We've built a brand the Nationals can't "buy".
Branded product acquisition cost is not the only area where independents operate on an uneven playing field versus the National Chains. Lack of financial resources and viable purchase volumes exclude many independent distributors from the ability to direct-import products from off-shore sources, by the container load. And those that are able to do so often end up taking on many months of inventory, tying up cash and leaving them exposed to the risk of that inventory being over-valued.
In 2005, IDI developed the Tuff Grade private brand of Industrial and Safety supply lines when we imported our first container of gloves. By 2008 shareholder support, and sales, of their Tuff Grade label had grown to the point that IDI was able to establish our own presence overseas through an exclusive contract with Global Sourcing, a firm that works exclusively for IDI. And Global Sourcing not only sources and manages Tuff Grade product lines through the group – they are also a dedicated resource for shareholders to directly import +/or reverse-engineer specialty products specific to their customers’ needs. In 2012, IDI rounded out our Import offerings by becoming the licensed Canadian distributor for the entire “IDC Select” line of imported Power Transmission & Bearing components, sourced from IDI’s “sister” co-operative in the United States, IDC.
IDI shareholder marketing strategy regarding their import lines is clear: these products are not intended to replace their branded product sales; rather, they allow our shareholders to compete in more segments of the marketplace by offering a complete line of industrial products to costsensitive, rather than brand-sensitive, customers. IDI shareholders use their import lines to open up more doors for their salespeople allowing them to compete against the private label offerings of the National Chains.
It has been said that in every market “independents build brand names, and the National Chains then buy them”. Industrial Supply is no exception. As an IDI shareholder, you have exclusive access to Tuff Grade and IDC Select. These are brands over which you have complete ownership. Brands that the National Chains will never be able to buy or control.