For three days, retailers packed Orgill’s Fall Dealer Market looking for bargain buys and the latest products, programs and services that would prepare them for the next selling season.
The event was held Aug. 24-26 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston.
Overall, participants reported steady and often growing sales at their operations, indicating that the home improvement industry continues to be robust. Attendees included customers from the U.S. and Canada, many international customers and a large contingent of first-time visitors.
At the market, retailers were focused on ways to enhance the array of products and services they could offer their customers. “Our business is growing right now,” says Bob Aspey, owner of Farm and Home Lumber in Hudson, Colorado. “Orgill’s markets have a good mix of products and a lot of new items. It’s also a great place for me to look for planograms that need to be updated.”
A highlight of the market was the model stores set up on the market floor where attendees could find new merchandising techniques as well as a big-picture view of the assortments and services Orgill had to offer.
One of the model stores, Walnut Grove Hardware & Supply, highlighted space-saving merchandising techniques and a product mix that targeted the DIY and farm and home customer base. “We are using this area to show retailers how they can put the equivalent SKU count of a 15,000-square-foot store into an 8,500-square-foot space,” says Philip Walker, Orgill’s senior vice president of merchandising services. “This store also shows our enhanced breadth of product offerings in several categories, including in farm, feed and equine.”
Central Tool & Building Supply, the other model store, focused on pro customers with an emphasis on hand and power tools. All assortments in the store were 100 percent Canadian compliant, reflecting Orgill’s increased focus on the Canadian market.
Bill and Jean McBrayne, of McBrayne Feed & Supply in Dresden, Ontario, were among the newcomers to Orgill’s market. “This is our first time at an Orgill Market, and it’s big. We have a smaller store, so the model stores have helped us with ideas for how we can utilize as much wall space as possible,” Bill McBrayne says. “This market is a good source of information as we can spend one-on-one time with vendors.”
One area that received rave reviews from attendees was the Great Outdoors showcase. This area was just outside the doors of the convention center and featured the outdoor living, grilling and tailgating categories. Grill vendors fired up their grills and handed out food samples. The weather in Boston over the weekend was pleasant, giving marketgoers a chance to enjoy the sunshine while browsing through vendor booths or sit and enjoy lunch. World Burger Champion Wade Fortin of Team Bull, from the World Food Championships, was also on hand to sign autographs.
Orgill once again placed an emphasis on learning opportunities at the market. The educational lineup included speakers from across the industry. At this market, Orgill offered two ways for attendees to participate in these sessions. Short, 30-minute sessions were held in the convention center lobby, and longer, in-depth seminars were held in the conference room just a few steps off the convention floor. Topics ranged from retail pricing and circular design to how to leverage Facebook for promotional marketing.
“We get a lot out of these seminars,” says Danielle Burke, vice president of merchandising at Farm Supply Co. in San Luis Obispo, California. “In particular, the seminar on how to increase add-on sales was great. We found a lot of good ideas we can take back to our business.”
For retailers looking for ways to increase margins while keeping a competitive price, there were plenty of opportunities. Orgill’s market featured an area targeted at promotional buys for those looking to plan out monthly promotions, a flash market with limited-time opportunities and a 50,000-square-foot area dedicated to pallet buys. In addition, the new item area offered hundreds of new products from some of the industry’s top manufacturers.