Dealer Expo welcomes the Retail Owners Institute

Publish Date: 
Apr 21, 2014
By Tracy Harris

It’s pretty easy to put together a conference program that gives you some ideas to implement back at the shop; it just takes a few calls to industry veterans who are comfortable sharing their knowledge and experience in front of an audience. We’d been doing it for years.

This year, though, we realized we had to do more.

In listening to dealers this past year, we understood that there’s a strong desire for an in-depth education program that provides solid, new information - information you can’t easily get on your own. And in relaunching Dealer Expo as the national event for the retail community, we’ve now partnered with some heavy hitters to deliver top-drawer business education, as well as sales, marketing, merchandising and service training.

Think of the DX National Retail Conference presented by Dealernews as a retail think-tank - where participants get intensive immersion training into every aspect of running a successful powersports store and/or service business.

“Retail Darwinism” - the survival of only the fittest and the most adaptable - continues to drive independent retailers out of business. They have appealing stores, merchandise, employees and customers, and yet they fail -- because they run out of cash. Our first partner who will help you overcome this situation is The Retail Owners Institute (The ROI).

Many retailers just endure the financial outcomes of their business decisions. Few independent retailers know HOW to change those outcomes; fewer still realize they CAN affect their own financial future, according to The ROI. Their program at Dealer Expo 2014 will focus on helping you learn how to direct your financial future, unleashing a new “Retail Populism” that empowers you with financial knowledge and prowess, as well as the ability to not only survive, but thrive.

The ROI’s program will deliver strategic retail financial management training, showing you how to monitor and maximize pre-tax profits, gross margins, inventory turns, debt-to-worth ratios and returns on assets, as well as other critical factors.

Mary Slepicka, content director for Dealernews and the person spearheading our entire education program for Dealer Expo, explained it to me this way: “To succeed in tomorrow’s economy, dealers need to understand the NEW financial models of retailing and learn the new ideas independent retailers are implementing in OTHER markets. The ROI will show dealers, independent retailers, service shops and allied businesses how to efficiently run the numbers, challenge their assumptions and succeed. And they’ll come away with real, actionable information they can use immediately.”

But wait, there’s more. For those of you (like me) who sometimes emerge from a great seminar with tons of really good information bouncing around in your head, only to get home and have it pushed under and lost by immediate day-to-day operational demands -- there’s hope! Every retailer who attends Dealer Expo 2014 will receive a one-year subscription to the Retail Owners Institute’s online resources, calculators and other tools, courtesy of Dealernews and Dealer Expo. That means that everything you learn (and more) in Chicago this December will be at your fingertips for all of 2015. All the expertise, all the information, all the tools are yours for 12 months.

Let me tell you, these guys know their stuff. Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt are recognized experts and consultants in strategic retailing, and their focus is on independent retail -- working with thousands of owners, general managers and other executives in a variety of markets, including motorcycle, marine and automotive. Their how-to articles on retail management have been published across 40 retail sectors, and they’ve been quoted in BusinessWeek, Time Magazine, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, as well as other leading trade and regional media.

Johnson is a certified management consultant, the highest accreditation in management consulting and a member of the Institute of Management Consultants and the National Retail Federation. Outcalt, who has an MBA in retailing from the University of Pittsburgh, was an executive for a national department store organization and an owner/operator of three independent specialty stores. He is a past president of the Foundation for Private Enterprise Education, board member of the Institute of Management Consultants and a member of the National Retail Federation.

We’re excited just thinking about all the information The ROI will bring to you this December. Oh, and did I mention there’s no charge? Despite ‘upping the game’ SIGNIFICANTLY, the DX National Retail Conference presented by Dealernews is a complimentary education program for our retail attendees.

The standard industry fee of $2,500 for an in-depth conference program…

The standard $360 fee for the annual subscription to The ROI…

…BOTH are waived for every retailer in attendance at the 2014 Dealer Expo.

We’ll be announcing our other education partners soon, so stay tuned.

This is YOUR show - Are you ready?

Tracy Harris is senior vice president of Advanstar Powersports Group, parent of Dealernews. Email her at

Article originally appeared in the May issue of Dealernews.