RCI Retail Confectioners International
Marcia Nickerson of MOD-PAC Corp. discusses packaging options with attendees during RCI's Spring Regional Institute." Photo provided.

There is a group that chocolate makers, confectioners and suppliers can all call their own. Where independently owned businesses and multi-million dollar corporations can meet, share ideas, and solve mutual problems. 

That organization  is the Retail Confectioners International [RCI] trade association. Serving the chocolate and confectionery industry since 1917, it facilitates networking events, offers access to a list serve where members can ask other members questions, and produces an annual membership directory and a buyer’s guide.

RCI also produces a quarterly newsletter magazine, Kettle Talk, packed with industry news and educational articles just for members; as well as Candy Scoop, a monthly membership email update. They also sponsor educational courses, such as Chocolate Boot Camp.

RCI also offers logistical support, such as an annual wall calendar providing dates for industry events throughout the year, an annual planning calendar to plan purchases and production and an inventory checklist to help manage supplies.

But the group’s resources aren’t all just for members.

RCI publishes Tip of the Week — a blog full of a range of useful information for industry professionals, be they manufacturers, in the packaging sector or running a candy shop — and RCI NewsBrief — a weekly e-news industry resource — both of which are available to all confectionery professionals.

In addition, RCI hosts annual events across North America, which feature registration discounts for members, employees and immediate family. RCI also hosts exclusive, behind-the-scenes tours of chocolate and candy stores; Candy Clinic, which is an active candy maker-run education and idea-sharing session, and produces an annual convention magazine, highlighting RCI events, information and news.

Recently, RCI had a “Chocolate Gold Rush”. The group held its 92nd Annual Convention & Industry Expo in San Francisco June 11 through 15.

The event included a tradeshow, in-depth education sessions and behind-the-scenes tours. Attendees also made new connections and walked away with plenty of great ideas to take back to their own stores and facilities.

As Kelly Brinkmann, RCI’s executive director points out, “Our members say the collaborative relationships they form in RCI are the secret to their success.”

Be sure to mark your calendars for these upcoming RCI events:

Canadian Chocolate Tour
Sept. 18-21
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Join RCI for a bus tour across Toronto and Ontario with stops at chocolate and candy stores and some production facilities, including Rhéo Thompson Candies, R.C. Purdy’s Chocolates, Ltd., Reid Candy & Nut Shop, Inc., Walker’s Chocolates, and Soma Chocolatemaker. Find the full schedule at retailconfectioners.org/regionals.

Spring Regional Institute 2013
More information coming soon!

93rd Annual Convention & Industry Expo
June 24-28, 2013
 Confectioners and industry suppliers from all over will convene in Cincinnati for a week full of networking, learning and behind-the-scenes tours for RCI’s 93rd Annual Convention & Industry Expo. Mark your calendars to join us as we Discover Sweet Success!