Leading Appliances took over 250 members, suppliers and guests to the Pullman Hotel, Melbourne for three days  in late August for its 2015 National Conference. This  Conference, which was only the second for the Group was held along with the Leading Edge Electronics (LEE) Conference and badged ‘Challenge Yourself’.

Leading Edge group manager Nick Fry explained to Appliance Retailer that the theme addressed the ever-changing retail landscape confronting appliance retailers. “We all need to challenge ourselves to look for ways and opportunities of strengthening, growing and diversifying our businesses,” he said.

Presentations were made by group general manager Lee Scott and national group managers Nick Fry (LA) and James Kearney (LEE). It was emceed by Scott Henderson from BSI Training, who also delivered a keynote address covering leadership, teams and group dynamics, communication and body language, persuasion techniques, stress, and workplace satisfaction.



Steve & Kylie Lestone of Zapps Leading Appliances, Charters Towers, winners of the Leading Appliances Store of the Year Award, with Group Manager Nick Fry.

Special presenters included Amanda Stevens, an expert on retail marketing, the customer experience and the future of consumers, and former champion swimmer and small business owner, Hayley Lewis, who imparted many of her life experiences and discussed work/life balance. The Friedman Group, a provider of retail sales and service focused consulting and training also provided a keynote presentation.

Entertainment each night was provided by comedian John Blackman, hypnotist and comedian double-act Rohan Gazzard and Adam Palmer, the Three Waiters and comedian/magician Matt Hollywood.

Fry said that over 45 suppliers attended the Conference including major brands EHP, LG, Panasonic, Fisher & Paykel, Haier, Changhong,  Breville, Spectrum Brands, TCL, Palsonic, Teco, Euro Appliances, Brand Developers, Danoz and Seeley International.

The Leading Edge Awards Night gave the group the opportunity to acknowledge suppliers and members for their achievements to the Leading Appliances business for the 2015 financial year:

Leading Appliances Award Winners were:

Supplier of the Year: EHP (awarded to Bahar Urfan)

Brand of the Year: Changhong (awarded to David Esler)

Account Manager of the Year: Charlie Elkhoury (Panasonic)

Best Conference Trade Show Display Stand: Panasonic

LA Store of the Year: Zapps Leading Appliances, Charters Towers (Steve & Kylie Lestone)

According to Fry, “Our second conference was a great success, building on the success of last year’s inaugural conference. The feedback from our members and suppliers was extremely positive. The majority of our members and most of our preferred suppliers attended, giving them a great opportunity to interact and showcase new products and take advantage of some terrific specials offered by suppliers.

He added that there were synergies across both LA and LEE. “So it was a great opportunity for many of the members from both groups to interact, share experiences and exchange ideas. For our much-valued suppliers, it was also an 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 as we continue to grow on the massive strides Leading Appliances has taken in our two and a half years of trading,” he concluded.