It was a record-breaking 2018 for the Irving, Texas-based WIT & Co. buying group. WIT Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Brandy Reed told Supply House Times during the cooperative’s recent annual Distributor and Vendor Conference in Grapevine, Texas, that 2018 purchases within the group rose to record-breaking levels.

“WIT continues to be a healthy and viable group,” she said. “In 2018, we had the largest dollar volume of purchases through the group. Several of our owners not only grew, but grew in double digits over the previous year.”

Reed noted WIT had 29 owners that grew sales within the buying group by more than $1 million in 2018. That compares to 19 that did the same in 2017.

“To go from 19 to 29 says quite a lot about our owners,” she said. “2018 was a busy and successful year for all our distributors. The year started busy and didn’t slow down until the end of the year and that’s not because of sales problems, but rather contractors having trouble finding labor to get products installed.”

WIT continues to push the envelope forward on the technology front. “Overall, our distributors are getting more and more interested in furthering technology initiatives that we’ve launched,” Reed said. “They are working to streamline the process of sharing data with vendors and reducing overall costs within the group. They are looking for ways to drive efficiencies that cut costs for both sides.”

WIT also rolled out its own app for its conference at the Gaylord Texan, which again included a well-received vendor tabletop showcase afternoon (84 vendors and service providers participated). With the addition of Steamist, PRIER, Pasco Specialty and Manufacturing, and JM Eagle, WIT now has 160 vendors in the group.

The event drew more than 645 WIT distributors, vendors and service providers. A total of 33 vendors were honored for their service in the group in five-year increments. American Water Heater and Keeney Mfg. Co. were recognized for 35 years in the group, while Sloan Valve was cited for 25 years as a WIT vendor partner.

Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Goodin Co. was the recipient of the WIT top purchasing award for 2018, while Hydrologic Distribution Co., out of Pinellas Park, Florida, SouthWest Plumbing Supply of Cedar City, Utah, and Benjamin Supply of Tucson, Arizona, were the top winners of their percentage growth award categories.

Reed sees more growth for the group on the horizon. “Our owners live by the WIT mantra of ‘We Invest Together,’” she said. “They work together as a unified team to help solidify the viability and success of WIT. Our owners are engaged with our committees and with our board to make sure we keep moving forward in a positive direction.”