Mike Miazga 2013-03-08 13:33:12
Sudden impact Luxury Products Group Executive Director Linda Koenig is thrilled with the organization’s rapid growth. Luxury Products Group is in its fourth year of existence as a luxury kitchen and bath products buying group under the Omni Corporate Services umbrella. LPG started in 2010 with 92 members and now boasts a roster of more than 240 member locations. LPG Executive Director Linda Koenig took some time to chat with Supply House Times at the recent Luxury Products Group Luxury Showcase at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Palm Desert, Calif. Supply House Times: What triggered the creation of Luxury Products Group? Linda Koenig: More and more of our wholesale members were opening showrooms or thinking about opening showrooms. We’re Omni and we’re good at what we do. We know how to run a buying group. We put our members with showrooms together and decided to start up Luxury Products Group. We launched in January 2010 and continue to grow in membership and vendors. We’re happy to say that during the recession when a lot of peoples’ sales were down, ours have continued to increase double digits each year. Supply House Times: What key benefits does a member derive from being part of LPG? LK: LPG gives members the opportunity to buy from vendors that they either haven’t had in their showrooms before or because a particular vendor is part of LPG. We’ve negotiated a good program for price, freight, rebates and better purchasing power. Supply House Times: How much has Omni’s longstanding presence in the industry helped grow LPG? LK: We have a lot of members in the group who also belong to Omni. Most of these people have known each other for 20-plus years and have made friendships outside Omni. Because there already is that brotherhood there is that natural synergy from one group to another. Supply House Times: How important is the vendor-member relationship in LPG? LK: It’s extremely important. Our members are dedicated to the vendors in the group. We watch and limit the number of vendors in a category so the vendors find value in coming to the meeting. They don’t want to get here and see eight competitors in the room. Supply House Times: Talk a little about the LPG Luxury Showcase format. LK: The vendors find real value in the LPG show because they can display products in a smaller venue, conduct one-on-one meetings and spend quality time with our members. They aren’t incurring the expense of going to a larger show. We started a vendor road map game where our members have to get all the vendors to stamp their game card in order to be eligible for prizes at our closing reception. The game is much more than just winning prizes. We’ve had a lot of members say it was a great idea because they would not have gone into a booth unless they had to get a stamp. It encourages traffic and creates discussions in the vendor booths. Supply House Times: Where do you see LPG headed in the future? LK: We have membership openings in certain territories and we still have vendor categories that need to be rounded out. We’re increasing our presence this year in lighting categories and expanding our product categories to better meet the needs of our kitchen showroom members. Supply House Times: Are you surprised by LPG’s rapid growth? LK: I hoped for it. There’s the old saying build it and they will come. I guess they ran. We’ve had a steady increase. We’re getting inquiries from showrooms and vendors on a consistent basis. The ball is rolling. We set a goal on how many members we wanted to add this year and we exceeded it. Our goal is to continue to add more members, increase volume and strengthen our programs.
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