I recently had the privilege of attending the RCI 93rd Annual Convention and Industry Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was both my first time in the city of Cincinnati and my first exposure to the RCI organization and the members that make it what it is.

Angie Burlison
Angie Burlison
Executive Director, Retail Confectioners International

Nearly 500 attendees participated throughout the week, including walking the Industry Expo floor as they spoke with suppliers, attending the educational sessions, and participating in the behind-the-scenes tours. I enjoyed walking the Industry Expo and learning from many exhibitors about the products and supplies they offer — many giving out samples too good to pass up.

The education sessions in Cincinnati brought members relevant content to apply to their businesses. Topics included strategic planning, a cocoa market update, The Graeter’s Story and becoming and maintaining a leadership brand. In addition, during our Candy Clinic session, members shared product and marketing ideas with each other.

The behind-the-scenes tours were by far one of the most interesting parts of the week for me. My background is in industrial manufacturing of processing equipment, so I found myself intrigued by the various pieces of equipment used and how each company handled their process.

During the tours, we were able to watch production, meet staff and learn the history of each store. We stopped at Esther Price Candies Corp., Graeter’s Bakery & Chocolate Production Facility, Marie’s Candies, Golden Turtle Chocolate Factory and Galierie USA.

The week in Cincinnati was a great opportunity for me to begin my career in the confectionery world. I learned a wealth of knowledge on the show floor, talking with current members in the hallways and meeting brand new candy makers just starting their businesses.

Retail Confectioners International brings a unique opportunity for connection to its members. We have a rich history of candy makers involved in the association who are willing to share their knowledge with new members. The association provides members the opportunity to develop relationships, even friendships, and to learn from each other and share travel experiences. I am very excited about working with RCI and the excellent staff, and to continue to grow as an organization and offer even more to our members.

RCI is continually working on providing events for the confectionery industry, including conferences and educational opportunities. We invite candy makers and industry professionals to participate in these upcoming events to stay connected to this sweet industry.