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Caddell: NARMS/IFBA Readies for a New Beginning

Last updated on August 16th, 2012 at 11:50 am

By Terrie Ellerbee/associate editor

The National Association for Retail Merchandising Services (NARMS) is moving its base of operations from Wisconsin to Colorado, making changes to headquarters staff, assessing the services it offers and looking ahead to its own future as sales move into alternative channels.

Tom Caddell, NARMS International executive director, spoke to The Shelby Report’s Geoff Welch, VP of national accounts, at the 9th Annual Independent Food Brokers Association (IFBA) Top to Top Executive Business Conference held May 15-17 in Chicago. The IFBA is a division of NARMS International.

“NARMS is going through a lot of changes,” Caddell said. “Our international group is getting more robust, so we’re really pushing that committee now. We are currently looking at changes within our staff,” he said, with a “more robust job description. We are looking at positions that will bring us more value from the marketing standpoint and the brand building of NARMS and all our membership that goes along with that.”

The changes are due, he said, because the organization’s “voice has never been clearly heard as a trade association … We hope to bring that out in a very simplified way.”

The Top to Top event traditionally brought together manufacturers/suppliers and independent broker members of IFBA/NARMS, giving them engagement opportunities to talk about their services in regional markets.

“We believe that going forward, that this group will completely turn and start looking at alternative channels, because there’s a lot out there,” Caddell said. “If you look at the trends of where it’s going, a lot of sales are not your traditional, conventional grocery store. Now they’ve moved into the alternative channels with the dollar stores, the Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Amazon, I mean a little of everything. So it’s changing.”

The association is focused on accreditation of its membership and future membership, and certification of employees and field staff.

“We believe that for everything from event marketing to professional install—anybody doing in-store retail services—we want to make sure that NARMS stands for something.”

He likens what he sees NARMS becoming to the Good Housekeeping seal, a stamp of approval of sorts.

“We want to be the solution for our retailer members and also our manufacturer partners and our clients, that they reach out to our services. That’s really our key and our future—to be validated using educational means and the key data that’s out there to keep us relevant to what the industry is doing,” Caddell said. “We want to make sure our platform is right. We want to make sure that we’re proactive and not reactive.”

NARMS is relocating from Stevens Point, Wis., to Broomfield, Colo., which is located between Boulder and Denver.

“It is an area that is more of a hub for the association, to be able to really explore from a centralized location more of the market from the east and west,” Caddell said. It also is a more strategic location as the international group grows.

The brokers association is seeking six new members to join the conference committee this fall.

Within the IFBA structure, there is a changing of the guard under way. The new chairman will be Ken Holzheauser, president of STAR Brokerage, who steps into the role following Lynn Sarsgard, KCBS, who has been IFBA chairman for eight years.

The NARMS board will meet June 19-20 in Broomfield. For more information, visit www.narms.com.


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