The House-Hasson summer dealer market, the first virtual event the company has hosted, saw a 25 percent increase in attendance over last summer’s event, organizers say. In total, roughly 1,600 people participated in the event.
“We’re all about dealer profitability, and many dealers make their margins based on the buying specials available at the markets,” Hasson says. “More dealers taking advantage of the virtual market added to a unique operational situation for us in the middle of a unique national health situation.”
Earlier this year, House-Hasson transitioned its annual summer dealer market to a virtual event in light of safety concerns regarding COVID-19. The online event was held June 25-26. All market-sourced buying specials were available to dealers, who could also conduct video chat sessions with vendors and House-Hasson staff members.
“Hardware stores and lumberyards were designated as essential businesses from the beginning of the pandemic; they stayed open when others didn’t, or couldn’t,” Hasson says. “Dealers, from what we can tell, are busier than they’ve ever been.”
The summer dealer market is one of three markets House-Hasson holds annually. The summer event typically takes place in Sevierville, Tennessee, just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Hasson says that because of increased sales since the pandemic’s start, company sales volume and buying volume have both increased substantially.
“The consequence is that it we’re faced with unprecedented volume, which is having an effect at the present time on how fast we’re filling orders,” he says. “We sent out a letter to our dealers apologizing for whatever effects they’re experiencing. We had a 50 percent sales increase in June; it’s not a simple task to quickly ramp your infrastructure up by 50 percent. We’re working hard and devoting resources to make sure we can effectively handle sales volume, and we have two months to prepare for the next dealer market.”
The fall 2020 dealer market, scheduled for Oct. 29-30, will also be conducted virtually via the internet and video chats. A virtual component will likely be a part of all future dealer markets, even after the resumption of physical attendance at markets.