CSE CoverCollege Store Executive


January-February 2012


CAMEX - The Crossroads of
Campus Retail

Perhaps you may know Salt Lake City by its nickname, the Crossroads of the West.

Well, for five days next month, the capital of Utah will become the Crossroads of Campus Retail as you and your fellow college bookstore directors, managers and buyers, as well as the vendors that supply your stores, converge for Campus Market Expo (CAMEX) 2012, hosted by the National Association of College Stores (NACS).

The Salt Palace Convention Center will be the hub where educational sessions designed to improve your stores, and yourselves, will take place, followed by the main event on the CAMEX schedule, the “ginormous” trade show.

Let's first take a look at the educational component of CAMEX. The importance of attending educational sessions at CAMEX cannot be stressed enough. You and your colleagues are strongly encouraged to expand your knowledge with more than 80 sessions, tours and programs planned, in addition to the mega sessions and special events scheduled throughout the conference.

NACS Chief Knowledge Officer Tony Ellis, CAE, told College Store Executive that this year's educational sessions were developed with the mindset of learning about what's new and emerging in the college store industry and how to improve the day-to-day operations of your store. He stressed that the sessions would also celebrate all the good things that you and your fellow directors do on campus to enhance the educational experience of your students, as well as help stores connect to the campus community.

He pointed out that with all the changes taking place in college stores — the emergence of digital textbooks and course materials, as well as text-book rental programs, just to name a few — the CAMEX Program Committee felt it was important to also celebrate and recognize all the good things currently taking place in college stores.

This balance of learning about the hot topics and trends that are currently impacting college bookstores, and getting recognized for all that you do for your customers throughout the school year and when classes are not in session, is enough incentive to take advantage of the educational offerings in Salt Lake City.

In addition to the educational programming presented by NACS, those of you looking to improve the technology assortment in your store, or who are technology buyers for your store, can participate in the Campus Computer Resellers Alliance (CCRA) Annual Conference and Expo, which is being held as part of CAMEX for the third straight year.

Not only will you learn about technology merchandising and marketing strategies, among other topics, in the classroom, you can walk through the CCRA Pavilion on the CAMEX show floor and discover the newest technology items available to the college market, such as head-phones and Bluetooth-enabled mini-speaker systems, from suppliers and distributors located in the Pavilion.

Along with NACS and CCRA, Connect2One (C2O) will also host its annual conference in Salt Lake City. The buying group features Education Day, which is held prior to the CAMEX trade show to not only learn about the benefits that Connect2One provides its members, but also give members valuable buying resources — especially with the very popular “Michelle's Best Buys” and “Paula's Picks” from C2O Program Directors Michelle Johnson and Paula Haerr, respectively — before hitting the show floor.

Even with all of this training prior to the trade show, we know that you will be energized to walk the show floor. After all, with more than 700 exhibitors on hand representing more than 90 product categories, there will be plenty of purchasing opportunities for you to take advantage of.

There is a reason why CAMEX is considered to be the premier trade show in collegiate retailing. All you have to do is show up in Salt Lake City and experience it up close and personal.