In this special guest post, Leading Appliances national product and marketing manager Nick Fry discusses the retail group’s first conference, held earlier this month on the Gold Coast.

Nicholas Fry
Nicholas Fry

Leading Appliances members and suppliers attended the inaugural Leading Appliances National Conference at Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast, 15-17 August 2014.

Held in conjunction with another Leading Edge Group vertical business, Leading Edge Electronics (LEE), the conference theme was ’10 to 1′, acknowledging LEE’s 10th Anniversary (and 11th Conference) and the Leading Appliances (LA) group’s first conference.

Attended by 250 retail members, suppliers, guests and expert speakers, the conference was a success for all attendees, with members and suppliers equally delighted at the quality of the trade show, guest presenters, breakout sessions and entertainment.

The conference was officially opened on Friday by industry veteran Keith Rowe, with opening presentations from general manager Michael Carr, group merchandise manager Lee Scott and me.

Included in the three days of the conference were special presenters from social media expert Steve Sammartino; James Roper from the Australian Retail Association; lawyer, comedian and TV presenter James O’Loghlin; and Australian sporting legend Andrew Gaze. These presenters offered their expert opinions and advice on the pursuit of excellence in today’s competitive business world.

A charity auction was held to support ‘Challenge – Supporting Kids with Cancer’, of which Andrew Gaze is an ambassador. The Leading Edge Electronics and Leading Appliances Members raised $3,731 for this great charity.

Thirty suppliers attended the first LA conference including, Electrolux Home Products, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Fisher & Paykel, Haier, Breville, Spectrum Brands, World’s Best Technology, Changhong, TCL, Palsonic, Teco, Vax, Brand Developers, Nobo, Castel, De’Longhi and Danoz.

The first night of entertainment featured Queen tribute band ‘Killer Queen’ in a magnificent outdoor setting. On the second night the delegates visited Dracula’s Cabaret Theatre. The conference culminated in a fancy dress ‘Gala Awards Night’, where suppliers and members were acknowledged for their outstanding achievements in the first year of Leading Appliances existence.

2014 Leading Appliance Award Winners

Supplier of the Year Electrolux Home Products
Brand of the Year Westinghouse
Account Manager of the Year Charlie Elkhoury (Panasonic)
Best Display Stand Breville
Store of the Year Taree Leading Appliances (Peter & Donna Bolt)


Supplier of the Year: Electrolux Home Products.
Supplier of the Year: Electrolux Home Products.

The feedback from our members and suppliers has been overwhelmingly positive. Most of our members were in attendance, and 90 per cent of our preferred suppliers attended, giving our members and suppliers a great opportunity to interact and showcase new products, and to take advantage of some terrific specials our suppliers offered in support of our first conference.

Holding a joint conference with our very successful Leading Edge Electronics business, now 10 years old, allowed the Leading Edge Group to showcase their expertise at organising and executing a very professional and well-run conference, which was appreciated by the 250 attendees.

There are some synergies across both LA and LEE, so it was a great opportunity for many of the members from the groups to interact, share experiences and exchange ideas. For our much-valued suppliers, it was a great opportunity to demonstrate their support of strong and united independent retailers under the Leading Appliances and Leading Edge Electronics banners.

The feedback from suppliers was extremely positive. We can’t wait for next year’s conference in Melbourne as we continue to grow on the massive strides Leading Appliances has taken in our first year of trading.

LG Electronics is a preferred Leading Appliances supplier.
LG Electronics is a preferred Leading Appliances supplier.