Presented by: Big Lots, Franklin County & Columbus Chamber of Commerce

The latest trends and insights around: retail, technology and hospitality

Thursday, August 8 
The Point at Otterbein University
60 Collegeview Road

For the past 10 years, Retail Summit has cultivated an environment that offers attendees the opportunity to connect with the most innovative companies in the industry ranging from start-ups, emerging leaders and established veterans. This year’s summit at the Point at Otterbein University will allow our panelists to address the most pressing and trending topics focused around: retail, technology, and hospitality.

Retail Summit Features:

Three trending keynote speakers
Fifteen breakouts dedicated to trending topics in retail, technology, and hospitality
Ample networking opportunities with over 350+ attendees
A complimentary copy of 2019 Franklin County Retail Report

Ticket Details: 

Chamber Member Ticket – All Day Summit Pass: $199
Non-Member Ticket – All-Day Summit Pass: $249

Summit Pass Includes:

All-Day Coffee + Tea Service
Breakfast, Lunch + Happy Hour
Access to Keynote Presentations, Breakout Sessions + Networking Sessions
Event Branded Lanyard + Bag
Chance to Win Prizes During Event
Two Happy Hour Drink Tickets

Deadline for registration is July 31, 2019.
Please feel free to email us with any questions. 

Who Attends

•  Owners, Managers, and Leaders in retail-focused industries
•  Representatives of industries that serve retail
•  Regional economic development officers
•  Leadership with interest in the future of our Region’s retail sector
•  Elected officials and community partners
•  Educators and students

Partner Opportunities

Each year, our partners are connected to the leading minds attending the Summit from retail and supporting industries. Contact Nancy Brantner directly via email or at 614-560-4260 for options that fit your budget and goals.

Download our 2019 Partner Guide here.


7-8 AM: Registration & Breakfast
8-9 AM: Keynote #1
9-9:30 AM: Networking
9:30-10:30 AM: Breakout Session #1 – 5 topics to choose from
10:30-11 AM: Networking
11-12 PM: Breakout Session #2 – 5 topics to choose from
12-12:30 PM: Lunch
12:30-1:30 PM: Keynote #2
1:30-2 PM: Networking
2-3 PM: Breakout Session #3 – 5 topics to choose from
3-3:15 PM: Networking
3:15-4:15 PM: Keynote #3
4:15-6 PM: Happy Hour

Keynote Presenters

Kevin Myers
Donatos Pizza

12:30 – 1:30 PM

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The Edge of Innovation: Learn how a 56-year-old pizza company in Columbus, Ohio is re-inventing robotics and food by combining the strengths of a 40-year-old manufacturing company that services the food industry world-wide with kitchen products (Grote Industries), a bakery with products in over 6,800 retail locations (Jane’s Dough Foods) and a family-owned restaurant organization with 160 locations in 10 states (Donatos). Together, they are innovating kitchen automation using their strengths and combined knowledge to expand a great product into smaller venues. Imagine a day when flour will be poured into a machine the size of an office desk. Crust will be 3-D printed with the ingredients and specific supplements for each individual’s needs and a pizza will come out the other end. That day is not as far away as you think.

Dan Manges
Co-founder & CTO
Root Insurance

3:15 – 4:15 PM

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Blueprint for Disruption: Root is a car insurance company founded on the simple idea that people who drive well are less likely to get in accidents, and that means they should pay less for insurance. By starting from scratch and leveraging modern technology, Root has built an unparalleled product in the 245 billion dollar car insurance industry. The company’s breakout growth trajectory in 2018 resulted in it becoming one of the fastest venture-backed companies ever to reach a billion dollar valuation. Much of Root’s success can be attributed to its methodology for innovation and execution.

Breakout Session 1
9:30 – 10:30 AM

Breakout Session 2
11 AM – Noon

Breakout Session 3
2 – 3 PM

Retail: The Rise of Small Format

Moderator: Eric Daniels, Creative Director, Fitch




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In the past year one of the largest trends in retail has actually been about going small and creating stores with less square footage. Many shifts have led to this – raising rent prices, ecommerce, and urbanization. We are seeing it in downtown Columbus with new building construction popping up every week. But have retailers actually cracked how to use these small spaces? This panel will discuss what successful small formats are doing right and the reliance on digital in these experiences.

Tech: Information Overload: How Big Data is the New Yellow Brick Road


Panelist: Weiyan Zhao, Director of Data Science, Nationwide Insurance

Panelist: Andrea Andrews-Isreal, Director of Commerical Technology-Opti Freight & NPWT, Fuse by Cardinal Health


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Big data has been a buzzword for over a decade. But what does it mean? How much information is too much and how do you comb through trillion of data points to find the relevant information?

Hospitality: Sustainability and Ethics in Retail

Moderator: Carly Hagedon, Managing Editor, VMSD Magazine

Panelist: Rebekah Matheny, Assistant Professor for Department of Design, Ohio State University

Panelist: Marcie Merriman, Americas Cultural Insights and Consumer Strategy Leader, EY


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The future of retail is rapidly changing based on Millennials and GenZ consumer behaviors. These generations are “voting with their dollars”, reflecting their values of environmental sustainability and positive social impact. With Generous Brands and B Corps on the rise, communicating brand ethics through the retail experience is critical.

Wildcard: More Than Retail: Spaces That Build Community

Moderator: Panelist: Jen Peterson, Chief Executive at Easton, Steiner + Associates. Inc.

Panelist: Linda Swearingen, Partner & EVP Asset Management, CASTO

Panelist: Alicia Huber, Experiential Design Lead, M+A Architects

Panelist: Lori Bongiorno, Principal, Director-Commercial Studio, M+A Architects

Learn more

More than ever we see various uses cropping into what was once siloed archetypes of space. Meaning, you no longer just have workplace in an office, and you should no longer think of a retail center as just a place to shop. Current conversations include taking workplace, retail, and living ecosystems and merging them into one mini-ecosystem. Certain opportunities with co-working/co-living spaces allow for even more consumers to potentially live within or near their retail environment.

Wildcard: The Future of Columbus Retail

Moderator: David Staley, Director of the Humanities Institute, Ohio State University

Panelist: Chuck Palmer, Senior Advisor, ConsumerX Retail

Panelist: Yohannan Terrell, Director, Columbus Fashion Initiative


Retail: Reimagining Space and Place: The Role of Legacy Retailers in a Digitally Converged World

Moderator: Michelle Fenstermaker, Strategy Director, FITCH

Panelist: Raj B. Shroff, Principal + Founder, PINE



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Legacy retailers often operate in a one-size-fits-all mentality without a clearly defined brand. They view themselves as operations and logistics experts—which is interesting for businesses with such rich service histories. We’ve found that legacy retailers have a strategic advantage over their start-up competition—locations, lots of them. We’ll discuss how legacy retailers can use their physical assets to their advantage by reimagining their role, their purpose, and move beyond a transactional relationship to one centered on experience.

Tech: The Virtual Store


Panelist: Robert Grimmett Sr., Business Development & Creative/Branding Team, Bunzl Retail



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The “virtual world” that mankind has dreamed about for decades seems to be getting closer and closer. What does this mean for the business of retail. How would retailers have to positions themselves to be successful in a virtual marketplace? How far away is it?

Hospitality: Innovation and More

Moderator: Leah Cotterman, Senior Director of Strategy & Insights, WD Partners




Wildcard: Emerging Trends in Retail: A Look to the Future

Presenter: Jennifer Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief, VDSM Magazine

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It seems that if there is one constant in our lives today, it is change. We are living in an era of unprecedented customer-centricity. Thanks to social media, the ultimate word of mouth, consumers have as much control over the perception of a brand as the brand does itself. So how does today’s smart retailer adapt to this ever-changing landscape, and what trends are driving the reinvention of retail as we perceive it? Join VMSD Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Acevedo as she explores this fascinating time and offers insights on what retail will look like in the future.

Wildcard: Cannabis Discussion

Moderator: Carrie Ghose, Reporter, Columbus Business First

Panelist: Todd Yaross, CEO, Terrsana Cannabis Co.

Panelist: Madison Whalen, Attorney, Roetzel & Andress

Panelist: John Youger, Partner, PINE

Retail: Subscription Box


Panelist: Hernan Giraldo, Customer Experience Leader, Bark & Co.

Panelist: George Goldenberg, COO, CaaStle


Tech: Technology Not Just for Technology’s Sake


Panelist: Chelsea Caslow, Digital Marketing Manager, 30 Lines

Panelist: Stephen Callender, Founder + President, Foster Commerce

Panelist: Doug Schwarzwalder, CTO, Dancor Solutions Inc.

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How to be strategic with technology. With the consumer changing how can retailers choose the right technology at the right time?

Hospitality: What’s New and Next in Hotel Trends?

Moderator: Mark Henson, Founder, sparkspace

Panelist: Geri Lombard, General Manager, Hotel LeVeque

Panelist: Jonathan Quick, Head of Retail, DogHouse Hotel and Brewery


Wildcard: Be the Good: How to Engage Your Team & Elevate Your Impact

Moderator: Matthew Goldstein, CEO, Besa

Panelist: Jeremy Ball, Vice President Corporate Philanthropy & Events, Big Lots

Panelist: Charly Bauer, Co-founder & Director of Stewardship, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Panelist: Brett Kaufman, Founder & CEO, Kaufman Development

Panelist: Alysa Spittle, Director of Communications, Express

Learn more

Millennials want to be connected — connected to their work, connected to their teams and connected to the greater community. And companies want to have a positive impact on the community around them and world at large. So how do you make it all happen, whether you’re a small start-up or a thriving Fortune 500 retailer? We’ll talk with leaders from companies who are doing it right to find out how. Moderated by Besa CEO Matthew Goldstein, featuring panelists from Big Lots, Jeni’s, Kaufman Development and L Brands.

Wildcard: Curbside, Pick-Up Towers and Shelf Scanners, Oh My!

Moderator: Adrian Burns, Columbus Region Logistics Council, Columbus Chamber of Commerce




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Learn how the store experience is changing, and what impact that is having on today’s supply chains. Employees have less time to stock shelves as they are increasingly being relied upon to pick orders in stores. Inventory zones are getting smaller and smaller. Automated shelf scanners are rolling out to automatically tally inventory locations.

Check back often for updated speaker information.

Thanking our partners

Presented by

Signature partners

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Patron partners

Benefactor partners

Interactive Partner

Coffee Partner