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Plenty to See at the Do it Best Fall Market

Over the weekend, retailers from all over gathered in Indianapolis for the Do it Best Fall Market, where they looked for new products, attended Education Day seminars, found good deals and more. Those retailers also experienced some changes to the market format for the first time, as well as some new product assortments and creative merchandising ideas.

A Few Changes

Some of the market enhancements included moving the Market Kickoff from Saturday morning to Friday afternoon and offering the Merchandising Preview on Saturday morning. The LBM Preview was also replaced with a LBM Industry Update and luncheon on Friday afternoon.

“We’ve really challenged ourselves to look at the total market experience for our members going forward,” says Randy Rusk, communications director with Do it Best Corp. He says there may be more changes to come in future years, including the possibility of moving the spring market up to as early as February.

A Strong Start

The Fall Market kicked off with a strong Sneak Peek event, where co-op members purchased a record-setting $10 million in product in only 90 minutes.

“The Sneak Peek is a good barometer for our members’ enthusiasm,” says Rusk, “plus there are some exceptional deals. Some are as many as 50 percent off, so to get to $10 million, that’s a lot of product.”

This year, Do it Best handed out $115.5 million in rebates—the 13th consecutive year of rebates totaling more than $100 million.

“We think about opportunities for members to have those dollars—that’s the fuel that will drive their economic engine in years ahead,” he says. “This is that opportunity for them to reinvest in business and grow their sales.”

Do it Best’s fiscal year ended June 25, and sales reached $3.02 billion—a new milestone for the co-op.

The future of the home improvement industry is bright, says Jay Brown, vice president of sales and business development with Do it Best Corp. He says 2017 is expected to be a robust year.

Highlighted Areas

Do it Best continues to work to strengthen its current members and ensure a foundation for their growth. One step in that direction is to offer the right product assortments. Last fall, Do it Best announced an expansion of its Channellock line, and this past spring, it partnered with Philips as its new primary light-bulb vendor.

This year, the focus was on a couple of the co-op’s exclusive brands, as well as its planogram offering to help members focus on their pro customers.

The new pro tradesman showcase, which featured 5,600 square feet of space devoted to 350 new or updated planograms in more than 200 different categories, was designed with co-op members’ pro customers in mind.

“It’s a big effort we had been working on for over a year,” Rusk says. “We’ll be working to continue to enhance those for our members. We’ve already received very positive feedback in that area.”

Do it Best continues to focus on its exclusive brands, and that was clear at the market, where it rolled out an extension of Best Garden, which included garden hoses, bird feeders and more, as well as a new outdoor living brand, Outdoor Expressions, which had everything from solar lighting to fire pits.

“We’re really picking up on the trends,” Rusk says. “For example, with Best Garden, we have a new sprinkler that isn’t just a regular green oscillating sprinkler; it has a cool shape and comes in different colors—blues and greens and grays. It’s high-quality, and it looks it. It has high-end packaging, too.”

The brands are ones that should work well in member stores, he says, no matter what level of Do it Best branding the store utilizes.

Bringing in new products or new assortments gives members an opportunity to take a closer look at a particular department, and make further changes in that area. “Any time you offer a new product category or an extension of a category, it encourages members to refresh the full display,” he says.

Do it Best also continues to look at the different products and services it offers its members.

“We’ve been heavily investing in programs to help our members grow,” says Brown. Part of that investment is with member programs, such as the Signature Store Design, which helps Do it Best retailers who want to remodel or reset their stores.

The co-op’s merchandising team put together a Pinterest booth, where they displayed several popular projects they’d found on the social media website, and also handed out instructions on how to do them. There were even some how-to videos so members could see exactly how to do the projects, from start to finish.

Retailers could use the project ideas to help them training their employees on project-based selling, or offer a promotional event, such as a workshop to teach customers how to do these DIY projects.

On the Showfloor

The showfloor was busy, and the atmosphere was positive, as retailers checked out products and met with vendors and Do it Best staff members.

“The market is going great,” says Ben Canady of Holmes Building Materials in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “We’re looking for new and innovative products, as well as good deals, pricing and dating.

“Typically we are a strong LBM dealer, so we’re always looking for deals in that area,” he says.

Canady says business has been “crazy busy”—much of that business coming from flood recovery after severe flooding in Louisiana this past summer.

Mike Tandaric of Gillman Home Center, which has eight locations in Indiana and Ohio, noticed the high attendance at the show. “There’s a lot of people here,” he says.

He comes to both shows each year, and at this market, he wanted to ask some questions about Stihl products and take a look at what Weber had to offer.

“I’m here for a little of everything,” he says. “I like getting all the new information I can find here. I’m staying busy checking everything out.”

The Do it Best Fall Market continues through Monday. The Do it Best Spring Market will be May 19-22 in Indianapolis.

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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