Adam Berger, CEO of Unity Networking, which developed the site, said WholesalerDirect.com is the Internet version of the company's PC-based The Computerized Marketplace. PHCP wholesalers have used the proprietary database since 1992. The cooperative service has 600 wholesaler members selling product and 2,000 wholesalers who are buyers. Until now the service was only open to wholesalers, but the Internet has changed that.
"The Web is the perfect vehicle to reach the real buyers for this type of product," Berger said. "There are 300,000 contractors, builders, architects and designers in the trade, all interested in buying hard-to-find, discontinued and clearance-priced PHCP product."
The site contains a number of listings of excess inventory from PHCP wholesalers nationwide for sale to the trade at wholesale prices.
While the site will begin primarily as an avenue for buying and selling excess inventory, eventually wholesalers will have the option of listing their entire inventory for sale. Berger explained that Unity could also help wholesalers set up Web storefronts to sell product.
"We've surveyed our wholesaler members and the response has been overwhelming," he said. "About 300 wholesalers want to sell on the Web site, and at least 100 want us to build storefronts for them." The Web site will start with Kohler and American Standard plumbing lines. Waterworks and PVF will be added next, followed by HVAC and Electrical.