Chicago -- Orgill's 2014 Fall Dealer Market kicked off Thursday morning here at McCormick Place with showcase categories, model stores and deep-discount "Door Busters."
The three-day event runs through Saturday.
On the show floor, four product areas are designated as showcase categories -- hand and power tools, winter and wild bird assortments, spring products and maintenance and repair.
Many of those products and others were organized in a real-world environment in the event's model stores. One of those models -- called OneStop Hardware -- featured 4,720 sq. ft. of retail space packed with the typical SKU count of an 8,000-sq.-ft. store.
Also on the market floor, Memphis-based Orgill displayed and promoted business-boosting programs. Among them is Hardware 101, a new program designed to identify the core assortment deemed as must-haves. The program identifies both SKUs missing from an assortment, and also categories that might be missing from a business.
The two-year-in-the-making program -- free to Orgill customers -- factors in brands and type of retailer when analyzing a store's merchandise mix. Demand for the program is already strong said Phillip Walker, Orgill's VP of marketing. "Within our first 10 hours, we had just under 1,000 retailers ask us to analyzie their stores," he said.
The markets Hand & Power Tool Showcase displayed an impressive 12,500 skus. "The purpose of our showcase is to expose our customers visually to the offering, and give them merchandising ideas," Walker said.
Attendance was estimated in excess of 20,000, with representatives from more than 1,000 retail customers of Orgill.
The Chicago event also saw a merchandising focus on MRO--maintenance, repair and operations. Janitorial supplies and other MRO-type products help retailers serve lucrative businesses -- municipalities, facilities, resorts and schools, for example. WIth the MRO Showcase, Walker said the idea is to help Orgill customers "get into this niche." Substantial discounts and favorable dating are a big part of that story at the market.
Also here in Chicago, Orgill unveiled its new outdoor brand: "Seasonal Trends," which appeared on a variety of lawn furniture and other items in Orgill's spring products area.