Stars and deals shine on LBM Advantage

Country music superstar Leanne Rimes (center) provides a live concert for LBM Advantage membership.

LBM Advantage held its Annual Buying Show this week. 

And while there wasn’t any handshaking this year, the cooperative’s membership took care of plenty of business. 

The show is normally held annually in Florida, but this year’s event was virtual and ran from Feb. 22 through Feb. 24. The lumber, building materials, and forest products buying group said the 2021 version of the show brought together hundreds of quality LBM vendors with membership and staff.

Virtual booths enabled vendors to share product sheets, videos, and other assets, along with a live virtual Zoom room to meet with the LBM Advantage members. The productive week was given a boost by one-on-one meetings between members and staff.

“The virtual appointments were a bit like speed dating, but I met a lot of national sales reps and I benefited a lot from the three days,” said Jay Ward of Ward Lumber in Jay, N.Y. and a long-time member of LBM Advantage.

Shark Tank star Kevin O'Leary joins LBM Advantage CEO Steve Sallah during the cooperative's virtual Annual Buying Show.

Exhibitors offered exclusive show specials promoted in advance, including “booth-only” specials available to members. 

“It was essential to the show’s success that we bring our partners and members together,” said Tom Molloy, executive vice president, products and programs at LBM Advantage. “Even in a virtual environment, our members were able to speak with vendors, learn more about products and make deals.”

The virtual show also featured a series of speakers. Highlights included a strategic growth presentation by Steve Frawley, founder and CEO of Frawley Sales & Strategy; a marketing and PR discussion from Andy Carlo, LBM editor at HBSDealer; and an hour keynote address from Kevin O’Leary, star of ABC’s Shark Tank television show.

Additional limelight was provided by country music superstar Leanne Rimes, who provided an exclusive virtual concert for members. Good times at the event also included a virtual mixology lesson and a trivia contest. 

Closing out the show, awards were presented to LBM Advantage’s 2020 vendors of the year along with members winning several top-notch raffle prizes.

Feedback from members and vendors was overwhelmingly positive, according to LBM Advantage 

“I feel like we have a good formula for putting on a successful virtual show, but we’re all anxious to get back to in-person events,” Molloy said.

Based in New Windsor, N.Y., LBM Advantage is a wholly member-owned cooperative for the lumber and building materials industry. The organization has more than 500 independent members and operates offices in Grand Rapids, Mich., Smithfield, N.C., and Monroe, La., offering national programs with regional expertise.