Orlando, Fla. Chain Store Age’s 46th annual SPECS (store planning, equipment, construction services) conference got off to a rousing start Sunday with an opening address by Mike Eruzione, captain of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that surprised the world by beating Russia to ultimately take the gold medal.
Eruzione’s address was standing-room-only, as he inspired the audience of retailers and retail suppliers with the behind-the-scenes story of how a group of inexperienced hockey players took on the sport’s elite, and won.
The session was followed by the opening of the conference’s Solution Center, where attendees networked among the array of exhibit booths.
Monday’s opening address by noted adventurer and inspirational speaker Neal Petersen was also filled to capacity, as were the first lineup of concurrent informational sessions.
“I feel change in the air,” said one retailer on Monday morning. “It feels like we’ve turned the [economic] corner and everyone here is poised to get back to business in 2010.”
Watch for more reports from the show floor as the conference unfolds over the next two days.