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New Market App, 40+ New Vendors Drive Traffic at Blish-Mize Spring Market

From new vendors to new attendees—and a reorganized Market floor and new Market ordering app—the 2024 Blish-Mize Spring Buying Market, held March 21-23 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kansas, invigorated attendees with a breath of fresh air, infusing the event with innovation and excitement.

“We are very customer-focused and willing to try new things,” says Blish-Mize chairman and CEO Jonathan Mize. “But our customers continue to do business with us because they trust us. We’re a very strong company with longevity in the industry.”

Changes and new faces at the Spring Buying Market were apparent both on the Market floor, where some vendors needed to set up in an overflow area, and at the business workshops, where some presentations were standing room only. 

“Everyone is commenting on the fullness of the show,” says Clay Uhrmacher, vice president of sales and marketing at Blish-Mize. “We’ve got new vendors and bigger booths—the convention center is packed with merchandise and deals. It’s exciting.”

Using the New Market App

Attendees used the new Blish-Mize Market app to place orders for the first time at the 2024 Spring Buying Market.

“A paperless Market is here,” Mize says. “We will always offer paper Market SmartBooks for people who want them, but the app is a great tool for our customers and us. We’re going to continue to add enhancements to the app, and next fall, we will add the ability to order assortments by scanning QR codes.”

Networking and Thursday Night Fun

Thursday evening festivities kicked off with the MVP, Stackout and Sponsor events. The MVP event was designed to promote Surprise Buys, highlighting mystery deals on products, and the Sponsor event featured exclusive prize drawings. Attendees enjoyed networking, live music, food and drinks along with deals and spiffs.

The Spring Buying Market also saw many new customers wearing first-time attendee flags.

“We have a lot of new customers at this Buying Market,” Uhrmacher says. “We try to identify new customers so everyone knows they may need additional help, information or details about how the market operates. Our Blish-Mize team is probably the friendliest in the business, and we work like a family to make everyone feel at home.”

Discovering New Products

Blish-Mize added 40 new vendors to its Spring Buying Market while keeping popular programs, like Assortment Avenue, with its merchandising displays and assortments, and Aisle Openers, featuring endcap and impulse displays.

“Our lineup of exciting new products includes vendors and categories Blish-Mize customers haven’t seen us stock ever, such as Clorox pool chemicals and nostalgic Frostop sodas, in addition to returning and refreshed product offerings, including a relaunch of Christmas categories,” says Sarah Lee, vice president of purchasing at Blish-Mize. “Our vendors went above and beyond to offer promotional buying opportunities and steep discounts during this time of intense competition in the market so that retailers can pass along the savings to their customers.”

Brent Melby and his family were on the Market floor exploring everything Blish-Mize vendors had to offer. Melby co-owns Melby’s Home Center in Scandia, Kansas, with his dad and uncle. They have operated the business since 2015 and have been with Blish-Mize from the start.

“Their customer service and pricing exceeds everybody else,” he says. “We come to the Buying Markets to look at a little bit of everything. We check out Assortment Avenue that’s set up like a store, and we check out the deals on what we already stock.”

Melby says he also makes sure to attend educational sessions.

“There’s always good content at the workshops, and it’s a good chance to sit down for a while,” he says.

Education at the Spring Buying Market

On Friday, Kim Peffley, director of organizational development and consulting at the North American Hardware and Paint Association (NHPA), presented a business workshop, “Developing a Culture of Selling,” where she shared how to gamify selling and establish clear sales goals, KPIs and organizational roles.

Jonathan Crutcher from Synchrony HOME also presented “Leveraging Consumer Financing to Drive New Customers and Grow Your Business.”

Later in the afternoon, eight top Blish-Mize vendors took the stage to present their favorite new products at the New Items Showcase.

Looking Ahead to the Fall

The 2024 Blish-Mize Fall Buying Market is scheduled for Sept. 12-14 at the Overland Park Convention Center.

“We’re ready for the Fall Buying Market,” Mize says. “In addition to the upcoming app update, we are implementing new tech in our distribution center to be more efficient. We are continually looking for new ways to improve and enhance our customer service experience.”

About Melanie Moul

Melanie is the communications and content manager for the North American Hardware and Paint Association. She joined the NHPA team in 2016 as an editor for Hardware Retailing and now helps lead the communications team to deliver relevant, timely content to the industry.

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