All eyes were on Texas as Chain Store Age’s SPECS conference celebrated its 50th annual show with an opening keynote by President George W. Bush. The 43rd president of the United States, who participated in a discussion moderated by Walgreens president and CEO Gregory Wasson, was given a standing ovation by attendees.
The appearance by President George W. Bush was a highlight of the show, which was held at the Gaylord Texan Hotel, Grapevine, Texas. Attendance at the event, which is targeted to retail and restaurant professionals, architects and other specifiers involved in store design, planning, construction and facilities management, was up 25% over last year.
The show combined dynamic keynote presentations with quality workshop sessions and a lively exhibit floor showcasing the latest in store planning/design, construction and facilities products and services.
The educational program was designed to identify key trends and provide insights and innovative solutions to help attendees give their companies a competitive advantage now and in the years to come. In an acknowledgement of technology’s increasingly important role in store development and facilities, the program included a series of tech boot camps, which offered attendees hands-on knowledge of new and cutting-edge on-the-job technologies and solutions and social media tools.
SPECS offered plenty of business networking opportunities, on and off the exhibit floor. There were planned meetings during the annual SPECS Exhibitor/Retailer Face-to-Face Information Exchange, which provided the ideal forum for retailers to discuss business needs with suppliers in a direct, time-efficient manner. And there were informal meetings during workshop sessions, breaks, meals and evening receptions. Indeed, business partnering, long the hallmark SPECS, was the centerpiece of the 50th show.
The 51st annual SPECS conference will be March 15-18, 2015, at the Sands Expo at Venetian/Palazzo, Las Vegas. Look for updates on specsshow.com.