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Enthusiasm, a New Partnership Among Highlights of Blish-Mize Market

Spring had sprung last weekend at the Blish-Mize Spring Buying Market, which was held March 20-21 in Overland Park, Kansas. Outside, the weather was warm, and inside the Overland Park Convention Center, the atmosphere was positive as retailers shopped for new products and looked forward to strong spring sales in their stores.

Networking, New Products and More

The feeling at the market was positive. “So far, the market is going well,” says Allan Dinkel, owner of Quinter Building Material Company in Quinter, Kansas. “Business is good—spring is here.”

Dinkel, who recently installed Titan LED lighting in his store, says this type of new lighting is getting his customers’ attention, while he’s seeing savings at the same time. Along with new efficient lighting products, he was looking for opportunities to update some assortments and look for new products.

“The markets offer a good buying opportunity,” he says, “and it’s the perfect time to get good pricing and extended terms.”

Bill Wilgers of Palmer Lumber & Hardware in Palmer, Kansas, enjoyed the opportunity to shop Assortment Central, which had more than 200 feet of popular assortments in core categories and even offered a select group of assortments for up to 50 percent off.

“We found several things here that will work well in our store,” he says.

Wilgers and his wife, Sharon, opened their new store almost a year ago, and he says they’re still expanding their inventory in the new space. “We know what’s turning well; we want to make more products available in our store for our customers. We’d like to try a few new things.”

In attendance at the market were both long-time Blish-Mize customers as well as some new prospects, says CEO and President Jonathan Mize. “We’re looking for some growth in 2015. It’s a very positive market for us.”

Strong Partnerships

Blish-Mize partnered with Titan LED at the market last fall to offer an opportunity for its customers to easily convert the lighting in their stores to a brighter, more energy-efficient option. Titan LED was back at the market last weekend, and Mize says more retailers are looking into what we have to offer.

“We’re getting a lot more interest,” he says. “Those interested receive a lighting audit of their stores to see how much they’ll save. Those who have already converted over are seeing savings of 30 to 40 percent on their electric bills.”

Blish-Mize has also recently partnered with PrimeSource, one of the largest fasteners and building materials distributors in the country. “We’re offering their construction hardware and coil roofing nail products in our distribution center so customers can buy it directly through us,” Mize says. “We are also in the process of reviewing other categories to determine what else we might offer, such as nails and screws.

Blish-Mize customers are now able to buy and bill through us those product categories that aren’t yet being offered in our warehouse, directly from PrimeSource, Mize says. “We’re excited about this new partnership opportunity.”

Hardware House, a Blish-Mize brand that’s popular with many of its retailers, offered a few new products being featured at the market, including some vanities and tops, Mize says.

Educational Opportunities

There were a variety of seminars offered at the market, too. Scott Wright, executive director of the Retail Leadership Institute for the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA), spoke at the market. His presentation, “A Changing Landscape: Top Ways for Retailers to Remain Competitive in the Internet Age,” covered many of the changes in the home improvement industry and how retailers could compete in different areas, such as pricing and a strong online presence.

There were also lawn and garden education classes, where retailers could learn about the latest products and applications in this category.

About Liz Lichtenberger

Liz is the special projects editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and trends, visits retailers, and attends industry events. She graduated from Xavier University, where she earned a degree in English and Spanish and was a member of the swim team. Liz is a Louisville, Kentucky, native who lives in Indianapolis with her husband and two children. She enjoys swimming, reading, doing home improvement projects around her house and cheering on her two favorite basketball teams, the Kentucky Wildcats and the Xavier Musketeers.

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