The House-Hasson Summer Dealer Market saw enthusiastic attendees who were ready to buy in person again, access deals and explore new product opportunities at the Sevierville Convention Center in Sevierville, Tennessee, Aug. 13-14.
The buying event marked the first in-person event for the distributor since January 2020, and the general consensus for retailers is they are happy to be back.
“We couldn’t wait to get back. We love seeing and talking with everybody,” says Cathy Croley of Crescent Springs Hardware in Crescent Springs, Kentucky. “We’ve been in business 50 years, so we know so many vendors here.”
Expansion and exploring new opportunities were also themes for several retailers who shopped the market floor.
Eric and Alex Fessenden from Fessenden Hardware in Swanton, Ohio, say 2020 was their company’s best sales year, and 2021 is on track to be its second-best year. For them, House-Hasson markets are about discovering new ways to refresh displays in the store and access good deals.
“We like to take advantage of the breakfast buys and the dating and pricing deals and explore new vendors,” Eric says. “Over the last year, we’ve installed new gondolas in the store and spaced things out to make room for new products.”
For David Bowling of Bowling Feed & Hardware in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, he says he can’t pass up the savings he finds at House-Hasson markets.
“We’re here looking for new products and to get a jump-start on spring,” he says. “We’re adding 1,000 square feet of space with a store reset next month, so I’m here for the great breakfast buys and looking at assortments.”
Bowling says 2020 was a great sales year for the store, but there’s even more on the horizon.
“We saw a lot of new foot traffic last year, and a lot of them are repeat customers now,” he says. “We’re doing better this year than last year, which I didn’t think was possible.”
‘We Know You Here’
House-Hasson vice president of sales Pat McCutcheon says he knows retailers were ready to get back to in-person markets because so much of their everyday operations are done that way.
“For so long, dealers were only at their stores, so they’re looking for an opportunity to get out. A lot of relationships are built across tables at the markets,” he says. “While our virtual markets were an overwhelming success, people were ready to get back together to see other dealers, see vendors and be able to touch merchandise.”
He says the markets offer a chance for House-Hasson representatives and vendors to thank retailers for their continued commitment to their communities.
“This industry and these dealers have kept the economy going over the last 18 months,” he says. “With hardware being called essential, dealers were able to help areas move forward. It’s great to be able to thank them.”
House-Hasson has consistently seen sales and attendance climb at its markets, including at its virtual events over the last year. McCutcheon says the growth over nearly the last decade is directly correlated to the deals and buying opportunities the distributor brings to its market attendees.
“By the attendance growth, I think it shows that people have re-evaluated how the deals we have help create margin for them,” he says. “The opportunity to add margin to their stores offers a new flexibility for them to grow and expand. We have long-time vendors that continue to bring good, profitable programs for dealers. And as long as we keep providing a great value, we’ll grow and the dealers will too.”
The focus for retailers at markets is often as much about reconnecting with other retailers and vendors as it is about new products, and McCutcheon knows that is a key reason retailers attend House-Hasson events.
“It doesn’t matter how much attendance grows, our folks know who you are. If you’re new, if you ask a question, we’ll get you an answer,” he says. “That’s how we approach business, with an open-door policy. When you come in, we know you here.”
The next House-Hasson buying event is its New Year, New Beginnings Market, which will be Jan. 7-8, 2022, at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. Click here to learn more about House-Hasson.