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Strong Sales, Optimism Evident at Do it Best Spring Market

Do it Best’s Spring Market, held May 17-20 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, was highlighted by optimistic attitudes from attendees who are seeing firsthand improvement within the home improvement industry.

The market got off to a strong start on Friday night, when the Sneak Peek event, where select vendors offered deep discounts on a range of high-margin products to Do it Best members, brought in sales of $7.8 million in 90 minutes.

The momentum continued throughout the weekend.

“In the industry, we’re looking for positive signs, and some categories indicate a rebound of the housing market,” says Randy Rusk, communications director with Do it Best Corp. “For example, a double-digit increase in the sale of toilets offers a good indicator that the economy is improving, because we believe that being driven by new home construction and not just renovation projects.”

Lumber dealers are seeing fluctuating LBM prices finally starting to stabilize, too. “The slumped-shoulder mentality from a couple of markets ago is gone,” Rusk says.

He says attendance at seminars is up, and many retailers are bringing more employees with them to the market—both signs of improvement for the industry.

“We want our stores to be well-represented at the market, but where we can see their enthusiasm is the greater number of people they’re bringing from their store,” he says.

Donald Newman, store manager with Hardware Sales Inc. in Bellingham, Wash., brought six employees to help him cover the show floor at the market. “We divide and conquer so we can see everything here,” he says. “It’s going wonderfully. It’s been a very good market. We’ve found a lot of good deals. We’re always looking for something new that’s easier, quicker and less expensive for our customers.”

One category that continues to see growth is farm and ranch.

“In the last two years, we’ve added several hundred new vendors to the market,” Rusk says. “There’s been lots of growth in pet food, animal feed, fencing, traditional farm products and even apparel.”

Made in America products continue to be popular, too. “Many retailers are looking for products like these,” says Rich Roskam, field sales representative with Michigan Industrial Tools.

One of the company’s products is the Goodyear air hose, which is made in the USA. “That’s been a big draw for us,” he says. “It’s been a very good market. The first two days, we had fantastic traffic.”

There was also a big initiative at the market to promote warehouse inventory, proving that special orders are no longer special, but are simply a way of doing business.

“Our eight distribution centers are our members’ inventory,” Rusk says. “They know that if they don’t have something in their store, it’s in our warehouse.”

 

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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