Our team

  • Brian WattierVP of Member Marketing, AVB, Inc.

    Using Digital Strategies to Connect with Local Customers
    Sun, Mar 8 @ 5PM
    Marcello 4506

    Most consumer journeys start as a fact-finding mission. Being present in this moment is the foundation for successfully driving customers to your store and/or selling online. Learn how to structure complete promotional plans connecting each touchpoint of the customer journey from ad formats designed to grab consumers’ attention, to merchandising your website making your virtual aisles match your physical aisles. From this session walk away with 5 things you can do TODAY to improve your marketing efforts and capture local customers.

    With over 14 years’ experience working in the marketing industry Brian Wattier has honed his skills specializing in retail digital strategies focused around appliances, mattresses, furniture, and consumer electronics. His expertise covers advertising on numerous platforms Google, YouTube & Social Media advertising, as well as consulting on comprehensive strategies for SEO, SEM, Display/Remarketing, Email Marketing, and Video. Over the years, networking with hundreds of retailers and advising on their marketing plans has enabled Brian to absorb industry-specific knowledge and translate that into designing effective comprehensive strategies that incorporate best practices and focuses on out-smarting the competition, not outspending them, for our AVB’s retailers.

  • John WhiteCMO, AVB, Inc.

    Website Trends: Converting Visitors to Customers
    Sun, Mar 8 @ 4PM
    Marcello 4506
    In an ever-evolving digital world, how can you be sure you’re pinpointing consumer interests and making that conversion? John White, Chief Marketing Officer for AVB, discusses conversational user experiences, visual commerce, personalization and more trends you can’t ignore in 2020.

    As Chief Marketing Officer of AVB BrandSource, John White provides leadership and oversight to the independent retailer’s top buying and marketing group. John began leading AVB as General Manager of Appliances in 2004. He has been the Executive Vice President since 2010, leading AVB BrandSource in the industry’s biggest consolidation point for appliance and electronics goods.

    Prior to working for independent retailers, John enjoyed a successful 12-year career with the Maytag Corporation, where
    he held key roles in management, sales, and marketing. In total, John White brings to the industry 20 years of experience with major appliance brands such as Whirlpool, GE, Electrolux, LG, and Samsung.

  • Kim YostPresident & CEO, Mega Group

    Kim Yost President and CEO – Kim assumed the position of President and CEO of Mega Group on November 20, 2019. He is an accomplished North American retail industry business leader who has consistently delivered innovation and performance improvements. Prior to his appointment as President and CEO of Mega Group, Kim held the position of President & CEO of Art Van Furniture from 2009 to 2018. Before his time at Art Van Furniture, Kim Yost was with The Brick Group from 1997 to 2009, the last five years in the position of President & CEO.

    He believes the independent channel is well-poised to seize new opportunities as retailers recognize the need for transformation, creativity, and innovation.

  • AVB Marketing WorkshopsAVB Marketing

    Sun, Mar 8 • 8A – 4P
    Mon, Mar 9 • 10A – 12P
    Online to Offline: Your Website Is Your First Store Front
    Personalization is in every facet of the online retail world, it’s “ME-commerce” no matter the industry, and aligning the experience in your store with the one customers have online is even more important now that your website is shifting to become THE store – not the second store. Join us to learn, how to automate matching your virtual aisles to your physical aisles, and how to stay competitive, make money and – most of all – save time!

    Behind The Scenes: Optimizing Your Website For Google
    Today, we live in Google’s world, understanding the algorithm and making adjustments to boost your website’s visibility on the largest search engine in the world is a must do. Ranking organically through optimized content is still a critical component to an effective online presence. This session is an introduction to Search Engine Optimization – what is it, what is the value of it and 5 takeaways that you can take action on today.

    101: Pay-Per-Click Campaigns With Google
    If you’re new to advertising with Google or just wanting to brush up on the classic ad formats, join this session to get back to basics. This 20 minute session will take a deep dive in to building and refining a solid advertising foundation on the Google platform with 5 things you can do today to improve your search and display marketing efforts.

    102: Pay-Per-Click Campaigns With Google
    Building on the knowledge base of 101, this 102 session introduces additional ad formats designed to capture the consumers attention through other tactics. Join us in understanding why YouTube, Google Shopping and Responsive Ad formats for Search and Display are the latest ad types you need to be exploring. And learn how to ensure you have an advertising budget to support a multi-tactic marketing plan to dominate your market.

    Going Beyond Google: Facebook/Instagram Ads
    Being active on social media as a business goes beyond having a social profile. During this session, learn about platform specific ad types, reaching a new hyper-targeted audience, shopping through the platforms and more to help you capture consumers in a space where they spend most of their time.

    Going Beyond Google: Pinterest Ads
    Pinterest, the fastest growing social platform in the world, offers new and exciting opportunities to engage directly with your potential customers at the moment of inspiration. In this session, learn the platform basics and how to create shoppable experiences turning this visual search engine into an effective new customer acquisition channel.

    Going Beyond Google: Over-The-Top Television
    The days of traditional television watching and sitting through commercials are over. Streaming apps and devices are now how every day shoppers are watching their shows. Learn about this new channel of TV advertising, what content plays best on the platform and how you can reach a new generation of “cord-shavers” and “cord-cutters” through this medium.

    Selling Online: Effectively Communicating Promotions Through Multi-Faceted Campaigns
    Most consumer journeys start as a fact finding mission. Being present in this moment is the foundation for successfully selling online. Learn how to structure complete promotional plans connecting each touch point of the journey from ad engagement through to website landing pages. The end result: Sales!

    Your Next Best Sales Person: Online Chat
    When a customer walks into your store, you don’t ignore them; when a customer visits your website, they should NOT be ignored. The need for 1:1 communication in the digital space is not a nice to have, it’s a MUST have. In this session, understand the primary focus of chat on your website and how to be a value add through this channel to your customers. Your new best sales guy will be your chat.

    Defining Success: Connecting Ad Engagement to Website Conversions Through KPIs
    Success in the new age of personalization is “think like a customer, act like a retailer”. During this session, learn the definition of success by ad type and how to connect the dots from ad engagement through to action on your website.

  • Dr. V (Alan Vonderhaar)Director of Strategic Development and Growth / Dr. V / Mattress Buyer – Miskelly Furniture

    Creating Spectacular Events: The Simple Steps to Creating Retail Events that Deliver Explosive Results
    Mon, Mar 9 @ 10AM
    Marcello 4405
    Creating Spectacular Events: The Simple Steps to Creating Retail Events that Deliver Explosive Results. In this workshop, Dr. V. (Alan Vonder Haar), will reveal the key steps to creating compelling retail events that drive traffic, increase sales, and deliver profits that blow away the trend.

    Delivering the Superior Consumer Experience: Consumers hate to be sold, but they do love to buy
    Mon, Mar 9 @ 11AM
    Marcello 4405
    Delivering the Superior Consumer Experience: Consumers hate to be sold, but they do love to buy. In this workshop, Dr. V. unveils the secrets of a sales process that equips and empowers the consumer to make the purchasing decision that is right for them. In the age of the internet, the only way to thrive in retail is to deliver a superior consumer experience through empowering the customer.

    Alan Vonder Haar, affectionately known as “Dr. V”, is not a medical doctor, but was dubbed the mattress doctor by his industry peers due to his superior knowledge, passion, and dedication to the mattress category. Dr. V is a 35-year retail professional. Because of his visionary approach, legendary execution, and close involvement with all aspects of Miskelly Furniture’s retail operations, Alan is now the Director of Strategic Planning and Growth. He has held the position for ten years and continues to post breathtaking results.

  • Scott SchwefelCEO, DiscoverYourself.com

    Communicate in Full Color
    Mon, Mar 9 @ 10AM + 11AM
    Marcello 4403
    A great session for anyone looking to improve personal and professional communications skills, while increasing their own self-awareness. The audience will leave with:

    • The ability to move themselves to conscious awareness of others
    • A new understanding of their own unique communications style
    • Understanding of how to identify other’s communications styles
    • A way to connect and adapt with anyone immediately

    Scott Schwefel brings over 25 years of entrepreneurial experience, starting in 1990 by founding Benchmark Computer Learning, which he grew to become Minnesota’s largest technology training company. Scott’s greatest passion is delivering programs as a highly rated keynote speaker. He has presented in Paris, London, Venice, Amsterdam, and Shanghai and throughout North America.

  • Phil GungorCOO, Laugh Your Way

    Better Communication for Your Team and Your Customers
    Tues, Mar 10 @ 9AM + 10AM
    Marcello 4403
    International marriage speaker, Phil Gungor, explains how to interpret and understand the colorful printout that is the Flag Page. He shows the reader how to understand why they act and react the way they do, and what important needs they have in their lives that are the keys to their success and happiness. By using the Flag Page, Phil has helped thousands of people discover and understand not only who they are, but also understand the people closest to them.

    Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage (Spousal Event)
    Tues, Mar 10 @ 4PM
    Marcello 4403
    Phil Gungor, explores the differences between men and women or what he calls, “The Laws of Relational Physics,” specifically, how men and women are wired differently. They act differently, they communicate differently and most importantly, they think differently. Phil shows couples that their problems may result from how men and women THINK about life in a different way. He explains that many of the struggles couples face in marriage are the result of a HEAD problem, not a HEART problem.

    Phil grew up learning the principles to a successful marriage, being taught from an early age about love, relationships, and marriage. In 2001 he started working full-time in church ministry and is currently licensed as an associate pastor at Celebration Church in Green Bay Wisconsin.

  • Lyn FalkConsumer Behavior Specialist, Experience Curator, Store Designer, President, Retailworks, Inc.

    Creating a Profitable Retail Environment
    Mon, Mar 9 @ 9AM + 10AM
    Marcello 4405
    Attendees will learn about:

    • Storefront Design (Branding, Signage, Lighting, Displays)
    • Store Layout (Traffic Flow, Focal Points)
    • Store Design (Finishes, Fixtures, Transaction Counters, Lighting)
    • High Tech – High Touch Elements
    • Interior Signage/Messaging
    • Merchandising & Display
    • Importance Of Omni-Channel Retailing

    Ms. Falk is the founder and President of Retailworks, Inc., (1995) an award-winning branding, design/display and consulting firm specializing in retail, corporate and hospitality spaces. Falk and her team transform spaces into vibrant destinations, telling unique stories in 2-D and 3-D manners that move minds and merchandise. She has worked in over 35 different retail industries throughout the U.S. and Canada. Her client list includes heavy-hitters like Allen Edmonds, Blue Bunny, Kohler Company, Mercury Marine, Miller Brewing, and Moleskine, however, she has helped hundreds of independents increase business through smart branding, design, and display techniques.

  • Kate WoodCo Founder, Engage Your People

    A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats: Working Together We All Achieve More (Women in Business Breakfast)
    Tues, Mar 10 @ 7:30AM
    Palazzo Ballroom N
    LinkedIn’s latest study found (in a survey of nearly 1,000 female professionals) that 82%
    of women agree that having a mentor is important. But, considering the competitive employment landscape, and the universal belief that mentorship is a critical component to career success, 19 % have NEVER had a mentor.

    This session will be fun, interactive and informative. You will leave inspired, with a plan of how you can implement change in your workplace and your life.

    Engage Your Employees and They Will Engage Your Customers
    Tues, Mar 10 @ 10AM
    Marcello 4406
    Be honest – How engaged are your people? But then.. how engaged are you? Organizations with engaged employees see 17% higher productivity, 21% higher profitability, 10% higher customer satisfaction and 41% lower absenteeism.

    This session will tackle digital transformation, engagement and performance in a modern workplace.

    Harnessing what worked in her 8 years as Culture Director for Chess, Kate Wood galvanised the 120-million-pound turnover Tech Business to 1st in the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to work for in the UK and Top 10 on Glassdoor. Kate now works full time on engage – an employee engagement tool with a difference.

  • Seth WeisblattDirector of Furniture, AVB / BrandSource

    Furniture Town Hall Breakfast
    Tues, March 10 @ 7:30AM
    Palazzo Ballroom O

    Learn and share what’s shaping the furniture industry and come prepared for topics and ideas you want to know to help grow your business. This will be an open session for all home furnishing retailers or those interested in adding furniture to their store’s offering.

    Seth Weisblatt is the Director of Home Furnishings for AVB Brand Source. Seth’s role is a newly created bridge between the merchandising and marketing teams to help target AVB Brand Source’s direction towards this growing industry. Seth formerly Sam’s Furniture, in Fort Worth, Texas, which is also a BrandSource member, and lead the company through un-paralleled growth for over 15 years, before selling the business. He spent time with Ashley Furniture as the VP of Digital Marketing and is excited to join the BrandSource team!