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RILA president speaks to stalemate at West Coast ports

BY HBSDealer Staff

Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), has offered her two cents on the standoff surrounding the union negotiations at the West Coast ports.

Kennedy addressed a letter to the heads of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), speaking on behalf of retailers who are experiencing uncertainty and instability over the ongoing conflict.

“Without a finalized contract, the chief concern of a possible repeat of the 2002 shutdown remains,” she wrote. “Retailers continue to exercise contingency plans throughout their massive supply chain operations despite the fact the West Coast negotiations have not reached an impasse. While goods continue to move at an efficient rate through the West Coast ports of entry, each day without a finalized agreement jeopardizes the movement of goods destined for shelves during the all-important Holiday season.”

The organizations have been struggling over negotiations for the past couple of months since their six-year agreement expired.

Though goods are being moved at the ports, many in the retail community fear a repeat of the 2002 stalemate, during which the American economy lost nearly $1 billion per day. Without a contract, a strike remains a possibility.

An HCN poll of industry readers found that the majority — 38% — are watching the conflict "somewhat closely," as their businesses have other options in a worst-case scenario. Several (36%) said they wouldn’t be affected by a strike, and a good deal (27%) are waiting with baited breath, fearing the fallout from a disruption in the supply chain.

“It is our hope that both sides are engaged in open and honest discussions, moving with haste toward a long-term solution that will stabilize the labor picture on the West Coast," added Kennedy. "Securing an agreement is of paramount importance to the retail industry."

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Blackman Plumbing Supply brings in TOTO

BY HBSDEALER Staff

TOTO, the $5.1 billion plumbing manufacturer, announced today that the company is increasing its market reach in the Northeast region of the United States by entering into a distribution agreement with Blackman Plumbing Supply.

The new deal, effective immediately, brings TOTO’s full line of residential and commercial fttings and fixtures to all of Blackman’s 19 branch locations throughout Long Island, New York and New Jersey, and will be on display in all Blackman showrooms. 

“Blackman Plumbing is proud to deepen our partnership with TOTO, an industry leader known for anticipating and creating the next generation of fxtures,” said Robert Mannheimer, president and CEO of Blackman Plumbing Supply. “Our new relationship with TOTO will allow Blackman Plumbing to continue to offer our discerning customers world-class products at the cutting edge of contemporary design.” 

“The Northeast region of the U.S. is a high priority for TOTO,” said David Krakoff, president of the Americas Sales Division for TOTO USA. “Our ability to partner with an organization of Blackman’s caliber to enhance our coverage of Long Island, New York and New Jersey is a particularly signifcant event.”

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Merit buys Canadian distributor

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Merit Distribution Group will acquire Dynamic Paint Products, a 40-year-old family-owned distributor and manufacturer of paint-related products based out of Toronto, Canada.

The companies announced the deal early Tuesday. Terms were not disclosed.

Originally named Mumby and Associates, Dynamic mainly served the Toronto area, but over the years has seen exponential growth throughout Canada. Dynamic’s brand of paint-related products are currently sold throughout the world. 

Dynamic will move forward as a wholly owned subsidiary of The Merit Distribution Group. James Mumby will continue in his role as president and will oversee the Canadian and International business of Dynamic Paint Products.

“The addition of Dynamic significantly enhances our distribution footprint,” said Mitch Jolley, CEO of The Merit Distribution Group. “With warehouse facilities now located in Canada, we are positioned better than ever to deliver high-quality products and services to our customers.

The Merit Distribution Group, an Illinois corporation headquartered in Spartanburg, South Carolina, provides wholesale distribution of paint sundry, hardware and drywall related products through its Lancaster, Merit Supply, Merit Trade Source and Merit Pro trade names.

“We are excited to be part of the Merit Distribution Group team,” said James Mumby, president. “We feel there are significant synergies in this acquisition that will assist us in better servicing our customer’s needs by leveraging our 40 years of market knowledge, along with the knowledge and leverage that Merit brings to our organization.” 

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