On behalf of this year’s US-based Conference Committee, GFSI would like to invite you to join a Discovery Tour of Seattle! There’s no better way to become acquainted with the creative energy that powers this year’s host city than to join a tour, which takes place on the day before the conference officially opens. Tour participants will get a behind-the-scenes look into some of the disruptors that started in Seattle and went on to change the world.
Few companies have revolutionised the retail landscape as thoroughly as Amazon, which founder Jeff Bezos launched while living in Belleville (a Seattle suburb). Some of Amazon’s most cutting-edge innovations still take place around its Seattle headquarters, a curated selection of which you can visit on your tour. Witness the seamless collaboration between people and tech at the BFI4 Fulfillment Center, a distribution center that can hold millions of units at a time or try out the next stage in self-serve shopping at Amazon Go, an automated convenience store that functions without cashiers or check-out stations. Your track may also include an exclusive tour of the Amazon Spheres, three interlocking conservatories that contain employee workspaces and lounges as well as over 40,000 plants.
One of the world’s largest retailers, Costco currently operates nearly 800 warehouses, the first of which opened in Seattle in 1983. The company is still headquartered in the Seattle area, and its 15+ Washington locations carry a sense of hometown pride. Each Discovery Tour includes a backstage pass into Costco’s Seattle operations. Your track may offer a look into the city’s largest Costco warehouse, located on the site of the 1983 original, or a Costco Wet & Dry distribution center nestled in the shadow of Mount Rainier. Insider guides will share an introduction to the “Costco Care” philosophy that keeps Costco’s diverse range of food products safe throughout its wide supply chain.
When the first Starbucks opened in Seattle in 1971, few Americans had heard of espresso, to say nothing of cappuccinos and macchiatos. Today, the chain operates in over 70 countries and has been credited with exporting artisanal coffee culture and West Coast cool to the farthest reaches of the world. Your Discovery Tour track may take you to the first Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room, an upscale iteration of the chain where small-batch coffee beans are roasted on-site and brewed to order by baristas trained in every method from siphon to pour-over. You may also visit the Starbucks Kitchen on the site of Starbucks’ world headquarters to learn about the rigorous standards that keep food products safe and consistent across the chain’s 30,000 locations.
To reserve your spot on this tour of Seattle’s hometown heroes, add a Discovery Tour to your basket when you register for the GFSI Conference. The Discovery Tours are available in combination with conference registrations. The tours will take place on Tuesday 25 February between approximately 9:00 and 16:30. Seats are available on a first come, first serve basis, so be sure to secure yours soon. We hope you’ll enjoy your insider’s guide to the innovative spirit of Seattle!