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SPREE 2013: A Big Draw

Informational Seminars

As Specialty Retail Report’s ever-popular Visual Victories proves, stellar visual merchandising is always a huge draw. It only figures that a workshop about the basics of visual merchandising from an established industry veteran, Brett Beaudette, would be a sensation. Beaudette is a visual merchandiser at the Mall of America and his presentation on the opening day of SPREE attracted more than 100 people eager to learn and implement principles that would draw more customers to their stores. Among the many topics discussed include signage, how to add movement to RMUs and manage clutter.

Deborah Kravitz’s always-popular slew of Retail 101 through 103 presentations, were morphed into one longer unit. Ideas for what to sell, how to negotiate a lease and an explanation of business terminology for beginners, were part of the series.

An SLM roundtable where leasing managers could get together and trade ideas was also part of the informative seminars lineup. SPREE included talks on grassroots marketing and the effect of social media on the retail landscape.


Partying in Style

After long days of networking and deal making, it’s always fun to let your hair down and this year’s SPREE provided plenty of opportunities to do so. The opening night party was held at Fashion Show Mall and the event was sponsored by General Growth Properties. Raffle items to benefit Camp Soaring Eagle, were available. Among the most popular donations was the iPad Mini, which was won by Rebecca Wiltshire of Shoe MGK.

SPREE’s Happy Hour was hosted on Wednesday evening and sponsored by PolarX. The event, which was held at Gilley’s Las Vegas at Treasure Island, was a blast for attendees. Especially brave souls even rode the mechanical bucking bull.

Poornima Apte

Poornima Apte is the managing editor for GIFT SHOP, GREENRetailer and Specialty Retail Report magazines. She oversees and executes all editorial processes and is responsible for delivering editorial content for both magazines. To implement the magazines' editorial missions, Apte works with an extensive team of writers and photographers from across the country. She is also responsible for certain online deliverables including editorial content that complements the print edition of both magazines.

Prior to joining Pinnacle Publishing Group in 2006, Apte was Editor-in-Chief for INDIA New England, a bimonthly publication catering to the South Asian community in New England. In her role for the company, she oversaw an extensive editorial lineup featuring a wide variety of news reports and features. Apte first joined the newspaper as a general assignment reporter. Her reporting, specifically on a series of stories about Indian immigrants returning to their home country in the wake of India's economic boom, earned her a national award from the South Asian Journalists' Association at their 2005 convention held at Columbia University's School of Journalism.

Formally trained as an engineer, Apte made a gradual switch to journalism after a stint in technical writing at Abaqus, Inc. Apte enjoys reading and reviews contemporary literary fiction for in her spare time.

Apte earned an M.S. in Energy and Environmental Studies from Boston University and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL.

Apte welcomes reader input. Please email her at

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