Ohio distributor involves customers in show orders

Tim Biranowski, an independent distributor in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, has found some novel ways to serve customers. He helps to fill each customer's need by taking orders for items prior to attending tool shows. 

With an inventory consisting of light duty automotive repair tools and equipment and heavy duty items, Biranowski splits his route between urban and rural stops. His path follows through three Ohio counties and  includes stops anywhere from dealerships, smaller independent repair shops and body shops to heavy duty equipment and farming.

Customer focus

Biranowski keeps his customers in mind during his preparation for tool shows like the Ace Tool Co. show in Florida this last May. He takes specific orders from customers to meet each customer's need. 

"I advertise it (the Ace Tool Co. Show). I let my guys get involved with it," Biranowski said. "I put a sign up, and I have a book just for the tool show, of what my customers might be looking for there. I go to the show, pull my list out, and shop that way." 

Along with taking specific orders for his customers, Biranowski stresses the importance of passing the deals to them. He does this by keeping his eye out for specials while working the show.

"I'm looking to make my money still, but giving my guys a deal," he said. "So, whenever I get something like a 'buy-one-get-one' down at the tool show, I've got that going on up here." Hence, he passes on the deal to his customers.

"I'm looking for the best value for myself, and for my guys. That's how I've grown my business."

(Read about how Biranowski keeps his customers held accountable for orders.)

The power of tools

Biranowski is always looking for products that would help his customers.

"I cater to my stops. I see what the guys are looking for the most, and that's usually what I gear myself up for."

He stocks heavy duty tools, up to 2" and 2-1/2" drive sockets and impacts, to accomodate his heavy duty and farm customers.

"The biggest ones I've sold so far are 1" drives. That's a pretty big set right there."

He's also noticed a shift to cordless power tools for his heavy duty stops.

"My farmers now are getting more and more into the cordless. I think they're finally realizing that when they're out in the field, on-site somewhere where they don't have the capability of an air compressor or a service truck, they find the battery tools are doing as good of a job with less hassle. "

In addition to the heavy duty products, Biranowski says his top three sellers across the board are Grey Pneumatic impact sockets, Milwaukee power tools and AIRCAT pneumatics.