I met Mike Beaudoin before he became involved with AllPro. He was working for a local distributor we deal with and everyone spoke of him as a rising star.
They were right!
I have come full-circle as it relates to buying groups over the course of my career. Early on in my time as an independent paint retailer, my father bought a store that was already in a buying group called Paint Fair, a group local to NYC.
They gave us an ultimatum: Our existing store had to join the group or the one we had just bought had to get out right away.
It was my first experience with a buying group and I was not impressed.
With “take it or leave it” being our only two options, we chose to join. The previous owner of the store we had just bought was a founding member of Paint Fair and so had it filled with paint and sundries from the group. We didn’t want to take it over and immediately start dramatically changing the inventory mix.
I regretted it.
There were some buying opportunities we took advantage of and some other advantages, but it was not for me. I’m an “independent paint retailer”. Others may hear that and put the emphasis on “paint”, I always prefer to put it on the word independent.
It was a decade before I was able to pull myself out of that group. That time was filled with being forced to stock items I didn’t want to sell, buy pallets of items I only wanted a few SKU’s of and participating in advertising programs I did not believe in!
You can imagine my reluctance to join another buying group when the opportunity to join AllPro came along.
AllPro has been a different experience for my stores though. I don’t want to turn this blog post into an advertisement for AllPro but I will say this: there’s a reason why AllPro has gotten so big and has the reputation it has in the industry.
Whether you believe a buying group is right for your business or not is your choice: they are NOT for everyone. None-the-less, AllPro is a significant player in our segment of the industry and so I thought talking about them might make for an interesting 30 minutes for you.
And interesting it was!
With purchases at cost in the billion-dollar range, AllPro and the dealers they represent do over $2Bil in total sales revenue and employ thousands of people. As a group, they are the largest customer in the country for many of our vendors. Their members represent a very significant percentage of Benjamin Moore’s sales volume nationwide: that fact alone gets them a seat at most tables.
Some of their recent success has to be credited to Mike Beaudoin. Mike has been AllPro’s executive vice-president for about 5 years now, after spending time at Sherwin Williams and working for a NY based distributor.
Mike’s arrival brought positive changes to an already successful group! When I decided to start podcasting, he was always planned to be one of the first episodes. I knew it would be an interesting one.
So give a listen to my new episode of “Mark, My Words.” It’s mostly Mike and it’s all hiswords. He shares some great insights into a group that’s important to the whole channel, whether you are a member or not.
Click the link here or hit the podcasts tab above.