Las Vegas Is The Place To   Be!
 The REAL DEAL EXPO is a sure bet when it comes to making business deals and trading partner connections.
By Robert Pignato
Vice President Marketing, Membership & Industry Affairs, American Wholesale Marketers Association
A recent American Wholesale Marketers Association survey of convenience distributors indicated the majority of them prefer face-to-face communication with trading partners over other forms of interaction. With this in mind, there’s no better place to get business done than the 2005 REAL DEAL EXPO, Feb. 23-25, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev.
Although the REAL DEAL EXPO is a fresh take on the country’s oldest and largest show for warehouse-distributed products, AWMA’s annual convention has served as the premier meeting place for distributors and their partners for more than 60 years.
The REAL DEAL experience offers the convenience industry a chance to network, conduct business, gain valuable industry knowledge and see the latest convenience products. Plus, attendees can enjoy the many facets of Las Vegas.
Location, Location, Location
Las Vegas thrives on superlatives — biggest, brightest, longest, tallest — so it’s not surprising visitors will find a huge variety of options for entertainment, sightseeing, shopping and dining. From casinos and star-studded shows to resorts that recreate ancient Egypt, the skyline of New York City and the landmarks of Paris, there’s something for everyone.
Set against a panoramic desert skyline on 80 landscaped acres, the Las Vegas Hilton is one block from The Strip and immediately adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center. The 40,000-sq.-ft. casino is open 24 hours a day. All EXPO events will be held at either the Hilton or the Convention Center.
SFA Expands Show
The SFA comes on board for the 2005 event, bringing along a variety of snack product manufacturers, and wholesale and retail buyers. SFA member companies manufacture potato chips, tortilla chips, corn chips, pretzels, snack nuts, meat snacks, crackers, pork rinds, cookies, and a variety other snack products.
In an exciting two days, power buyers in warehouse distribution will examine convenience products — snacks, confections, tobacco, foodservice, general merchandise and more — on the show floor.
Outstanding Speakers
The featured speaker this year will be Don Shula, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and former NFL coach. Shula will discuss the strategy for putting together a winning team.
Wall Street analyst Bonnie Herzog of Smith Barney will host a roundtable on tobacco issues. Drawing on top in-depth knowledge of the tobacco industry, Herzog will cover trends in pricing and volume, brand market share, pending tobacco legislation and lawsuits, tobacco-maker marketing plans and much more.
The other general session on Thursday is a Candy and Snack Overview. Roundtable speakers will be revealed at when details are confirmed.
Networking Opportunities
Attendees will have many chances to network with peers — through receptions, on the show floor, in the hallways and, of course, at the Gala Dinner on Thursday night. The Gala Dinner is being brought back to the REAL DEAL EXPO in an effort to bring the industry together for awards, entertainment and conversation.