For a second year, I am honored to accept the RIA Board of Directors’ nomination to continue as board president. Joining me on our executive committee is new Board Vice President Andrea Lehmkuhler of Point 2 Running Company, and new Board Secretary Jen Brummit of Gazelle Sports. Daniel Greenhalgh will continue to serve in his role as board treasurer. The board also welcomes new members Harry Chandler of Charlotte Running Company, Lindsey Mulder of Playmakers, and Amy Johnson of Craft. Please be sure to reach out to our new officers and board members, who volunteer their time to support the organization.
We have big things in store for our members in 2023. At the top of the list is perhaps the largest undertaking in the history of the organization, the RIA Product Data Collaborative. For those who may be unfamiliar with the project, the PDC is a standardized product data repository platform that most retailers can use to easily upload the entire catalog of participating brand products each season. The user interface would make it simple and easy for member brands to upload both soft and hard data, and would include everything that retailers need to make product cards in a variety of POS systems and e-commerce platforms.
Since announcing the project in early December, the RIA has been working with key stakeholders among our retailers, brands, and associates to ensure that the interface meets the needs of all who use the tool, whether for simple uploads or complex tasks. We expect to build out the platform in the second quarter of 2023 with release for use in late Q2. Stay tuned for more information.
The RIA has another money-saving benefit in the form of our newly revamped freight discount program. This multifaceted freight solution features significant discounts from FedEx, reporting on discount benefits, knowledgeable customer service ready to assist members with freight issues, LTL freight service, and for the first time, our brands can sign up. There is no cost and no catch, and we’re proud to deliver this benefit to our members.
Finally, we’re only two months out from Runchella, and people are enthusiastic about our 'Your Show, Your Way' format. We’re working hard to offer a valuable experience for our members, with expanded ways to connect with brands, workshops with our top associate partners, and plenty of time for socializing. We hope you join us there, and we’re looking forward to a great event. Just a few spots are left so if you wish to attend, be sure to register now.
See you all soon, and best of luck as we make 2023 another banner year for the run specialty channel.
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