There were big crowds, busy aisles and a positive atmosphere at the Blish-Mize Spring Buying Market, which was held last weekend in Overland Park, Kansas.
Customers gathered to find new products, good deals and more.
“We’ve seen strong attendance,” says CEO and president Jonathan Mize. “We have several new customers here, as well as some prospects who are looking for a change in distributors. It’s been a good year. Everyone is in positive spirits.”
More to See
As retailers walked the floor, they could find more items than ever—and even found some new categories.
Blish-Mize worked with vendors to expand their booths and bring in more product for retailers to see and even try out. “I think they like to be able to touch and feel the different products as they shop,” Mize says.
At this Buying Market, Blish-Mize highlighted its return into the automotive niche with 300-plus SKUs in place in the Assortment Central area of the show floor, which includes some of the hottest products in several categories.
“Automotive is a great niche, and we’ve gotten a lot of requests for it from our customers, so we were happy to bring it back,” Mize says.
Also in the spotlight was lawn and garden, as Blish-Mize featured a strong assortment from that category as the focus of its spring booking program.
“We want to be sure our customers are looking ahead to the next few seasons as they make their purchases,” Mize says. “We have some great assortments that we think would be a good fit.”
He says they also are working with Hardware House to put together an assembled vanity program, which should be up and running later this year. The distributor also wants to add more LED lighting options and more products related to smart home technology.
‘It’s Great to be Here’
Blish-Mize retailers were happy with what they were seeing at the show.
“It’s going well,” says Brooke Kinsella of Snodderley Lumber in Clearmont, Missouri. “I’m looking at new planograms, and we are interested in some of the new items in lawn and garden.”
She grew up in her family’s business, has been coming to the Blish-Mize Buying Markets for many years and enjoys the opportunity to network and catch up.
“It’s always nice to reconnect with people—we enjoy just coming to the show and seeing everyone,” she says. “It’s great to be here—we really enjoy it.”
Rick Villareal of Guadalupe Lumber, which has three locations in San Antonio, noticed the larger variety of products at the show.
“This market seems to be bigger and better, with more product and more specials,” he says. “We’ve been shopping for everything: electrical, plumbing, automotive. We’ve been buying all day.
“We like the dating and the specials,” he says. “They help us compete with the big boxes and their prices.”
Villareal’s colleague Robert Barnes says it takes time for them to shop for inventory for all three of their locations, which all have unique markets and customer bases. “We’ve been to every aisle, every booth,” Barnes says.
It’s been a busy year for Blish-Mize. The distributor is currently working on several projects, including a few ground-up stores, as well as some resets, Mize says. “Spring is a good time to make those changes.”
He says business, year-to-date, has been steady. Because winter was so mild in many parts of the country, many retailers still have plenty of snow shovels and other winter-related products in stock.
Efficiency continues to be a priority at the distribution center. Blish-Mize has been using voice-picking technology for a few years now, which has made the fulfillment process as close to 100 percent accurate as possible and continues to audit orders going out of the distribution center to keep quality control a priority.
The Blish-Mize Fall Buying Market will be held Sept. 15-16 in Overland Park, Kansas.