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HDA Hosts Successful Executive Planning Conference

More than 2,000 meetings took place between vendors and distributors during the Hardlines Distribution Alliance annual Executive Planning Conference.

Hardlines Distribution Alliance (HDA) hosted another dynamic and successful Executive Planning Conference (EPC) November 14-16 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. With more than two dozen distributors and 122 vendors attending 2,018 meetings, the EPC is designed to maximize interaction and attendees enjoyed countless opportunities to network over the course of three days.

On Tuesday, attendees were treated to a golf tournament on the famed Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass. Golfers enjoyed competing for first through fourth place prizes and, a hole-in-one contest. That evening, all attendees had the opportunity to network at the welcome reception and enjoy cocktails in the Great Room and Cascades Deck.

On Wednesday morning, the pre-scheduled, one-on-one appointments kicked off. During these meetings, manufacturer partners had the opportunity to review program and marketing details, new product launches and discuss objectives for the coming year with distributor members. These vital meetings allowed vendor partners to see dozens of distributor members in one location, thereby maximizing ROI at one of the most interactive events in the industry.

During an awards luncheon later that day, HDA announced the 2023 Suppliers of the Year and honored those vendors for their sales performance, program elements, support from HDA member distributors and overall group program support.

“Spending time meeting one-on-one is invaluable for planning a successful year,” said Shari Kalbach, president at HDA. “The EPC is an ideal format for strategizing sales tactics, reviewing program details and addressing challenges. HDA is excited to host such an important event each year.”

Later that evening, all attendees were treated to the “Culinary Visit to the 2023 PGA Majors” reception hosted by the National Hardware Show (NHS). Featuring cocktails and food stations with nods to the PGA Majors, attendees were also invited to wear their favorite tacky golf attire, making this reception a popular networking destination. The National Hardware Show also hosted a drawing to donate $3,000 in conjunction with HDA to one of three charities chosen by the winner: Make-A-Wish Foundation, National Parks Conservation Association or Homes for Wounded Warriors.

“To not come here and support the EPC is nuts,” said Jeff Jones, corporate accounts manager with Midwest Fastener. “You can meet with 20-25 people in one trip and to not utilize this is not taking advantage of all the opportunities that exist in the HDA network.” Throughout the conference, attending manufacturer partners also had the opportunity to display a featured item for distributor members to vote on. On Thursday, those winning featured products were announced and vendors were recognized for innovative and exciting products by category. By increasing brand awareness, the featured item area led to additional exposure for all participating vendor partners, making the EPC an ideal setting for both new and existing HDA manufacturers.

“The EPC is by far the best conference I have attended as a manufacturer in terms of speaking with multiple decision makers in purposeful meetings,” said Mat Tarrier, account manager with Tru Earth. By Thursday evening, scheduled meetings wrapped up with both vendor and distributor partners excited to take the next steps at forging business relationships over the course of the week.

HDA hosted one final farewell reception, providing another opportunity to network with those who might not have met during the scheduled meetings. “The EPC is always a can’t miss event each year,” said Alex Hodge, CEO at Horizon Distribution. “Between the networking with other distributors and manufacturers and the great setting, HDA provides a fantastic opportunity for continued growth, both personally and professionally.”

HDA 2023 Supplier of the Year Award Winners:

Automotive Category: Ancra Cargo

Electrical Category: Southwire

Hardware Category: Midwest Fastener

Housewares Category: Zep, Inc.

Lawn & Garden Category: Corona Tools

Paint & Paint Sundries Category: DAP Products Inc.

Plumbing Category: Oatey SCS/Plumb Pak

Tools Category: Apex Tool Group

Overall Category: Seymour Midwest

EPC Featured Item Winners:

Automotive and Overall Category: Alliance Consumer Group/NEBO – The NEBO Assist Air Jump Starter

Electrical Category: Prime Wire & Cable – 3-in-1 Rechargeable Quick Connect LED Work Light Set

Hand & Power Tools Category: Stanley Black & Decker – 20V MAX* 1-1/2” Cordless Pruner Hardware Category: National Hardware/Kwikset – Handleset Deadbolt for Exterior Doors Housewares/Seasonal Category: Hit Brands – Cell Phone Big Screen

Lawn & Garden Category: Corona Tools – PrecisionCUT Aluminum Hedge Shear

Paint & Sundries Category: ECO Wood Treatment – Non-Toxic Wood Stain, Treatment and Preservative

Plumbing Category: Coda Resources LTD – Basic Black 21 Gallon Utility Tub Kit

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