Bob Gatty, contributing editor for Convenience Distribution magazine will outline recent developments among distributors that are leveraging foodservice opportunities to serve their customers and build profits.

    This session, which will feature a discussion with distributors that are moving aggressively ahead with foodservice, will explore some of the strategies that are being used to boost sales and profit by meeting the on-the-go needs of today's convenience store shoppers.

    Then, business author Scott McKain will present the Summit's keynote address during which attendees will learn how to create more compelling connections between their companies and customers and how to stand out and move up, regardless of the economic climate in the industry.

    McKain is the author of three Amazon.com No. 1 business bestsellers: ALL Business is Show Business, What Customers REALLY Want and Collapse of Distinction -- all teaching how to create differentiation in order to expand profits, increase sales and engage customers to ensure loyalty.

    McKain is one of about 150 living members of the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame. He was recently recognized by Social Media Marketing magazine as one of the 50 most influential marketing authors on Twitter and GenJuice, as well as one of the Top 25 people for Gen Y and Millennial leaders to follow on Twitter. In his earlier career as a broadcast journalist, two million people saw his commentaries each week on 80 television stations in the United States, Canada and Australia.

    For more information about the annual AWMA Summit & Business Exchange, visit www.awmanet.org.

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