ECRM to Mark 30 Years With Return to In-Person Sessions

Almost 70 category-specific sessions will take place in 2024
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
Bridget Headshot
ECRM 30-Year Logo Main Image
ECRM’s 68 category-specific 2024 sessions will take place in hotels and resorts at locations throughout the United States and Europe.

As ECRM celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2024, it will return to hosting a full roster of in-person sessions across categories within food and beverage, health and beauty care, general merchandise, and pharmacy.

In early 2020, when the pandemic resulted in severe travel restrictions, the company shifted to virtual meetings using its proprietary ECRM Connect platform, on which it has hosted close to 400,000 meetings to date. Now travel restrictions have been lifted, and buyers and sellers are increasingly seeking in-person meeting opportunities, so the company is responding accordingly.

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“ECRM is a valued partner, providing Southeastern Grocers with critical tools and opportunities to meet our customers’ ever-changing needs, and we are honored to share in the celebration of this milestone anniversary with the return to in-person meetings,” said Dewayne Rabon, chief merchandising officer for Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeastern Grocers, which is selling its Winn-Dixie and Harveys banners to ALDI. “ECRM demonstrated excellence in innovation and advancement with its seamless transition to virtual meetings during the pandemic, enabling us to continue discovering new products to offer our customers. We look forward to expanding upon our virtual connections at our in-person meetings, and once again have the opportunity for hands-on product evaluation – an essential component to our merchandising strategy as shopper behaviors and preferences continue to shift.” 

ECRM’s 68 category-specific 2024 sessions will take place in hotels and resorts at locations throughout the United States and Europe. As well as the face-to-face meetings between buyers and sellers that ECRM is well known for, each session will feature educational programming offering thought leadership and actionable insights, along with plenty of networking opportunities during meals, cocktail receptions, off-site dinners and store tours.

In addition, ECRM has expanded its roundtable program to all of its sessions. The ECRM Roundtables enable participating buyers and brands to have casual off-the-record moderated discussions on a range of key industry topics, during which they can share the latest trends and best practices.

Further, starting this month and throughout 2024, ECRM plans to feature content on how the company has evolved to continue serving its retailers, foodservice operators and brands with new technology, high- touch services and fun activities.

“If we’ve learned anything about the company in observing its 30-year history – and having been part of the team for 20 of them – it’s that we are certainly resilient and adaptable,” said Sarah Davidson, EVP of Solon, Ohio-based ECRM. “As our customers’ needs have changed, we’ve changed with them, continuing to find ways of delivering our trademark high-touch service and a wealth of opportunities for product discovery and relationship-building. We are thrilled that we’ll be able to share our anniversary celebrations with our customers in-person.” 

Founded in 1994 by Charlie Bowlus, ECRM has hosted more than 3 million meetings between buyers and sellers since its inception. 

Southeastern Grocers currently operates more than 420 grocery stores, approximately 180 liquor stores and more than 230 in-store pharmacies serving communities throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. The company is No. 44 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Operating about 2,200 stores in 38 states, Batavia, Ill.-based ALDI U.S. employs 45,000-plus associates and is No. 26 on The PG 100. PG also named the company one of its 10 Most Sustainable Grocers.

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