International Business Association, El Club de Comerciantes (El Club), Launches at the 2007 National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) -- The Georgia World Congress Center November 7-9

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El Club de Comerciantes (El Club) is an international retail business association promoting economic development within the Atlanta community. It is a membership of independent businessmen and business women dedicated to nurturing small-to-medium size minority retailers through business education and idea exchange, primarily through on line education and general business assistance. Though El Club has a passionate and personal interest in the Hispanic market, it targets and welcomes a diverse membership.

As retailers from across America gather today for the 2007 National Association of Convenience Stores, a new Atlanta-based international business association, El Club de Comerciantes, makes its debut. El Club will introduce the Association, and is sponsoring the first in a series of educational seminars that will educate business owners and suppliers alike on the challenges of today's economy and diverse culture. The program was designed for retailers and individuals interested in starting their own businesses.

According to NACS 2007 report, convenience store sales hit new highs in 2006, climbing 15 percent to reach a record $569.4 billion. Inside the store, revenues grew 8.3 percent to reach $163.6 billion, with merchandise revenues increasing 8.7 percent to hit $144.8 billion, and foodservice revenues growing 5 percent to reach $18.8 billion. On a per-store basis, combined in-store sales hit a record high average of $1.14 million per store. According to a report on minority buying power released by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business, Hispanic buying power in the United States is projected to exceed $8 billion it in 2007. The strength of the Hispanic market is clearly evident.

"The economic clout of Hispanics has risen from $212 billion in 1990, when I first started doing this study, to $798 billion this year [2006] and I expect it to be almost $1.2 trillion five years from now...That's more than 450 percent growth from 1990 to 2011. Non-Hispanic buying power is growing closer to a rate of 176 percent over the same period," said Jeff Humphreys, director of the Selig Center.

"We are building El Club de Comerciantes on the idea that the independent retailers are vital and growing contributors to the economic sustainability of communities and the U.S. economy, and here to stay. We hope the panel we have assembled for the NACS exposition will provide valuable information to retailers, in general, as well as helps c-stores and retailers within Oil and Gas channel to better understand the purchasing habits and buying power of Latino customers," said El Club founder Hugo Hernandez.

El Club presents a prestigious panel of experts to speak on Thursday, November 8th from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, in conference room C106 - located adjacent to the C Lobby, upper level of the Georgia World Congress Center:

Kazuma Sonoda, Jr., Attorney - the Law Firm of Keegan Federal and Associates, Atlanta, Georgia - "SB529, Legislation and Its Impact on the Retail Industry"

Roberto Rodriguez - Ideal Medical Center, Atlanta, Georgia - "The Ideal Health Card Benefits Uninsured Employees"

Julio Gonzalez, President of Miramar Securities, Atlanta, Georgia -
"Financial Concerns for Independent Retail Operators"

Jose Espinoza, Hispanic Marketing Director of Coca-Cola® North America, Atlanta, Georgia - "Full Throttle Blue Demon - New Product Presentation"

Tony Flores, Flores Consulting Services and Hugo Hernandez, El Club de Comerciantes, Atlanta, Georgia - "Highlights of Successful Hispanic Case Studies and Marketing Demographics"

Other speakers from Atlanta's Hispanic media outlets, such as Univision, Atlanta Latino, and others, will discuss the importance of effective media placement to attract repeat Spanish-speaking customers to stores.

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