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PRO Group gets down to business in Atlanta

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Distributors affiliated with PRO Group and Val-Test met with manufacturers in Atlanta during 973 scheduled private 30-minute buyer/vendor appointments over the course of two days here. 

It was all part of the Group Merchandising Conference.

Participants included 140 distributor and manufacturer attendees. The one-on-one focus on merchandising at the event allows vendors the opportunity to build relationships with distributors according to Steve Synnott, president and CEO of Denver-based PRO Group. 

Synnott said one-third of GMC manufacturers are new Group Suppliers, and every exhibitor has something fresh and exciting to present to the distributors. “New suppliers and product categories, fresh merchandisers and assortments, and product introductions highlight the exhibits at the GMC. Distributor buyers advise that their retail customers want to stretch product mix in order to maintain a vibrant shopping experience for consumers. The GMC is well-positioned for this purpose.”

The conference provides an opportunity for manufacturers like Oriskany, New York-based Bonide Products to meet with multiple distributors in one location. “This group of distributors is all mostly privately owned as we are and share a common goal to stock what is profitable and what sells well. They all work well with us to achieve this goal,” said Rich Stryker, VP sales at Bonide.

The conference offers distributors an opportunity to interact with each other, as well as with vendors during one-on-one meetings and evening receptions. “I especially value the opportunity to network with other distributors and always take home many ideas that can help grow business in a competitive market,” said Dan Wentzel, category manager from The CISCO Companies based in Indianapolis.

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Duck Tape, Fiskars hold scissors sweepstakes on Facebook

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Duck brand duct tape has partnered with Fiskars to introduce Fiskars Duck Edition scissors. To mark the launch, Fiskars is hosting a sweepstakes starting today called Imagination on a Roll on its Facebook page

Sweepstakes participants are encouraged to share their Duck Tape crafting project ideas on Fiskars’ Facebook page for a chance to win 21 rolls of Duck Tape and the new Fiskars Duck Edition scissors, a prize valued at more than $90. The sweepstakes runs through July 14.

Fiskars Duck Edition scissors feature a nonstick blade coating to cut through sticky adhesives without gummy buildup and blades optimized to make perfect cuts every time on a variety of materials including strong, sticky Duck brand duct tapes, according to the company. They are available in 5-in. for detailed cuts and 8-in. for longer cuts.

“The Duck Tape crafting phenomenon continues to grow, and, as always, it’s our mission to listen to duct tape users and provide the tools they need to personalize their creations,” said Shelley Price, director of marketing for DIY Tapes at ShurTech Brands, LLC, Duck Tape’s parent company. “Partnering with a tried-and-true brand like Fiskars helps us offer another great way for crafters to complete their projects with style.” 

“Both Duck brand duct tape and Fiskars share a commitment to creating innovative products that help people express their creativity,” said Jay Gillespie, Fiskars VP of brand marketing. “This partnership is a perfect fit, and we’re looking forward to giving enthusiasts tools that make creating with Duck Tape easier than ever before.”

The scissors are currently available on Fiskars.com and at JoAnn stores.

Fiskars is a leading global supplier of consumer products for the home, garden and outdoors and is best known for its orange-handled scissors, which are the company’s registered trademark. The group’s portfolio of international brands includes Fiskars, Iittala and Gerber.

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Rent-A-Center hires VP insights

BY HBSDEALER Staff

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Plano, Texas-based Rent-A-Center appointed Mike Case to VP marketing strategy and insights.

Reporting to Rita Bargerhuff, senior VP and chief customer officer, Case is charged with the global administration of customer insights/market research, marketing analytics, business innovation, customer relationship management (CRM) and loyalty.

Recently, Case served as VP marketing and senior loyalty officer for La Quinta Inn & Suites where he was responsible for the strategic development, execution and management of the hotel chain’s loyalty program. Additionally, he managed its direct marketing and customer-level analytics. Earlier in his career, Case held leadership positions in organizations, such as American Airlines, Brierley & Partners, Sage Telecom, First USA Bank and Virgin America. 

A Dallas-area resident, Case earned a master of business administration, with a concentration in financial management, from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in finance/MIS from Texas State University. 

“Mike brings vast marketing, loyalty and CRM experience to an important role,” said Bargerhuff. “We’re delighted to have him on board.”

Rent-A-Center is the largest rent-to-own operator in North America. The company owns and operates approximately 3,170 stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

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