By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Member dealers attending last month's Brand Source National Convention and Buying Fair, held at the Paris and Bally's hotels here, were met by an expanded white goods assortment on the show floor.
Indeed, the buying organization extended its display space to a record 140,000 square feet of buy fair floor to accommodate new majap programs — as well as new offerings from Home Entertainment Source (HES), the group's high-end A/V segment; Sleep Source, its branded bedding store program; and Home Rental Source, its rent-to-own (RTO) solution.
New additions to Brand Source's white goods product portfolio included two exclusives: Gibson freezers and the luxury Gourmet Professional Series kitchen line. The Gibson program, available to Brand Source members only, provides a high quality, competitively priced product with a 10-year compressor warranty, the group said. As a special show incentive, dealers were offered a $100 casino chip for every 12 SKUs ordered for immediate delivery.
The summer show also marked the official rollout of Brand Source's new premium private label Gourmet platform, which includes gas cooking products, a built-in dishwasher and a built-in side-by-side refrigerator, all in stainless steel finishes. The cooking products are shipping shortly, the group said, and the dishwasher and refrigerator will be shipping by the first of the year. Outdoor cooking products may also be added to the mix.
The Gourmet line, said executive director Bob Lawrence, was developed to offer Brand Source members an exclusive, quality-built product that will allow them to compete in the marketplace and still retain healthy profit margins as ultra-premium brands expand distribution.
Other exhibiting majap vendors included Ariston, Bosch, Danby, Electrolux, Fisher & Paykel/DCS, GE and Whirlpool/Maytag.
Other buy show highlights included an opening night “Stampede,” in which vendors offered special buys on 20 products for one hour only. The specials were not in writing, and were offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Elsewhere, Brand Source announced updates to the backroom information center on the group's Intranet site. New features include an Expert HR link to up-to-date human resources information and forms; an Expert Apparel button to enable members to order logo shirts online; a new Expert Warehouse button that replaces the OMS button for online ordering; and service updates from Brand Source's new service department advisory group.
Show highlights included a silent charity auction to benefit the Butch DuBose Scholarship Fund, named after the beloved Brand Source member, which helps offset higher education expenses for the group's dealers, employees and staff. Auctioned items included a signed guitar from Rick Springfield, who also performed at the convention; a two-night travel package to New York City, including hotel, airfare and tickets to a Regis and Kelly TV show taping; two cases of assorted red and white wines from Maple Creek Winery; a decorative indoor waterfall from BluWorld USA; and a studio print of Shoeless Joe Jackson and a football autographed by Dallas Cowboys great Roger Staubach.
Special guests included celebrity chef Tim Creehan, sponsored by Fisher & Paykel's DCS subsidiary; Whirlpool's Sam Abdelnour, who addressed a lunchtime crowd; football legend Deacon Jones, who was scheduled to sign autographs at the Samsung booth; and drag racers and reality TV show stars John and Ashley Force, whose racing team is sponsored by Brand Source.
The Brand Source convention also featured a gangbuster cluster of Expert University seminars including featured sessions led by nationally renown consultants (and Brand Source keynoters) Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender (Kizer & Bender), and Latino marketing expert Kelly McDonald. Topics included “Repairing Your Service Department”; “Controlling Your Health Care Costs”; “Employment Practices Liability”; and “Maximize The Value of Your Business.”
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.