2022 was a year of celebration and reflection, as Wallace Distribution celebrated its milestone 100-year anniversary. This year, the organization has turned its eyes to the future and the next 100 years serving the distribution needs of its dealers. With the theme of “A New Day Dawning,” the Wallace Distribution 2023 Spring Dealer Market set its sights on what’s next, bringing together dealers to discover new products, lock in market deals and connect with fellow attendees.
The spring market took place March 28-30 at the Sevierville Convention Center in Sevierville, Tennessee. Attendee favorites—including Breakfast Buys, Play to Win, the Big Five giveaway and Wallace Show Bucks—were back at the market along with some new innovations. To get a lay of the market floor, attendees could also attend several new dealer orientation sessions where Wallace staff shared best practices and tips for getting the most out of a Wallace dealer market.
The company welcomed 17 new vendors to this market and highlighted these companies in the market book and with easy-to-see signage on the market floor. At the kickoff event, Wallace Distribution also honored vendors and sales employees with several awards.
“Becoming a vendor at a Wallace Market doesn’t just happen,” says Eddie Flynn, vice president of sales. “Our buying team does an excellent job of vetting our vendors to make sure they are a top provider who will be a good fit for our dealers.”
Introducing New Innovations
As part of the organization’s effort to evolve while still delivering a high level of service, this market featured digital ordering for the first time. Dealers could take advantage of a digital ordering platform to order products from vendors, saving time and effort. With the new ordering system, attendees could simply scan their badge and use their assigned pin to make orders with any market vendor, says John Wallace, vice president of operations.
“Whether attendees were working from a smartphone, tablet or laptop, they were able to put in orders from that device and go back to see what they had ordered,” he says.
Wallace Distribution’s director of IT Anthony Jones says the company made the change to the digital platform to make the process easier and more efficient for retailers, vendors and Wallace staff. The new system provided a simple way for dealers to place orders during the market and also allowed dealers to put in orders prior to the market, Jones says.
For this market, all warehouse products were digital, while dropship items will be available digitally for the next market.
“We wanted to give our dealers a chance to get used to the system before we went fully digital,” Jones says. “More and more, we’re seeing older owners passing along the business to their kids. Technology is a must-have to keep up with the needs and wants of that generation, so we are slowly bringing innovation in and will be introducing new enhancements at the next market.”
Vickie Strickland, vice president of McDowell Electric & Plumbing Supply in Marion, North Carolina, says she loved the new digital ordering system because it saved her time and energy.
“I was able to place a lot of my orders before the market, so when I was out on the market floor I could focus on finding new products,” Strickland says. “The system was easy to use and saved me so much effort.”
Tanner Sibert, a salesperson for Hibbitts Brothers Plumbing & Electrical Supplies in London, Kentucky, says he enjoys attending the dealer markets to find new products and good deals.
“It’s always nice to get a break from the business too,” he says. “When you own a family business, you don’t normally get any time away, so it’s nice to have the market to get away and connect with fellow dealers.”
Doyle Wallace, CEO and president of Wallace Distribution, says the highlight of the markets for him is seeing all the people and connecting with his customers.
“We held our first market back in 1965 in our warehouse and still love hosting them,” he says. “We have a lot of fun. The Lord has blessed us to have good shows with good dealer participation.”