Plenty of positives came out of WIT & Co.’s annual Distributor/Vendor Conference at the Hyatt Regency Dallas that attracted more than 660 owners, vendors and service providers.
On the sales side, WIT Vice President/Executive Director Brandy Reed reported the group experienced single-digit growth for 2017. “The single-digit growth is right in line with what our owners are seeing,” she said.
The meeting was Reed’s first since joining the group last fall at its Fall Networking Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. “It’s been five fast and furious months,” she told Supply House Times during the event. “I feel like I’m drinking from a fire hose, but this group has been incredibly friendly and forthcoming with information and letting me know if there is anything I need that they are a phone call away. Plus, the reception from the vendor community has been great.”
Reed said the group is putting an increased emphasis on technology initiatives. “We’re always looking for ways to help our owners be more cost-effective and efficient,” she said.
On the vendor side, Reed reported WIT’s Growth Alliance Program continues to blossom. The program provides added exposure for WIT vendors through a variety of marketing platforms, including email blasts. This is the program’s third year of existence and Reed noted participation increased nearly 40% in a short timeframe in late 2017. “We’ll reach out to our vendor community and see if there is anything else they are looking for and we’ll look at ways to continue to revamp and make the program even more exciting.”
Once again, WIT’s tabletop exhibits the afternoon prior to the group’s speed meetings were a smash hit with continued increased attendance. This year’s session featured 89 WIT vendors and service providers. “It was
well-attended and it’s something we would like to see continue,” Reed said. “Every year we’ve seen growth.”
A total of 5,166 distributor/vendor meetings occurred during a two-day timeframe.
In terms of market conditions, Reed is hearing positive vibes from WIT owners. “The group is very healthy,” she said. “They are optimistic and based on everything we heard during the tabletop sessions and our meetings, everybody seems optimistic for 2018.”
As is custom, WIT recognized a number of its owners for 2017 top performances in the group. Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Goodin Co., is the winner of the top purchasing award for 2017, while The Portland Group out of North Billerica, Massachusetts, Falk Supply (Hot Springs, Arkansas) and Kelly Supply (Grand Island, Nebraska) were the top winners of their percentage growth award categories.
WIT also honored its vendors with service awards. Ideal Tridon was honored for 40 years in the group, while Viega was cited for its 30-year run with WIT. Twenty-five-year service awards went to Franklin Electric and Hammond Valve, while 20-year honorees included Cambridge-Lee/Linesets, Cresline, Delta Faucet and Jones Stephens.
WIT’s 2018 Fall Networking Meeting takes place Sept. 4-6 in Boston, while the 2019 Distributor/Vendor Conference is scheduled for Feb. 26-28 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas.