The newly merged Nationwide Marketing Group and Mega Group buying organizations have wrapped up their first joint national planning meetings in advance of February’s PrimeTime conference and buy fair.
The biannual meetings, held at Nationwide headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C., provide an opportunity for the leadership and services teams from each of Nationwide’s regional divisions to review their status with senior management and help plan the PrimeTime show.
The meetings were held amid ongoing consolidation activities in the wake of last month’s announced merger, which created an $18.5 billion marketing and merchandising organization for independent dealers with 5,300 members and 14,000 storefronts.
“The integration process for the two groups has been underway for weeks and it’s been exciting to see how compatible our cultures are, how complimentary our capabilities are and how quickly our people have engaged with one another,” said Jerry Honea, who served as executive VP under the prior Mega Group structure.
Under the plan, Mega members will be integrated into Nationwide’s existing regional chapters based on their location, and once the merger is completed the Mega name will be retired, a Nationwide spokesperson conveyed to TWICE.
The combined groups are maintaining all existing offices and team members, with plans to invest in additional support staff as needed, Nationwide said. The merger “will optimize support personnel resulting in reduced territory sizes and more time in store with members,” the combined leadership team reported.
“As the two groups combine and increase our investments in technology, education, marketing, operations and more, members can expect more initiatives, lower costs and improved delivery of services,” said Nationwide chairman Dave Bilas.
Vendors and suppliers will also enjoy greater efficiencies by engaging with one less buying group and exhibiting at two fewer shows.
Member services head Frank Sandtner added: “The number and value of new member service programs from the groups’ combined offerings will enable members to simplify and reduce operating costs.” Among the latest initiatives: a digital platform that generates awareness, traffic and volume with point-of-sale measurement for participating dealers.
PrimeTime will be held Feb. 26-March 1 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
Watch Honea and senior exec Tom Hickman discuss the merger, below.