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 Retail 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.

Alternative transportation options can be found here.

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

Retail 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

Registration for this event is now closed. If you are still interested in purchasing a ticket, please contact

Deadline for Retail Summit 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 Retail Summit from retail and supporting industries. Contact Craig Foglietti directly via email for options that fit your budget and goals.


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

Tara Abraham
Chairwoman & Co-CEO

8:00 – 9:00 AM

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 Daniel, Creative Director, FITCH

Panelist: Lee Peterson, EVP Thought Leadership + Marketing, WD Partners

Panelist: Chuck Palmer, Senior Advisor, ConsumerX Retail

Panelist: Amber Runyon, Founder & CEO, Eleventh Candle Co. 

Panelist: Therese McCann, Creative Director, Black Purse

Learn more

In the past year one of the largest trends in retail has been about going small and creating stores with less square footage. Many shifts have led to this – raising rent prices, e-commerce, and urbanization. We are seeing it in downtown Columbus with new building construction popping up every week. But have retailers 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

Moderator: Ryan Frederick, Principal, AWH

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

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

Panelist: Mark Patton, Vice President, Smart Columbus

Panelist: Wes Hunt, VP of Enterprise Data Science & Analytics, Alliance Data

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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

Panelist: Gabby Wilson, Senior Visual Communication Design Student at The Ohio State University

Panelist: Adiya Dixon, Founder& President, YUBI Beauty


Learn more

The future of retail is rapidly changing based on Millennial’s and GenZ’s 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. Also, hear directly from a GenZer and what they envision for the future of retail.


Wildcard: More Than Retail: Spaces That Build Community

Moderator: Josh Quinn, Co-founder, Director of Operations, Tigertree

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 a 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: Cannabis and CBD Sort Out Their Place on the Shelf

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

Panelist: Kevin Greene, VP of Admission & Recruiting, Cleveland School of Cannabis

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Ohio is building a medical marijuana industry from the ground up (slowly), while several local companies are grabbing a piece of the retail CBD market that got a huge boost with the federal Farm Bill. These are parallel and someday interlocking stories, if Ohio legalizes hemp and eventually recreational cannabis.

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

Panelist: Adam Ferguson, SVP Brand Director, Huntington Bank

Panelist: Chad Miller, Director of Customer Experience, Designer Brands

Panelist: Nick Padovano, Senior VP of Stores and Store Operations/National Team Leader, Big Lots

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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

Moderator: Katy Smith, Editor, Columbus CEO Magazine

Panelist: Robert Grimmett, Senior Business Development & Creative/Branding, Bunzl

Panelist: Jeff Vilimek, North America Innovation Lead, Avanade

Panelist: Bob Welty, Head of Retail Design + Communication, Verge Extended Realities 

Panelist: Dave Cherry, Executive Advisor, Cherry Advisory

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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: Permission-Based Innovation – How to Innovate like a Rebel by Knowing Your Boundaries

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

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Calling all rebels. Get ready to embrace a counterintuitive approach to preparing for the future. In this session we’ll dive into real-world examples of experience innovation haves and have nots, fails and successes, rules and exceptions, highlighting the lessons brands learned (or got burned on) and how you can know the rules so that you can break them.

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

Panelist: Mercè Graell-Colas, Chair Master of Design in Integrative Design, Professor Masters of Design, CCAD

Panelist: Aaron Schill, Director of Data & Mapping, MORPC

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What impact will demographic change have on the future of retail? What will be the nature of the shopping experience, and what is the fate of brick-and-mortar retail? What role will Columbus play in the future of the retail market?

Wildcard: The Changing Face of Stores and the Logistics Behind Them

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

Panelist: Brian Newberry, VP of Brand Leadership, Hart Inc.

Panelist: Eric Watts, Senior Director of Distribution, Target

Panelist: David Teeple, Director of Client Services, Sedlak Supply Chain Company

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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.

Retail: What’s in the Box? A Personalized Subscription for Everything

Moderator: Katy Smith, Editor, Columbus CEO Magazine

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

Panelist: George Goldenberg, COO, CaaStle

Panelist: Lindsay Fork, Owner, LUXEredux Bridal

Panelist: Brad Griffith, President, Buckeye Interactive

Learn more

The e-commerce subscription market has grown significantly over the last five years. These services offer consumers a convenient and personalized way to buy or rent what they want and need, as they are delivered on a re-occurring basis to the consumer’s home. Due to the diversity of subscription services, a consumer can have clothing, pet toys, food, toiletries and household cleaning supplies delivered without the inconvenience of going online and ordering or visiting a store.

Tech: Technology Not Just for Technology’s Sake

Moderator: Tom Harris, CEO, HMB

Panelist: Chelsea Caslow, Digital Marketing Manager, 30 Lines

Panelist: Stephen Callender, Founder + President, Foster Commerce

Panelist: Doug Schwarzwalder, CTO, Dancor Solutions Inc.

Panelist: Casey Hamilton, Founder + President, Uncommon Reach

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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: Hazel Macari, GM, DogTap and Doghouse

Panelist: Christin Price, Director of Sales and Marketing, Graduate Columbus

Panelist: Megan Shroy President and Founder, Approach Marketing

Learn more

Hotels are constantly innovating to meet customer demand. This panel will discuss current and future trends as well as how their individual properties have set themselves apart.

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

Presenter: Jennifer Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief, VMSD 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.

Check back often for updated speaker information.

Thanking our Retail Summit partners

Presented by

Retail Summit Signature Partners

Retail Summit Media Partners

Retail Summit Leader Partners

Retail Summit Patron partners

Retail Summit Benefactor partners

Coffee Partner

Promotional Partner

Preferred Promotional Partner