Denver (June 25, 2019) – On June 17, dozens of member distributors and vendor partners descended on the Embassy Suites Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta for PRO Group, Inc.’s annual Group Merchandising Conference. Over the next two days, 40 distributor and 75 manufacturer attendees met in 1,572 scheduled appointments to discuss new product and conference specials, work out details of programs and build partnerships at several networking events. They were also treated to a general session hosted by Dan Tratensek, the executive vice president with the North American Retail Hardware Association and publisher of Hardware Retailing magazine.

During this general session, Tratensek spoke on ‘A Team Effort: How Independent Retailers are Competing in the Age of Amazon (and how YOU can help!)’. He examined how retailers are responding to new retail realities that have emerged in the Amazon age and the most important things manufacturers and distributors can do to help independent retailers succeed. After this general session and a welcome reception that evening, attendees got down to business Tuesday morning by delving into product assortments, show pricing and program details with manufacturers from multiple categories.

“The GMC continues to deliver outstanding returns for member distributor buyers and group suppliers. Product placement that occurs as a direct result of the GMC will propel sales throughout the balance of 2019 and beyond,” said Steve Synnott, President and CEO at PRO Group. “PRO is delighted and proud to facilitate the GMC for the benefit of our key suppliers and wholesale distributor customers.”

In each appointment, manufacturers are given the opportunity to present products, pricing and program information to distributor buyers without any distraction. This allowed distributors to gain a deeper understanding of individual products and entire lines in one sitting. With the many networking events, such as luncheons and receptions, manufacturers also had the opportunity to touch base with even more members in a more social setting.

“The PRO Group GMC is a great event with enough time in meetings to have meaningful conversations and develop business opportunities in just a few days. Those meetings could have otherwise taken months of phone calls and travel to accomplish the same thing,” said Jim Depolo, product manager at VP Racing Fuels.

Distributor attendees were also able to touch base with existing manufacturers to plan for future program needs and get a preview of upcoming products. The GMC closed with the PRO Hardware Merchandise Committee Meeting where distributors shared which programs were of most interest to them.

“This is by far the best conference I have attended so far,” said Matt Speer, purchasing agent with Becknell Wholesale. “The meeting format was excellent and the one-on-one attention from the manufacturers was very effective.”




PRO Group, Inc. ( is a multidivisional international merchandising and marketing organization with corporate headquarters in Denver. Its operating units include PRO Hardware, GardenMaster, FARM MART and GOLDEN-LINK. With over 79 distributors operating over 140 distribution centers serving all 50 states, the Group’s combined sales volume exceeds $6 billion through its member distributors and an alliance with the VAL-TEST Group.


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