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Independent Buying Groups Convene This Month


The nation’s three leading buying groups
for independent CE, appliance and furniture dealers are
convening across the country this week and next for biannual
meetings and buy fairs.

The shows, for Nationwide Marketing Group (NMG),
BrandSource and Mega Group USA, represent an important
prelude to the fall and holiday selling seasons, as new
services, strategies and vendor programs are presented
to the members.

For NMG, this week’s PrimeTime event brings several
major changes, beginning with the venue. The conclave,
running Aug. 21-24, will be held for the first time at the
Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, just outside Dallas.

Also new are senior members of the group’s merchandising
and marketing team, which is now lead by GE Appliance
veteran Dave Bilas and includes former Electrolux
sales director Jeff Knock, who serves as marketing senior
VP for appliances.

NMG said it is anticipating the largest turnout ever for
its buying show and conference, with nearly 900 vendors
and member companies expected to attend. The show
also marks the organization’s 40th anniversary, which it
will celebrate by providing members with a booklet at registration
filled with “40 Great Ideas” to help draw more
foot traffic and increase sales and gross margins. Dealers
who visit participating vendor booths to learn more about
these ideas will also get a chance to win a $10,000 U.S.
savings bond and other prizes including an iPad 2 and iPod Touch.

“This will mark our largest summer
showing,” said NMG CEO Robert Weisner.
“The strong attendance numbers
we have seen over this past year can be
attributed to the real benefits and value
our vendor partners and member dealers
are getting at PrimeTime.”

Rival buying group BrandSource has
also found a new home for its fall show.
The organization, whose divisions include
the Home Entertainment Source
(HES) specialty A/V wing and its Pro-
Source partner the Progressive Retailers
Organization (PRO Group), will meet at
Caesar’s Palace Aug. 28-31, just down
the road from its longtime late-summer
venue at the Paris and Bally’s Hotels.

Top of mind at the show will be Brand-
Source’s new strategic partnership with
Ingram Micro, which now manages the
group’s Expert Warehouse distribution
and fulfillment program. The two-step
initiative, which allows member dealers
to purchase mixed-freight shipments of
a wide variety of A/V and, increasingly,
majap brands at competitive prices, had
previously been operated by Archbrook
Laguna, which liquidated this month.

The group will also formally introduce
at the show its wholly owned wholesale
finance firm, BrandSource Financial, which is designed to provide member
dealers with additional opportunities for
profitability and growth, BrandSource
said. “BrandSource Financial offers
all the capabilities of any competitive
wholesale finance company [but] is the
only wholesale finance company operated
for the benefit of its members,” said
CEO Bob Lawrence. “Since we own it,
we all share in the proceeds.”

Also offering enhanced services this
month is Mega Group USA, which is expanding
its WebFronts Premium Plus ecommerce
program to the mattress and
bedding categories, and is introducing
fleet-management software for dealers.
The programs will officially launch
at Mega’s bi-annual convention, running
Aug. 25-28 at the Downtown Renaissance
in Nashville.

The show, themed “Stay Connected,
Be Connected,” is focused on further
educating dealers on web marketing.
In addition to training workshops on the
WebFronts program, the group will also
conduct informational sessions on social
media that include tips, techniques
and best practices, plus a special address
by social-media expert Jeff Korhan,
this year’s featured speaker.

“Online and social-media marketing
is critical to [our dealers’] success,”
said Mega president Rick Bellows. “As
a leader in web marketing, it is our responsibility
and passion to continue to
bring our dealers the knowledge they
need to compete online.”