After the formation of Hardlines Distribution Alliance (HDA) in April, the organization hosted its first in-person Group Merchandising Conference (GMC) last week at the Embassy Suites Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia. As the first event hosted by HDA, all attendees were provided the opportunity to meet and network with a large group of leading distributors and manufacturers in the industry. Over 1,500 scheduled meetings in hotel suites provided guaranteed one-on-one interactions that allowed manufacturers to display products, discuss program information and demo new items.
“We were thrilled to host over 30 energetic HDA member distributors who met with scores of exhibiting vendors in the group’s first joint GMC,” says Steve Synnott, chief executive officer at HDA. “We know the conference will result in distributor attendees adding new programs and product lines.”
After a welcome reception on the evening of June 20, meetings kicked off June 21-22. The valuable one-on-one meetings allowed new and existing vendors to meet with 35 HDA member distributors, some of whom were also attending their first GMC. Evening receptions also allowed all attendees to network in a social setting and make connections outside of the scheduled appointments.
“As a first-time attendee, the meeting format that allowed vendors to display products had a great visual impact,” says Sarah Lee, vice president of Purchasing at Blish-Mize Co. “This was especially beneficial when meeting with potential new vendor partners. Overall, this was a must-attend event.”
Tom Richmond, a national account manager with Ghost Controls, agreed.
“HDA is the preeminent group of distributors and an absolute must for manufacturers,” Richmond says. “Each and every meeting was attended by real decision makers that came to work. It is an amazing opportunity and shouldn’t be missed.”
The GMC was also a valuable event for new vendors looking to introduce their company and line to the group. New attending vendors had the opportunity to preview their programs and product selection during a virtual new vendor preview on May 17. Distributor attendees were then able to request meetings with new vendors during the GMC last week.
“The enthusiasm that was shown by the members toward looking at new products and opportunities was very refreshing and appreciated,” says Robert Greene, VP of Consumer Products at Polar Bear Products. “Well worth attending!”
The conference concluded with a farewell reception to give attendees a final opportunity to network with others they may have missed during the scheduled appointments.
“HDA nailed it! Two days of power-packed appointments with top-quality manufacturers from around the world,” says Joel Robinson, Purchasing/Wholesale Manager at Rohrer Seeds. “It would take months to produce the same results that we achieved in hours. Time is money, and this conference checked all the boxes.”
About Hardlines Distribution Alliance
HDA is a multidivisional international merchandising and marketing organization with corporate headquarters in Denver, Colorado. With the largest network of distributor, manufacturer and dealer partners in the industry, the alliance’s combined sales volume exceeds $7 billion through its over 65 member distributors who operate 140 distribution centers serving all 50 states. For more information visit hdaworks.com.
Learn more about the formation of HDA here.