Participant consensus from this year’s NACDS Total Store Expo in Denver August 22-25 is clear: This year’s conference delivered excellent value, with many participants describing it with superlatives.

This year’s conference delivered on goals to facilitate interactions among retailers and suppliers and highlighted emerging concepts in cutting-edge attractions…

There was a tangible positive energy reverberating throughout the event, where more than 5,600 retailers and suppliers converged to get a glimpse of the latest products, emerging technologies and trends in health and wellness, beauty, pharmacy and more.

The NACDS Total Store Expo is where collaboration flourishes—on a large scale and in real time. It is the epicenter of what is happening in the industry right now, with a reliable vision of where it is headed. NACDS Chairman Randy Edeker, chairman, CEO and president of Hy-Vee, Inc., said in his opening remarks, “The NACDS Total Store Expo is the center for collaboration, the center for innovation for all of us to really come together and look at what we need to work on, where we need to go.” Edeker encouraged attendees to invest the time and effort to get the most out of the conference because, he said, “It’s never been more competitive on the retail side and the manufacturing supplier side.”

NACDS President & CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, spoke about opportunities that arise, often unscripted, amid our constantly interrupted lives, and said that the way NACDS responds to interruptions—which are often unforeseeable challenges—is a key to its success. Anderson praised the engagement of NACDS members, which drives the success of everything NACDS does, and said, “The NACDS Total Store Expo is the place to be to solve today’s business, policy and political equations—the ones we know and the ones we don’t know yet.”

This year’s conference delivered on goals to facilitate interactions among retailers and suppliers and highlighted emerging concepts in cutting-edge attractions like Vision 2026, an interactive preview of retail’s future, and the Product Showcase, which provided invaluable visibility for suppliers marketing products to retailers.

A distinguished and compelling lineup of speakers lent their insight, expertise and perspective on an ever-changing retail and healthcare landscape. Respected broadcast journalist and author Tom Brokow delivered remarks during a standing room only business program at the conference. Brokaw said, “The industry that you represent really has taken Main Street to a whole new level.” Brokaw also spoke movingly about his personal battle with cancer and the need for better awareness in the industry of common community needs in healthcare.

Everything from the packed Insight Sessions—where participants delved into topics ranging from what’s guiding the way millennials shop, to the future of the pharmaceutical market—to the sold-out Exhibit Hall and the tremendously popular Meet-the Market and Meet-the-Retailer programs, reinforced that the NACDS Total Store Expo is the trade show exemplar in the industry.

During the conference, Robert Thompson, Rite Aid Corporation’s executive vice president of pharmacy, was honored with the prestigious Harold W. Pratt award for his nearly four decades of service in pharmacy.

Feedback from participants was immediate and positive, with people remarking on the success of their meetings with just the right people and the strategic advantage of being in the same venue with all the relevant players at once. A popular refrain from participants as the conference came to a close was, “See you next year!”

The NACDS Total Store Expo offers a cross-industry approach focused on the entire store, and the revolutionary format has proven to be a success—time and again—as the attention eagerly turns to the 2016 NACDS Total Store Expo in Boston, August 6-9.

View photos from the event on the 2015 NACDS Total Store Expo Flickr album and highlights from the event on NACDS-TV.