By  on August 11, 2011

Charles C. Bowlus has unexpectedly died following complications from surgery, according to his son, Mitch, who is president of ECRM, a firm that Bowlus founded. He was 64, according to published documents.

Bowlus was chief executive officer of Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing Inc., which stages industry meetings called Efficient Promotion Planning Sessions. What began in 1994 as casual, 20-minute meetings covering a few core retail categories mushroomed into dozens of shows including a major international presence.

Beyond the meetings, Bowlus ushered in technology driven tools to streamline the buyer-seller process. “He was the man who changed the industry in terms of manufacturer and retailer relationships,” said Wendy Liebmann, founder of WSL Strategic Retail. “He found missed opportunities to use technology to create a more personal and intimate relationship that redefined and became the benchmark for conference,” she added.

Roy White, a former editor of a major drugstore publication added, “He had the unique perspective of knowing the retail and distribution side first hand.”

A graduate of Ohio State University, Bowlus began a career in retail in a Revco warehouse. Taking positions that brought increasing responsibility, he also worked at Gray Drug, Target, Cook-United and Boston Distributors, where he was executive vice president.

An e-mail statement from Mitch Bowlus said, “My father and life-long business partner has left us, but his unshakable faith in the values of this company and the character of our people has laid for us a stronger and better foundation. As my father would always say, the show must go on.”

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