With the return to an in-person Annual Meeting and FoodShow, Associated Food Stores (AFS) used the opportunity to relaunch its pre-Annual Meeting education sessions. Company leaders know how important education and training is for member retailers and, during last year’s Retailer Connection meetings, the topic of training was brought up repeatedly as an opportunity. 

This year’s education sessions were organized differently than in past years. Rather than randomly assign presenters to rooms, AFS team members organized the training rooms to address three key topics: 

  • Room 1 – Technology and Marketing 
  • Room 2 – Merchandising 
  • Room 3 – Operations 

“Education is a key opportunity for our company as we look to the future,” said Bob Obray, president and CEO. “Our retailers are asking for the help and guidance we can provide, especially given the pace of change we face at retail. We are looking for ways to offer new and exciting education opportunities for our retailers as a part of our New Vistas process and other projects.” 

“This year’s education sessions were incredibly well attended,” said Jane Hill, training and development coordinator. “It is incredible to see how much participation we had during the event. We had multiple sessions where every seat was full, and it was standing room only. It’s a great challenge to have. We are reassessing our room count for next year as we gather feedback from attending stores.” 

This year’s education sessions brought several highly relevant topics to AFS retailers, from the future of advertising and promotions to loss prevention/safety best practices, from meat and bakery merchandising best practices to the latest in ecommerce and digital marketing.  

“AFS has such a broad range of services and solutions, as well as so much knowledge that can help our retailers. These education sessions are a great way to help our retailers learn new and important things,” said April Rice, vice president of retail services. 

The retail counselors, marketing team, team services, Denise Ward and others provided support for the event and their efforts were very appreciated by participating retailers .