The GA attracted its best attendance for many years when suppliers and retailers came together at its AGM and Members' Day at the association's Birmingham headquarters on 5th June, 2014.
'Converting your customers into fans' was the theme of the live streamed event, with one speaker stressing the importance of customer service and another telling bricks and mortar retailers that in the fast-changing world they had to “play a different game” to compete. The audience also heard how to employ an apprentice to boost their business.
The AGM saw the chairmanship of The GA pass to Ravensden's Michael Papé for the next two years. Independent retail advisor Henri Davis was installed as Vice Chairman.
Three former chairmen of The GA stepped down from the GA national committee – Kate Owen, President of the Federation from 13th June, and Michael Sweeney who also serves on the board, along with Michael Grant. Ian Latimer and retailer Kate Cowie also left the committee following increasing business commitments. Gifts were presented to each of them.
New members of the committee are Thierry Bourret of Asobi, Patrick Newton of Two's Company/Mulhouse Design, Richard Stone of RJB Stone and Howard Thomas of GiftScribes Gifts. Lindsey Adam, Owner of retailer Bonkers, and Mark Jones, Founder of online gift retailer Occasions Direct, were co-opted onto the committee.
Michael Papé thanked Andrew Illingworth for “being such a devoted chairman” and said that as a fellow custodian of a family business he knew the pressures he had faced: “At times you can feel pulled in all directions.” Yet he had devoted many hours to the national committee, fellow members and The GA as a whole while still managing to be involved with his local business community as well.
As a token of The GA's appreciation for his hard work as Chairman, Michael presented car enthusiast Andrew with a special Bentley-inspired weather vane.
The new Chairman said that if he had to sum-up his vision for the future of The GA in a few words, they would be Community, Collaboration and Reputation. “Essentially, by members working together and sharing knowledge, information and best practice, in the long run it can only lead to benefits for both our supplier and retailer members.
“Often we have common problems, and I can pretty much guarantee you as a company, if you are facing a problem, or need some specific advice, someone within The GA community will have been there before you and be able to assist. Within this room and The GA there's a vast breadth of experience and knowledge, so please don't be afraid to use it.”
Michael added that it was The GA's aim to enhance the valuable industry specific information it sent to the community and “seal our position as the leading authority within the gift and home sector”.
For more details about The GA and how to become a member, visit www.ga-uk.org.
Posted: 15 March 2019