The Blish-Mize Spring Market returned to the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kansas, March 17-19, and attendees were greeted with an array of savings and opportunities for product discovery from new and returning vendors.
Energy was high on the market floor and attendance was strong—including a robust segment of first-time attendees. The wholesaler is continuing the success of last year’s sales and in-person markets, which both featured celebrations of the distributor’s 150th anniversary.
“At this time last year, we were the only hardware distributor in the nation to host an in-person buying market, which we hosted with safety as a top priority. It was an extremely successful event. Now, sales are up 10.5% so far this year, so we are continuing to see the kind of activity that has really lifted the industry over the last two years,” says Blish-Mize CEO and president Jonathan Mize. “Attendance at this show is strong, and our customers are here to focus on finding new items at great deals.”
Mid-City Lumber Co., which has five locations in central Missouri, has been a Blish-Mize customer for over 20 years. Jared Mullett, who works in sales for the company, says he makes a point to come to the spring and fall markets to explore new deals.
“It’s always good to come in person,” Mullett says. “We’re here to stock up on our typical products, and we’re also looking for new ideas in hand tools and electrical.”
Long-time customer Kevin Haskins, who owns Northside Paint & Decorating in Westminster, Colorado, says he was looking forward to finding new products and good deals on the market floor.
“We have started seeing a lot more contractors and pro customers coming into our store because our competitors aren’t able to get paint in stock,” Haskins says. “We’re here looking for new and exciting products to add to the business and keep those customers coming back.”
Blish-Mize organizes new products, new deals and merchandising concepts in many different spaces on the market floor to make it easy for attendees to find solutions.
Last year, in recognition of the 150th anniversary, the company updated its attendee-favorite discounted products area THE 24 to THE 150, which featured 150 deeply discounted items to maximize margins and strengthen retailers’ product diversity. At this event, that segment of the market became THE 99. These featured products were the first place attendees explored products, as they were highlighted on pedestals outside the show floor entrance.
Retailers could also find merchandising solutions in the Endcap Zone and discover additional savings in Assortment Central. Stackouts and mini pallet deals were featured right on the market floor entrance, so they couldn’t be missed.
“We’re always trying to find ways to help our customers improve their store, which is why our solutions like Endcap Zone are a must-visit,” Mize says. “We are hearing from our customers that sales continue to be strong, but there is always an eye toward concerns like supply chain, rising costs and fuel prices. Blish-Mize, as always, is committed to working to meet any of the challenges that might arise.”
The recent Hardlines Distribution Alliance between Distribution America (DA) and PRO Group will bring more robust programs and services to distributors, retailers and vendor partners. It will also bring together DA and PRO members, allowing vendor attendees to meet with distributor members from both groups while only traveling to one location. Mize serves as chairman of DA, and in that role, he has long been advocating behind the scenes for a strategic partnership between the two companies.
“We are really excited about this new era for these two organizations and the opportunities this alliance will present to all of us,” Mize says. “This alliance will obviously increase our buying power, but it will also help with merchandising, marketing and advertising services. It makes our whole group stronger.”
The Blish-Mize Fall Market is scheduled for September 15-17 at the Overland Park Convention Center.