by Karen Alberg Grossman

Usually a members-only event, the next Northwest Buyers Show coming up on February 27th-March 1st will be newly open to retail guests (i.e. prospective members), according to executive director Randy Hellman. “This might sound self-serving but I truly believe that NW Buyers Group is an important part of the menswear industry, giving member stores an effortless, all-inclusive shopping experience that also puts a little extra money in their pockets, a bonus more appreciated than ever these days.”

With a history that dates back to 1920 (its first market was held 100 years ago at the Ryan Hotel in St. Paul, MN), the buying group is famous for its rebate program that kicks back dollars to member stores. In fact, Hellman confides that in the past 12 years, his group has rebated $10 million back to member stores. From 41 stores a century back at that first market, the group now comprises more than 300 independent men’s specialty stores and more than 190 participating vendors.

Says Northwest Buyers member Joe Sugar from Sugars Menswear Studio in St Pauls, NC, “At first, I was reluctant to leave North Carolina to attend a winter show in Minnesota. But with MSP airport just 10 minutes from the show, and affordable lodging in the same hotel as the show, it’s truly an easy show to work (and going outdoors into the cold is optional). What’s also great is the very relaxed atmosphere, perhaps partially due to its slightly later timing.”

For more info on the upcoming show, contact Randy Hellman: or 763-450-2000.


  1. It’s a very well run and organized show, offering retailers a chance to work with many good vendors in a very safe environment. I’m actually surprised that more stores don’t become members of NWB. It’s a no lose situation for stores. And as we all know, the men’s business is built on relationships between the stores and vendors and this is the show to grow those relationships in the right setting to make the right decisions going forward for both retailers and wholesalers.

  2. Northwest Buyers is a great organization for both the retailer and the vendor. This organization is truly a partnership on both sides of the table. At NWB the vendors want to work with the buyers and actually listen to us to help improve business for both of us. Vendors will ask buyers questions about their products knowing we will give honest answers. And because of this vendor/buyer relationship we have seen companies make product changes to help the retailer. You don’t always find these kinds of relationships in the market place and because of this many vendors and buyers have become friends not just business acquaintances. These types of relationships are why NWB remains a strong organization and an important market in this volatile business climate.

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