Industry Partners

GMDC to Dissolve Association After More than 50 Years

General merchandise, health, beauty and wellness nonprofit to shutter at year’s end
Photograph: Shutterstock

National retail association GMDC|Retail Tomorrow, which for more than 50 years has sought to create and foster connections from the nonfoods industry, retailers, manufacturers and the consumer to general merchandise and health, beauty and wellness category growth opportunities, has announced the dissolution of its association, effective Dec. 31, 2021.

For the past two years, WGB has partnered with GMDC on an annual Champions of Change report, spotlighting the industry leaders in general merchandise, health, beauty and wellness.

Noting that its focus has always been on connecting its members, over the years GMDC|Retail Tomorrow pioneered the “speed dating” conference format and introduced Strategic Executive Connection trading partner meetings. The association also launched the GMDC Connect Video Meeting platform and pivoted to 100% virtual connectivity in 2020 and 2021.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, retailer and wholesaler needs have shifted, and the pandemic has significantly impacted business practices and policies, said GMDC in a statement. While technology has enabled new ways to connect, the outlook on live and industry conferences in 2022 remains uncertain, prompting the association to reevaluate its purpose.

“Following thorough strategic reviews conducted before and during the pandemic and based on a member vote on a board-approved resolution, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow will dissolve as a member-owned nonprofit, effective Dec. 31, 2021,” said the association in a release.

GMDC has called its decision to dissolve “the responsible thing to do in service of the industry, our members and the GMDC staff.” It will continue to make available all of its services to GMDC members through the end of the year. Its website, member area and GMDC mobile app will remain active through Dec. 31.

“This news is disappointing to many, but we recognize our industry has changed significantly. We are responding to our members’ evolving business needs, and a managed dissolution at year-end is the responsible decision to make in service of the industry, our members and our team,” said Patrick Spear, president and CEO of GMDC|Retail Tomorrow, in a statement. “It has been our privilege to serve our members and the industry, and we cherish the relationships we have built and cultivated throughout the last half-century.”

GMDC retailer/wholesaler organizations (the voting members) will have the opportunity to vote on the dissolution. The association says these members were sent a memo from the board and a proxy ballot to return to GMDC by Nov. 12.



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