USRA Event Draws Big Crowd

The United Shoe Retailers Association capped off the organization’s largest annual “May Event” to date last week.
According to association officer Gary Hauss, president and CEO of J. Stephens, the event attracted 320 attendees, including retailers, vendors, sales reps, trade show executives, magazine editors, nonprofit groups and financial analysts.
“After 19 years, we’ve becoming more and more the event [to attend],” Hauss said. “More people are realizing this is not a retailer event — this is an industry event. It’s like the industry is realizing that this event brings together everyone for two-and-a-half days … and it’s just gotten bigger and bigger.”
Hauss said highlights from the event included presentations by Angel Martinez, chairman, president and CEO of Deckers Outdoor Corp.; Bob Infantino, president of DryDock Footwear Group; Gary Champion, president of Earth Inc.; Neil Newman, president of the Two Ten Footwear Foundation; and Leslie Gallin, VP of footwear for FN Platform.
During the event, Gallin and Chris DeMoulin, EVP of customer development and president of licensing at Advanstar, were also presented with “The Dave Mayfield” Award, an honor named for a late board member that is meant to recognize individuals who have significantly assisted the association.
Joe Salzano of The Clarks Cos. also received special recognition with a roast by his friends and colleagues.
Hauss said the association also is preparing an election-themed event to take place a day prior to the FN Platform show in Las Vegas, on Aug. 20. “The theme is The Great Debate,” he said. “The idea is to have four to six people at podiums [like at a presidential debate], and people will be able to ask the questions from the audience and talk about the issues of the industry. We’ll have some fun, too. It will be a debate with some fun and serious in it.”
And planning for the “May Event” 2013 has already begun, Hauss hinted. “The theme is Old Hollywood,” he said. “It’s about becoming a star in your own business.”

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