History of GMDC


Patrick Spear assumes CEO position.


At the 2015 General Merchandise Marketing Conference, enhancements made to the Group B Controlled Casual Conference (CCC) format allowed every Supplier/Service Company member to meet with every attending Retailer/Wholesaler company. This led to more meetings and fewer gaps of unscheduled time. In all, attendees completed more than 11,000 business meetings.


GMDC releases the GMDC/Nielsen GM Hierarchy, a tool that tracks critical sales information by category within General Merchandise. 


Patrick Spear succeeds Dave McConnell as president. 


GMDC enhances GMDC*Connect with videocast learning events covering a variety of topics led by industry experts. 


GMDC introduces Telepresence via GMDC*Connect at the annual Marketing Conferences. GMDC hosted a Business Sessions at the GM Conference followed by a Retailer Panel & Interview Discussion regarding new groundbreaking research that GMDC, Nielsen and Radian released that contains new metrics and insights to help measure and manage the GM category.

GMDC presents results from multi-year study on H+W at Health Beauty Wellness Marketing Conference. and announces future date changes for the 2013 marketing Conferences.
GMDC celebrates its 40th anniversary.
GMDC Education Leadership Council releases "2010 Phase II Research on Consumer Shopping Habits for Wellness and Environmentally Conscious Lifestyles." The report includes updates about the current state of the market, identifies any trends or changes from Phase 1 research conducted in 2009, and highlights new observations identified in 2010.

GMDC Education Leadership Council releases "Consumer Shopping Habits for Wellness and Environmentally Conscious Lifestyles" research study.


GMDC identifies the opportunities within Health and Wellness for members and adds a new senior staff position, Director of Wellness Programs.


GMDC rebrands itself as the Global Market Development Center (GMDC)The Health and Beauty Care Marketing Conference is rebranded to the Health Beauty Wellness Marketing Conference to emphasize the Association's commitment to providing industry leadership in capturing the emerging health and wellness consumer opportunity. The GMDC Educational Foundation is rebranded to the Education Leadership Council and it releases the "Who Cares? Reaching the Family Caregiver" and "Jump Starting Top-Line Growth II" mini-studies. The GMDC Board amends the GMDC bylaws to include the chairman of the Education Leadership Council as a two-year member of the Board of Directors.


GMDC Educational Foundation releases "Seasonal Best Practices... A Plan for Seasonal Merchandising" study.

Retail/wholesale and supplier members pilot new Roundtable Idea Exchange Sessions at the May GM Marketing Conference, and Senior Executive Conferences (SECs) are successfully piloted at the September HBC Marketing Conference. GMDC Educational Foundation released "Multicultural Marketing ... A Plan for Growth in GM and HBC" study.
GMDC introduces the Showcase @ GMDC program at its May GM Marketing Conference. The GMDC Foundation introduces ground breaking "Leveraging the Connection Between Pharmacy and the Whole Store" and "Merchandising for Success" studies.
The GMDC Board of Directors amends the Association's bylaws to include the chairman of the three Advisory Boards to serve two-year terms as Directors of the Board.
Following decision to pay expenses, retailer and wholesaler attendance increased 45% at GM Marketing Conference and 27% at HBC Marketing Conference.

GMDC board decides to pay for airfare and lodging expenses for qualifying wholesale and retail companies starting with 2002 conferences.

GMDC Educational Foundation released "Birthday/Celebration Merchandising Strategies Store Research Report" and "Women's Well-Being Merchandising Strategy" study.

Dave McConnell succeeds Rick Tilton as president and chief executive officer. GMDC introduces CCCnet, a web-based tool suite, designed to maximize the effectiveness of the organization's one-on-one meetings.

GMDC opens membership to all mass market wholesale and retail channels.
The GMDC Educational Foundation introduced its "Seasonal Best Practices: How-to-Manual."
The GMDC Educational Foundation released landmark study on Rx-to-OTC switch products.
GMDC Educational Foundation launched. Organization expanded membership to include service merchandisers, non-direct-buying supermarket chains and club stores.
GMDC admitted direct-buying supermarket chains to membership.
"1 Will Get You 5" education program designed to drive incremental general merchandise sales and profits.
"HBA Means Business" education program with supplementary material introduced.

GMDC headquarters move from Dayton, Ohio, to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

GMDC wholesale members initiate Performance Analysis Review (PAR) program so members can benchmark departmental growth.

GMDC's first industry survey is unveiled at the GM Conference.


Rick Tilton succeeds Robert Keats as executive director.

Health and Beauty Aids Supplier Advisory Board formed.

First GMDC Marketing Conference is held in Dallas and the concept of Controlled Casual Conferences is proposed.


First organizational and charter membership meetings held. Fran Willmes of Spartan Stores is the first president. Robert Keats is the first executive director. Focus of the Association: Wholesalers and distributors of General Merchandise and Health and Beauty products and categories.