Distribution Group Plans Online Market for Distributor Members Starting March 19

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PRO GROUP, a Denver-based merchandising and marketing company in the home improvement channel, will be conducting its first-ever online buying Market for its distributors members. The Online Market Blitz, which will offer special buying opportunities for participating distributors, will run from March 19-30, 2007

PRO Group, a Denver-based merchandising and marketing company in the home improvement channel, is launching its first-ever 100-percent online virtual trade show, a new marketing initiative being offered to its Distributor Members March 19 through March 30.

The Online Market Blitz powered by the Bannockburn, Ill.-based InXpo is designed to offer all PRO Group Distributor Members the ability to buy promotional products from various participating PRO Group Vendors and communicate online with sales representatives.

Brendan Sullivan, PRO Group managing director, said, "While Distributors have used online markets in the past, the PRO initiative marks the first time a Hardware Marketing Group has conducted a show online for its Distributors to support independent manufacturers."

"PRO Group plans to continue to use this technology to effectively communicate promotional events and new Vendor programs to add value for both our Members and our Vendor Partners," Sullivan said, adding, "PRO Group believes that the Online Market Blitz is an outstanding complement to our existing electronic marketing programs, PRO Group Extranet Web site and our ADS fully customizable online circular program."

According to Sullivan, the PRO Group Online Market Blitz is designed to help transition the industry into the future of technology and the use of trade show automation. "PRO Group continues to strive to develop programs that reduce cost, time, and add value within the hardware channel at both the wholesale and retail level," said Sullivan.    

The Market will feature new items, displays, pre-packs and special "road show-type" selling opportunities for PRO Group Distributors.

Mike Dawson, retail division manager for the Yakima, Wash.-based Horizon Distribution, Inc. said, "We are always supportive of PRO Group bringing Vendors and Distributors together. This technology ultimately could save both time and travel expense. We look forward to the day when PRO Group Vendors can be exposed to our retailers in a venue like this nationwide."

Greg Ballein, regional sales manager for Dap, Inc, said the online market blitz presents a good opportunity for his company to get a broader distribution and exposure for new products, including a new acrylic fast-dry sealant and an aerosol spray adhesive, among other new products. "This is a new promotional venue for us and we feel like it is well worth the chance to approach the Member network in a different manner," Ballein said. "What the Online Market Blitz provides for us as a manufacturer is additional reinforcement of new products to the trade with a shorter buying window providing a more immediate type of response."

Greg Galen, sales manager/hardware wholesale for Fluidmaster, said 2007 marks his company's 50th year in business. "In 1957, the dial phone was the quickest way to reach the customer," Galen said. "In 2007, with PRO Group's Online Market, our message is relayed across all time zones in seconds with a few clicks on the keyboard. Although technology for our plumbing-related product hasn't changed as significantly over the years as electronic communication, Fluidmaster recognizes the importance of PRO Group's new approach in reaching the customer."

Richard Snowden, vice president, sales & marketing, for the Morristown, Tenn.-based Wallace Hardware, is a fan of Online Markets, having contracted with InXpo to integrate online pre-ordering for the Wallace Hardware Markets. Snowden said, "The Wallace buying staff plans to participate in the PRO Group Online Market Blitz this month," adding, "The Online Market Blitz offers Vendors the opportunity to boost sales and grow business with Distributors in a fairly short period of time without a lot of costs incurred. For us, this is another advantage of our membership with PRO Group."

InXpo CEO Malcolm Lotzof said he is delighted to add PRO Group to the many distributors already benefiting from InXpo's online event technology. "The hardware industry is a key market for InXpo and working with PRO Group as our first buying group customer is a very exciting addition for us."

Headquartered in Denver, PRO Group, Inc. http://www.pro-group.com is a merchandising and marketing organization with purchasing power exceeding $3 billion through its 40 Member Distributors.

InXpo (http://www.inxpo.com), headquartered in Bannockburn, Ill., is the leader in producing online shows, including trade shows, selling events, educational seminars, networking conferences and conventions.

For More Information Contact:

Brendan Sullivan, PRO Group, Inc.

(303) 792-3000

Additional media contact:

Ruth Furman, ImageWords Publicity & Writing

(702) 615-2244

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