Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Update on the Center for Retail Innovation

I was driving through Winston-Salem yesterday and noticed the big billboard near downtown promoting the Center for Retail Innovation. Wake Forest University and Inmar debuted this research center earlier this year as part of the annual Marketing Summit. The idea is to foster collaboration among manufacturers, retailers and channel partners.

I went online and stumbled upon the group's blog. Even though no one has posted a blog since February, I was able to glean a few informational nuggets that I thought would be useful to share since we have heard very little from the center since its high-profile debut.

The center now has 13 corporate sponsors, which is quite impressive after less than a year of existence. In addition to Inmar, Symphony/IRI Group, Bellomy Research and John Whitaker are also founding sponsors. (Of course, those who live in Winston-Salem should realize that Whitaker is also Inmar's founder.) We also included a video Dean Reinemund that was released when the center was founded, which you can watch at the end of this post.

"The Center for Retail Innovation provides a forum for Inmar to work with manufacturers and retailers on innovations that will impact their bottom lines," says David Mounts, Inmar's CEO. "We are dedicated to supporting innovation in retailing and the development of future retail leaders."

Roger BeahmLed by veteran marketing and advertising executive Roger Beahm, the center will be a key component of the new Farrell Hall under construction and set to open next year. The schedule of events is a bit unclear but the center has four programs in its calendar: a data and mobile workshop, an innovation fair sponsored by CVS, a retail innovation awards conference and the Marketing Summit.

Other sponsors include Altria, BB&T, Chick-fil-A, CVS, Embassy Suites, FedEx, Fleishman Hillard, Hanesbrands, Marriott, Mullen, Pepsico/Frito-Lay, and Sam's Club. These folks will sponsor events, participate in workshops, underwrite research and provide educational opportunities for employees, among other things.

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