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G Source 2001: Opens its doors to other developers

General Growth Properties wants to energize the shopping center industry with its expanding Las Vegas tradeshow.

G Source 2001. It's a name worthy of a retail industry tradeshow that's opening itself to the new frontiers of a budding century.

This year, G Source, the premier tradeshow of General Growth Properties Inc., will play host to even greater numbers of select operations, management and marketing officers, the creme de la creme of shopping center decision makers. These professionals will get to witness the offerings of General Growth's established vendors, companies that contribute all the quality products and services needed to make shopping centers successful today.

General Growth Properties Inc. is one of the nation's leading shopping center owners, developers and managers - a force within the marketplace - boasting a portfolio of 137 malls in 37 states. The company constantly seeks to expand its relationships with outside resources to help achieve its commitments to consumers, owners, retailers and employees. As such, General Growth Properties seeks to share its resources with other professionals in the industry, making the industry stronger as a whole.

Attendees at G Source 2001 will include nearly 800 of GGP's general managers, marketing directors, operations managers and corporate personnel. This year, the show also will play host to outside national developers and retailers throughout the industry. All will gain access to more than 100 of General Growth Properties' prized resources and vendors.

This year's show will be held on March 5, 2001, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

What is G Source 2001's main draw? As Robert Michaels, president of General Growth Properties Inc., Chicago, says, "The show gives people in the industry a wide range of vendors providing services that others in the industry might not be aware of. These are vendors who may not be household names to a lot of people, but who may have a bit more strategic way of doing business. As an industry leader, we feel it's important to make these services available to as broad an audience as possible."

Historical perspective General Growth Properties Inc. started the tradeshow in the mid-1980s in Des Moines, Iowa, where the company was originally based. "Essentially, the show catered to the operations side of the business because it was held in conjunction with operations and public safety conferences," says Chicago-based Greg Buse, General Growth's vice president of purchasing and corporate services.

"We've had approximately six shows over the years, usually every couple of years," he adds. "The original show probably only had between 12 and 20 vendors."

Each year, General Growth Properties Inc. has worked hard not only to increase the level of participation, but also to increase the educational potential of the show. "The shows provide attendees with information about people out there in the industry who provide services that may not have been available just a year or two before," says Michaels.

Security technologies and services have always been paramount among the show's offerings. "From a safety and security standpoint, my goal is to expose our people to the latest technologies that are available," says David Levenberg, corporate security director for General Growth Properties Inc., Chicago, "whether it's two-way radio systems, closed circuit television, alarms or emergency call boxes.

"We want them to see what the latest technology is that can make their life a little easier," he continues. "But we also want them to meet people that may provide services they haven't used in the past, so they can ask questions to vendors, see products demonstrated, and leave a little more attuned to what's offered and what might help."

"The most important thing we want people to take with them from the shows is the awareness of what services are available," says Michaels. "We want them to know who these vendors are, how to get in touch with them and, most importantly, what these people can do for their business."

Forging strong relationships No matter what personnel side of the coin attendees come from - marketing, operations or other management - General Growth has one thing in mind for everyone.

"We want people to see the latest services available, because not every mall is brand new," says Levenberg. "The show provides the opportunity for the field, and obviously corporate and regionals, to meet with all of these vendors, the manufacturers and distributors, and it generally improves relationships."

Getting vendors and management together ultimately helps make both stronger and better at their individual businesses.

"The shows give our people in the field a very quick one-stop shop in which to see all the latest to improve the shopping experience for consumers," says Levenberg. "It also provides the opportunity to improve the properties from the retailer perspective.

"The vendors also understand better when they're hearing comments and feedback from the field," he adds. "They can even come up with new products and services based on those meetings."

Buse concurs. "These shows generate ideas for new products because the end-user can talk directly to the manufacturer, the vendor, and can say, `I like your products, but I've got this particular issue.' Then sometimes the vendor can create a new product or idea based upon those conversations."

How does G Source compare to other industry tradeshows, say, ICSC's product show, for example? G Source includes a mix of companies that provide many of the operational needs for shopping centers, as well as many of the marketing needs for a company once a shopping center is in place.

"Our show is not targeted to a specific category," explains Wally Brewster, Chicago, vice president of corporate communications for General Growth Properties Inc. "ICSC in May, in Las Vegas, is a mix, but it's more focused on new vendors who're trying to bring new products into the industry. We have a large group - the largest, I believe - that currently supplies shopping centers.

"These vendors understand how we work, and we think they're the best in their categories," he continues. "It's really the best combination to be able to approach the director of purchasing or the senior vice presidents and executive staff and go in and find the vendors that will provide everything they need for their existing retail store or development."

Moving into the future While the original show was held in conjunction with the operations side of the business, General Growth has strategically broadened the show's reach.

Since the mid-1990s, General Growth Properties Inc. has gradually opened up the show to include more and more attendees from various disciplines within shopping center management, with the 2000 show charting new territory. That new territory included an additional 600 professionals who hadn't previously attended the show.

"Last year was the first year we expanded the show and opened it up to the general managers and assistant general managers, marketing directors and assistant marketing directors, along with other corporate staff members that hadn't originally attended our operations conference," says Brewster.

"They're key decision makers at their properties," he continues. "So the show gave vendors the opportunity to have one-on-one exposure with the people who make purchasing decisions for properties. It was great for the vendors that were there, as well as for our employees."

"We also did a limited invitation to other developers," he adds. "There were just a few we invited last year since it was our first year to expand the show to that level of participation."

This year, General Growth Properties Inc. plans to give even more broadened exposure to its vendors by inviting more developers throughout the industry. The company's plan is to be the only show that provides these types of vendors in one concentrated area.

"If we were getting together some of our preferred vendors - some of the best in the industry - then why not invite some of our friends in the development industry?" asks Brewster. "For this year and ongoing, we want to make sure that all developers in our industry are invited so they can take advantage of having all of these resources in one room.

"It's a huge benefit for cost efficiencies because most of these vendors deal with General Growth, and they're buying in large quantities," he continues. "If other developers decide to use the same vendors, obviously there are cost efficiencies there."

At each year's show, from 2001 moving forward, General Growth Properties Inc. will seek to exceed the performance level of the prior year's show.

In 2001, General Growth will hold G Source for only half a day as an enticement to decision makers.

"We think decision makers don't have a lot of time in their busy schedules," explains Brewster. "We've made it so they can come in the night before, go to the show, and fly out that afternoon if necessary."

"We're really excited that this year we're giving the opportunity for outside developers and retailers to come take advantage of all the great resources at the show," sums up Brewster. "The show is going to be the best group of resources that have ever been put under one tent."

These companies represent a sampling of the vendors that will be at G Source 2001, GGP's Resource Show.

Advanced Tech Security Agilent Alan Stevens Associates Inc. Alpha & Omega American Energy Management American Locker Security Sys. Inc. Ameron Barrango Inc. Benchmark Design Group BGD Midwest Seating Bronner's Brunswick Building One Service Solutions, an Encompass Co. Carrier Corp. CED Center Asphalt Co. Central Specialties/Kiddie Plan Command Security Corp. Corporate Recognition Country Christmas CPI Datascape Technologies Defender Services Inc. Display Workshop Encompass EZ Liner Industries facilitec, a service of Ecolab First Vending Fun Express Gee Asphalt Systems Germain Packaging GGP Corporate Services GGP E-business GGP Human Resources GGP Market Research HireCheck Intera Interstate Cleaning Corp. Interstate Roof Systems Jungle Kiddie Kab Strollers by Central Specialties Landscape Forms The Larson Co. M&I Leasing Mal-Wal McLaughlin Erectors (MEI) Merchants Building Maintenance Millard Mall Services Inc. Milliken & Co. National Mall Monitors Naturally Santa NBGS International Norseman Plastics North Amercian Roofing Northwestern Travel Pepsi-Cola PlanView Inc. RCT Systems Inc. Rentokil Tropical Plant Service Robinson Group Roth Bros. Santa Plus Schindler Elevators Schwarze Industries Sesac Smart Design Spectaguard SSC Service Solutions Technoventures Tennant The Robinson Group Tile by Design TL Horton Tymco Ultimate Software Group Valor/SMS Victor Stanley VISA Vratsinas Construction Co. Wesnic Wire One Technologies Xenxom

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