GMDC celebrates 45-year anniversary
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Global Market Development Center this year is celebrating its 45-year anniversary with a retrospective look at the top retail innovations, as well as the association’s own industry-changing moves since the 1970s.
“We are proud to celebrate our 45th anniversary as a testament to past successes, as well as a launchpad for future strategies that will continue to reimagine and revolutionize the retail industry,” stated Patrick Spear, president and CEO of GMDC. “Early on, GMDC emerged as the go-to association for all stakeholders who not only wanted to navigate the industry, but also set innovative trends. We continue to grow and transform through the dedication of our membership and their visionary leaders in the retail, wholesale, supplier and service/solution company landscape.”
A lot has changed in the past 45 years, but what hasn’t changed at GMDC is the spirit of collaboration. “That hasn’t changed,” Spear told Drug Store News. “There’s been over the years so much channel blurring, and we’ll continue to see more of that as retail is disrupted and consumer buying habits change, but what hasn’t changed within our membership is the desire for a connection, the desire to collaborate, the desire to create optimal ideas and solutions.”
According to Spear, the transformative GMDC milestones that most standout over the past 45 years include the development and evolution of the association’s “speed-dating” CCC meetings, a business meeting concept that originated with GMDC. “We were the originators of the speed-dating format at conferences, enabling buyers and sellers to come together in a very efficient manner and collaborate on opportunities in the marketplace,” Spear said.
Other milestones that helped shape GMDC today are the expansion of association membership beyond buyers and sellers to service companies and the more recent insights offering of the GMDC/Nielsen GM Hierarchy. “Before we worked with Nielsen to set that up, there wasn’t objective data across the GM landscape that our members could use to make business decisions,” Spear said. “Working and partnering with Nielsen to make that happen enabled our members to get a much better view into the GM category in retail and plan their business better because of it.”
Just before GMDC’s Health Beauty Wellness 2015 meeting, Spear distilled GMDC’s 45 years into four words that not only capture the spirit of the association’s heritage, but also herald the promise of GMDC to come. “I think the 45-year anniversary has given us an opportunity to think about that, and what I think about is our four c’s — connect, collaborate, create, commerce,” he said.
From the introduction of the first supermarkets to today’s mecca of digitized retail, GMDC fosters growth in both the businesses of health, beauty and wellness, as well as general merchandise, through those “four c’s.”
Timeline of the association:
1970s — Stores began using barcodes as chain stores dominated the marketplace. The association that would become GMDC is established as a connective trade association, hosting its first marketing conference for members, such as Carlie C’s and Merchants Distributors. The association introduces corporate “speed dating” at conferences to maximize member connections.
1980s — Big box and discount retailers, including Walmart and Costco, reface the customer experience with stores that cross categories. Ahold USA joins GMDC as the association admits direct-buying supermarket chains to membership.
1990s — The marketplace goes digital with the launch of Amazon.com. GMDC opens membership to service merchandisers, non-direct-buying supermarket chains, club stores and later admits all mass market wholesale and retail channels to membership.
2000s — Computer and technology stores plug into the market, and Toys R Us unveils its store-in-store concept. The association rebrands itself as the Global Market Development Center, while the Health and Beauty Care Marketing Conference is rebranded to the Health Beauty Wellness Marketing Conference to capture the emerging health and wellness consumer opportunity.
2010s — Smartphones and tablets mobilize the marketplace, equipping retailers, wholesalers and service companies by expediting commerce processes. Brick-and-mortar stores incorporate mobile technologies with apps offering digital coupons, digital wallets and in-store mobile push marketing. GMDC digitizes many facets of member communication and introduces GMDC*Connect, a virtual meeting tool offering live and recorded knowledge-sharing infocasts, and launches a mobile app for its conferences. The association also releases the GMDC/Nielsen GM Hierarchy, a tool for tracking critical sales information by category within general merchandise.
2020s — Industry research predicts physical store sizes will shrink, as up to 20% of retail purchases shift online. The growth of shoppers managing their own health care will increase demand for space in over-the-counter, health and wellness, and healthy food options. GMDC continues to be an industry trendsetter, offering innovative tools and actionable insights to its growing membership and helping to maintain leadership positions across respective businesses.
GMDC honors Bivona with 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award
PHOENIX — GMDC honored longtime member Joseph Bivona, VP customer development at Time Inc. Retail, with the organization’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award here at GMDC Health Beauty Wellness 2015. The announcement came at Saturday night’s Evening with the Board of Directors Reception and Dinner, where one of Bivona’s daughters, Janine Nyquist, her husband Bryce and newborn daughter Nora were on hand to surprise him after he was presented with the award.
“When you’re in the audience you never know, one day you may be up here,” Bivona said, adding that he expected the award to go to former GMDC president and CEO Dave McConnell, and thanking current president and CEO Peter Spear. “Peter, everybody thank you very much. I always tell my children: always be hungry, but humble, and believe me tonight I am humble. I appreciate everything, and you can’t do it alone. You got to do it with folks like yourselves. Thank you very much.”
Bivona was honored with a 20-minute video chronicling his life from his childhood in Port Chester, N.Y., to his education and career, which began at Mobil before he moved to Coca-Cola and eventually settled at Time Inc. Retail. There he has forged relationships with retailers and regional grocery chains through his work with GMDC, where he currently serves on the GM advisory board.
All the while, Bivona has helped to raise a family — Nyquist, her sister Jaime Baehler and brother Joseph “JJ” Bivona — while instilling humor into life, working to grow his company’s retail footprint and building strong personal and professional relationships with retailers.
“I can’t imagine Time Inc. being as successful as we’ve been in the retail industry without a relationship like GMDC,” Time Inc. Retail CEO and president Rich Jacobsen said in the video. “We never had a relationship in the drug industry, and we now do and Joe’s helped us with that.”
For people who have worked with Bivona, like Colgate-Palmolive customer development director Peter Thompsen, it is Bivona’s ability to cultivate personal relationships with colleagues that is a large driver of his and his company’s success.
“If you look at some of the places where Time has been very successful — in some strong regional grocery chains, some of the customers that we have in GMDC as members — Joe built the relationships to build the business, and they’ve benefited both on a personal and professional level,” Thompsen said.
“When I think about what Joe has done, there is no other industry person who has dedicated more time, both personally and from a company resource perspective than Joe has,” Ray Schrumpf, C&S Wholesale’s SVP of non-perishable procurement, said in the video. “And I think that’s the epitome of what it takes to win the Lifetime Achievement Award with GMDC.”