DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Orgill Market Returns to Boston

BY HBSDealer Staff

Model stores and outdoor activities are among the highlights of Orgill’s Fall Market, which will play out Aug. 24-26 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

“We are using every square inch of the convention center to showcase all that we have to offer,” said Philip Walker, Orgill’s senior VP of merchandising services, in the distributors in house publication.

New products and special deals are a major draw at the twice-per-year market. Pallet Buys, Door Busters and a Flash Market will offer up deals. And while beauty – and margin opportunity – are in the eye of the beholder, the event organizers described two model stores and the Great Outdoors as must-see areas.

Designed for retail exploration, Orgill will showcase Central Tool & Building Supply and Walnut Grove Hardware and Supply, two carefully merchandised model stores on the market floor of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Walnut Grove made an appearance at an earlier market, but the concept has been updated with new seasonal assortments and set ups. The model store is also tighter, reduced from a 12,000 sq. ft. area, to just over 8,500 sq. ft. – without sacrificing depth or breadth of product.

New to the market is the model store Central Tool & Building Supply, focused on the lucrative pro customer, with an emphasis on hand tools. According to Walker, the format displays how a pro-focused retailer can maximize its space in the tool arena, and also offer a complete shopping experience for the customer.

Another first in Boston will be outside, where grill vendors will promote their wares with cook outs and taste testing in the Great Outdoors area. The outdoor area will also include Orgill’s 2018 Patio Furniture Seasonal booking program.

 

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Member Insurance hires Jay Brown

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Cornelius, North Carolina-based Member Insurance Agency, Inc., provider of insurance to co-op and independent hardware stores, appointed Jay Brown as Account Ambassador.

In this newly-created role, Brown will be working with major retail businesses in the hardware store, lumber dealer, and building material dealer industries throughout North America. 

Brown retired from Do it Best Corp. in December 2016 after capping a career of more than 30 years in the retail home improvement industry. 

“We’re thrilled to welcome Jay,” said Scott Reynolds, CEO of Member Insurance Agency, Inc.  “Jay’s experience as a senior leader at Do it Best Corp. and his broad knowledge of the co-op hardware store industry make him an excellent person to fill this new and very important role.”

Brown joined Do it Best Corp. in 2004 as VP of merchandising before becoming VP of sales and business development three years later. During that time, he was instrumental in the development and implementation of numerous strategic, member-focused programs and other retail-performance enhancements designed to help current members grow their businesses while also attracting new members to the co-op. Brown also oversaw the Do it Best Corp. Retail Performance and INCOM Distributor Supply teams, as well as its International division and member services department

Prior to that, Brown worked for a 3-store chain affiliated with Our Own Hardware (who merged with Hardware Wholesalers, Inc. in 1998 to form Do it Best Corp.). He also spent 20 years at the Valspar Corporation in numerous leadership roles, including national sales and marketing manager and senior general manager.

As Account Ambassador, Brown will focus on growing the Member Insurance portfolio and relationships with independent retailers..

 

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Ace’s unique spin on products

BY Ken Clark

Chicago — Maya Schultz has an eye for product innovation, as well as a good sense of humor. When the Ace Hardware product innovation merchant was asked why the innovation area was all the way in the back of the convention center during the Ace Hardware Convention Aug. 17-19, she had a good answer: “We’re like the milk in the grocery store,” she said.

Innovative products are more than just a traffic generator – they’re increasingly viewed by Ace and other retailers as a key pillar in a “differentiate or die” approach to business.

Finding new products, helping stores differentiate, and filling a role at the intersection of technology and home improvement – “That’s where the Ace helpful comes in,” she said.

Schultz sees a wide variety of new products in her role as innovation merchant for Ace, and also as the point person in Ace’s partnership with The Grommet, where the slogan is: “Discover What’s Next.” From fancy colognes “for the first-class man” to Go Girl reusable female urination devices, the Grommet platform has launched 2,500 products in 16 categories since its inception in 2008. The Grommet’s partnership with Ace was launched last year.

Next door to the Grommet booth on the show floor, the Ace Innovation Department showcased an equally wide range of cool products. (See slideshow, above.) Where does she get her ideas? Anywhere she can, she says, including Eureka Park at the Consumer Electronics Show, and from the shelves Ace’s own retailers. (Yeti was a retailer discovery, she said.)

Ace is also promoting innovation with a contest for inventors. The co-op’s Maker to Market program promises a free booth at the co-op’s Spring Convention in Dallas to the “maker” who makes the best pitch to a panel of industry judges. Already 54, makers have signed up to share their ideas.

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