Builders' Merchants News' sales director Stuart Knight with new-look magazine and Awards nominations packs.

Unimer day delivers its networking promise

Published:  10 July, 2009

SOUTH WALES: No Conference this year? No worries. United Merchants' Open day was a much-needed networking bonanza for merchants and suppliers alike.

Over 340 delegates attended the event and, said Unimer managing director Howard Grant, there were only four fewer suppliers than last year.

Set in the vast grounds of the Celtic Manor resort near Newport, the event was spread over two days. It provided ample time and space for business get-togethers, Meet the Merchant sessions and outdoor sporting activities.

The event was well attended. Comments from suppliers at the exhibition were effusive. "It has given us an ideal environment in which to really talk serious business," said one.

Another exhibitor said that despite the fact that merchants' sales of products for the refurbishment market was around 25% down on last year, the merchants they had seen had been overwhelmingly positive and were looking to start placing orders.

Suppliers agreed that giving merchants value for money, quicker delivery times, better and slicker displays was essential.

"We also have to diversify in order to be a one-stop shop for our merchant customers," one sales director stated.

Not just business: action sports play their part at the event.

The value of being a Unimer member was also mentioned. For start-up companies like Scapa (selling high end tapes and fixings), being under the big Unimer umbrella was a powerful way to meet merchants face-to-face.

In terms of trends, the push was on for RMI products. Simple, effective and new products like EPS' ingenious soil pipe conector, Monument Tools' lightweight aluminium recyclable soldering torch, Conex's DZR (metal) push-fit fittings and Sika's handy sachet wood treatments all go towards maximising shelf space, while also offering merchants novel sales opportunities.

Companies like Harrison & Clough, offering across-the-board solutions from a wide range of top brands, said the power of being able to offer mixed, smaller orders and 'impulse buy' products for merchants' regular customers should not be under-estimated.

Builders' Merchants News was out in force at the Open Day, presenting its new look and canvassing for your nominations for the 2009 Builders' Merchants Awards for Excellence.

As always, the Awards are for all merchant companies – no matter how large or how small. To find out what your peers have done and how they won the judges' approval, click on the Benchmarking Excellence section on the navigation bar on the home page.

Howard Grant: working to help the merchant.

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