From The Editor | July 27, 2010

RetailNOW Day 1 Wrap-Up: The Changing Face Of The RSPA

Day 1 of RetailNOW 2010 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas couldn't have gone much better for the RSPA. The general session attracted a standing room only crowd of approximately 400 dealers, vendors, ISVs, and distributors. But it wasn't just the total number that was significant – it was who comprised the attendance figures:

  • about 20% were new members attending their first show
  • the RSPA's first-ever Women-To-Women (W2W) networking event attracted 55 females

A "good ol' boys" association? Hardly. Furthermore, the tech talk at the show centered on SaaS, cloud computing, PCI security, and networking, showcasing where the association and its members will evolve next.

Every VAR, vendor, and distributor executive we talked with was optimistic about the event (and the economic outlook for the next 12-18 months). But many of them said the true measure of this event's success will be how many resellers meet with exhibitors on the show floor (Tuesday and Wednesday) to talk about projects in their pipeline and new products they're hoping to add to their linecard.

Other highlights from Day 1 – there are lots of ‘em:

  • The RSPA announced that membership is up 11% over the past year, compared with -4% a year ago. The association added 30 new members in July alone.
  • RSPA President Joe Finizio is always upbeat, but he was downright giddy that the association was profitable this past year after a difficult 2009. Last year was saddled with losses from writedowns associated with the sale of PC4 and a decline in the RSPA investment portfolio. Specific financial numbers were shared with members only, but Finizio said at the General Session that the year-over-year profit margin was a "huge swing."
  • Jim Roddy, the president of Jameson Publishing and BSM, became the first media member ever elected to the RSPA Board of Directors. Roddy will serve on the board for the next three years. "I'm really humbled to be chosen," Roddy said. "The RSPA has come a long way since choosing to transition from a dealer association to a true industry four years ago. I'm excited about the growth of the group, and I'm hoping help continue that momentum and the spirit of cooperation."
  • Four dealer members were elected to the board: B.J. Maynard of Management Control Systems (SC) was re-elected to a second three-year term. Bart Collins of Macro Integration Services (GA) also earned a three-year term while Jim Stewart of Advanced Data Systems (IL) and Jason Knopp of DirectPOS (ID) were elected to two- and one-year terms, respectively.
  • 28 different vendors, ISVs, and distributors held their dealer meetings at RetailNOW, the most in the history of the event.
  • Perhaps the most unique aspect of the RSPA is its scholarship program for the children of its members. This year the association awarded $100,500 in scholarships. The top award of $3,500, called the Shirley and Stanley Hayman Scholarship, was awarded to Ethan Hawes of Louisville, KY.
  • The RSPA said its dealer members saved $180k in legal fees over the past year thanks to the association's legal advice benefit.
  • The RSPA has introduced an Industry Advocacy Program designed to grow the association. Mercury Payment Systems has already embraced this concept, inviting the RSPA's Finizio to Mercury's headquarters in Durango, CO, to train the 50-person MPS sales staff on the RSPA's benefits. As a result, Mercury Channel Manager Marcie Ondrako helped connect 200 resellers with the RSPA for possible inclusion in the association.
  • Next year's RetailNOW will not be held in Las Vegas for the first time in 4 years. RetailNOW 2011 is set for July 24-27 at the Walt Disney Dolphin Convention Center. The show will return to Mandalay Bay in Vegas for both 2012 and 2013.
  • Inpsire, the annual RSPA winter conference, will be held on Jan. 23-26, 2011, at the Grand Wailea Resort in Maui, Hawaii.

Related Inside RetailNOW Links:
InsideRetailNOW Micro Site
RetailNOW 2010 Articles
RetailNOW 2010 Videos
RetailNOW 2010 News