In November, Hardlines Distribution Alliance (HDA) hosted the first Executive Planning Conference (EPC) since the organization’s formation in April when Distribution America and PRO Group joined together to become HDA. Attendees descended upon the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson, Arizona, for three days of networking, receptions and golf in a luxury setting. Manufacturers had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with executive decision makers from over 25 leading distributors.
“The amazing energy of the inaugural HDA EPC will prepare member distributors and suppliers for a great 2023,” says Steve Synnott, chief executive officer at HDA. “HDA will begin our first full year of operations on January 1, 2023, with a fantastic forecast for continued success.”
Participants were treated to a golf tournament at the La Paloma Country Club, which featured a hole-in-one contest sponsored by the North American Hardware and Paint Association (NHPA). The tournament was followed by a welcome reception that allowed all attendees to start the event with multiple networking opportunities while enjoying a top-rated venue.
“HDA is a top-notch organization that provides great opportunities for distributors and manufacturers to have meaningful discussions about how to be better partners for each other,” says Jason Kohm, a national accounts manager with Kidde. “The conference was well worth my time to attend.”
Pre-scheduled, one-on-one meetings allowed manufacturer partners and distributor members to plan for a successful 2023, discuss product launches and conference specials, iron out program and advertising details and review new business opportunities. These meetings also provided the opportunity to address challenges that have persisted in the supply chain.
“HDA did a great job delivering what was needed to assist distributors in planning a successful 2023 with existing suppliers while providing opportunities for new suppliers to help grow our business,” says Matthew Patti, vice president of sales and operations at Monroe Hardware.
Wednesday night featured the Taste of Tucson Sonoran Style reception sponsored by the National Hardware Show (NHS), providing even more opportunities to meet in a social setting. NHS also held a raffle during the EPC with the winner selecting the Children’s Miracle Network to receive a $3,000 donation from HDA and NHS.
HDA also honored the 2022 Suppliers of the Year before and throughout the event. On November 10, all attendees were invited to a virtual General Session, which outlined the schedule for the EPC and recognized all the Suppliers of the Year in an awards video. Suppliers of the Year are honored for their sales performance, program elements, support from HDA member distributors and overall group program support.
In addition, manufacturer attendees had the opportunity to display a featured item to be voted on by distributor members, increasing brand visibility and allowing product to be viewed up close. Winners for each category and an overall winner were announced on Thursday. With these opportunities in place, the EPC provides manufacturer attendees with the ability to maximize their exposure to a large group of distributors in one event, making it an ideal setting for both new and existing vendor partners.
“There isn’t an industry event I know of that is more efficient and enjoyable than the EPC,” says Mark Doyle, manager of distributor accounts at Werner Co. “With great people, over 20 productive distributor meetings and social opportunities, this two-day conference is one that I look forward to every year.”
With the conclusion of pre-scheduled meetings on Thursday and a farewell reception in the evening, attendees had the opportunity to plan next steps and outline the path to a successful 2023.