Michigan distributor finds plenty of new offerings at Tool Fair

Marc Pelkey, a distributor in Gaylord, MI, has hardly missed a Mac Tools Tool Fair since he became a distributor 12 years ago, and for good reason. At every show, he has a good time, finds new and interesting tools, establishes good relationships with suppliers, and gets an opportunity to save money on show specials.

This year, he particularly liked the “hands on” displays on the show floor. The show floor was arranged to highlight specific product and equipment areas, such as tool storage, hardlines, diagnostic equipment and power tools. Pelkey thinks Mac Tools has expanded this display concept in recent years, and he feels it makes it easier to handle tools. “They seemed to have more of it out there (in the “hands on” area.)

Pelkey took special interest in some of the new tools in the diagnostic display area. He thinks some of Mac Tools private label diagnostic tools are very competitive. “There were a lot of different items,” he said for the Mac Tools scanners.

He was also interested in the new tool storage units. Pelkey took a keen interest in this section because tool carts have been selling especially well recently. “Techs don’t stay in a work station anymore; they’re all over the place,” he noted. He said techs tend to keep the tools they don’t use as much in their main toolboxes while they place their everyday tools in tool carts they can move around the shop with. “It makes them mobile,” he said for the tool carts.

He was also interested in the Sound Ear, an electronic noise and vibration system from JS Products. Pelkey likes that the Sound Ear products are compatible with mobile devices. He purchased two different models on the show floor. “I am going to test drive these,” Pelkey said.

He also noted a number of new cordless power tools, which he welcomed since cordless tools are another big growth category for him.

He further noted the new shoes he saw from Redback boots. “I’ve got a wide foot and it’s hard to find shoes that fit me,” he says. The same thing holds true for many of his customers.

Pelkey’s experience was enhanced by the fact that most of the other distributors in his district also attended the show. As a group, they decided to sign up for the “first to market” program, which allows them to see new tools shortly before they are introduced to the general market.

Pelkey also appreciated the kids’ area on the show floor since he took his nine-year-old son, Alex, to the show. But he noted that Alex didn’t spend all of his time in the kids’ area. Over the years, his son has gotten to know some of the exhibitors, so he made it a point to see who he knew on the show floor.