Whether it was the Kansas City Chiefs home opener win on Thursday night, the product assortments, the pricing, or a combination of everything, spirits were high on the floor of the Blish-Mize Fall Market in Overland Park, Kansas over the weekend.
Retailers in attendance were in search of key items across many core hardlines categories, and they were there to take advantage of the several special events and buying deals found throughout the market floor.
“Pricing is key here at the market. From Showstoppers to pallet stackouts and Surprise Buys and Margin Plus coupons, our customers have access to deals that allow them more comfortability to avoid price increases in a time when pricing is certainly a challenge,” says Blish-Mize CEO and president Jonathan Mize. “In addition to deals and products, it’s really an opportunity for our customers to reconnect with vendors and their peers. They learn from each other and share ideas, so it’s a priority for us to continue to host live events.”
The deals and product opportunities were key reasons attendees say they attend Blish-Mize buying markets.
Dena Mills, who co-owns Mills Hardware in Arnold, Nebraska, with her husband Terry, was checking out Assortment Central and Hot Deals on the market floor with her granddaughter Lorelei. She says they attend both the spring and fall markets in search of products that meet the needs of their farm and ranch-focused operation.
“We’re big into barbed wire and electric fence wire for our rancher customers,” she says.”We don’t get away too often so this is always a good trip.”
Blish-Mize customer John Danek runs Danek Hardware & Lumber in Jarrell, Texas, with his brother and sister, and at the market, he was focused on pricing and searching for seasonal items.
“When we come here to the market, we’re looking for pricing and deals, and Blish-Mize does it well,” Danek says. “We are a small family-owned business, and I like that Blish-Mize is that, too. You’re not just a number when you come here. You’re part of the team.”
Investments in the Future
The 151-year-old distribution company has spent the last several years focusing on problem-solving in key areas that retailers throughout the industry have experienced, including supply chain challenges and price increases. Mize says he anticipates those areas will stabilize going into the new year.
“We’ve seen improvements in inventory, and although we’re not where we want to be, compared to other distributors, we’re ahead,” he says. “Business has been strong again this year. We’ve seen consistent month-over-month growth.”
In early 2021, Blish-Mize installed a $6 million investment to improve efficiencies in its Atchison, Kansas, distribution center, and Mize says that has been key in navigating some of the uncertainties around inventory. He says going into next year, the company will be focused on continuing to make improvements in that space to ensure customers continue to receive the service Blish-Mize is known for.
“Next year, we’re going to focus on improving our distribution center processes in regard to product location and picking, as well as for cycle counting and inventory management, which will all result in better results for our customers,” Mize says.
Customer service is a priority for other Blish-Mize initiatives next year.
“Everyone has been learning new ways to do business, and we’re exploring new opportunities for our customers as well,” Mize says.
One initiative that is on the cusp of launching is a more robust online presence that will allow customers to more easily offer buy online, pickup-in-store services.
“We are going to continue listening and responding to what our customers want and need,” Mize says.
The 2023 Blish-Mize Spring Market will take place in Overland Park, Kansas, March 16-18.