ATLANTA — It’s hard to shop the Atlanta Mart without seeing the Southeastern Travelers Exhibitors (STE) logo everywhere, but that doesn’t mean buyers understand the organization’s scope and how its activities can benefit them. Officials of STE want to change that.
With 600 to 700 member reps, STE is the largest of 63 national affiliates of the Atlanta-based National Bureau of Wholesale Sales Representatives, an organization that does political lobbying and offers benefit programs for reps. “People associate STE with the first floor plaza level of the Mart, where STE membership is mandatory for all reps who use that temporary exhibition space,” said Fred DeLuca, president of STE. “But STE includes over half of all permanent showroom exhibitors as well.”
“STE has a unique, close relationship with us,” said Peg Canter, general manager of the Atlanta Apparel Mart. “They used to be a more separate entity, but now we consult each other on everything.”
While the plaza level once operated on a limited schedule during markets, STE expanded its hours in October to coincide with the six-day market. STE also co-sponsors a Sunday night buyers’ event, featuring food and entertainment.
One of STE’s primary goals is education for sales reps and retailers, said DeLuca. At each market, STE distributes “The Retailer,” a pamphlet on the basics of apparel retailing, and “Retailer’s Delayed Early Warning Alert,” a booklet on how specialty stores can compete with discounters. Both are free and can be obtained from any STE member rep or by calling 220-2900 during the market.
In addition to these publications, STE is planning a series of educational seminars for retailers starting in August. “We hold seminars for sales reps each market, but we want to extend our educational efforts to retailers,” said DeLuca. STE received several awards — among them, best affiliate — at the 1993 conference of the Bureau of Wholesale Sales Representatives held in Orlando, Fla., in December. (See box, below.)
“STE is the affiliate that best represents what the bureau stands for,” said Mike Wolyn, executive director. “They are not only the largest affiliate, but had the best participation in our programs.”
Arthur Rice Lifetime Service Award: Robert Dryer, Atlanta
Ben Spindel Show Manager of Year Award: Dot Bissell
Advocacy Awards: Dave Rhule and Dennis Ratthaus
Marshall J. Mantler Scholarship Award: Vipul Amin, son of Harshad Amin
America’s Favorite Sales Rep: Ken Eskin