The mission of the CRS is to become a leading authority on issues and solutions facing the retailing and sales industries. The CRS will also focus on connecting students with industry professionals through case competitions and internships. The council's activities will help develop and foster a positive image of the retailing and sales industries.
In 2009, The Center for Retailing Solutions was formed under the direction of James R. "Doc" Ogden, along with other academics and representatives of a few retail organizations. In 2013, after Ogden retired from Kutztown University, the center went dormant. In 2017, the CRS was moved to Penn State and rebranded as the Council for Retail and Sales.
The new CRS is housed in the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, which is Penn State Lehigh Valley’s innovation hub. The CRS received a strategic planning grant from Penn State, which will help the center grow and also will position it as a template for the formation of other industry councils under the Lehigh Valley LaunchBox umbrella.
Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, started in 2015, is a Penn State- and community-sponsored business accelerator program created as part of the Invent Penn State initiative. The impact of these grants is far reaching, with 21 Penn State undergraduate campus communities offering coworking space, accelerators, legal and IP advice, and rapid prototyping resources — all free to the community — that will drive innovation and economic growth.
The Council for Retail and Sales is currently conducting a membership drive for retailing professionals, and professors and students from area colleges.
“The CRS will be a conduit for faculty, retail and sales executives, and students," said Ogden. "Center membership is open to anyone with an interest in the retailing and sales arena. Already planned for the fall are an entertainment retailing conference, a scholarship fundraising event and a regional student competition, powered by Sherwin-Williams.”
For more information about the CRS, membership and its upcoming events, visit the CRS website; or contact Ogden at 610-434-6252, or Valerie Peters, Lehigh Valley LaunchBox business development associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-285-5208.