Independent retailers from more than 50 countries gathered in Indianapolis over the past few days for the Do it Best Spring Market.
Besides finding good deals, learning about new products and networking with other retailers, Do it Best Corp. and its retailers took time to focus more closely on a recurring theme: growth.
“We are really promoting opportunities for our current members who are committed to growing their stores and expanding their product selection, as well as those who are adding new locations,” says Randy Rusk, communications director for Do it Best. “This continues to be a primary focus for us.”
It has been a banner year for the co-op for both current member growth, as well as for bringing new members on board, he says.
“We are also coming off our best year with our retail performance programs,” Rusk says.
These programs help Do it Best retailers who want to reset or remodel their stores, doing anything from updating key departments to remodeling inside and out.
Retailers who use the Signature Store Design program to completely remodel their stores typically see a 17-percent growth in sales the following year, Rusk says.
Dan Starr, who took over as CEO for the co-op in January, also commented on the company’s continued focus on growth.
“We have an aggressive strategic plan that ties directly into our growth initiative,” Starr says. “We are looking at all opportunities for growth—wherever it makes the best sense in supporting our retailers.”
One growth area highlighted on the market floor was lighting. After an extensive line review, Do it Best has partnered with Philips as its new primary vendor for both branded and private-label light bulbs. The light bulb assortment upgrade includes a focus on the increasingly popular LED lighting options.
“Our team did a diligent line review last fall and found we had further opportunities to help our retailers grow their sales in this area and be even more competitively priced, as well as provide them the latest in LED technology,” Rusk says.
Highlights of the new program include multiple planogram options for urban and rural stores, an extensive offering of LED bulbs across multiple price points and a full selection of legacy and specialty bulbs.
Also popular at the market was the paint area. “Our partnership with Sherwin-Williams and Valspar has resulted in bold new packaging for our popular paint lines, as well as improved formulations and a brand-new color selector, all of which will support larger margin opportunities for our members,” Rusk says.
The Channellock booth continued to be a busy one at this market, which is the first since Do it Best unveiled an expansion of its exclusive licensing partnership with Channellock at the October market with the launch of branded ratchets, sockets and wrenches.
“Channellock was one of our most requested vendors by our retailers,” Starr says. “In just the first few months of the product launch, we’ve already far exceeded our sales goals.”
From the Market Floor
Retailers looking for new products stayed busy in the New Idea Exhibit, which showcased the newest products to hit the Do it Best warehouses, as well as the Lori Greiner Shark Tank booth, named after the popular TV show. Shark Tank returned to the market after a successful first visit in October.
“Shark Tank continues to be a popular spot, especially for anyone looking for innovative and unique new products to stand out in their stores,” Rusk says.
“We always visit the New Idea Exhibit,” says Kenneth Grause of Pilot Lumber Do it Center in Bellevue, Kentucky. “We like to find new products. In addition, we’re always looking for any opportunities to help us better sell projects.”
Lauren Mathews of Connelly Do it Best in Fort Wayne, Indiana, was at the Shark Tank booth to see what it had to offer.
“We’re looking for what’s new and different,” she says.
Chris Hughes of Hardware Plus in Osceola, Indiana, echoed her sentiment.
“We’re shopping for new categories, looking for new items,” he says. “I’ve brought some new employees to the show so they can look at everything here on the floor with a fresh set of eyes and see if there’s anything I’ve been missing.”
Much of the country didn’t experience a harsh winter, meaning many retailers still had a good portion of their cold-weather products in stock.
“A bad winter means we already have much of what we need for next winter, so we can take this time instead to shop around for other things we may not always have as much time for,” Hughes says.
Do it Best’s Fall Market is scheduled for Oct. 7-10 in Indianapolis.