The floors of the Overland Park Convention Center were filled with retailers eager to explore deals and new products at the Blish-Mize Fall Buying Market over the weekend. The distributor hosted the market in person, and attendees were eager to reconnect.
“People are ready to get to a show,” says vice president of sales and marketing Clay Uhrmacher. “Our registration for this market was about 10 percent higher than fall 2019, and that’s really encouraging. People are excited to interact with the vendors and see new products, and they understand that it is important to take advantage of the deals when they are available. ”
Blish-Mize was one of the first wholesaler distributors that pivoted to a virtual market last spring, and the company is still making that option available to its customers. Uhrmacher says they added virtual programs for retailers who couldn’t attend or who aren’t comfortable attending an in-person event.
“We wanted to offer a hybrid environment, but we still have live attendee-only deals,” he says.
Those deals were reflected in returning and new buying opportunities retailers had throughout the three-day show, including the MVP event and expanded deals.
“The MVP event we have is always a favorite for attendees, but we added more opportunities that were really can’t-miss,” says Blish-Mize CEO and president Jonathan Mize. “We added ‘surprise buys’ to Friday morning, which was a collection of about 15 items that were only available from 8 a.m. to noon. We also escalated our endcap program with new assortments in our Endcap Endzones.”
One buying program Blish-Mize has at every market is THE 24, a collection of 24 products that are deeply discounted. In recognition of the distributor’s 150th anniversary this year, THE 24 became THE 150.
“We tried to add a lot of new programs to drive attendance and get people back in the groove of going to a physical show,” Uhrmacher says. “So we spent a lot of time looking at what programs could we add to the mix that would drive attendance. This program, which we also had at our spring market, celebrates the company’s longevity and gives retailers access to even more products at great prices.”
Offering products at great deals is only part of the equation. Given the strain on the supply chain, being able to move product to retailers is part of the ongoing commitment Blish-Mize makes to customers. Over the last year, Blish-Mize invested $6 million into upgrading its distribution center in Atchison, Kansas. The updates included a new conveyor system with spiral conveyors, a pick-and-pass system that streamlines the order-picking process and mobile shipping tables that more effectively stage merchandise as it is being loaded onto trucks. The modernized facility went live in April.
“We are all being challenged by supply, inventory and labor issues,” Mize says. “We are committed to working through these alongside our customers, and as a result of the investment we made in Atchison, our customers are seeing strong sales. We are looking forward to continuing to build on that momentum.”
Click here to see a video highlighting the new facility.
The 2022 Blish-Mize Spring Buying Market is scheduled for March 18-19, 2022, in Overland Park, Kansas.