In mid-February in Orlando, Fla., Mac Tools welcomed distributors and vendors to its annual Tool Fair for training, tools and togetherness.
At least, there was training, tools and togetherness for the distributors who made it.
Amidst a string of heavy snow storms that Mother Nature unleashed, battering the East Coast particularly, distributors were welcomed to “Mission 2010: Rule the Road.” Actually, rule the road several distributors did, as there were many stories of Mac’s dealers taking to the frozen, snowy roads by car after their flights were cancelled. For those distributors, Tool Fair would not be missed — just delayed.
(Among those who drove to the Tool Fair was Professional Distributor’s own columnist, Joe Poulin. See his column about the drive and the extra time he had to reflect on page 34.)
Mac’s new leaders from The Stanley Works – Industrial and Automotive Repair, North America, were introduced at the kick-off party. Jim Cannon, president of SIAR and channel development manager, and Mark Osmolski (see sidebar), chief operating officer of SIAR and president of Mac Tools, broke the ice with humorous slides to detail their backgrounds, before conveying their outlook for the company.
“We need to train and prepare for a tough 2010,” Cannon said. He added that Mac will help its distributors through the year with priorities of integrating businesses throughout Stanley, adding strength and diversity, and innovating. He named the Stanley acquisition of Black & Decker as a huge gain for distributors, who would now be part of the “world’s biggest tool company.”
Including a few hours prior to the kickoff rally, distributors had three days of access to the tool floor to learn about the newest offerings and take advantage of special deals. Special giveaways on the tool fair included an Ultimate Outdoor Package (ATV, trailer, camping gear), 2010 Chevy Camaro 1SS, 2010 Dodge Challenger RT, and a Chip Foose-custom Ford F150.
Outside the show floor, distributors could take advantage of training sessions like Trade Account Management, Tool Storage (for info on toolbox additions and added opportunities from Stanley Vidmar cabinets), Redline Detection (sales demos and deals), and the ever-popular Speed Drills.
In the Speed Drills, each hosted by a successful distributor, attendees had the chance to listen to the voice of experience in small groups, ask questions and pose different scenarios they’d encountered. Topics covered several areas, from image (your own and your truck’s) and using flyers, to toting and promoting and getting more customers onto the truck.
The May 2009 PD cover profile, Pete Boldt, said that the new cordless rechargeable ratchets were especially a stand-out item to him from the show, as well as the hydraulic-assist jack stands. He also demonstrated some of what has gotten him to Platinum Elite status, helping new distributors on the floor with their own orders.
“My favorite part of tool fair is by far being on the floor sharing thoughts and ideas with my friends and peers as well as vendors,” Pete said.
INTERVIEW WITH MAC TOOLS’ MARK OSMOLSKI
Mark Osmolski recently assumed the role of General Manager of Mac Tools, after serving as an internal consultant for the brand from late 2008 through 2009. Professional Distributor had a chance to sit down with the former Stanley Works Europe COO for a few minutes at the annual Mac Tools Tool Fair in Orlando earlier this year.
Overall, the 13-year Stanley Works veteran was pleased with the show (blizzards closing East Coast airports aside), and sees growth potential for Mac Tools distributors, especially in cooperation with the Stanley Vidmar brand and the acquisition of Black & Decker.
“I think it’s been great,” Osmolski said of the tool show and attendees. “There’s a lot of excitement and a lot of good things going on.
“I’ve had a lot of good conversations with distributors, and it’s fantastic to finally meet the guys that I’ve talked with on the phone and their families.”
In addition to talking with distributors at Tool Fair, Osmolski likes to keep an open door policy all year long.
“I tell the distributors when they are in Tool School that they can call me anytime, anywhere and we can talk,” Osmolski said. “The last thing I do before they leave is give them my cellphone number.
“My opinion is, if I don’t know what’s going on, I can’t do anything to change it. That’s why I want distributors to call me.”
Not that he’s shooting from the hip on any given caller’s suggestions.
“We have a Distributor Council and we work with them,” Osmolski said. “We use that council to help us make changes and business decisions that would impact distributors. We have had many good ideas come this way that we have implemented.”
Osmolski is optimistic looking forward to Tool Fairs in 2011 and beyond.
“Our primary objective is always to have new and exciting products that we can show off,” Osmolski said. He mentioned the launch of the DataTorq tool at the Tool Fair as an example of the opportunity provided to combine products and training.
“There are some technical demands of [DataTorq],” Osmolski said. “Tool Fair is a great opportunity to train distributors.”
Going forward, Osmolski wants to see all the brands under Stanley Black and Decker working together better.
“I see tremendous opportunity to leverage off each other We’d always been trying to bring Stanley Vidmar and Mac Tools together. And now, under the focused leadership of Jim Cannon, we have more opportunity than ever to do just that.”
(Cannon is the president of Industrial and Automotive Repair North America, the division of Stanley Black and Decker that contains Mac Tools and Stanley Vidmar, along with Stanley Proto and Stanley Supply and Services.)
Osmolski assures that Mac Tools distributors shouldn’t fear their brand will be compromised.
“Mac Tools is our brand; it’s our channel to market in the mobile distribution business,” he said.