WHO WE ARE

Empowering to Thrive and Grow

For over 50 years, Global Market Development Center|Retail Tomorrow has been the foremost non-foods global trade association for the retail and wholesale industry, leading innovation and empowering those industry participants to thrive and grow.

Honoring the Past

In 1970, Fran Willmes of Spartan Stores and purchasing executives from five general merchandise wholesale companies formed GMDC|Retail Tomorrow to enhance food wholesalers’ nonfood programs and to engage general merchandise and health and beauty care suppliers with product and education next-practices at the onset of industry disruption. Today, we remain a forward-thinking association that supports the interests of retail stakeholders through education next-practices, fostering uncommon partnerships and focusing on the evolving shopper.

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  • 2020

    GMDC’s 50th Anniversary

    GMDC’s 50th Anniversary

    August 1, 2020
  • 2019

    GMDC reimagines it’s HBW Conference as The Selfcare Summit.

    GMDC reimagines it’s HBW Conference as The Selfcare Summit.

    October 27, 2019
  • 2017

    GMDC Academy is introduced as a tool for new-to-market companies and helps them become more effective during their meetings with potential retail and wholesale partners.

    GMDC Academy is introduced as a tool for new-to-market companies and helps them become more effective during their meetings with potential retail and wholesale partners.

    October 27, 2017
  • 2017

    Retail Tomorrow hosts its first Immersion Event in San Francisco, focused on “Enhancing the Shopper Experience”.

    Retail Tomorrow hosts its first Immersion Event in San Francisco, focused on “Enhancing the Shopper Experience”.

    January 27, 2017
  • 2017

    GMDC introduces its member exclusive mobile app at HBW17 in Phoenix.

    GMDC introduces its member exclusive mobile app at HBW17 in Phoenix.

    January 27, 2017
  • 2017

    GMDC establishes a Retailer Focus Group that will steer the association in key education and insights initiatives.

    GMDC establishes a Retailer Focus Group that will steer the association in key education and insights initiatives.

    January 27, 2017
  • 2017

    GMDC launches its actionable “Center Store Matters” next practices report at GM17 in Orlando.

    GMDC launches its actionable “Center Store Matters” next practices report at GM17 in Orlando.

    January 1, 2017
  • 2016

    Retail Tomorrow hosts its inaugural Demo Day at HBW16 in San Antonio

    Retail Tomorrow hosts its inaugural Demo Day at HBW16 in San Antonio

    January 28, 2016
  • 2016

    GMDC introduces its HBW Nielsen Hierarchy database.

    GMDC introduces its HBW Nielsen Hierarchy database.

    January 28, 2016
  • 2016

    GMDC creates its industry initiative, Retail Tomorrow, dedicated to enhancing the seamless shopper experiences in retail.

    GMDC creates its industry initiative, Retail Tomorrow, dedicated to enhancing the seamless shopper experiences in retail.

    January 28, 2016
  • 2016

    GMDC is featured in the Huffington Post for its groundbreaking narrative about the consumerism of healthcare.

    GMDC is featured in the Huffington Post for its groundbreaking narrative about the consumerism of healthcare.

    January 1, 2016

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  • 2016

    GMDC launches its first “Health & Wellness Next Practices” series of white papers.

    GMDC launches its first “Health & Wellness Next Practices” series of white papers.

    January 1, 2016
  • 2015

    Patrick Spear assumes CEO position.

    Patrick Spear assumes CEO position.

    October 28, 2015
  • 2015

    Enhancements are made to the Group B (CCC) meeting format at GM15. Introducing the Market On-Ramp (MOR) Meetings, which allowed every new Supplier/Service Company member to meet with every attending Retailer/Wholesaler company. More than 11,000 business meetings took place.

    Enhancements are made to the Group B (CCC) meeting format at GM15. Introducing the Market On-Ramp (MOR) Meetings, which allowed every new Supplier/Service Company member to meet with every attending Retailer/Wholesaler company. More than 11,000 business meetings took place.

    October 28, 2015
  • 2014

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

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

    October 28, 2014
  • 2014

    Patrick Spear succeeds Dave McConnell as president.

    Patrick Spear succeeds Dave McConnell as president.

    October 28, 2014
  • 2013

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

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

    October 28, 2013
  • 2012

    GMDC introduces Telepresence via GMDC*Connect.

    GMDC introduces Telepresence via GMDC*Connect.

    October 28, 2012
  • 2011

    GMDC presents results from a multi-year study on H+W at Health Beauty Wellness Marketing Conference.

    GMDC presents results from a multi-year study on H+W at Health Beauty Wellness Marketing Conference.

    October 28, 2011
  • 2010

    GMDC celebrates its 40th anniversary.

    GMDC celebrates its 40th anniversary.

    October 28, 2010
  • 2010

    GMDC Education Leadership Council releases “2010 Phase II Research on Consumer Shopping Habits for Wellness and Environmentally Conscious Lifestyles.”

    GMDC Education Leadership Council releases “2010 Phase II Research on Consumer Shopping Habits for Wellness and Environmentally Conscious Lifestyles.”

    October 28, 2010
  • 2009

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

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

    October 28, 2009
  • 2008

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

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

    October 28, 2008
  • 2007

    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, and the GMDC Educational Foundation is rebranded to the Education Leadership Council.

    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, and the GMDC Educational Foundation is rebranded to the Education Leadership Council.

    October 28, 2007
  • 2006

    GMDC Educational Foundation releases “Seasonal Best Practices… A Plan for Seasonal Merchandising” study.

    GMDC Educational Foundation releases “Seasonal Best Practices… A Plan for Seasonal Merchandising” study.

    October 28, 2006
  • 2005

    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.

    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.

    October 28, 2005
  • 2004

    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.

    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.

    October 28, 2004
  • 2003

    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.

    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.

    October 28, 2003
  • 2002

    Following decision to pay expenses, retailer and wholesaler attendance increased 45% at GM Marketing Conference and 27% at HBC Marketing Conference.

    Following decision to pay expenses, retailer and wholesaler attendance increased 45% at GM Marketing Conference and 27% at HBC Marketing Conference.

    October 28, 2002
  • 2001

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

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

    October 28, 2001
  • 2001

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

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

    October 28, 2001
  • 2000

    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.

    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.

    October 28, 2000
  • 1999

    GMDC opens membership to all mass market wholesale and retail channels.

    GMDC opens membership to all mass market wholesale and retail channels.

    October 28, 1999
  • 1996

    The GMDC Educational Foundation introduced its “Seasonal Best Practices: How-to-Manual.”

    The GMDC Educational Foundation introduced its “Seasonal Best Practices: How-to-Manual.”

    October 28, 1996
  • 1993

    The GMDC Educational Foundation released landmark study on Rx-to-OTC switch products.

    The GMDC Educational Foundation released landmark study on Rx-to-OTC switch products.

    October 28, 1993
  • 1992

    GMDC Educational Foundation launched. Organization expanded membership to include service merchandisers, non-direct-buying supermarket chains and club stores.

    GMDC Educational Foundation launched. Organization expanded membership to include service merchandisers, non-direct-buying supermarket chains and club stores.

    October 28, 1992
  • 1987

    GMDC admitted direct-buying supermarket chains to membership.

    GMDC admitted direct-buying supermarket chains to membership.

    October 28, 1987
  • 1985

    “1 Will Get You 5” education program designed to drive incremental general merchandise sales and profits.

    “1 Will Get You 5” education program designed to drive incremental general merchandise sales and profits.

    October 28, 1985
  • 1981

    “HBA Means Business” education program with supplementary material introduced.

    “HBA Means Business” education program with supplementary material introduced.

    October 28, 1981
  • 1979

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

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

    October 28, 1979
  • 1978

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

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

    October 28, 1978
  • 1976

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

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

    October 28, 1976
  • 1974

    Rick Tilton succeeds Robert Keats as executive director.

    Rick Tilton succeeds Robert Keats as executive director.

    October 28, 1974
  • 1972

    Health and Beauty Aids Supplier Advisory Board formed.

    Health and Beauty Aids Supplier Advisory Board formed.

    October 28, 1972
  • 1971

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

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

    October 28, 1971
  • 1970

    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.

    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.

    October 28, 1970

Innovating the Future

Born out of disruption, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow focuses on innovation in retail to provide invaluable opportunities for members to connect, grow and thrive. We provide data-driven, consumer-focused insights that guide retail decision-makers and impact every aspect of the marketplace, from discovery to delivery and to the point of sale.

Building Connections

GMDC|Retail Tomorrow is a trusted advisor to the world’s largest retailers, building unique capabilities to facilitate strategic and meaningful one-to-one connections and offering each of its members individualized support as they navigate industry disruption and opportunity.

Giving Back

GMDC|Retail Tomorrow is dedicated to giving back to our community. We hold our conferences all over the country, and while we’re there, we make sure to have not only an impact on the businesses of our members who participate but the community that hosts us as well.

Impact Partnerships

We’ve partnered with organizations like Harbor House, Feeding Children Everywhere, Springs Rescue Mission, the City of Colorado Springs, Soldiers’ Angels, Second Harvest Food Bank, and Sojourner’s.

Kids in Need Partnership

We have partnered with the Kids In Need Foundation three years in a row to help serve under-resourced communities and help bridge the gaps through giving back. With your donation, we can help make a difference in the lives of these students by providing them with the supplies they need to succeed and thrive in their studies.

 

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Join GMDC Today

GMDC is advancing industry-changing initiatives to deliver tomorrow’s trends, today. Join us!