14th Annual Advantage Business Conference Celebrates the Spirit of the Independent Dealer in Washington, DC

July 27th, 2012

S.P. Richards Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Genuine Parts Company (GPC: NYSE) and leading wholesale distributor of business and office supplies, announced today…

14th Annual Advantage Business Conference Celebrates the Spirit of the Independent Dealer in Washington, DC

The 2012 S.P. Richards Advantage Business Conference (ABC), held from Jul 11-15, drew a large and enthusiastic crowd to the Gaylord National Hotel and Conference Center on the shores of the Potomac River just south of Washington, DC. Attendees experienced educational seminars, workshops and networking functions as well as North America’s largest Office Products Vendor Exposition, a showcase of over 250 exhibitors displaying the best in new office products, services, equipment and technology. In addition, entertainment and networking events made for an exciting and productive week. The conference included an opening session that featured actor and political commentator Ben Stein and an opening gala party that celebrated the Spirit of Independents, complete with a private fireworks display.

This year’s event also played host to OPI’s 3nd Annual North American Office Products Awards where vendors were honored for innovation in new product development. This year’s overall product of the year award went to Rubbermaid Commercial Products for their HYGEN Clean Water System Filter Bucket. A new accolade this year was the Peoples’ Choice Award which was presented to Imprint Plus for The Mighty Badge. Political satirists The Capitol Steps and emcee Steve Hilleard of OPI provided entertainment.

The conference kicked off with the S.P. Richards Company sponsored Young Executive Symposium (YES!), a group comprised of the next generation of dealer principals and leaders in the office product industry. Commenting on this portion of the program, Bill Schwartz Vice President, Sales for Deflecto LLC said, “This year’s ABC Show was very special and rewarding for Deflecto especially with our participation in the YES! event on Tuesday night. What a positive and enthusiastic group! This next generation of leaders and business owners certainly points to a bright future for our industry.”

Jeremy Bourret, Vice President of Suburban Stationers added, “We had a great time. There is so much I was able to take away from the trip to DC. The YES meeting, the seminars, the expo and all the other activities were full of great information. On top of all of this we had a ton of fun. From my perspective it was the best ABC yet.”

“We love the challenge of building a new program every year that serves to lift the independent dealer community,” said Jim O’Brien, S.P. Richards Company SVP of Marketing. “It is very rewarding when we hear we are on the mark with our learning tracks and with new initiatives such as CampaignAdvantage™ and Your Business Source®. We are looking forward to our 15th anniversary in Orlando.”

Dealers and vendors alike had high praise for this year’s event.

Al Lynden, President of Chuckals said, “Once again, S.P. Richards put on a great show and went above and beyond to demonstrate how much it values the partnership it has with the independent dealer community. The product expo was, without a doubt, a huge success. The vast array of vendors were able to highlight the product innovations and technological advancements that will give us the power to compete more effectively than ever before. Perhaps most exciting, however, were the discussions around the Your Business Source® Network. Your Business Source will give us the marketing power and sophistication of a nationally known brand, while at the same time allowing us to emphasize local ownership and buying locally.”
Samco Business Products Sales Manager Dan Eiken shared, “Having the ABC in Washington, DC was an excellent choice and the facility was outstanding! The opening night was a great time and the networking opportunities are irreplaceable. The most encouraging benefit of the show this year were the programs being introduced to support the independent dealers! I’m particularly energized with the “Your Business Source” and Campaign Advantage™ initiatives.”

Dyan Condry, President, Sundance Office Supply commented, “S.P. Richards has done it again. Washington, DC was a fun setting. The State Fair Party, sparkling with fireworks was awesome! The products show as always was a great learning experience and we had great opportunities for networking with SPR management and progressive independent dealers from all over the country.”

Fellowes Executive Vice President, Global Sales Mike Parker added, “This year’s Advantage Business Conference was one of the most well-organized, productive, and stimulating meetings that I have attended in many years. The modern amenities and spectacular setting of the Gaylord Hotel & Resort served as the perfect venue to facilitate constructive and collaborative engagement between our dealer partners and the entire SPR team.”

The final night’s celebration saw the announcement of next year’s venue, the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Florida from June 26-30.

S.P. Richards Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Genuine Parts Company (GPC: NYSE), distributes a wide spectrum of business products to office products resellers throughout the U.S. and Canada. These products include consumable office supplies, office furniture, computer supplies, consumer electronics, cleaning and breakroom supplies from all of the major industry manufacturers. S.P. Richards Company markets several private label lines under the brand names of Lorell, Integra, Sparco, Genuine Joe, Nature Saver, Compucessory, Elite Image and Business Source. The company operates over 40 Distribution Centers across the United States and Canada.

Genuine Parts Company is a distributor of automotive replacement parts in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The Company also distributes industrial replacement parts in the U.S. and Canada through its Motion Industries subsidiary. S.P. Richards Company, the Office Products Group, distributes business products nationwide in the U.S. and in Canada. The Electrical/Electronic Group, EIS, Inc., distributes electrical and electronic components throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Genuine Parts Company had 2011 revenues of $12.5 billion.

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