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Do it Best Market Includes Launch of New and Enhanced Programs

The Do it Best May Market, which began on Friday and is scheduled to run through today, kicked off with the co-op’s announcement of several new member programs and gave retailers plenty of opportunities to see new products, network and find great buys.

New and Enhanced Programs

“Our goal at Do it Best Corp. is to help our member-owners find success and grow their businesses,” says Randy Rusk, communications director with Do it Best. “We want to help them take their operations to the next level, and our plans to help these independents grow their businesses and achieve their dreams include the implementation or enhancement of a few key programs.”

The market’s kickoff breakfast began with a major announcement about enhancements to the co-op’s Retail Performance program, which will add new incentives to drive store growth and help retailers as they work to expand into new locations.

The RetailPLUS! program started in 2000 and offered a way for retailers to freshen up their stores. A few years later, Do it Best developed the RetailSTART! program to help retailers add new locations. Last year, the co-op launched a below prime loan program to help its retailers finance these additions and growth plans.

The programs have since grown and become more customizable, allowing different options, depending upon retailers’ expansion goals.

“At this market, we’re introducing enhanced incentives to add new locations, such as product discounts up to 50 percent and extended dating,” says Jay Brown, Do it Best’s vice president of sales and business development. “It’s a significant investment in helping our retailers grow, and we believe it will help drive that additional activity and help them to be more successful.”

Another program to grow sales is within the industrial/commercial area. The co-op’s successful INCOM Distributor Supply division is launching a new Do it Best INCOM Supply program, which will offer an expanded selection of these products to traditional hardware stores and lumberyards, allowing them to expand their customer reach.

“We want to make it easy for retail stores to get further into the INCOM category,” Brown says. “Many of our members are already selling into this channel, and this new program will allow them to get their arms around it better and drive additional business there.

“The true industrial side has grown almost 80 percent for us in the last few years, and it’s a really robust channel and a growth avenue for our members,” he says.

The third program was a refreshed and updated new platform for doitbest.com, the co-op’s ecommerce website. Retailers can now sign up to build their own customizable website, which can include anything from using the Do it Best site and customizing the landing page to constructing a completely personalized website.

“Whatever they want to do, we can help them do it,” Brown says. “It’s no longer a question of if a retailer needs an e-commerce website, but what kind they need and how extensive it needs to be.”

He says about 75 percent of orders placed on doitbest.com are ship-to-store, meaning customers can go to their closest Do it Best stores to pick up their orders there to avoid any shipping fees. “It’s a good way for our retailers to drive sales on products they may not be selling in their stores every day.”

The next step? Further enhancing the co-op’s customer loyalty program, Best Rewards.

“We are on the cusp of some really great things with this program,” Rusk says. “Customer data collection continues to evolve, and we want to help our retailers collect and leverage this data as effectively as possible.”

Celebrating an Anniversary

The co-op is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. It started in June 1945 as Hardware Wholesalers Inc. in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and in 1998, it combined with Our Own Hardware to create Do it Best Corp.

This year’s performance looks to be a good one for the co-op, which is seeing a year-to-date increase in sales of about 5.6 percent and expects it to be the 12th consecutive year of distributing rebates that total more than $100 million.

“Even by our own high standards, we are particularly excited about this market and the many growth opportunities it presents our members,” says Do it Best president and CEO Bob Taylor. “Of course, celebrating our 70th anniversary gives us a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come as a co-op, while announcing these new programs helps our members capture the many opportunities ahead of them.”

On the Market Floor

Across the floor, the atmosphere was positive. Retailers were all looking for something different, but all were happy to be at the market to find some good buys.

Marty Hornacek of Northwoods Wholesale Outlet in Pinconning, Michigan, was ready to find some good prices on LED light bulbs.

“We’ve been checking those out at this market,” he says. “There are some great deals right now.”

But he also was looking for any new and interesting product he might find.

“The biggest thing to remember when you attend the market is there is always a diamond in every booth,” he says. “It’s just a matter of finding it.”

Kristi Atha-Rader of Fayette Awning & Glass in Oak Hill, West Virginia, was following up on some customer requests as she shopped the market.

“We’ve been interested in checking out the flooring options, and we’re also interested in adding chalk paint to our paint department,” she says. “Our customers have been asking about it, so we wanted to learn more.”

There were more than 50 new vendors at the market, allowing retailers to find anything from Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars to mattress assortments. The outdoor patio display had also been expanded. In the past, retailers were invited to the co-op’s headquarters during the summer to preview the next year’s outdoor patio offering. This year, however, all products were available for all attendees to see on the market floor so they can plan their orders for the 2016 season.

“Everyone can see colors, styles and finishes that will be popular next year,” Rusk says.

The market was held at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

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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