The fervor of North Central Wholesalers Association members is on the rise and the numbers are trending in the right direction, both in meeting attendance and the bottom lines of NCWA companies.

Thomas J. Noon gives his presentation to wholesalers and manufacturers at the North Central Wholesalers Association annual meeting June 11 in Huron, Ohio. Photo by John McNally

The fervor ofNorth Central Wholesalers Associationmembers is on the rise and the numbers are trending in the right direction, both in meeting attendance and the bottom lines of NCWA companies.

With more than 150 people, 26 wholesale companies and 57 manufacturers and manufacturers representatives on-site June 11-12 in Huron, Ohio at The Lodge at Sawmill Creek Resort for NCWA’s annual meeting, outgoing NCWA PresidentJohn Strong(Indianapolis-basedEconomy Plumbing Supply) is leaving his post with a strong sense of accomplishment.Scott RobertsonofRobertson Heating Supplywill take over in the coming months.

“This is a level of enthusiasm that I haven’t seen in many years,” Strong told Supply House Times.

During the meeting’s afternoon session,Industry InsightsThomas J. Noongave a presentation that showed how NCWA companies in 2011 stacked up compared to their 2010 numbers and all ASA members in 2010 (numbers for all of ASA in 2011 are not available yet). Many of the numbers trended positive for NCWA members. Net profit before taxes in percentage of net sales for NCWA members was at 2.4% in 2011 and all of ASA was at 2.2% in 2010. Sales growth increased by 10% for NCWA in 2011.

Noon also gave advice to the wholesalers in attendance about potential pitfalls to avoid as the economy and companies slowly begin to recover from the economic collapse of 2008.

“Expense creep is a silent profitability threat facing all distributors,” Noon said. “In today’s climate, the need to operate lean and clean applies more than ever.”

Strong felt there was a lot to take away from Noon’s program and a lot for regional wholesalers to think about.

“Noon’s program was really well-received. I think it was pertinent to everyone, but really exciting for the wholesalers to get into that,” Strong said.

After the presentation, wholesalers broke into tabletop meetings with vendors and sales representatives. In the past, NCWA had a less formal meeting schedule, but this year a strict 10-minute time limit was instituted as wholesalers moved from table to table. To solidify Strong’s excitement he asked the crowd at the evening reception for a sign if the new format was worth keeping and the room launched into a solid round of applause.

“We want to try and provide quality content, whether it’s networking components or educational components,” Strong said. “We’ve all been to so many of these things. What’s going to get someone to get in a car or a plane and come to our meetings?”