For TPE 2020, TMG set out to reinvigorate the trade show’s educational conference by bringing in some of the premium tobacco industry’s biggest disruptors and headliners. Each session of Ignite, TPE’s educational program, has been designed to empower retailers and manufacturers and to help them to improve their businesses with insights from companies and entrepreneurs who are making a difference and challenging the status quo of their respective industries.
“TMG’s mission and goal is to provide our audience with timely, useful content that will help them do business better. When it came time to plan out the educational lineup for TPE 2020, we wanted to bring the same energy and top-notch content we feature in each issue of Tobacco Business magazine into the upcoming trade show,” says Antoine Reid, senior editor and digital content director at TMG. “We understand that the typical educational conference can be boring and a chore to sit through, but that’s not what TPE 2020’s educational sessions will be. This year’s conference will be informative, engaging, and feature a diverse lineup of speakers and experts that will leave attendees feeling inspired, invigorated and ready to take on the rest of 2020 with the excitement and the knowledge needed to be successful in business.”

In addition to the keynote address by Karl Malone, TMG is pleased to announce the following sessions and moderators, which will also include a panel of industry experts on each topic:

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 29, 2020
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Keynote Address – Karl Malone
He’s an NBA hall-of-famer who also has his own premium cigar brand and a family that works in tobacco retail. We’re talking about Karl “The Mailman” Malone, this year’s keynote speaker at TPE 2020. Few people have impacted the sport of basketball more than Karl Malone. A dominating force on the court, Malone is respected for his performance, his leadership and his talent, all of which have influenced the sport throughout the world. Some of his accolades include:

NBA’s 2nd all-time leading scorer
Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player
14-time NBA All-Star
Two-time Olympic champion with the
United States men’s basketball team
Named one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players

Relaxing with a cigar has been a ritual for Malone for a long time—both in his retirement and while celebrating a big win during his days on the basketball court. Malone searched long and hard for a partner with whom he could collaborate to make a high-quality cigar.

Malone and La Aurora’s owner, Guillermo Leon, connected on their love of the Dominican Republic, cigars, rum and shared values. Together, they curated a special cigar for Malone using tobacco aged in rum barrels and established Barrel Aged by Karl Malone cigars. Their partnership with the cigar brand was a natural fit, and it quickly became a passion project for the NBA star in his life’s next chapter.

Through the cigar development process, Malone discovered that La Aurora’s E. Leon Jimenes rum was a perfect complement to his cigars and also delicious on its own. Malone was convinced that both cigar lovers and non-cigar lovers would enjoy E. Leon Jimenes rum and wanted the opportunity to bring it into the United States.

Along with Malone’s commercial businesses, Legends Cigar & Vape is a family affair—his daughter, Kadee Malone, is the owner. Malone is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys fishing and hunting. He also is a community advocate, volunteer and philanthropist who enthusiastically supports America’s military troops and first responders.

Malone will speak about his long career as a professional basketball player, his love of cigars, and his journey into tobacco retail and brand ownership in a can’t-miss keynote speech that will kick off TPE 2020.

1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Brave New World: Making the Jump into CBD
Category: Cannabidiol (CBD)
Panelists: Case Mandel (Moderator) with Bethany Gomez, Laura Fuentes and Jacopo D’Alessandris

Description: For many retailers and manufacturers, cannabidiol (CBD) is uncharted territory, but it’s also a new market that offers new profit potential and a new, loyal customer base. So how do you know where to start? This session is for both the curious retailers who are wondering if the CBD product category is right for their store as well as the seasoned pros who are seeking industry insight on how to better sell and promote these products in their stores. Learn about this growing product category and why it should become part of your product offering.

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Maximizing the “Modern Oral” Pouch Wave in Convenience and Tobacco Retail
Category: Other Tobacco Products (OTP)
Panelists: Angel Abcede (Moderator) with Ray Johnson, Peter Frattarola, Thomas Ericsson and Jason Carignan

Description: While e-cigarettes have recently been drawing media attention, other tobacco products (OTP) and, in particular, nicotine pouches, have started to write a new story of profitability. This is especially true for convenience stores, where OTP has seen a general increase in consumer interest and product movement. Nicotine pouches have been a standout, providing users with a distinct alternative to combustibles and vapor products. With convenience stores being a major distribution stream for OTP, the building momentum is a strong indicator for growth across all retail channels. In this panel, convenience store operators and speakers from the scientific and marketing fields will provide insights.

THURSDAY, JAN. 30, 2020
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 a.m.
Sisters of the Leaf: Selling, Marketing and Promoting Tobacco Products to Women
Category: Tobacco
Panelists: Erica Arroyo (Moderator) with Rebecca Harvey, Indiana Ortez and Shawna Williams

Description: Women represent a growing segment of many tobacco businesses, but they are also underserved. This all-female panel will provide insights and tips for retailers and manufacturers of tobacco products on how women should be marketed to, what their preferences often are, and what types of experiences and products they’re typically looking for in the retail space.

1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Waiting to Exhale: Mastering Today’s Vapor and E-Cigarette Market
Category: Vapor
Panelist: Brittani Cushman (Moderator) with Chris Howard and Dimitris Agrafiotis

Description: The past year has seen vapor and e-cigarette companies come under attack by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as various local and state governments, but the category is continuing to grow. This panel of industry experts will provide you with a pathway to success in vapor and ways to up your game, bringing professionalism to your business and tactics to future-proof your vapor product and e-cigarette sales.

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
NATO: Local, State, and Federal Tobacco Legislation and Regulations: What Industry Members Need to Know
Category: Tobacco
Presenter: Thomas Briant

Description: The landscape of local, state, and federal tobacco legislation and regulation is constantly changing and impacting the industry. In this session, Thomas Briant of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) will provide an in-depth update on local tobacco ordinances, state legislation and U.S. Food and Drug Administration tobacco regulations. This session will focus on what is currently happening on the tobacco regulatory front as well as what it means for industry members.

3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
NATO: Tobacco Market Highlights and CBD Trends
Category: Tobacco/Alternative
Presenter: Don Burke

Description: With his trademark data-rich presentation, Management Science Associate’s Don Burke will provide key insights into traditional tobacco product category trends and also focus on the expanding marketplace for cannabidiol (CBD) products. Changes in retail tobacco product market segments will be identified, and the sales trends for many popular CBD products will be explained.

FRIDAY, JAN. 31, 2020
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Sponsored by: Villiger Cigars
Tobacco Retail Rebooted: Jumpstart and Rejuvenate Your Retail Operation
Category: Tobacco
Panelists: Dave Garofalo (Moderator) with Amy Tejada, Wayne Anstead and Paul Copeland

Description: It’s time to rethink how you’re running your tobacco retail business. From in-store events to promoting your store on Instagram, the tobacco retail market has changed, but have you? Learn from a panel of leading tobacconists from across the U.S. on how to market, merchandise and promote your retail operation in order to drive customers into your store and increase your profits in the new year.

1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Cann-do Attitude: Embracing Cannabis
Category: Alternative/Cannabis
Panelist: Lance Lambert (Moderator) with Scheril Murray Powell, Jamal Hackler, Brittny Peloquin and Dave Sandomeno

Description: A growing number of states have adopted new laws that decriminalize cannabis use; however, products made from the plant still have not been fully embraced by many retailers, manufacturers and local governments. Learn about the latest legislative bills impacting cannabis, hear from retailers and businesses who are currently growing and selling it, and learn how you can get in on this budding market.

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
State of the Union: Cigar Legislation Update
Panelist: Glynn Loope (Moderator) with Craig Williamson, Joshua Habursky and Daniel Trope

Description: With the introduction of flavor bans, Tobacco 21 legislation and various lawsuits, the cigar industry is under attack and facing more obstacles than ever before—and the pace of these changes can be hard to keep up with. That’s where this panel of cigar trade associations and legal experts steps up. Learn about the latest regulatory changes and legal challenges facing the cigar industry today, and walk away with a better understanding of the regulatory climate to help your business flourish in 2020. TB

*Schedule subject to change. For the most up-to-date schedule of events for TPE 2020, visit or download the TPE 2020 app.
This story first appeared in the January/February 2020 issue of Tobacco Business magazine. Members of the tobacco industry are eligible for a complimentary subscription to our magazine. Click here for details.
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Source: Tobacco Business Magazine