Letter from the Executive Vice President

Dear SWA family,

Wow, what a ride we have been on for the past several months.  Every industry and business has been impacted greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our thoughts go out to each of you as you have been forced to re-evaluate plans for this year and SWA is no different.

The SWA Executive Leadership and committee chairs met following our recent survey of our membership and looked at multiple options for our 92nd annual convention scheduled for June 28-30, 2020.  We considered the health risks of attending the conference, participation levels, the economy, travel restrictions, fiscal responsibility, the availability of speakers and the risks of both the educational and social programming.

After two hours of discussion, the SWA leadership decided that the most responsible decision was to modify our event this year. Mark your calendars for:

Monday June 29th through Wednesday July 1, 2020.

We will be hosting a virtual event.  While we are still working on some of the details, the anticipated schedule will look as follows:

2020 – Sponsoring companies may stream live or submit a video which will be posted on the SWA Facebook page for viewing on a schedule throughout the 3 days. We are still working out the details of length, format and submission and will send additional information soon. We will be encouraging our sponsors to add “show specials” during their segments to encourage viewership.  The videos will remain on the page indefinitely and anyone viewing the videos can ask questions which can be answered on the live stream or directed to the company for a later response.  We are hopeful even more people will see these ads than would have attended the convention. 

Additionally, we are currently working to add links to our sponsors’ websites on the Sponsors tab on the SWA website and all 2020 Platinum and Gold sponsors will be permitted two full page email blasts to the SWA membership in the second half of 2020. All other sponsors will be offered one email blast during the same period.  

Registration Fees –This event will have no charge for participants.  Those who have registered for the conference in Hilton Head have the option of choosing to:

  1. Push their registration and fees to next year and our June 27-29, 2021 conference in San Destin, Florida.
  2. Get a full refund of all registration fees that have been paid.

Hotel Reservations – If you have hotel rooms, they will be cancelled when the Hilton Head Marriott cancels our event in the system.  We had been informed by several people that they are still planning to go to the hotel during this time and these people will need to make a new reservation.  We apologize for the inconvenience, but events and reservations are linked in the system.  They obviously have space for whatever room type you need and would love to have you.

We are so grateful for your support for SWA.  We look forward to this event and providing a great deal more virtual value this year and in years to come.  We are still very committed to our annual convention and plan to have it each year moving forward.

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or suggestions about our upcoming event and we wish you all the best as your businesses negotiate this unprecedented time.

Sincerely,

Terry Shafer

Executive VP

Southern Wholesalers Association

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