Delaware North’s 17th annual Retail Conference & Trade Show – an effort led by Vice President of Retail Paula Halligan (pictured at right) – took place last week in Niagara Falls, N.Y., about 15 miles north of the company’s global headquarters in Buffalo.
The four-day conference – this year themed, “Building on the next 100 years” as a nod to Delaware North’s 100th anniversary – gave members of the company’s expansive retail team not only the chance to connect with each other but also with vendors and partners.
As part of the program on Aug. 18, Delaware North welcomed leaders from three of its partners – the St. Louis Cardinals, Buffalo Niagara International Airport and Niagara Falls State Park, USA – to join a panel discussion. Discussing the retail business and partnership with Delaware North were Vicki Bryant, vice president of event services and merchandising with the Cardinals; William Vanecek, director of aviation at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport; and Angela Berti from the New York State Office Of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Also highlighting this year’s conference was the awards reception, which took place at the state-of-the-art Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. After enjoying a best-in-class cocktail reception and dinner spread – catered by the team onsite – Delaware North not only honored its own associates but also three partners: New Era Cap, Opto, and Focus on Souvenirs. Among several award winners from Delaware North’s team were Senior Manager of Visual Merchandising Wes Trump, Senior Retail Buyer/Category Manager Geoff Heusinger and Administrative Assistant Lori Caballero – all of whom received a Retail MVP plaque.
As the event came to a close, Executive Vice President and COO Rick Abramson surprised President Chuck Moran – who is retiring later this year – with a heartfelt tribute to cap off the evening in true Delaware North spirit.
“He has always had such a practical approach to everything,” Abramson said. “He could deconstruct the most complicated problem and break it down to the basics and say, ‘This is what I think we should do.’”
Abramson, who quipped, “This is the first of a Derek Jeter-like farewell tour,” then presented Moran with a gift, and attendees were treated to a celebratory cake.
“This is my 12th year as president, and people keep asking me about legacy – what is it that I want to be remembered for and what is it that I will remember,” Moran said. “I thought about it a lot, and we’ve had a huge amount of success over the years. But the one thing that I keep telling people is the thing that I will remember most is the people. I have never had the privilege to work with the type of people we have at Delaware North. And I’m talking the people in the field, the people at corporate. The dedication from the people in this company is what makes it successful – and I’m not the only one who feels that way; Rick feels that way, the Jacobs family feels that way.
“And so, if anyone ever says to me, ‘Your 12 years as president were a success,’ I say to all of you: thank you. Because there is no way I could have succeeded without the people in this room and throughout the company.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Delaware North President Chuck Moran (left) and Executive Vice President and COO Rick Abramson are all smiles in the moments that followed Abramson paying tribute to Moran’s career.