Blish-Mize held its Fall 2019 Buying Market at in Overland Park, Kansas, Sept. 19-21, and retailers came to the event in search of good deals and solutions to enhance their operations going into the fall and winter seasons.
With strong retailer attendance, including more than 40 first-time attendees, retailers got to see the latest from vendors, learn about Blish-Mize programs and sit in on educational sessions during the three-day event.
Blish-Mize CEO and president Jonathan Mize says retailers at the show were optimistic heading into the final months of the year.
“The retailers I have talked to are having strong years, despite some of the challenges that have been thrown at them like difficult weather,” he says. “This has translated to a pretty strong year for Blish-Mize. We are seeing business up 6 percent for the year so far.”
Mize says the flooding in the Plains in the spring and early summer made business challenging for retailers in the affected areas, but despite the slower start to the year, Blish-Mize customers are still finding ways to grow and plan for the upcoming selling seasons.
“Weather has been a very interesting thing for us this year,” he says. “We had a rough winter and a wet spring. However, our customers are very positive as we head into the fall with cooler weather.”
Education at the Market
It was standing room only at two educational seminars at the market, both of which were focused on how Blish-Mize customers can enhance their online strategies.
First on stage was Dan Tratensek, executive vice president and executive editor for the North American Retail Hardware Association. Tratensek presented “5 Ways to Protect Your Business From Amazon,” which reviewed statistics on retailers’ online presences. The presentation highlighted the reasons why retailers should maintain current, informative websites, be active on social media and how they can differentiate their operations by redefining customer service.
“Customer service isn’t just about greeting people when they walk in the door anymore,” Tratensek says. “Service for consumers today means finding information about your operation and your products online before they get to a brick-and-mortar location.”
On Friday afternoon, Jeff Randolph from EAG Advertising, a marketing firm that specializes in delivering solutions for small businesses, presented “Digital Advertising 101.”
All day Friday and on Saturday morning, retailers scoured the market floor for exclusive deals and new products.
Scott Stroda, owner of Stroda Plumbing Services in Herington, Kansas, says he comes to the Blish-Mize Market twice a year in search of new products. Stroda Plumbing Services is a residential and commercial plumbing supply and service company that has been in operation for 39 years. Stroda has been a Blish-Mize customer for 30 years.
“While we are in plumbing service and supply, we need all kinds of hardware and home improvement products to do our job,” Stroda says. “We’re here to look for specific plumbing products, like garbage disposals, but we also are looking for tools, electrical products, drywall patching and other items because we use those every day on the job.”
In addition to the main market floor, retailers found inspiration in Assortment Central—a store setup featuring ideas for in-aisle and endcap displays and additional product deals—and discovered product specials in Saturday Stackouts.
The Blish-Mize Spring 2020 Buying Market takes place in Overland Park March 19-21, 2020.