The 2012 AWMA Summit & Business Exchange (ABX) opened yesterday with record breaking attendance of some 465 distributors and suppliers meeting in beautiful Amelia Island, FL, for a round of insightful educational programming and the opening of more than two full days of ABX business discussions among trading partners.
The Summit program was opened by AWMA chairman Chad Gummer, president of Gummer Wholesale, Inc., Heath, OH, who outlined major achievements of the association over the past year and predicted a sold-out AWMA Show March 6-8, 2013, in Orlando, FL.
"It has been a great honor to be chairman this year and to follow in my father's footsteps and to work with fellow regional wholesalers," Gummer said. His father, Rick, previously served as AWMA chairman. "It is amazing that most of us started as family owned businesses," he said, but said today's distributors must be being willing to change and adapt to new realities of the marketplace.
"I encourage everyone to get involved as much as you possibly can," he said, "and to support AWMA. "It is the future of the convenience distribution industry, and we have a great opportunity to keep expanding and keep the momentum going."
Gummer expressed appreciation to Altria Group Distribution Company and The Hershey Company for co-sponsoring the morning program.
Later at the opening luncheon, Gummer passed the chairman's gavel to Hugh Raetzsch, jr., president, Lyons Specialty Co., LLC/AA Vending, Port Allen, LA. Raetzsch will assume the chairmanship January 1, 2013, and said he is looking forward to leading AWMA next year.