Oh, good, you found me. After more than 19 years near the front of
In case you haven’t noticed, the editor’s desk spot (page 14) is now occupied by Marianne Wilson. Recently promoted to editor from executive editor, Marianne was the first writer hired after I joined Chain Store Age. She has been the mainstay of our reportage since 1989, writing many of our cover stories and being almost single-handedly responsible for the editorial content related to store planning, design, construction and facilities. A speaker at various domestic and international retail forums, she was a finalist last year for the Jesse H. Neal Award for outstanding editorial writing. (The Neal Award is business-to-business journalism’s version of the Pulitzer Prize.)
She is the inspiration behind the Green 4 Retail conference Chain Store Age will produce in June. She’s also the driving force for our annual Retail Store of the Year design competition featured in this issue (see page 63).
Marianne’s elevation to the richly deserved editor’s seat is but one of the changes for 2008 at Chain Store Age. Gary Esposito has been promoted to associate publisher from national sales manager. In the year that Gary has been part of our team he has contributed mightily to our continued success.
It’s been my custom to report to you each year around this time on Chain Store Age’s prior-year performance and plans for the current year. We ended 2007 on par with 2006. As publishing has changed, so have we. We augment the print magazine with two other vibrant enterprises—the Internet and live events.
SPECS, our annual event for executives involved in the store development and maintenance arenas, had a strong year. Under the leadership of Jim Kauhl, program director, the 44th annual SPECS next month in Dallas is projected to be another huge success. Late last year, Executive SPECS enjoyed the largest attendance in its five-year history, which bodes well for this year’s gathering.
Executive SPECS set the template for boutique meetings that bring retailers and vendors together for informal, informational programs. This month, outside Miami, we will co-host the second Main & Wall conference for c-level executives from mid-market, growth-oriented retailers. In June, the Technology &