Press Releases

Forging New Business: PRO Group Hosts Its Annual Group Merchandising Conference

Denver (June 26, 2018) – From June 18-20, 32 member distributors and 86 vendor partners converged on Atlanta at the Embassy Suites Centennial Olympic Park for PRO Group, Inc.’s annual Group Merchandising Conference. In over 1600, 30-minute scheduled appointments, distributors and vendors were able to forge new business relationships by discussing new products, taking advantage of conference specials and connecting at the numerous networking events.

To kick off the conference, distributor members were given the opportunity to meet and update the group on business. On Monday evening, member wholesalers mingled with vendor partners at a welcome reception. Over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday, distributors had the chance to meet with vendors in private, 30-minute scheduled appointments. It was during these appointments that all group members could build new business relationships, discuss current programs and meet with prospective buyers from multiple different categories.

“The GMC provides manufacturers with a venue to build relationships or reconnect with buyers from PRO Group member distributors from across the country,” said Shari Kalbach, Vice President at PRO Group, Inc. “The one-on-one meetings allow time for decision makers to explore the benefits and features of each supplier’s product offering.” With meetings held in private suites, manufacturers were able to display new product lines and tailor show specials to the distributor buyer audience. It also allowed buyers firsthand interaction with products and to gain a deep knowledge of those product lines and promotional pricing. First time attendee Sean Lorden, President at Rafferty Wholesale mentioned the conference will open countless opportunities for his business. “I attended my first PRO Group GMC and what a game changer. The representatives I met from various organizations were very professional and enlightening as to what their companies’ offerings were. I truly believe joining PRO Group will open up more business opportunities than I could have imagined.” In addition to the scheduled meetings, manufacturers and distributors had the opportunity to meet at the networking and farewell receptions in an informal setting. This allowed members to touch base even if they did not have a scheduled appointment. “The mix of both business and social interaction across such a large and regionally dispersed array of distributor members for the time and expense of a single trip makes PRO Group’s GMC a great value for our business,” said Darrin Purcell, President and CEO at Century Drill and Tool. The meeting closed with a PRO Hardware Merchandise Committee Meeting where distributors shared which programs represented the best opportunities for growth.

“The energy that was felt during this year’s GMC will hopefully translate into increased sales at the distributors’ fall shows and retailers will have new and exciting products to promote to their customers,” said Kalbach.


PRO Group Creates a Buzz of Energy at the Group Merchandising Conference

Denver, CO (June 27, 2017) – Last week, 42 member distributors had the opportunity to meet with over 95 manufacturers at the mid-year Group Merchandising Conference (GMC) held at the Embassy Suites Chicago O’Hare Rosemont. The conference, which took place from June 19-22, created a high energy environment that made for one of the best conferences hosted by PRO Group.

The conference began with a meeting for member distributors of PRO Group to introduce themselves and a reception where they could meet with each other and manufacturers. Over the next two days, distributors had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with manufacturers in over 2000 30-minute appointments to discuss new products, build new relationships, and discuss current programs.

“New business possibilities were uncovered in partnership with Group Vendors exhibiting at the event, new peer relationships were facilitated and Group growth opportunities were identified during the three-day event,” said Steve Synnott, President and CEO at PRO Group. “This event was the first time Reliable Member Distributors came together with PRO Group to make it the most successful event PRO Group has ever produced.”

First time attendee Jeff Clapp, COO of General Hardware Distributors, a former Reliable distributor, appreciated the value of meeting with vendors. “Working together we all win. That was the overwhelming attitude from vendors and distributors alike.”

With each appointment, distributors had a chance to directly connect with individual manufacturers in person to work through any challenges and meet new manufacturers with innovative products they might be interested in.

“I was impressed with the energy and positive vibe from the entire group. The vendor community was as prepared as I have seen them,” said Mike Dawson, Retail Sales Manager at Horizon Distribution. “We had very productive meetings throughout and that should result in numerous growth opportunities for both HDI and many vendors. Our time in Chicago was very productive.”

Manufacturers also got the chance to make new business connections and get their products in front of a large audience. With one-on-one meetings, they were able to effectively address questions and tailor their presentations to their audience.

Roger Woodward, President of Alliance Distribution Partners, commented, “The PRO Group conference was a great investment of our time and resources. The event was very well done and the members were engaged and ready to do business. It was a very cost effective way to reach a number of quality prospects in a short period of time.”

To wrap up the conference, member distributors met to discuss the meetings and product lines in which they were most interested. They were also able to update the group on the progress of business to date.