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The General Merchandise Distributors Council is no more. Sort of.

In fact, the initials are staying the same, but the association's name is changing, to the Global Market Development Center – adopted because of what the organization views as its role "in serving globally focused wholesalers, retailers and suppliers via business building events, timely consumer and business insights, education, training and information resources." GMDC now serves wholesalers and retailers in drug, convenience, value, ecommerce, catalog and mass retailing, as well as the supermarket channel.

The rebranding initiative is being unveiled this week in Phoenix at GMDC's annual General Merchandise Marketing Conference.

GMDC president/CEO David McConnell, Jr. explains: “This initiative should be characterized as part of an evolution for the continued growth and expansion of the association. Since our founding in 1970, we have been the premier trade association for GM and HBC. Originally organized to serve general merchandise distributors and the supermarket nonfoods industry, the evolution process really began in earnest in the 1990’s when we opened our membership to other channels of trade…We have always done a very good job of growing our Association by delivering a great product as our members closely scrutinized the ROI of their trade event participation budgets. While continuing to deliver high conference ROI we have also greatly expanded our commitment to education and professional development to the point that we felt it was time to do some significant introspection and more accurately articulate our brand to our members, prospective members and the industry."

GMDC also has decided to rename its fall marketing conference as the Health Beauty Wellness Marketing Conference to better reflect its expanded portfolio. According to McConnell, "We see Wellness as an important new opportunity for our members and made the decision to expand our fall event to include this powerful growth area. We will be supporting the inclusion of Wellness into our program with an expanded participation by health and wellness oriented suppliers as well as valuable business sessions and workshops that explain the potential of the Wellness opportunity for all our members, including the general merchandise supplier community.”
KC's View:
We've always been impressed with GMDC, and especially with Dave McConnell, who is one of the real good guys in this industry. (By the way, we would note here that McConnell's comments about "wellness as an opportunity" is precisely in synch with the points we made in out first story/POV this morning.)

What GMDC is after is increased relevance in a fast-changing landscape. That's not easy to do, but the one thing that it cannot do is sit still. And we firmly believe that an increased emphasis on education and communication is the absolutely right way to go.

And not just because we're sort of in the education and communication business.