By Fred W. Gretsch

For the third year in a row, NAMM will be holding its Top 100 Dealer Awards competition this year. Since 2011, the award has recognized the efforts of NAMM’s most creative and proactive retail members. In addition to choosing the Top 100, an independent panel of anonymous industry peers also selects winners in 10 “Best Of” categories, as well as bestowing the prestigious Dealer of the Year award.

Simply surviving in today’s retail environment is a daily challenge, and I salute any dealer who’s managing to maintain a successful operation. But it’s a simple fact that some dealers are truly exceptional in the way they do business. Whether it’s how they display their merchandise, how they interact with their community, how they advertise, how they promote their business, how they use online technology or how they use some other unique approach, these dealers are doing more than surviving. They’re taking specific and deliberate steps to set themselves apart from the norm and, thus, attracting more customers and generating more business. These dealers and their efforts are what NAMM seeks to recognize with the Top 100 awards.

I want to synopsize the “Best Of” categories that are part of the Top 100 award program. The winners of these categories will be chosen from among the overall list of the 100 top dealers. (More information about these categories can be found at namm.org/summer/2012/top-dealer/categories.)

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