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NEWS + ANALYSIS Big distribution deal In PRO Group-Reliable consolidation lies greater choice for customers PRO Group CEO Steve Synnott has a somewhat counterintuitive take on consolidation in the industry: That its recent merger with Reliable Distributors will multiply the options available to customers, even as it narrows the field of competitors in hardware distribution. Denver-based PRO Group announced its intentions to join forces with the Chicago-based distributor in early October, adding 74 distributors and more than $2 billion in volume to its domain — not to mention an expanded assortment of suppliers and boosted purchasing power. “Hardware distribution has been consolidating for over 30 years,” Synnott said. “We see suppliers in the same light, with multiple consolidations forming companies like Stanley Black & Decker, Newell, Mueller and others.” And while other combinations result in fewer choices for independents, Synnott presents the new PRO-Reliable merger as one that expands supplier programs to both networks. What Reliable lacks in hardware assortment, PRO’s supplier network makes up for. What PRO lacks in pet, animal health, agricultural and janitorial, Reliable’s network makes up for. Together, both of their already sizable lawn, garden and farm sectors will be stronger, Synnott reasons. Beyond this, the combined purchasing power should deliver added value, reduced channel costs and better product availability, not to mention cost reductions resulting from bringing two group headquarters together in one Colorado office, as well as combining two individual spring trade shows. The company says its purchasing 14 “The Group is focused on opportunities to more effectively compete with big-box merchants ... .” Steve Synnott, CEO of PRO Group power exceeds $5 billion through its member distributors. Despite some geographical overlap, Reliable’s 200-plus distribution centers will provide a major boon for the PRO network, which currently operates 30 member distributors across the country. Both companies were already serving customers in all 50 states. Yet, the architects of the deal point to the creation of a more effective buffer against big-box competition. “The Group is focused on opportunities to more effectively compete with big-box merchants who serve the same home improvement, lawn & garden, farm & agricultural, pet & animal health, janitorial & sanitation markets served by PRO and Reliable,” said Synnott. “While admittedly there are distributors who serve similar markets with similar products, these companies existed side-by-side prior to the merger with profitable business models despite the overlap. PRO and Reliable are stronger together and united in a purpose to help independent retailers attain continued success in the face of big-box competition.” Specifically, the newly combined entity has high expectations for marketing synergies and program support. The plan is to have a more comprehensive toolkit available to members via a streamlined promotional mechanism, with reduced costs. — Steph Koyfman NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER Old-timey lighting gets modern update When it comes to lighting, there’s nothing like a fine vintage. Even in the age of home automation, considerable demand still exists for bulbs that give off an incandescent glow and lighting fixtures that evoke the nostalgia that’s come back into vogue. Here are a few examples of Hudson Valley Lighting’s take on vintage modern. Fleming (1) It’s not an accident that this Jazz Age-inspired piece looks like a cluster of trumpets. The obloid shape of its shades add a Bauhaus touch, and the design sends light in numerous directions. Pierre (2) Here, Art Deco gets a 21st century update with a mirrored backplate that evokes Paris in the 1920s. Cooper (3) Mid-century modern is certainly a 21st century buzzword. The Cooper lighting series employs soft- triangle shades of blown glass and is available as a pendant or wall sconce. — Steph Koyfman