Conference To Focus On Retail Entrepreneurship

By David Wichner
The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) This Fall, The University of Arizona will host its first “Ideas to Doors” conference, featuring a panel of retail entrepreneurs including Tucson-based Bottle Breacher, whose business selling bottle openers made of .50-caliber bullet casings took off after striking an investment deal on TV‘s “Shark Tank.”

The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson

Each spring, the University of Arizona’s Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing holds its annual Global Retailing Conference, where top-level executives hear about the latest retail trends from industry luminaries like Vera Wang and Tommy Hilfiger.

Lundgren Center director Scott Hessell wanted something different, focused on retail entrepreneurship — and more conducive to shorts and flip-flops than pinstripes and pantsuits.

So on Sept. 15, the center will host its first Ideas to Doors conference, featuring a panel of retail entrepreneurs including Tucson-based Bottle Breacher, whose business selling bottle openers made of .50-caliber bullet casings took off after striking an investment deal on TV‘s “Shark Tank.”

The daylong event at the Fox Theatre will feature a panel of retail entrepreneurs, including Bottle Breacher — the only Arizona-based presenter — and the founders of six other retail businesses: custom shirt-makers Proper Cloth and Taylor Stitch; excess-inventory garment seller Renewal Workshop; Oak Street Bootmakers; online womenswear boutique Shoptiques; and Lovesac, which operates a chain of stores selling a line of modular couches.

The panel will be conducted in a conversational style at the Fox, and the event is intended to have an informal feel, with casual apparel encouraged.

In that spirit, admission is free for UA faculty and students with CatCards, and public admission is a fraction of the cost of the Global Retailing Conference.

Hessell, who has been director of the Lundgren Center for two years and a UA faculty member for nine, said the 22-year old Global Retailing Conference brings together some the greatest minds in big retail, but he felt something was missing.

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