President, ICBA Board of Directors
The ICBA Board recently returned from our annual retreat and I can honestly say that we are energized with our commitment to being the foremost advocate for independent college bookstores. It is a pivotal time for bookstores and our industry is facing many challenges; however, ICBA remains uniquely poised to be the leading resource for stores by providing our members with the education, key partnerships and communication that they need to succeed as independent stores.
We strive to provide our members with the highest quality education that leads to innovation and that, ultimately, leads to a positive impact on store performance. This comes in many forms, but most specifically through our ICBA Retail Conference. Planning for the 2016 conference is well under way and just this week we opened registration for Stores and Vendors. As in the past, you can expect to engage with industry thought leaders through meaningful and relevant sessions and participate in valuable networking with peers.
For 2016, we are adding the additional opportunity for apparel buyers to receive formal training through our Apparel Institute, which takes place immediately preceding the ICBA Retail Conference. The Apparel Institute will offer a comprehensive and challenging curriculum to help apparel buyers at all skill levels. Industry experts will provide Buyers with curriculum developed specifically for the college retail market, at the same time allowing for meaningful interaction between peers.
More imminently, though, we are gearing up for our Fall Season of webinars. Our webinars are crafted to feature insights and case studies from peer institutions, industry leaders and vendors. Stay tuned for more details which will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.
ICBA strives to remain responsive to our membership’s needs and one way in which we make this happen is by leveraging our resources across key vendor partnerships. In particular, we are working to provide our stores with exclusive offers from high quality vendors and service providers that will contribute to increased profitability and customer satisfaction. We’re excited to report that we have already onboarded several new vendors and are in the process of qualifying more.
One topic that resonated throughout the retreat was our need for increased communication to our members. With that said, we will be planning regular communications going forward, both from the ICBA staff and the Board. Acknowledging that communication shouldn’t be a one-way street, we’d also like to hear from you. Please keep an eye out for occasional inquiries from ICBA about how we are doing and what challenges you encounter that we can help address. And, if you are not already, please follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook so you can keep apprised of the latest from ICBA, our partners and industry news.
A Fond Farewell
It’s been a lot of work, but the new ICBA office is now up and running in Chicago! Sadly, with the establishment of our new office in the Windy City comes the winding down of our operations in Ashland and I would be remiss to celebrate new faces without taking a moment to recognize some very familiar ones. Stacy Waymire, Skye Carlson, Charlie McChesney and Tammi Raikes have worked diligently behind the scenes for the past few months, preparing for the transition to the Chicago office and ensuring that everything is done seamlessly. At the end of this month, the Ashland office will officially close and we will say goodbye to Charlie and Tammi. Skye will stay on through the end of September while Stacy will continue working with the new ICBA staff through the completion of the ICBA Retail Conference in February 2016. The Board and I cannot express enough gratitude to Stacy, Skye, Charlie and Tammi for their dedication to the organization and most importantly, to its members. They have been ICBA’s advocates, friends, and family throughout the years and have tirelessly worked to bring ICBA’s mission to life. We will sincerely miss them and wish them all the best in their future endeavors and successes!