Originally posted on FloorCoveringWeekly.com on 7/7/2011
[Orlando, Fla.] Wheeler, a division of J.J. Haines, held its second Loyalty Club summit on June 27 at the Wyndham Resort here. More than 100 customers and 70 accounts were present at the event, a 25-percent increase from 2010’s attendance. In addition, Rosana Chaidez, general manager of the Wheeler division, told FCW that membership had grown by the same amount from 2010 to 2011.
The attitude of the group, said Bruce Zwicker, CEO of J.J. Haines, was one of excitement. “One of our suppliers said that there was more buzz this year. A lot of the first-time customers are getting swept up in the excitement of those customers who returned this year. This is on a roll,” he said.
A set of focused seminars, including technology sessions and tips for securing financing, were complimented by a product showcase in which suppliers brought some of their best deals to the members.
“Our aim is to help the Loyalty Club customers build stronger businesses by focusing the educational seminars to deliver creative and innovative business strategies. The theme of the summit was ‘Customer Driven’ and we want to demonstrate that core principle in everything we do,” Chaidez said.
Don and Julie Herndon, second year attendees of the summit and owners of Classic Wood Flooring in Suntree, Fla., said that they came for the seminars. In 2010, the couple learned the ins and outs of social networking at the summit and immediately got on Facebook upon returning to their business. This year, they picked up tips about shopping for banks and improving their website. “We are getting ready to re-do the website and we really liked the seminar that relates to the financing,” said Julie Herndon.
Although many of the members agreed that the merchandising credits and the rebates are two of the key rewards for joining the Loyalty Club, members told FCW that the family feel that Wheeler brings to the market keeps them coming back.
Claudio Benedi of Miami-based Artistic Wood Floors was Wheeler’s Retailer of the Year. “These guys bend over backwards for all of their dealers. When I needed help, they were there to help me. I like doing business with people who treat you like family and these guys treat you like family,” he said.
Michael Hill, owner of Orlando, Fla.-based U.S. Design Source, echoed his sentiment. “The education format is great and it makes us more market savvy,” he said.
Although Juan Molina, a retailer from Taramac, Fla., explained that Wheeler was a must-add because the product lines that the company carries are some of Florida’s best-selling offerings, he said that it is the way the company puts its customers first that reinforced his decision.
“It’s like a family,” Molina said. “I have a great relationship with everyone from the warehouse guys to the CEO.”
As for the response that Wheeler customers have given Wheeler and the Loyalty Club, Jed Collins, sales manager, eastern region, said, “The Loyalty Club represents about 25 percent of our business—they are our largest customers. The relationships with those customers are important. You want to treat them like family and they treat you like family back,” he said.