AGM members attending yesterday’s Orlando Retail Conference capped off an event-filled day with the annual Product Preview and Reception, which allowed them a sneak peak at the new fall collections from AGM Vendor Partners.
The breadth and variety of brands was vast, from industry mainstays like Donald Ross, Greg Norman Collection and Sport-Haley, to up-and-coming brands like Boomer Golf, a wellness company with CBD and other products; Joe’s Jeans, a popular lifestyle brand trying to gain traction in golf shops; and goodr, a sunglasses company offering hip, fun styles at affordable price points.
“Being part of this product preview puts us — a company trying to make a splash in the golf industry — in front of 700-plus buyers,” said Derick Gallegos, Partnership Architect at Los Angeles, California-based goodr, and one of several company representatives wearing flashy pineapple print outfits. “We’re a fun and irreverent brand, and it was a perfect spot for us to showcase that.”
Kathy Yevchak, whose Signs by the Sea hand-crafted wood products company has grown exponentially in the marketplace since its founding in 2011, sees the Product Preview as the perfect venue for longer, more meaningful conversations with customers.
“It’s a place we can bring our new key products and get a lot of good feedback,” explained Yevchak, who runs the company with her husband, Mike Yevchak. “We can get a quick gauge of what people think, and a preview of the kind of success we might see at the PGA Show.”
AGM members also appreciated the relaxed atmosphere of the networking event, which is very different from the rapid pace of the three-day show. “The greatest thing is it’s so easy to move around with no stress and get more personal time with the vendors,” said Steve Smith, PGA Director of Golf at Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama. “Being that they support the AGM, you’re going to look a little harder at their lines, and if you’re on the fence between two brands, you’re probably going to give them the nod.”
Bonnie Hamilton, Director of Retail at Washington Golf and Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, agreed that she’s more likely to consider buying from AGM supportive vendors, adding, “I’m going to be more open-minded to these products, especially those I’ve carried in the past. Every brand evolves and changes, and this gives us a chance to see what they’re up to ahead of the PGA Merchandise Show.”
In addition to the Product Preview, the annual AGM Retail Conference featured several educational sessions, a Retail Round Table discussions for private, resort, and public/off-course facilities, the annual meeting and luncheon, and a keynote address by digital marketing expert Ron Cates, Grow Your Business with Email and Social Media, where he gave AGM members advice and strategies on how to grow their social media presence.
Also highlighting the conference were the presentation of the AGM Platinum Awards honoring 100 of the top-merchandised golf shops, as well as the 10 named Best of the Best, which this year were: Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge, Congressional Country Club, St. Andrew’s Country Club, Haggin Oaks, Gold Canyon Golf Resort, Pinehurst Resort, Reynolds Lake Oconee (The National and The Reserve), The Golf Club at Lansdowne, Westin Kierland Resort and Waterville Golf Links. In addition, Desert Mountain Golf Club was honored with the Cashman Award for Visual Excellence.
Among the AGM Vendor Partners sponsoring the conference were Ahead, Antigua, Barr Display, Cutter & Buck, Donald Ross Sportswear, FootJoy, Foray Golf, Greg Norman Collection, Oxford and PGA Golf Exhibitions.