(SOUTHPORT, Conn.) – After a long hiatus, members of the Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO) recently convened at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown, and the city’s vast convention center. Since – due to Covid – IJO cancelled its last two conferences, members were thrilled to finally be together. IJO member James Arbaugh, from Stucki Jewelers in Grass Valley, CA, posted, “It felt so good to see IJO Family again! Great show…looking forward to San Antonio!”
“There were times when the planning became quite a challenge, when it seemed the mandates were changing daily,” said Jeff Roberts, IJO President & CEO. “More than anything we wanted our members to feel comfortable and safe, and we went to great lengths to accomplish that.”
There was a city-wide public indoor mask mandate in place, and IJO contracted with 42chat to provide health screening each day for all attendees. The Welcome Cocktail Reception was held outside in a park for everyone’s safety and included full open bars and unique food trucks.
Jennifer Herold, IJO’s Conference Director, stated: “Everything went so smoothly with temperature checks and screenings – 42chat made it very simple for everyone. At meal functions, attendees were spaced farther apart and the buying room had extra wide aisles to help with social distancing.”
The schedule was jam-packed with educational and inspirational seminars as well as two extraordinary keynote speakers – motivational speaker Paul Long, and Dennis Snow, who had spent more than 20 years with the Walt Disney World Company. And the ever-popular Team Clinics took place – 18 of them, simultaneously – plus a separate NextGen Clinic.
“While planning for this conference, we honestly didn’t know what to expect,” Roberts said. “We assumed attendance wouldn’t be as strong as it usually is, and we were very pleasantly surprised. The numbers surpassed our expectations and members were there ready to buy – they’d come out of their best 18 months and needed merchandise!”
IJO will be celebrating its 50th anniversary at the next conference, March 11-15, 2022 in San Antonio. If you would like to learn if you’re eligible for membership, contact Penny Palmer at email@example.com.
Learn more about the IJO at https://www.ijo.com/.