a subdued welcome

Welcome back to Las Vegas—the adopted home of this year’s NACS Show following the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the Southeast. Our hearts remain with our friends, relatives and colleagues in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and we wish them a quick and full recovery.

New Orleans is one of my favorite cities to visit. If you’re anything like me, you look forward to the day when the NACS Show, along with other conventions, makes its triumphant return to New Orleans after the city and its people have had time to heal. While it will undoubtedly be years till that happens, we take comfort in knowing that the region will rebuild and its people will preserve the culture and atmosphere that contribute to the DNA of the New Orleans “experience.”

In the wake of the devastation, our industry—retailers, suppliers, associations, etc.— answered the call for help. Companies from every sector of the business donated time, money and other resources to rebuilding efforts. Despite this work, New Orleans and its people face an uncertain future.

About a month after the hurricane hit, we received an e-mail from a Louisianaretailer we consider a friend. Most of this retailer’s family members survivedthe devastation, but the lives of almost everyone in its circle have been turnedupside down, with most of their possessions either lost or in complete disrepair.Still, our friend seemed in generally good spirits, driven by a sense of entrepreneurshipthat has come to signify this industry.

Companies from every sector of our industry have donatedtime, money and other resources to the rebuilding effort.
Still, NewOrleans faces an uncertain future.

While we take time to reflect on thetragedy, we know there’s serious work to be done at this year’s show, with a full agenda: lots of great speakers like former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Ann Rhoades (a personal favorite), plenty of workshops and—oh, yes—the show floor. Make sure you pack comfortable shoes to navigate the Las Vegas Convention Center’s 370,000 square feet of expo space, packed wall to wall with exhibitor booths featuring every kind of product or service you could ever imagine—and, most likely, some you could never imagine—for your business.

Of course, Las Vegas has its share of…let’s call them “distractions.” But beyond the craps tables and roulette wheels, the restaurants and the shops, the bright neon lights and the “siren’s call” of the slot machine, we’re here to conduct business.

On the following pages you’ll find updated expo listings and event schedules. Both were updated at press time, but they may be subject to further change. (Hey, that’s what happens when an event of this size and scope relocates half way across the country in a relatively short period of time.)

Have a great show. I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas.

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