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Distribution America and PRO Group Host Annual Executive Planning Conference

The towering Santa Rosa Mountains set the backdrop for the Distribution America/PRO Group, Inc. 2015 Executive Planning Conference, held Nov. 18-20 at the JW Marriott Palm Desert Resort in Palm Desert, California.

This year’s event marks the 11th consecutive year of the joint conference, where vendors have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with key principles from both organizations to discuss challenges and opportunities for the coming year.

According to Dave Christmas, president and CEO of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Distribution America, this special event continues to benefit both manufacturers and distributors in the industry, with this year’s conference hitting near record attendance. “The opportunity to conduct high-level conversations with new and existing customers while reducing travel time and expenses is a tremendous value for all attendees.” Christmas also said that “2014 has been a good year for our channel, as business continues to recover, and we expect the momentum to continue in 2015.”

According to Steve Synnott, president and CEO of Denver-based PRO Group Inc., “The EPC gets better every year as one of the channel’s premier events, with outstanding opportunities for industry leaders to accomplish both business planning and social interaction. This is a meeting where you can get to know a new colleague while developing a plan for the coming year’s business.”

Over 400 manufacturers and distributors attended the three-day event, which included 2,988 face-to-face meetings. Topics discussed included new product launches, fill rates, promotions and new business opportunities. A scramble golf tournament and a reception sponsored by the National Hardware Show, featuring culinary and musical talents of conference attendees, rounded out the networking opportunities.

Distribution America and PRO Group, Inc. presented the following awards during this year’s Executive Planning Conference:

Best New Product Awards:

Electrical: Gardner Bender – Wifi Inspection Camera

Hand Tools: CLC Custom LeatherCraft – Tackle Tec Nomad XP Lighted Backpack with USB Charging System

Housewares and Seasonal: Jack Links’s Beef Jerky – Small Batch Bacon Jerky s

Hardware: Stanley National Hardware / Kwikset – Smart Key Pad Lock

Lawn & Garden and Pet: United Industries Corporation – Mulch-Lock Products Seal Mulch

Paint: Rust-Oleum – Rust-Oleum Peel Coat

Plumbing: Delta Faucet Company – 6 Setting Digital Temperature Display Showerhead

Tools: Shop Air by Shop-Vac Corporation – 1/4 HP Stainless Steel Air Circulator

Overall Winner: Stanley Black & Decker Tools: Dewalt – 20 Volt Max Compact Reciprocating Saw

Distribution America Vendors of the Year

Electrical: Gardner Bender

Paint and Paint Sundries: Encore Plastics

Hardware: Midwest Fasteners

Hand and Power Tools: Apex tool Group

Plumbing: Genova Products

Lawn and Garden: H.D. Hudson

Specialty Products: Hampton Products

Soaring Eagle Vendor Partnership Award: Apex Tool Group

PRO Group, Inc. Key Suppliers of the Year:

Tools: Apex Tool Group

Plumbing: LDR Industries

Hardware: Stanley National Hardware

Paint Sundries: Intertape Polymer Group

Electrical: Coleman Cable

Seasonal: Boss manufacturing Co.

Key Supplier of the Year: Robert Bosch Tool Corp.

PRO Group, Inc. Distributor Honors:

PRO HARDWARE DISTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR
Wallace Hardware Co., Inc.

MERCHANDISING DISTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR
Cascade Wholesale Hardware, Inc.

FARM¨MART DISTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR
Horizon Distribution, Inc.

Best Target Vendor Support
The Bostwick-Braun Company

About Liz Lichtenberger

Liz is the special projects editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and trends, visits retailers, and attends industry events. She graduated from Xavier University, where she earned a degree in English and Spanish and was a member of the swim team. Liz is a Louisville, Kentucky, native who lives in Indianapolis with her husband and two children. She enjoys swimming, reading, doing home improvement projects around her house and cheering on her two favorite basketball teams, the Kentucky Wildcats and the Xavier Musketeers.

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