AVB members gather for Spring Summit in Nashville 

More than 1,000 members of Associated Volume Buyers gathered at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center March 3-6 in Nashville for the Tustin, California-based buying group’s Spring Summit.

During the meeting, BrandSource Chief Executive Officer Jim Ristow updated AVB’s BrandSource, ProSource and TRIB division members on the organization’s progress in 2017 and plans for growth this year. According to Ristow, AVB as a group added $2 billion of retail buying power in 2017, with BrandSource alone adding more than 100 members. AVB now has nearly 4,500 independent members and more than 8,000 stores in North America, representing more than $18 billion in annual retail sales across all of its buying group divisions, he said.

One of the biggest advancements during the past year for AVB members has been the continued evolution of AVB Marketing, which launched a new web platform called Alta 360, Ristow said. A customizable digital marketing program, Alta 360 brings the full functionality of language-integrated query and BrandSource’s partnership with Google directly to members. In addition, it allows users to customize their websites to suit their own needs instead of forcing uniformity on members.

“Alta 360 offers the most boutique, customizable front end,” Ristow said. “What I’m most proud about is that this package, benchmarked against the next closest platform, is almost 50% less in price.”

AVB’s Spring Summit included educational sessions on everything from succession planning to the importance of quality sleep. The event also featured a product expo showcasing the latest appliances, bedding, electronics and home furnishings.

During the Spring Summit, AVB/BrandSource also announced the presentation of four $2,500 scholarships. The recipients were Emily Rupp, who is pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy at Northern Arizona University; Ryan Linsley, a student of the Florida Institute of Technology majoring in computer information systems; Jennifer Zehner, a student at the University of Northern Iowa majoring in elementary education; and Cara Hodgkinson, an agribusiness major at Pratt Community College.

Each of the recipients is either an AVB/BrandSource member, an AVB/BrandSource member’s employee or related to a member or employee.