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PRO Group, Distribution America Hold 10th Annual Executive Planning Conference

More than 350 suppliers and distributors met last week to plan for the coming year at the 2014 Executive Planning Conference, marking the tenth anniversary of the event being hosted jointly by PRO Group and Distribution America.

The tenth annual Executive Planning Conference brings together the nation’s top suppliers and distributors that serve the independent home improvement industry. A total of 2,791 business meetings took place over two days with each distributor conducting one-on-one meetings with key manufacturers to determine which products it will work with and distribute in the coming year.

“Participants tell us it is by far the best use of their time all year,” said Steve Synnott, president and CEO of PRO Group. They don’t talk about football or the weather in these meetings. They talk about features and advantages of products, trends and what is important to the distributors. At the end of each 20 minute meeting, distributors walk away with a clear plan with that supplier for the coming year.”

Synnott and Distribution America President Dave Christmas see increased growth in the new year and anticipate some trends from 2013 continuing.

“Our distributor members are seeing an increase in overall business conditions and they are gaining market share,” Christmas said. “We anticipate that continuing in 2014.”

Remodeling will also continue to be a bigger part of the home improvement industry. Projects like kitchen, bath and deck remodeling indicate that consumers are investing in their current homes rather than purchasing new ones. Trends account for approximately one-third of annual sales in the home improvement industry, with two-thirds in regular repair and maintenance.

The event also recognized distributors and manufacturers with awards. The following awards were presented at the conference:

Distribution America 2013 Vendor of the Year Awards:

  • Plumbing – Genova Products, Inc.
  • Electrical – PerfectVision Manufacturing
  • Hardware – Midwest Fastener Corporation
  • Lawn & Garden – Ames True Temper, Inc.
  • Paint & Paint Sundries – Encore Plastics Corporation
  • Tools – Apex Tool Group
  • Soaring Eagle Award – Apex Tool Group

PRO Group 2013 Key Supplier of the Year Awards:

  • Tools – Irwin Industrial Tool Company
  • Plumbing – Oatey SCS, Inc.
  • Hardware – Master Lock Company
  • Paint Sundries – DAP Products Inc.
  • Electrical – Coleman Cable, Inc.
  • Seasonal – Ames True Temper, Inc.
  • 2013 Key Supplier of the Year-All Product Categories – Apex Tool Group

PRO Group 2013 Distributor of the Year Awards:

  • Pro Hardware Distributor Of The Year – The Bostwick-Braun Company
  • Merchandising Distributor Of The Year – McGregor Hardware, Inc.
  • Farm Mart Distributor Of The Year – Horizon Distribution, Inc.
  • Best Target Vendor Support – Long-Lewis Hardware Company

New Product Winners

  • Electrical – Coleman Cable, Inc. – USB charger 360 Degree Rotatable Outlet
  • Hand Tools – Custom LeatherCraft Mfg. Co. – Tackle Tek Nomad-Lighted Camo Backpack
  • Housewares/Seasonal – Camco Manufacturing, Inc. – 14.5” Diameter Portable Campfire w/ 8’ Hose
  • Hardware – Cequent Consumer Products – Tow and Go Hitch Step
  • Lawn & Garden/Pet – Ames True Temper – True American Round Point Shovel
  • Paint – Rust-Oleum Corporation – NeverWet Hydrophobic Treatment Kit
  • Plumbing – LDR Industries – Flexible Shower Arm and Flange
  • Power Tools – Robert Bosch Tool Corp. – 12V Max Radio
  • Overall Winner – Pacific Merchants Trading Co. – Canning and Home Storage Jars


About Amanda Bell

Amanda Bell was an assistant editor of Hardware Retailing and NRHA. Amanda regularly visited with home improvement retailers across the country and attended industry events and seminars. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Ball State University and has received honors for her work for Hardware Retailing from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

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