Favorite memories of NRF – A Look Back at 12 Years of the Big Show

This year, Ketner Group will have officially been going to the NRF Show for 13 years. A lot has changed since Jeff’s first trip to the Big Show in 2000 – an attack on our country, two wars, two presidents, a few recessions, numerous technology advances, just to name a few.  We have been very lucky over the past twelve years to support more than 12 different clients at NRF, and make so many great friends along the way.  Going to New York every January is something our team looks forward to every year, and this year, we are excited to launch a new KG website and our “Be Spectacled” marketing campaign. Be sure to seek us out at the show to get your own KG mustache and monocle!

To get you in the NRF mood, we’ve collaborated on our favorite memories from NRF over the years.  Enjoy!

Caitlin: The Incredible (Yellow) Snow Storm of 2011

Hands down, my favorite NRF memory has to be the snow storm of 2011! As a Texas girl I rarely get to see inches of snow falling so quickly all around me, and I have to admit that my fellow Texas colleagues and clients got really excited, too. We had a snowball fight in the middle of Times Square and we all laughed so hard. My colleague, Valerie, picked up a fresh patch of snow, threw it at me, and we both realized moments later that the snow beneath it was…yellow. Yes, it was that kind of snow.

Jeff: Making the KG Mark at NRF

The very first time I went to NRF was in 2000, representing Cornerstone Retail Solutions, which later became 360Commerce. I met a senior editor at the time with Executive Technology, and she was bowled over that I had actually taken the time to connect her with a retailer to interview at the show – the client got an exclusive story out of the interview, which ran in Executive Technology and Women’s Wear Daily. Later that day, she brought a colleague by and introduced me as “the one PR guy at the show who really gets it.” My other favorite memories from NRF include the very first Rock and Roll Retail event in 2010. It was pure garage-band rock and roll and a great bonding experience. And 2011 was a blast, with the snow, a full complement of clients, and having our whole Ketner Group team turn out for the show.

Brittany: A Walk We Will Never Forget

My favorite moment was from NRF 2011. Catherine, Caitlin, Valerie and I finished up a long day on the show floor and dragged our tired bodies on board a complimentary shuttle bus that would take us from the Javits Center back to our hotel. Keep in mind that these Texans were all woefully unprepared for the extreme winter weather NYC experienced that week–10-20 degree weather, inches upon inches of snow, howling wind, the winter works. Even the 10-step walk from the Javits door on to the bus was uncomfortable. We found seats and settled in, and a few moments later the bus departed. Well, it departed only to completely die every time it came to a complete stop, which in rush hour traffic in the city is basically every 20 feet. The driver would brake, the lights and heat would go off, and the bus would go “guh guh guh gu gu g g” and would slowly lurch to a stop. You can only imagine the sighs of exasperation from everyone onboard by about the seventh break down, sighs that were only topped by the final breakdown, at which point the driver gave up, exited the bus and headed down the street – all without saying a word to any of us. So, there was nothing left to do but get off and walk back to Times Square. This walk, remember, is in freezing weather on frozen sidewalks. We slipped, slid, shivered and giggled uncontrollably the whole way home. And we couldn’t catch a cab to save our lives! If memory serves, it was an awful half hour for these freezing Texas girls, but we have never laughed so much at NRF, ever!  A glass of cab in a warm hotel bar never felt so good.

Catherine: Bullets, and Babies and Broadway, Oh My!

NRF 2013 will be my 9thanniversary of attending NRF – wow!  Thinking back to my first NRF in 2003 – I was newly married and so excited about my first trip ever to NYC.  I remember being so excited to go out and explore the city as soon as I got there, but I was such a chicken (and was freezing to boot!) that I only made it a few blocks before I high-tailed it back to the Marriott Marquis. I really have so many favorite memories of NRF it’s hard to narrow it down to just one!  Instead, I’ve decided to take a little trip down memory lane and highlight just a few of my most memorable moments from the Big Show:

  • 2003: First NRF, first time riding in a cab all by myself, first time seeing a Broadway musical, and going club hopping with the crazy fun team from Wincor Nixdorf.
  • 2004: Sal LoSauro and John Hall treated Jeff Ketner and I to a wonderful steak dinner in Manhattan then took us to see Rockefeller Center. After, we took the elevators at 30 Rock up to the (now closed) Rainbow Room for a fun cocktail party.
  • 2005: I was pregnant with my daughter, Madeline, that year – so, when I wasn’t on the show floor, I stayed in my hotel room most of the time – watching TV and eating hamburgers and ice cream!
  • 2009: Pregnant with my son, Nolan. That year, my favorite memory has to be when Valerie and I discovered that a client’s press kit box had been hijacked somewhere between Austin and NYC. Not only were more than half of the press kits destroyed, but there were papers in the box that were not ours, not to mention we found a bullet casing!  Needless to say, there was a lot of freaking out in the hotel room that afternoon!
  • 2011: This has to be the BEST NRF of all time. The whole KG team was in NYC that year, and that was the year of the great snowstorm that slammed the eastern seaboard.  Because of the storm, we were snowed in for an extra day and got to explore the city – even got to explore Central Park! Snowball fights with our fun clients from Digby, braving a Russian Vodka room (which I think was a Russian Mafia hangout) with our fun client from Escalate, and we all went to a Karaoke bar and sang our hearts out until 2 a.m.  Oh, and we did a little work, too!
  • 2012: My favorite memory from last year’s show was getting to sit in the fourth row to see Mary Poppins on Broadway!  Our last night in NYC, Jeff Ketner treated Caitlin and me to a Broadway musical, and we had a blast!