CSP Daily News, March 22, 2010
NATO Show Is a Go Big names signing on for new retailer-friendly tobacco show in 2011 By Linda Abu-Shalback Zid MINNEAPOLIS -- The National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) has announced that several major tobacco companies have signed on for its first trade show, to be held in the spring of 2011 in Las Vegas. Altadis USA, Swisher International, Swedish Match, Republic Tobacco and National Tobacco Co. have all formally committed to exhibit at the show. Although NATO has been a marketing partner for the Tobacco Plus Expo since the association first formed, it has decided to strike out on its own. "Our organization is a nonprofit, and we spend all of our energy and resources on fighting for the tobacco industry, so everyone is happy to support our organization," Steve Sandman, chairman of NATO's tradeshow committee told CSP Daily News. "Having our own trade show allows us to generate more resources to fight for the survival of tobacco." Steve Sandman is also vice president sales & marketing for Republic Tobacco LP, Glenview, Ill. The new as-yet unnamed trade show also coincides with the association's 10th anniversary. "It's designed to be a retailer-friendly show, with free seminars, free admission for all NATO members and great deals," Sandman said. "We expect this to eventually be the biggest tobaccoonly show in the country." Toward that effort, NATO has brought on Suwanee, Ga.-based Renaissance Association Management, run by Greg Martin, who also serves as CEO of the Southern Association of Wholesale Distributors. "Greg brings a lot of experience, he's well-known in the industry and he's had experience with tradeshows and association organizations," Sandman said. "The response to NATO's launch of the association's own trade show has been overwhelming. The commitment by these key manufacturers clearly means that the tobacco community has great confidence in NATO and they are happy to lend their support behind an organization that fights for the tobacco rights of the consumer, the retailer, the wholesaler and the manufacturer," said NATO president Andrew Kerstein. Minneapolis-based NATO is a national retail trade association that focuses exclusively on state and federal tobacco legislative issues and leads the fight for all tobacco interests in the United States.
(March 22, 2010)