Distributors and manufacturers convened at this year's Group Merchandising Conference, held June 17-19 at the Embassy Suites Atlanta/Centennial Olympic Park.
With attendance hovering around 150, PRO Group and Val-Test distributors met with manufacturers during 962 private 30-minute appointments aimed at strengthening relationships and previewing new products.
According to Steve Synnott, CEO and owner of PRO Group, one-third of manufacturers at the conference were first-time attendees, a promising sign for sales and two-step distribution.
"This conference is more informal than many of the conferences we attend, and it affords us more direct interaction that is vendor-oriented and item-oriented," said Michael Brady, director of purchasing for Long-Lewis Hardware Co. "We also meet with vendors we may have never even heard of before."
To cap off the event, PRO Group informally celebrated its 60th anniversary at the conference, though the official celebration will take place in August with a nationwide circular event.