New date pattern and schedule designed for added convenience and opportunities.

April 30, 2024

The Coastal Connections Conference is returning to the Margaritaville Resort Orlando, Feb. 11-12, 2025, with new timing and a new schedule for added convenience and opportunities for beach, coastal and nautical retailers to learn and connect.

Now in its third year, the Coastal Connections Conference is a retail conference with a coastal vibe. All the educational sessions, networking opportunities and vendor engagement experiences are geared toward owners and managers of beach, coastal and nautical brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Coming off its most recent event in October 2023, the Coastal Connections Conference is moving from its traditional October timing to a new February time frame. To accommodate this shift there will be no event in 2024.

“October is a difficult time for many coastal retailers to take time away from their stores,” says Kristin Ely, director of the Coastal Connections Conference. “Through surveys, we concluded that February would be better for a majority of seaside retailers who are still in their offseason. The new dates also provide some breathing room between the fall and winter shows. We hope retailers will make the trip to Orlando to gather with their peers to gain important takeaways for their businesses and find exciting new merchandise for their stores.”

Six seminars, featuring an expert lineup of speakers, will cover relevant topics seaside retailers can put into practice immediately to improve their businesses and their bottom lines. Sessions will cover systems and processes, profitability, disaster preparedness, trends, visual merchandising and social media strategies.

“It’s so different from other events that I attend around the country,” says past attendee Kim Springsteen-Abbott, owner of Lady Gryphon’s Coastal Collection Shop in Tarpon Springs, Florida. “This, you really care about the retailer and want us to grow through education. I think that’s a value not offered for us elsewhere.”

The Coastal Connections Conference has also changed its schedule. Instead of a three-day event, from Sunday through Tuesday, the new schedule will be held over two weekdays, Tuesday and Wednesday. Each day will include a combination of educational sessions and opportunities to interact with vendors at an exclusive buying event called the Boardwalk, including a Sip & Shop on Tuesday evening, and open time for buying on Wednesday morning.

Coastal Connections Conference Co-Director Karen Carr says, “The Boardwalk vendor event has been a key component of the Coastal Connections Conference but had always been held after the educational sessions had concluded. We wanted to provide more opportunities to interact throughout the event and help further foster the relationships between retailers and vendors.”

“It’s a great, intimate place to get to know each other one-on-one a lot better,” October 2023 Boardwalk vendor Michael Kapica, sales manager of Charming Shark Tropical Accessories, says of the Coastal Connections Conference. “Sometimes when you’re visiting clients, you don’t get the chance to sit down, eat with them, have a couple of drinks. Here, it’s nice to be able to see everybody.”

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