The end of 2010 is almost upon us, which means we’re headed into the busiest season of the year for retail confectioners. 

By Kelly Brinkmann,  RCI Executive Director   

The end of 2010 is almost upon us, which means we’re headed into the busiest season of the year for retail confectioners. But the Retail Confectioners International (RCI) association is also looking ahead to 2011 with member conferences, educational opportunities, and public policy activities.   

RCI will hold its 2011 Annual Convention in Pittsburgh on June 20-24, 2011. Sheraton Station Square will be the place to be for people engaged in the business of candy and chocolates. There, candy makers will the opportunity to attend educational sessions, meet with equipment and ingredient suppliers, and network with other professionals from across the country.  

Last year at our annual conference in Lexington, Kentucky, attendees learned about important public affairs issues in the confectionery industry, the latest product labeling requirements, food safety tips, how to extend product shelf life, and how to better market their candy stores. Pittsburgh will continue the long history of providing RCI members with information that helps them make, market and sell their confections better.   

“We’re excited about the upcoming program, where RCI members and other attendees will have a chance to learn from some of the best in the business, to share best practices, and get the latest news in the industry,” says Tom Elsinghorst, vice president at Tomric Systems Inc., and chairman of RCI’s Education Committee, which is overseeing the educational programs for the conference.   

RCI is also working on other educational forums, ranging from short seminars to longer boot camps to quick webinars. Many of the courses are taught by experienced candy makers, while others are led by suppliers and equipment manufacturers. Some are general overviews for beginners, while advanced courses are focused on a particular aspect of candy making.   

“RCI is offering more educational courses in shorter, more condensed time periods to better accommodate our busy candy-making members,” says RCI President Mike Koch. “They’ve asked for more short classes in more locations, and we’re working to provide them with those learning opportunities.”   Experts with a proposed course or facility for hosting a seminar can apply at and click the “Educational Courses” tab. We have great conferences, a convention, networking opportunities and educational opportunities available this year. We invite active candy makers and industry professionals to participate in these upcoming events.   

Mark your calenders for these future RCI events:   

RCI Spring Regional Institute 
No regional conference will be held in April 2011 because Easter falls very late in the month (Easter is April 24). The industry is invited to attend the RCI Annual Convention & Industry Exposition, June 20-24, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.    

RCI 91st Annual Convention & Industry Exposition Sheraton Station Square, Pittsburgh, Pa., June 20-24, 2011   2

2012 RCI Spring Regional Institute 
Omni Hotel, Jacksonville, Fla. 
April 17-20, 2012