The annual WIT Honors Achievement and Marketing winners were recognized recently at the buying group’s 2012 fall networking meeting at the Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix.
Elkhart, Ind.-based Mid-City Supply was the overall winner and also picked up the advertising and brand awareness category award. Mid-City has won the overall WHAM award twice since 2009.
Mid-City President-Owner Jeff New was the star of a series of well-done television commercials that aired in 2011 on the local CBS affiliate. New reported the commercials played a big role in the company enjoying a 21.97% increase in showroom sales and a 9.78% increase in non-showroom sales.
“We sell toilets. You have to have fun doing it,” New told the audience in Phoenix after accepting the overall WHAM honor.
Through an internal company promotion, Mid-City also raised an impressive $20,687 for United Way. The promotion exceeded expectations and resulted in New shaving off his trademark mustache to settle a bet related to the initiative. New brought in a local barber that still does a straight-razor shave and nearly 40 employees came out to watch their boss get rid of his mustache.
“I hadn’t seen my upper lip in 37 years,” New said.
Modern Supply, the 2011 Supply House Times Wholesaler of the Year, was the winner of the e-marketing/Web award for its Modern’s Millie Kitchen and Bath Blab blog. Millie is the company’s popular cartoon character spokeswoman. The blog has enjoyed success since it went live in August 2011.
Surprise, Ariz.-based Canyon Pipe & Supply was the winner of the marketing research/business development honor for its partner marketing program. Ace Plumbing Heating & Electrical Supplies took home the merchandising/showroom award related to the successful launch of a new 6,000-sq.-ft. showroom in Vineland, N.J.
Schumacher & Seiler won in the partners and events category. The Timonium, Md.-based company rolled out a gross margin dollars-based program that awarded a vacation trip incentive to a salesperson. The program’s goal was exceeded.
Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Rampart Supply won in the public relations category for its Made in America Spotlight initiative that included the contribution of funds to help with the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers at Fort Carson, Colo. Rampart’s spotlighted manufacturers made contributions based on their products’ sales for a given time period and Rampart matched the contributions.
WIT’s fall meeting also was filled with beneficial best practices sessions on a number of different topics. WIT IT Director Kevin Roquemore gave an informative talk on cloud technology to wholesalers, while Plumbing Distributors Inc.’s Adrienne Wilkes and Wiseway’s Marianne Brummett followed with their take on the importance of mobile technology in the workplace. Wilkes noted PDI now supplies iPads to its entire outside sales force.
“If we took away their iPads, their production would go down big-time,” Wilkes said.
Brummett cited a statistic that predicted tablet Web visits will surpass smartphone visits by January 2013.
Service Supply of Victoria’s Dan Rice generated plenty of discussion with his presentation on sales force training and performance improvement. Rice shared his company’s hiring, training and commission practices.
“We’ve added 300 customers in the last 12 months,” Rice said. “Sales guys like what we are doing. We’re seeing guys really dig into territories.”
Marketing expert Kelly McDonald delivered the meeting’s keynote address on marketing to different generations. For more on McDonald’s talk, read Editor Mike Miazga’s editorial. To see video interviews with Mid-City Supply’s New and McDonald, visit www.supplyht.com.
WIT’s 2013 Distributor Vendor Conference will be held April 1-5 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. The 2013 fall networking meeting takes place Sept. 9-13 at Charleston Place in Charleston, S.C.