Example of another show they've done
HOME IMPROVEMENT INDUSTRY DISTRIBUTORS FROM PRO GROUP AND VAL-TEST ATTEND GROUP MERCHANDISING CONFERENCE IN ATLANTA
Atlanta, Georgia (June 15, 2007) - Home improvement industry distributors attended
the Group Merchandising Conference organized by PRO Group, Inc. and Val-Test Distributors June 11-13, 2007 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Atlanta.
The meeting format included 983 scheduled buyer/vendor appointments in private suites throughout the Embassy Suites Hotel, with Vendors offering conference specials and reviewing benefits of new products, merchandisers, displays and promotions to attending buyers.
This is the third year PRO Group has hosted this conference and the first year distributors from the Schaumburg, Illinois-based Val-Test distributors participated.
Attendees included 42 Distributor team members, 95 individuals representing Vendors, 10 PRO Group, Inc. personnel and two Val-Test personnel.
Steve Synnott, president and chief operating officer of PRO Group, Inc., said, "PRO Group invited Val-Test distributors to participate in the conference to increase the value to attending manufacturers. This event is targeted directly to buyer-level attendees and this alone makes it meaningful to attending Vendors," Synnott said. "By adding Val-Test members to the existing mix of PRO Group Member Distributors, we increased buyer attendance and exposure for the Vendor community. It's part of an ongoing goal to make this a more meaningful industry event that includes a broad spectrum of buyers."
At this conference, vendors are invited to actually set up gondolas, endcaps or other merchandise displays in their suites, which offer much more meeting space and comfort than typical tabletop displays or samples that can be carried into an office, according to Synnott.
Synnott explained that the GMC book customized for every PRO Group and Val-Test buyer provides an easy, methodical way to rate interest in a Vendor while giving buyers the option to indicate their desire to invite the Vendor to a show or sales meeting, have samples sent, or to have the Vendor's local representative follow up in some manner. "This book itself helps our valued manufacturer partners build their business with Distributors even after the event has concluded."
Mark Marotto, sales manager for Chicago-based LDR Industries, said, "The Group Merchandising Conference helps build partnerships. We can introduce customers to product categories that will enhance their opportunities for growth," Marotto said. "We enjoy this conference because of the opportunity it gives us to sit down with so many customers at one location in three days."
Distributor Tommy Drinkard, president and hardware buyer for Lynchburg, Virginia-based Barker-Jennings, said he feels the conference is valuable to attending manufacturers and distributors alike. "You get a chance to plant a lot of good seeds at this event." Drinkard said he is seeking out good buys and hopes to strengthen his mix in certain lines. "I am looking for hot items and new items and at this event I get the opportunity to talk to some of the people at the factory that I don't generally see throughout the year."
Mark Keating, vice president, sales of the Waco, Texas-based Easy Gardener Products, attended the Group Merchandising Conference for the first time. "We look forward to the fact that we now have a real opportunity to grow our business with this class of trade," Keating said "I personally am looking forward to interacting with all the Distributor Members and discussing ways we can increase the presence of our products with their customers going forward. We feel that this is a true partnership and a very positive step for our company."
Bonnie Davis, vice president for the Nashville, Tennessee-based H.G. Lipscomb & Co., a Distributor, said. "Let's hear it for the Group Merchandising Conference in Atlanta. This is a chance to visit with new Vendors and smaller Vendors that don't make it to the Executive Planning Conference PRO Group has in November. The set-up is wonderful. You can actually see almost an entire line, and even if you don't have an appointment, you can look in each room and pop in if something catches your eye. Like always, I hope to pick up a new line or even two and just touch base with some of my manufacturers reps."
Manufacturer Chris Feather represented the Indianapolis, Indiana-based AOSafety Consumer Sales, a division of Aearo, at the event. Going into the event, Feather said he was hoping to learn status of customers overall, to discuss how his product lines are performing within the customer's environment and to discover new ways to promote business. "The Group Merchandising Conference offers us as suppliers the opportunity to get in front of our best customers and provide face-to-face answers to any issues or concerns and address them," Feather said. "It also affords us the opportunity to promote new and innovative items, looking into promotions in the marketplace." Event organizers strived to provide attendees with opportunities for one-on-one interaction. Feather said, "Both the supplier and customer receive complete attention from the other. It is a fantastic way to discuss business topics."
Following the Group Merchandising Conference, the PRO Group Merchandise Committee will meet to discuss upcoming Target Vendor Programs and to hear presentations from new Vendors. PRO Hardware Stores Program Distributors are meeting June 14 and 15 to discuss the 2008 advertising and marketing programs.
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Headquartered in Denver, PRO Group, Inc. www.pro-group.com http://www.pro-group.com/
is a merchandising and marketing organization with purchasing power exceeding $3 billion through its 40 Member Distributors.
is a Schaumburg, Illinois-based buying group of 100 independent distributors in hardware, paint sundries, plumbing, electrical, variety and marine products with a volume of $1 billion in sales.