Retailers are invited to celebrate ISPA’s 100th anniversary at its 2015 Industry Conference
The International Sleep Products Association turns 100 this year, and retailers are encouraged to attend a one-of-a-kind centennial celebration at the 2015 ISPA Industry Conference March 4-5 at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club in St. Petersburg, Florida.
ISPA will honor the milestone at a special Centennial Program and Gala Dinner on March 5.
“ISPA’s founders started off trying to tackle issues best approached collectively rather than individually, and 100 years later we are still doing that,” says ISPA President Ryan Trainer. “We want to celebrate all the people who helped create that, as well as the important milestones in the industry that have occurred during that period.”
The biennial Industry Conference brings together key stakeholders to share ideas and stimulate new thinking about today’s complex business challenges. As always, participants will benefit from networking opportunities and valuable educational sessions led by thought leaders, including keynote speakers Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine and author of the highly acclaimed book, The Soft Edge, and John Spence, business adviser and author of Awesomely Simple.
Saying thank you
The premier event at this year’s conference will be ISPA’s centennial celebration. From its inception, the association has committed itself to supporting the mattress industry through active public policy and education initiatives. It has grown to represent the full bedding industry—700 members in more than 50 countries around the world—on a host of commercial, health, safety and environmental issues.
“It is ISPA’s way to say thank you,” says Mary Helen Uusimaki, vice president of marketing and communications. “The Industry Conference is an intimate setting, with people who are truly invested in what is going on in the industry. It is an opportunity to take a historical look back on what the association has done to support the industry over the past 100 years and what the industry has done to support the association.
“It’s a relationship.”
For Wolf Corp., a Fort Wayne, Indiana-based mattress manufacturer and fiber processor, that relationship goes back to the very beginning.
“We are 130 years old as a company,” says President Tony Wolf, who sits on ISPA’s board of trustees. “We were one of the founding members. That gives you a starting point. We thought an industry trade association was important then, and we still think it is very relevant today.”
ISPA has maintained its relevance even as the bedding industry has undergone major transformation in the past 30 years, Wolf notes.
“It has, first and foremost, listened to its membership. In no small part, the membership and the association itself have been very symbiotic in making it through some extremely trying times, where you’ve had to stay engaged or perish,” he says. “I think it has maintained itself as the voice of the industry and the voice for suppliers. It has created the roundtable where everybody gets a voice, small or large. It has become the forum for issues relevant to mattress makers, mattress suppliers and, to a degree, even mattress retailers.”
A gala affair
At the 100th anniversary celebration, Carthage, Missouri-based mattress industry supplier Leggett & Platt will sponsor a cocktail reception with live music before dinner. Perry Davis, president of L&P’s Residential Furnishings Segment, views the role of ISPA as “vitally important” to the company’s continued success.
“ISPA acts as the representative voice for the bedding industry when it comes to advocacy with federal and state governments, for safety issues such as flammability, and for industry statistics,” Davis says. “The role is an important one, and is one that our current staff takes seriously. We’re proud to support ISPA and look forward to the next 100 years.”
Adhesives supplier SABA North America stepped up to sponsor this year’s Gala Dinner. Jim Turner, president of the company headquartered in Kimball, Michigan, says he believes such events are important because they help develop a sense of community within the industry.
“Let’s face the fact that none of us interact like we used to when it’s easier to text, email or just keep tabs on the latest via social media,” Turner says. “We feel this event is important for the industry because it give us all an opportunity to get together in an informal setting to simply talk shop.”
A setting both relaxing and fun is just what Uusimaki wants to create around ISPA’s centennial celebration. A retrospective program during the sit-down dinner will highlight milestones within the industry over the years, complete with an emcee, music, photos and videos. An after party will last into the night, no doubt, with entertainment by the popular band the Insomniaczzz.
“We want this to be a glamorous, festive evening where members of our industry celebrate with dinner and drinks,” she says. “We want people to take pride in what they do every day—the miles of travel that they’ve logged, the customers they have served—and recognize that it took everyone’s contribution to sustain the association over the past 100 years.”
This year’s Industry Conference has drawn several new sponsors, including the CertiPUR-US foam-certification program.
“ISPA is a wonderful, highly effective association that works tirelessly to advance the bedding industry, and its members are such a warm community—it’s always fun to have the opportunity to connect face to face,” says Michael Crowell, executive director of the nonprofit Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam based in Hickory, North Carolina, and its CertiPUR-US program.
“This milestone year for ISPA will be a milestone for us as well,” Crowell notes, “as we begin publicizing the program directly to consumers for the first time.”
Adam Lava, sales manager for A. Lava & Son Co. in Chicago, says ISPA plays an important role in promoting the sale of mattresses—and better sleep.
“For a long time, it’s helped factory-directs, and small and large manufacturers, succeed and prosper and make the product we make important to people’s everyday lives. Those are all important things that keep us all moving,” says Lava, also an ISPA board member.
“There’s a good number of the members who have been around for quite some time and feel a bond to ISPA and what it does. And it is making great strides to bring in the next generation,” Lava adds. “I think most will see this event as a time to celebrate our achievements over the last 100 years and look forward to the years to come.”
At this year’s Industry Conference, take advantage of the opportunity to learn from experts and thought leaders who will energize you and your business with simple, yet winning strategies for lasting success. Here’s the lineup:
O Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes, entrepreneur, investor, columnist and regular panelist on “Forbes on Fox,” will share the findings from his latest, highly acclaimed book, The Soft Edge. Karlgaard argues that in addition to shrewd strategy and superb execution, a third element is required to ensure lasting success. He’ll explain why your soft edge is so vital and how you can harness this winning difference.
O John Spence, business adviser, strategist, consultant and former chief executive officer of an international Rockefeller Foundation, has been named three times as one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in America. In his latest book, Awesomely Simple, he captures the lessons learned from decades of consulting with more than 500 business clients. He will cut through the clutter and help you focus on the core elements necessary for dealing effectively with change and creating and sustaining a highly successful organization.
O Phil Johnston, senior vice president of Strategic Services Group of Marcus Thomas LLC, will share how new and emerging technologies are enabling and empowering consumers as never before. Hear about digital best practices, consumer psychology and relevant industry insights to help you follow and capitalize on the current market and audience trends.
O Emily Holdman, vice president of adventure.es, will explore the entrepreneurial principles all executives should adopt. Discover what the new breed of entrepreneurs do to innovate, stay nimble and respond quickly to new opportunities. Hear about the elements of entrepreneurial principles that can serve even the most seasoned among us in approaching the future.
Get linked in
If you enjoy a round or two, you won’t want to miss this year’s ISPA Golf Tournament, playing out from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, on the one-of-a-kind Vinoy Renaissance Golf Club course designed by passionate golfer and nature lover Ron Garl.
Offering ideal year-round playing conditions, the 18-hole, par-71 course is a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary hosting a wide variety of wildlife and greens surrounded by some 900 palm trees of more than a dozen varieties from around the world. Along with the pines and Live Oaks, you may find yourself lost in the jungle, or beached on one of 63 strategically placed bunkers.
The cost of the tournament is $165 per person, which includes lunch, refreshments and transportation to and from the course. Tournament players also are eligible to play a second round of golf during their stay for $95 plus tax.
Tournament awards will be presented at the Welcome Reception Wednesday evening.