Orgill kicked off its Spring Dealer Market on Thursday, February 24, welcoming thousands of retailers to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., for its first in-person buying event in two years.
The live Spring Dealer Market runs Feb. 24-26 and is being hosted concurrently with an Online Buying Event, which kicked off Feb. 21 and will run through March 4. These combined events give Orgill’s customers and vendors the opportunity to network and interact both live and online for the first time ever.
“We have all waited a long time to be able to gather together in person, but we have also learned a lot over these last two years about how to make these buying events as productive as possible for our customers,” says Boyden Moore, Orgill president and CEO. “We have found that there are distinct advantages to an in-person event that are very difficult to replicate online but that our Online Buying Events also offered additional opportunities for our customers.”
In addition to being the first time Orgill has hosted online and live buying events at the same time, Orgill is celebrating another milestone during the three-day Spring Dealer Market—the distributor’s 175th anniversary.
“Perhaps it’s fitting that this event where we are combining the more traditional Dealer Market format with an Online Buying Event is also serving as the stage for celebrating our 175th anniversary as a company. While we honor and celebrate our deep roots in the industry and the community, we also have a strong focus on the future,” Moore says.
From the first-ever hybrid event, to the celebration of a milestone anniversary, there is a lot for attendees and exhibitors to take in this week in Orlando.
A Focus on Business
While Orgill has been hosting Online Buying Events since the onset of the pandemic in North America, the return to Orlando and an in-person event marks a significant step toward getting back to business as usual.
“The Online Buying Events started as a way to allow retailers to take advantage of buying opportunities during the pandemic, but it was also a natural progression,” says Greg Stine, Orgill’s executive vice president of marketing and communications. “Retailers who can’t attend the physical Market can take advantage of the Online Buying Event, and retailers who attend the physical event now have the opportunity to work the Market more efficiently using both resources. In fact, as we kick off the Dealer Market, we already have had three strong days of buying through our buying event website.”
At both the live Dealer Market and the Spring Online Buying Event, retailers are able to take advantage of promotional buying opportunities, shop for seasonal merchandise and browse thousands of new products. The same vendors and products are on offer at both the in-person and virtual events.
The live event, however, offers additional opportunities that are difficult to replicate online, according to Stine.
“Being able to hold both in-person and live events extends the buying experience beyond what either a stand-alone physical show or online buying event can offer. This is really the way of the future,” Stine says. “I think we are going to continue to find ways to add value to the events and better utilize technology to make the buying experience easier and more intuitive for our customers.”
With the return to an in-person Market, attendees are finding many of the same features they had come to expect from Orgill’s past shows, including areas such as the highly popular concept stores, promotional buys, a variety of seminars and workshops and the ability to interact with thousands of vendors and learn more about Orgill programs and services.
The two concept stores, which are laid out like real-world retail locations, are an excellent way for retailers to gather inventory and merchandising ideas at the Spring Dealer Market.
At this year’s event, Orgill used real-world retail locations from its family of Central Network Retail Group (CNRG) stores as the inspiration for the models.
“We learn so much in our CNRG stores that they really serve as a retail laboratory that we use to vet and develop programs that we roll out to our entire customer base,” says Stine. “This year, we thought we would show Market attendees exactly what that looks like in the model stores.”
The Lumberjack Home & Building Center covers more than 7,000 square feet with a pro/contractor focus. The layout is inspired by Central Network Retail Group’s (CNRG) Lumberjack brand stores.
The concept store features a contractor and services counter, a pro paint department and a 1,000-square-foot rental area. It includes newly updated ProSource assortments, new merchandising planogram backers and heavy construction fasteners.
“It seems like it’s got everything you need,” says Adam Dawes from Beatty Lumber & Millwork Co. in Upper Darby, Pa. “I come from a small lumberyard. We’re 80 percent contractor and 20 percent homeowner, so seeing the layouts geared toward contractors really helps me and gives me better ideas to bring back home. I definitely have a million ideas.”
The Town & Country Hardware concept store, inspired by CNRG’s North Carolina stores with the same name, represents a traditional hardware store at 13,000 square feet.
The Town & Country concept store has a destination paint department and a seasonal flex area featuring outdoor living categories, including wild bird, grills and outdoor power equipment. Orgill’s FanBuilder loyalty program is demonstrated at the checkout with a fully functional Epicor POS system. The store also features a Brand Building Promotional Endcap program and an 825-square-foot fastener program.
The Exclusively Orgill Showcase, formerly Worldwide Sourcing, features a 2022 Christmas Booking program and 2022 Patio Warehouse program.
The 33,000-square-foot Showcase also hosts a lighting program, expanded faucet selection, big-box comparisons, promotional endcaps and pallet specials.
“By sourcing products direct from the manufacturers, Orgill is able to offer high-quality products with higher margins than the national brand equivalents,” says Jeff Curler, Orgill’s executive vice president of purchasing.
In addition to the Exclusively Orgill Showcase, Curler says that Orgill will be placing an emphasis on spotlighting new items throughout the show floor.
“Attendees will see that we are really focused on new items at this show,” Curler says. “We have heard from a lot of retailers that they are eager to expand on their assortments or look at new opportunities, so we are featuring new items heavily in areas throughout the show, but particularly with programs such as our expanded Smart Start assortments.”
“I’m brand new to Orgill and I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen,” says Michelle Brown from Hamptonville Quality Hardware in Hamptonville, N.C. “It’s very nice and organized.”
Special Promotional Opportunities
The Spring Dealer Market is Orgill’s first hybrid event, with both online and in-person buying. More than 2,000 U.S. and Canadian new items are featured—the largest ever on display at an Orgill Dealer Market.
Thousands of warehouse specials are on offer, along with hundreds of warehouse pallet specials and more than 1,500 drop-ship pallet specials. The Market is also an opportunity for retailers to take advantage of in-person-only planogram specials and a Flash Market with deep discounts on closeout, end-of-season overstocks and factory discounted merchandise.
Customers are able to refresh their assortments through Orgill’s Smart Start Showcase lift program, which includes more than 280 vendor programs over 23,300 square feet.
“These are things we already carried in the store and we know will sell well. To be able to get it at these prices is great,” says Darryl Revier from Hwy 83 Lawn & Leisure in Garrison, N. D.
Seminars and Workshops
In addition to the browsing and buying taking place throughout the show, Orgill’s Dealer Markets are known as a place for attendees to grow and learn, and the Spring Dealer Market will feature almost 50 in-person workshops and clinics.
Orgill is harnessing technology to make these sessions available to an even wider audience.
“We have always made dealer education a big part of our Markets, but this will mark the first time we are extending the reach of our live educational sessions to also offer them to customers who can’t make it to the market,” says Stine. “So, in addition to the in-person workshops, we will be live streaming 10 of those sessions through our Distance Learning platform so our customers can access the sessions remotely.”
Orgill has been offering online sessions for the last year, but this will be the first Market where the live sessions are also being broadcast.
175th Anniversary Celebration
Retailers, employees and vendor partners in Orlando—plus their family and friends—are invited to celebrate Orgill’s 175th anniversary. To mark the occasion, Orgill has rented out the Universal Orlando Resort, including Universal Studios and the Islands of Adventure, to celebrate on the evening of Feb. 25.
“It’s humbling to be part of a company that has such a rich history that stretches back 175 years. We want to honor that history and the milestone and not just celebrate the company but also the customers that have made this kind of longevity possible,” Moore says. “Orgill’s mission is to help our customers be successful, and if anything, this kind of longevity is proof that we have and will continue to fulfill this mission.”
A highlight of the event and Orgill’s anniversary celebrations are custom Orgill-themed beers from High Cotton Brewing Co., local to Memphis, where Orgill is headquartered. The two beers include “Joe—A Smooth Lager” featuring an image of Joe Orgill and “Mike—A Strong Ale,” with an image of Mike McDonnell.
Joe Orgill and Mike McDonnell were Orgill co-owners and family members who led the company and structured Orgill for long-term success and growth through the late 20th century.
“We recognize this milestone and honor the company’s past, but we are also looking forward to the next evolution for the company,” Moore says. “While we have a rich history, we know we have to continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of our customers.”
The Spring Dealer Market is a hybrid, online and in-person event. Future 2022 Orgill events include quarterly Online Buying Events for each season.