Denver (4/10/2020) – As COVID-19 continues to have a profound effect on the hardware industry, PRO Group, Inc. is pleased to announce that its Group Merchandising Conference will move to a digital format using the Zoom platform. Originally scheduled to take place in Atlanta, the digital format will still allow partner manufacturers and distributor members the opportunity to meet for one-on-one, pre-scheduled meetings all from the safety of their home or office. In each appointment, manufacturers are given the opportunity to present products, pricing and program information to distributor buyers without any distraction. This will allow distributors to gain a deeper understanding of individual products and entire lines in one sitting.

With restrictions on travel and large gatherings in place for many coming weeks, PRO Group’s top priority is ensuring the safety and health of all business partners and members. However, the PRO Group team remains dedicated to providing a valuable platform for our Distributor Members and Vendor Partners to forge lasting business relationships and evaluate new business opportunities through product and merchandising presentations.

“Distributor buyers told us the Group Merchandising Conference is a vital resource to discover new products, programs and suppliers, so we partnered with Zoom to create an amazing virtual meeting experience that rivals being face-to-face,” said Steve Synnott, President and CEO at PRO Group. “We are excited to showcase this technology for the benefit of all PRO Group Member Distributors and Manufacturers.”

In the coming weeks, PRO Group staff will spend time with each attending Manufacturer and Distributor to ensure they are comfortable and confident in using the Zoom platform well before the event June 22-24. With the ability to record video, share screens and chat with Zoom, PRO Group staff is certain that the virtual format will allow Distributor Members and Partner Manufacturers to accomplish all that they would in a physical meeting, minus shaking hands.


For more information, testimonials and pictures of the GMC, visit groupmerchandisingconference.com. If you would like information on attending the virtual GMC, please contact Michele Simes at michele.simes@pro-group.com.



2019 GMC Recap


Building Partnerships: PRO Group Hosts Annual
Group Merchandising Conference


Denver (June 25, 2019) – On June 17, dozens of member distributors and vendor partners descended on the Embassy Suites Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta for PRO Group, Inc.’s annual Group Merchandising Conference. Over the next two days, 40 distributor and 75 manufacturer attendees met in 1,572 scheduled appointments to discuss new product and conference specials, work out details of programs and build partnerships at several networking events. They were also treated to a general session hosted by Dan Tratensek, the executive vice president with the North American Retail Hardware Association and publisher of Hardware Retailing magazine.

During this general session, Tratensek spoke on ‘A Team Effort: How Independent Retailers are Competing in the Age of Amazon (and how YOU can help!)’. He examined how retailers are responding to new retail realities that have emerged in the Amazon age and the most important things manufacturers and distributors can do to help independent retailers succeed. After this general session and a welcome reception that evening, attendees got down to business Tuesday morning by delving into product assortments, show pricing and program details with manufacturers from multiple categories.


“The GMC continues to deliver outstanding returns for member distributor buyers and group suppliers. Product placement that occurs as a direct result of the GMC will propel sales throughout the balance of 2019 and beyond,” said Steve Synnott, President and CEO at PRO Group. “PRO is delighted and proud to facilitate the GMC for the benefit of our key suppliers and wholesale distributor customers.”

In each appointment, manufacturers are given the opportunity to present products, pricing and program information to distributor buyers without any distraction. This allowed distributors to gain a deeper understanding of individual products and entire lines in one sitting. With the many networking events, such as luncheons and receptions, manufacturers also had the opportunity to touch base with even more members in a more social setting.


“The PRO Group GMC is a great event with enough time in meetings to have meaningful conversations and develop business opportunities in just a few days. Those meetings could have otherwise taken months of phone calls and travel to accomplish the same thing,” said Jim Depolo, product manager at VP Racing Fuels.

Distributor attendees were also able to touch base with existing manufacturers to plan for future program needs and get a preview of upcoming products. The GMC closed with the PRO Hardware Merchandise Committee Meeting where distributors shared which programs were of most interest to them.


“This is by far the best conference I have attended so far,” said Matt Speer, purchasing agent with Becknell Wholesale. “The meeting format was excellent and the one-on-one attention from the manufacturers was very effective.”





Attending Distributors


Over 40 PRO Group Member Distributors from all over the country will attend the Group Merchandising Conference. Manufacturers can look forward to their 30-minute, scheduled appointments with key personnel from some of the best two-step distributors in the industry.


Learn more about the GMC by contacting Michele Simes at:




Attending Manufacturers


The Group Merchandising Conference hosts 90 PRO Group Manufacturer partners from various categories including Hardware, Electrical, Plumbing, Automotive, Paint & Paint Sundries, Lawn & Garden, Farm & Ag, and Pet Supplies.


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