Courtney Paschal -- Casual Living, March 1, 2008
Since January 2006, AmericasMart has offered AmericasMart University, a comprehensive educational program designed for specialty retailers interested in getting back to the basics or even just starting out on their respective entrepreneurial paths.
AmericasMart honored the first graduating class of AmericasMart University in January during an exclusive dinner and ceremony at the nearby Capital City Club. In all, there were 17 members in the first AMU class.
Offered free-of-charge, AmericasMart University teaches business fundamentals through one- and two-hour classes held during the January and July gift markets in Atlanta. Taught by leading business consultants from the industry and area business schools, the classes focus on three areas of learning – Retail Business Basics (hiring, customer service, etc.); Buying & Selling and Building Your Brand. They are offered in three tiers – beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Past classes include “The Look That Sells: Wowing Today’s Customer,” taught by Marianna Hayes, president of HALO Business Advisors; “Web site Marketing 101,” by Drew Barton, founder of Web design and search marketing firm Southern Web Group, and “The Impact of Brand Influence,” taught by Tina Vaughn, CEO and owner of Professional Dynamics Business.
“We have always offered seminars about trends, colors, floral displays, etc., and people have always been interested,” said Julie Auton, executive director of marketing for AmericasMart. “However, the one thing that was really missing is that no one in the country was teaching a retailer how to run a business, and that is critical ... Ultimately we benefit, because we’re keeping our retailers in business.”
Retailers who attend courses in each of the three areas as well as each of the three tiers, for a total of nine classes, then graduate, earning an “MBA,” Mastering Business Aptitude. AmericasMart celebrated its first graduating class of 17 retailers earlier this year with an exclusive dinner.
“I have dedicated each trip to Atlanta with furthering my business education and truly appreciate AmericasMart’s commitment to its retailers, providing us with an unmatched opportunity to gain knowledge and new tools that benefit my business and profits,” said alumnus Debbie Seid of Lazy Fish, Pawleys Island, S.C.
For more information, visit americasmart.com.
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