Q&A: GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s new chair highlights organization’s strengths


As part of celebrating GMDC’s 50th anniversary, Drug Store News spoke with Patty Fishman, corporate vice president of HBC/general merchandise at Providence, R.I.-based United Natural Foods, or UNFI. She also is the current chair of the Colorado Springs. Colo.-based GMDC|Retail Tomorrow. Here are her comments about GMDC the role the association has played over the years; and what it is doing today to build the bridge between retailers, distributors and suppliers.

Patty Fishman

Drug Store News: Tell us about your dealings with GMDC|Retail Tomorrow over the years and how the association has helped you in regards to the retailer/distributors-supplier relationship. 
Patty Fishman: I have participated with GMDC|Retail Tomorrow since 2013, but UNFI has been a member since its inception. GMDC|Retail Tomorrow gives not only me, but my entire team the opportunity to focus on the relationship with our strategic suppliers and meet in person, or virtually these days, through the annual conferences and events. These are critical occasions, which allow us to discover updates on products, services and technologies, and bring together people of like minds throughout the industry where we can work together on common goals.  

DSN: What are the best aspects of the association for retailers and distributors?  
PF: While there are several great aspects of GMDC|Retail Tomorrow, such as category insights, trends and connectivity, the Retail Tomorrow Immersions stand out to me. This initiative uncovers emerging and exciting brands and technologies in the retail industry, and how consumers are reacting to those solutions. This unique perspective affords us industry insights, growth opportunities and trends, which allow us the opportunity to decide how to best incorporate these products into our individual businesses. 

DSN: How do you think the association and its events benefit the suppliers?   
PF: There are several reputable suppliers of retail measurement data, but GMDC|Retail Tomorrow is unique in that it is the only organization that focuses on the general merchandise and nonfood categories, and the innovation in this space. Quite simply, it would take more resources and time for my team to accomplish the work GMDC|Retail Tomorrow does than we have available to us. The GMDC|Retail Tomorrow team provides the insights and expertise that members desperately need, but can’t get anywhere else.

DSN: This is the 50th anniversary. What does the future hold for GMDC|Retail Tomorrow?  
PF: While we are operating in unique and interesting times, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow has repeatedly demonstrated the capacity to evolve and meet the member’s needs. This is accomplished through educational insights; conferences with new programs, such as Mic-Drop; and, of course, the Retail Tomorrow platform. There is so much opportunity in the GM and HBC categories and GMDC|Retail Tomorrow is constantly focused on innovation and creating value for its members. As consumer behavior continues to change, we will look to GMDC|Retail Tomorrow to lead and help guide us through the many growth opportunities that continue to emerge.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds