DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Orgill points to positive market feedback

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Orlando, Fla. — During its Spring Dealer Market hear, Orgill expanded its show floor to more than 750,000 sq. ft., including multiple model stores and a showcase area that introduced a new vivid Solutions paint area and a “Backyard Oasis” featuring outdoor living ideas.

Organizers said thousands of retailers from the United States, Canada and all over the world took part in the market, which drew to a close March 1.

“In almost every way, this show provided something new and inspiring to our customers,” said Ron Beal, Orgill’s chairman, president and CEO. “The positive feedback from our attendees provides the motivation for our entire team to continue to think of new and innovative solutions and assortments that will help make our customers successful retailers in their marketplaces.”

The new Outdoor Living showcase, called “The Great Outdoors….Backyard Oasis,” showed both national and private-label brands in a designated display. Marked by a large pergola and outdoor kitchen, it gave Orgill customers access to view expanded outdoor living lines and services merchandised in a real-world environment.

Similarly, in the paint area, dominant assortments were on display as more than 12,000 items filled shelves in the vivid Solutions showcase.

While model stores are a regular feature of the Orgill markets, a new one — called Everglade Building Materials — made its debut in Orlando with a retail footprint of nearly 4,800 sq. ft.

“As housing construction continues to climb and builder confidence starts to rebound, many customers are looking for merchandising and product assortments to help capitalize on the break in the market,” said Jeff Curler, Orgill’s VP advertising and dealer promotions. “The model focused on helping retailers get ideas on how to merchandise and stock their stores in order to get contractors in and out of their stores conveniently. We also wanted our pro customers to understand that we have the solutions they need to embrace their business, and this model store definitely did not disappoint.”

The show also featured Kodial Trail Hardware and Supply, a 13,900-sq.-ft. comprehensive North American hardware store, and Cobblestone Hardware, which demonstrated a spring and summer focus.

“We always come and check out the discount opportunities first,” said Harold and Susan Tauber, owners of Glen Park Hardware in San Francisco. “We really like this closeout; it helps us get some really great values to expand our promotional activity to our customers.” 

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Orgill responds to impulse sales

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Orlando – At the Orgill Spring Dealer Market here, the show floor dedicated a sizeable area to the art and science of impulse sales. 

Merchandise displays and educational materials elevated the status of a family of items ranging from Krud Kutter to As Seen on TV Pancake Makers.

Orgill pointed retailers to a number of statistics, for instance:

• 88% of all impulse purchases are made because an item is on sale or the shopper thinks she is getting a good price;

• 90% of people make occasional impulse purchases; and

• Shoppers make an average of three impulse purchases during 40% of all store visits.

Orgill also emphasized that the checkout is where most impulse sales occur and where most foot traffic occurs. Utilizing service counter displays can increase unit sales by 81%, according to the distributor.

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Emery CEO embraces change

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Emery-Waterhouse CEO Steve Frawley anticipates changes now that Ace Hardware has acquired the 170-year-old regional wholesale distributor. Some will be subtle, some substantial, and some as yet unknown. 

The deal, terms of which were not revealed, also marks the beginning of a separation between Portland, Maine-based Emery and Distribution America, the co-operative of nine regional distributors that pool together as a buying group. 

“We are working out a transition plan,” Frawley said. “We are one of the founding members [of Distribution America], and they’ve done a terrific job for us.” 

On the new business arrangement with Ace, Frawley described the Emery model as a “high-touch, high-service personalized business.” Looking at Ace, he sees a lot more clout on the buying side and “world-class distribution,” he said.

While the plan calls for Emery to operate independently as a majority-owned subsidiary of Ace, both companies say they expect to benefit through combination. Frawley says he is excited about the potential for sharing of best practices. And as previously reported, Ace CEO John Venhuizen said both Ace retailers and Emery customers would see additional scale and expanded assortments.

The two companies’ differences make for an intriguing combination. Emery is a wholesale distributor with retail customers. Ace is a co-operative with retail member-owners. Emery has two distribution centers, one in Portland, Maine; one in Pittston, Pa. Ace operates 14 “Retail Support Centers” around the country. Some 65% of Emery’s business is focused on the pro dealer, whereas Ace is a convenience hardware powerhouse. 

“We think we have an opportunity to offer our customers the best of both worlds,” Frawley said. “Compatibility is there. And so is the ability to add more value and services to the customer.”

Emery’s focus is on the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, but the deal introduces the possibility of expansion beyond its traditional boundaries, as long as the distributor continues to improve and win customers, Frawley said. 

He also sees the Ace deal as a move that puts Emery in a better position to navigate intense industry competition and consolidation.

“When you look at this world, you see it getting just more competitive,” Frawley said. “And it’s not necessarily the independents competing against each other. It’s the Wall Street guys — Home Depot and Lowe’s – that are the real challenge.”

Frawley added: “The sale is not going to define Emery. What’s going to define us are the decisions we make now, and how we service our customers.”  

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