Distributors gather for breakfast discussion

In the wee hours of the morning after St. Patrick’s Day, a group of about 40 met over breakfast to listen to a panel discussion about selling decorative concrete materials in stores. The Early Bird Distributor’s Breakfast was part of the Concrete Decor Show & Decorative Concrete Spring Training in Phoenix.

Retail consultant Nicholas Cichielo of NRC Advisors LLC led the panel, which consisted of Bart Sacco of Decorative Concrete Tools & Supply, a Throop, Pa., store, Doug Bannister, decorative concrete veteran and founder of Oklahoma City’s The Stamp Store, and consultant Jim Rohrer, of The Loyalty Partners.

Sacco and Bannister both emphasized the reality that decorative concrete is a unique trade, unlike any other, and that store owners and their customers alike have to grasp this concept to succeed.

Businesspeople coming out of a traditional concrete background or a retail background need to hook up with people experienced in the field of decorative concrete to make decorative concrete retailing work, Bannister said “It takes a number of different skill sets to succeed in this business.”

“We get a number of suppliers who really don’t understand the fundamentals of the products themselves,” Sacco said.

The panel emphasized the importance of training staff. Store owners have to know enough about decorative concrete to tell professionals what they’re doing wrong, Sacco said.

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