Skip to main content

CSA’s annual SPECS Show puts spotlight on store development, maintenance

Advertisement - article continues below

The country’s top retailers and suppliers involved in the planning, design, construction and maintenance of stores, restaurants and non-traditional concepts came together at Chain Store Age’s 59th annual SPECS Show.

The event, held March 19 -21 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas, attracted attendees across all sectors of the industry, from discounters, specialty stores and supermarkets to convenience stores, home-improvement centers and more. Restaurants and  specialty concepts, including financial and health care, were also in attendance.

“We are meeting at a unique time,” said Gary Esposito in opening remarks at SPECS. “As many consumers are balancing economic conditions, they are becoming more selective about the brands they engage with and the store experiences they demand. SPECS is here to provide the critical solutions and services needed to compete in this ever-changing landscape.”

The show included approximately 30 targeted sessions focused on the latest trends and technologies transforming the design, construction and maintenance of physical stores and restaurants in today’s evolving retail landscape. There was also a track dedicated to the challenges and opportunities facing retail real estate professionals that included sessions on tenant/landlord relationships and top shopping center experiences.

This year’s opening keynote was given by businessman, investor and "Shark Tank" TV personality Daymond John, who wowed the crowd with an inspiring, passionate and high-energy address. John, who began working at age 10, outlined his rise to success, from humble beginnings in Queens, New York, to the founder and CEO of the billion-dollar-plus apparel brand FUBU.

“Responsibility is something that can’t be given,” John said. “It must be taken.”

The SPECS day-two keynoter was NFL legend and entrepreneur Emmit Smith, who had the SPECS crowd on its feet as he spoke about the importance of setting goals and the value of teamwork.

"Success is there to be shared — sharing success is how we become the best versions of ourselves," Smith said.

SPECS also provided plenty of business partnering, collaboration and networking opportunities. Attendees came together in sessions, at meal functions and on the exhibit floor, which featured a diverse array of solutions and services designed to provide a better in-store experience for customers and maximize operational efficiencies.

Breakout Retailers

The show also included the presentation of CSA’s  2023 Breakout Retailer Awards, with the winning lineup made up of Academy Sports + Outdoors, Boot Barn, Choice Market, Condado Tacos and It’Sugar. The annual awards were sponsored by architectural and design engineering firm Stantec.

Executives from the four winning brands were at SPECS to accept the awards and share insights into their companies during a panel discussion. Representing their companies at the event were:  Jim Conroy, CEO, Boot Barn; Mike Fogarty, founder and CEO, Choice Market; Sumeet Mittal, Academy Sports + Outdoors, VP of construction and design; Jeff Rubin, founder and CEO, It’Sugar; and Jason Siegler, chief development officer, Condado Tacos.

SPECS will return to the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center next year, with SPECS Show 2024 scheduled for March 10 – 12.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds