Archive for March, 2009

Industry News

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Rick ComerfordThe NAMTA Board of Directors votes are in! Congratulations to Beth Bergman of Wet Paint in St. Paul, MN and  Kim Fjordbotten of the Paint Spot for securing a second term on the Board of Directors for Domestic Retailer and International Retailer seats, respectively. The new retailer Board members are Mark Ball (see photo below) of Art Supply Warehouse in Westminster, CA and the newly elected Manufacturer’s Rep director is Rick Comerford of Grimstad/Comerford in Glen Ellyn, IL.
Jeff GoldfarbFor 2009, NAMTA’s highest honor, the Hall of Fame has been awarded to Jeff Goldfarb. The purpose of the Hall of Fame award is to recognize those who have been supporters, volunteers, and champions of the association. Congratulations Jeff!

MacPherson’s has promoted Robert Rowen to Strategic Account Manager. Robert is one of our most successful and productive sales reps. In his new role, Robert’s primary responsibilities will be to manage the business of several of our top tier strategic customers. In related news, buyer Emily Leighton has left the company and industry newcomer Mary Payton has stepped up to become MacPherson’s newest member of the purchasing department.

tripCongratulations to Steve and Carol Robinson on the birth of their grandson and daughter Caitlin’s baby boy. William Evan Rogers III was born 7 lbs. 7 oz., and 19 inches long.

Mark BallArt Supply Warehouse in Westminster, CA took creativity and store events to the next level with the Arty Gras event that took place March 13-15, 2009. It was a lot of fun for everyone. They had many Make-It & Take-It craft tables, as well as face painting and airbrush tattoos. The most impressive part of the outdoor festivities was The Amazing Human-Powered Art Machine, a bicycle-driven triple-tray spin-art machine built in-house out of old bike parts. Depicted here is store manager and newly minted NAMTA board director Mark Ball taking the Art Machine for a spin!

mckinnon-amyGOLDEN is pleased to announce that Fine Artist Amy McKinnon has joined the company’s Technical Services Department.  Amy received her MFA from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, and has been painting for 20 years.


Jim SemitekolHats off to our very own Jim Semitekol, VP Operations at MacPherson’s on becoming NAMTA’s newest Certified Art Material Professional(C.A.M.P.). Other Certified Art Pros at MacPherson’s are: Alyssa Bardini, Amy Kaczmarzyk, Bruce Hansen, Catherine Thoele, Christine Ballestero, Dawn McKay, Dina Wuisman, Donald Kutzler, Frank Stapleton, George Bethurem, Jack Franklin, Jean Beasley, Jeanine Davids, Krystal Willis, Linda McCarthy, Lisa Day, Lisa Slauson, Marcus Burden, Melissa Moralejo, Paul Mulcahy, Paul Seaman, Peter Alba, Rachel Thompson, Rachel Nee, Richard Snowden, Robert Rowen, Rosalin Moore, Ryan Ong, Tali Even-Kesef and Bill Wuisman.

lindsey-berkunSeasoned art industry Merchant/Buyer Lindsey Berkun has left Darice and is evaluating new and challenging career opportunities.

Steve Gallisdorfer of ColArt sends along this note “Attached is a photo of ‘Bear’, our 18 month old Bermese Mountain Dog. bearShe thinks she is a strong contender to be an ‘art dog’ on the Art Dog Blog. She is mostly just an art critic at this point, chewing on the occasion brush handle, easel leg or box that UPS has just delivered from ColArt. She does like to be right underfoot as my wife Daisy & I paint, making for quite a colorful dog at times!!!”

“This is a shot of her in one of her favorite places… supervising the fishing activities while we are boating. As you can see, she completely takes over the bow of the boat with her blanket and toys.”

chroma-dog-zoeNot to be out done, Debra MacDonald of Chroma, Inc. submitted her own entry in the Art Dog of the Month Sweepstakes. Here is a photo of Chroma, Inc.’s Art Dog, Zoë.  She is a Papillion and one year old. Tell us which of these two “lookers” should be the winner or better still, send in your own entry!

World’s Youngest Graffiti Artist – She’s Just a Kid!

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

super-solveigAlthough many cities in the US do not allow minors to purchase aerosol paints, things may be a little different in England! Check out the link below to see some amazing murals, canvases, and even tattoos done by a 10-year old female artist out of Brighton, England, Super Solveig.

Super Solveig Link

Super Solveig’s mixes playful and colorful motifs with gothic undertones such as skulls and zombies.  Her paint of choice?  Montana Gold!

Strathmore Artist Papers News: Greeting Cards

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Don Bradley asks, “How about a pop quiz to test up on one of the art markets biggest opportunities before we jump into the deals?  Q: What is Sequential Art? A: Sequential Art is the term used by professionals and the education community to cover the field of comics, cartooning, graphic novels, Manga, etc.”

sap_inkjet_cardsDon continues with, “Strathmore’s spring promotion extends through April 17 for reduced drop ship orders; ask your MacPherson’s rep for the details.  In addition to our new Sequential Art Surfaces that I talked about in the last Art Dog Blog, we have repackaged our digital greeting cards. They are now called Inkjet Cards and they are at an extra 15% off. The new packaging is much like our traditional Creative Cards which will allow you to merchandise them on the two greeting card racks we offer. There are six items: Canvas, Pearl, Glossy, Matte, Textured and Watercolor Cards, all with an MSRP of $8.79. Cross merchandise them in your inkjet or digital supply department for increased sales. Unlike most of the inkjet cards on the market, Strathmore’s are 5″ x 7″, traditional greeting card size. Most office supply brands start with 8 ½” x 11″ stock and then fold to 5 ½” x 8 ½”. In addition we have four cello-packs of our Creative Cards with an extra 20% off. These are Strathmore’s traditional Creative Cards packaged for cross merchandising and check stand displays. Our Watercolor Cards are made with high quality 140 lb. cold-press watercolor paper. The 50 and 100 count bulk packs are on special with an extra 20% off, stack them high and watch them fly!

All of these specials and more are in the MacPherson’s Spring Buyers Guide and the discounts are in effect on orders shipped from their distribution centers through May 30th.

Visit for our complete spring promotion and information about all of our merchandising materials or ask your MacPherson’s sales reps for details.”

Elmer’s News, March 2009

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Along with a back to basics approach for retail purchasing and merchandising being keys for success in this challenging economy, selective new product additions can be truly instrumental in delivering incremental sales and in helping to refresh basic product categories. To that end, be on the lookout for these exciting new product additions from Elmer’s. They will all be included in your MacPherson’s sales rep’s next SMIAB.

x-acto-black-designer-knife·  X-ACTO Black Designer Series Knife. The bar has been raised for X-ACTO Knives  in terms of style, comfort, and ergonomic design.  This brand new, consumer-friendly knife received rave reviews from all types of users, including graphic artists, students, industrial workers and amateurs during field testing and at focus groups. The Designer Knife features a soft comfortable grip, an ergonomic handle, and a rear blade release. It is available in a blister carded package and comes with a safety cap.

·  X-ACTO Pink Gripster. The popular line of colored Gripster Knives has been extended, with a vibrant shade of pink being the newest member of the family. Take advantage of this new introduction to reach out to customers who are looking for something with flair. The Gripster is perfect for delicate precision cutting of lightweight materials such as paper, plastic, balsa, cloth, photos, and more. This is also a great item to clip strip and/or cross merchandise in your paper crafting section.

ultimate-glue-precision-tip-image·  Elmer’s Precision Tip Ultimate Glue. This is Elmer’s most high performance glue and it bonds metal, stone, wood, and more. It’s 100% waterproof and is both sandable and paintable. It features a mess-free recloseable tube and a new innovative precision tip for better control and pin-point application. The product is carded and is .5 fl. oz.

New Packaging for Elmer’s Spray Adhesives. Both Elmer’s and Craft Bond spray cans will soon be sporting a brand new look. They have the same great formula, but the spray cans  have been redesigned with an appealing new ergonomic shape that provides for an easy grip and additional control. There is also a wide nozzle for true no-mess application. Look for the new packaging to be shipping in the very near future.

Fun Facts from Elmer’s

  • It is estimated that over 47 million elementary school students use Elmer’s Glue on a weekly basis
  • It takes 5 seconds to fill a 4 oz. bottle of glue
  • elmers5Elmer’s Glue is the color white because of the natural reaction of the raw materials used to make the glue
  • Elmer’s Glue was used to build a pasta bridge that could support 2,350 lbs.  The bridge was built by a high school student and was the winning entry in a pasta-bridge building contest held in Rhode Island.

Wishing everyone good selling and a fun and productive Spring!

Chartpak News, March 2009

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

finestposterFrom the desk of Steve Rossney comes the following… At NAMTA in Reno last year, Chartpak unveiled its new merchandising concept.  The new program included beautiful, new, Plexiglas displays for Grumbacher and Koh-I-Noor. It also included metallic headers, custom branding posters, shelf labeling strips, and specific Power Panels.

Chartpak is now rolling out its new Signage/Merchandising Program for 2009. In this difficult economy, retailers need to effectively connect with their customers, with an engaging store environment more than ever before. Do your store design, store décor and consumer marketing pieces speak to the emotions, dreams and aspirations of your customers? The general objective of this program is to help you, the retailer, connect with their customers with effective merchandising and attractive artistic signage. Chartpak’s new program does that by offering the following:
1)  Customized Posters (including store name and other pertinent information) for Back to School
2)  Customized Posters for Holiday
3)  Customized “Brand” Posters (Grumbacher, Koh-I-Noor, etc.)
4)  Customized Specific Posters for Grumbacher Color Ranges (Academy Acrylic, Pre-Tested Oils, etc)
5)  Fixture signs to identify product categories (Acrylic, Oil, Watercolor, etc.)
6)  “Drop-ceiling”, gondola and end-cap signs
7)  Clip Strip Signs
8)  Shelf-talker coupons offering free goods with purchase
9)  Customized Workshop/Demo Posters
10)  Store “Loyalty Program”

These tools are available to Grumbacher and Koh-I-Noor stocking dealers. Please contact your MacPherson’s rep or Steve Rossney for details at .


GOLDEN Redesigns Product Labels, Grows Technical Services Team

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

lwyxla1GOLDEN Redesigns Product Labels
Customers will soon see a newly designed product label from Golden Artist Colors.  In an effort to better serve artists by providing more information at POP, lowering the risk of incorrect purchases  and increasing shop-ability, updated labels for all products will begin rolling out over the new few months.  This is a running change, which means new labels will appear on some color and non-color products before others, with the goal of having all products using the new labels by mid-Summer.  This change will have no impact and/or bearing on item numbers or current ordering processes. See below for a comparison between the old and new label designs.

As part of the label enhancements, the sizes of the hand-painted swatch and name of the product have been increased.  However, the most noticeable label change is the addition of an informational grid, providing the customer with information on transparency, sheen, viscosity and tinting strength.

Products with the new labels will begin shipping later this month.  If you have any questions, please contact your MacPherson’s sales representative for more information.

Fine Artist Amy McKinnon Joins GOLDEN Technical Services Department
GOLDEN is pleased to announce the growth of its Technical Support Staff with the addition of fine artist, Amy McKinnon.  Amy received her MFA from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, and has been painting for 20 years.  The company is thrilled with the knowledge and experience Amy possesses, confident that she will be a valuable addition to the team.  Amy is currently immersed in intensive training being led by Technical Services Supervisor, Sarah Sands.  If you are interested in learning more about Amy and her artwork, go to Please join us in welcoming Amy McKinnon to Golden Artist Colors!

Technical Services at GOLDEN is Growing!
For close to 20 years, the GOLDEN Technical Services Department has worked in close concert with the artist community, ensuring that customers understand the full capabilities of products in the marketplace.  In addition, they help determine when a custom solution needs to be created to address a unique situation.  Support Technicians are knowledgeable about the full range of products available and they are committed to giving the best possible service to their fellow artists.  The department also conducts extensive research on acrylic paints and other modern art materials.  Furthermore, they have spent a number of years collaborating with the conservation community, making significant contributions to the field regarding methods of transporting, storing and cleaning artwork, conservation and safety issues, and solid waste disposal.

Please remember that to seek assistance from someone in the GOLDEN Technical Services Department, all you have to do is call 1-800-959-6543 or e-mail

Availability of Digital Ground White (Matte)
Spring has sprung in upstate New York, making shipments of Digital Ground White (Matte) possible again!  With the warmer weather, GOLDEN can reinstitute the shipment of the Mix More Media sample sets (923) and all sizes of Digital Ground White (Matte) (3563).  This change is effective immediately.

If you have any questions about any of the above information, please contact your MacPherson’s sales representative.

New Golden Label

The New Economy: No Place for Nostalgia?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

We use the RSS feed feature in most web browsers to follow some fun and interesting blogs (it’s a life saver!). One that we love is called “In the New Economy”, by UPENN Senior  Chloe Hurley. In a recent post she presented a photo we love that brings back a flood of memories (not all good!).

Here is the link to the blog:

In the New Economy


Industry News

Friday, March 13th, 2009

irving-berlineMore store closings: In New York, NY Irving Berlin Art Supplies on East 37th Street closed in January


The following report regarding Design Partners in New York was erroneous. We regret any difficulties this may have caused to the owner Brian Lehrer:

“Design Partners on 7th Avenue will be closing in the near future.”

menzerMichaels has announced that effective April 15, 2009 John B. Menzer,  formerly Vice Chairman and Chief Administrative Officer of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and  President of Ben Franklin Retail, will  replace Brian C. Cornell as  CEO. brian-cornellMr Cornell has resigned recently and has accepted a position as Chief  Executive Officer of Sam’s Club.  “I am extremely proud to have led this organization and proud of the progress we have made together.”

agualimpiaJuan Agualimpia, head of Sanford’s global art and children’s products, has left the company to pursue other opportunities. He was based in Sanford’s Oakbrook, IL facility.

Sanford News March 2009

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Here’s the latest from Dan Canny at Sanford…
sharpie-stainless-steel-glamour-shot1•    We have introduced a NEW Sharpie. This is a stylish, Stainless Steel Fine Point product that is also refillable. It is available carded and in April it will be available in an 18-piece counter display. It is our first premium product entry under the Sharpie brand name and thus far the reviews are great. Your MacPherson’s representative will have details soon.
•    MacPherson’s is offering the Prismacolor Premier 60ct Pencil Set at a 50/10% discount all year long. This is a great set for the Independent Dealers to promote because it is a set exclusive to the Independent Fine Art dealers. Now is the time to up-sell customers from the 24, 36 and 48 color pencil sets to the 60ct set.
•    The Prismacolor Art Competition kicked off in mid January. This is an ideal opportunity to run a promotion on products used in conjunction with a nationally publicized event. The theme this year is “Claim Your Place”. Encourage your customers to visit the Prismacolor website for contest details at
prismapastel•    The new Prismacolor Soft Pastels advertised in the Spring Buyer’s Guide are now expected to ship in early April. We are awaiting one additional regulatory approval and then we can begin shipping the sets. Thanks to all of you for your understanding.”

Andy Warhol Invades the Bay Area! A Montana Cans Event

Friday, March 13th, 2009

factoryparty09-045Amoeba Music stores, a long standing Bay Area institution in music, along with the East Bay Express, a local arts and entertainment paper, joined forces to bring Andy Warhol’s Factory back to life in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Friday, March 6th, they co-hosted a large warehouse party in Emeryville, CA, which featured multiple art exhibits, live music, a live spray paint demo, food and drink, and even a re-creation of Andy Warhol’s NYC Factory!

3334880894_fba7de855f1A huge brick warehouse was transformed into a multi-room art gallery, with different themes to each room.  The main attraction was the Factory room, which had been completely painted in silver, and offered live silk-screening on Art Alternatives canvas, live bands, and crazy characters to boot.  Other rooms offered a variety of Warhol-inspired artwork done by local artists.  Attendees could wander from the Black Light room to the Graffiti room to the Interactive Art room as they sampled food from local restaurants and indulged in the libations.  Another hit of the party was a live spray paint demo by local artist Mel Waters, using Montana Gold.  Mel painted a powerful portrait of Warhol himself, keeping in spirit with the party theme.  You can meet Mel at the MacPherson’s booth (#721) at this year’s NAMTA – he will be doing names in his own funky and playful style, so make sure to stop by and get yours!

The party was a smashing success with over 4,000 attendees.  A good sign that the love and appreciation for art is thriving even in these tough economic times.

factoryparty09-031Not coincidentally, the party was held at the same time the de Young Museum in San Francisco is featuring “Warhol Live”, a retrospective of Andy Warhol’s wide variety of work inspired by the legends of pop music.

Check out this cool video of the event (you’ll see our very own Lisa Slauson at the 2:50 and 4:40 marks!):

Art Dog of the Month – March 2009

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

It’s been a while since we have received an Art Dog of the month submission and this one’s a doozy! In all the hoopla about Gamblin’s Torrit Grey promotion a staff favorite from last year’s competition was discovered. It is fitting that the Art Dog for Torrit Grey month should be a painted dog in yes, many shades of Torrit Grey!  Meet Henley on the couch, painted by Karen Conduff of Boulder, CO with only Torrit Grey, Mars Black, Ivory Black, and Titanium White.


There must certainly be other favorite dogs out there in the Art Supply world. Take a snap of your favorite and email it in to Us dogs love the attention!

Interactive Acrylics Workshops, Classes & Demos

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

dscn0876_2For Retailers with a Classroom who Stock Interactive Acrylics
Magic of Monotypes: Discover this painterly way of making prints through monotypes.  Using Interactive Professional Artists’ Acrylics and mediums, the artist will learn the basics through experimental techniques, all without using a press.  Spontaneous and freeing, monotypes provide a wonderful way to explore a new dimension in personal expression.

NEW! Bigger and Bolder Watercolors with Interactive: This workshop will introduce participants to a new and exciting way of painting with Interactive Professional Artists’ Acrylics using watercolor techniques.  Bigger and Bolder painting is an Impressionistic style of painting that incorporates very wet paper surfaces and the brilliant characteristics of Interactive’s line of artist acrylics and mediums.  Materials and their use will be explained as well as simple compositional concepts that are easy to understand and executed, to produce beautifully vibrant paintings much like a watercolor…. only using acrylics. Students will need to bring a full sheet of  cold-pressed watercolor paper, a waterproof board (gatorboard, coroplast, or a varnished piece of plywood), 4 bulldog clips, brushes and associated painting supplies. Chroma, Inc. will provide all the paint and mediums necessary.

Creative Color! Learn what color can do and liberate yourself from what you think you see and know.  Working from the still life, artists will learn to appreciate and adjust color’s value and temperature while creating an expressive work that conveys emotion. Color is king in this class featuring Interactive Professional Artists’ Acrylic paint and mediums.

Impressionism with Interactive Acrylics: In this class, a Chroma artist will discuss and demonstrate Impressionist painting techniques.  Artists will learn the modern Interactive equivalent of Monet’s palette and how mediums such as the Thick Slow Medium, Impasto Gel and Modeling Compound can add to the overall visual experience. Artists will use Interactive paints and mediums to create their own Impressionist still-life or landscape.

Focus on the Figure: Working from a live model, artists will learn how to create a successful figurative study.  The Chroma artist representative will demonstrate unique features of Interactive and the mediums, particularly addressing the challenges associated with this genre. Note: It is the organization’s responsibility to hire a live model, nude or clothed.

Luminous Landscapes: In this class, artists will learn ways to enhance the depth and light in a landscape painting using Interactive paints and mediums, A Chroma artist representative will address issues such as composition, color and value as well as challenges associated with this genre.  Note: This class can either be done in a classroom, working with photos, or offered as a Plein Air Workshop if the surroundings are suitable.

Interactive Acrylics – Tips and Techniques: In this class, a Chroma artist representative will show artists when to reopen the paint layer with water to add paint, remove paint or feather edges. Using Binder Medium, Slow Medium, Fast Medium and Unlocking Formula, artists will learn when and how to use these mediums to their advantage and control the painting process.

Pattern, Paint and Passion – A Mixed Media Collage: In this class, a Chroma artist representative will show artists how to create their own multilayered, textured work using new and vintage paper.  Artists will use Interactive paints and mediums to reveal and conceal images and explore ways of adding texture using the Impasto Gel and Modeling Compound.

Altered Art Books: In this class, a Chroma artist representative will show artists how to create their own altered book of dreams.  Artists will learn how to seal and manipulate pages, collage covers and attach objects.  Artists will use Interactive paints and mediums to reveal and conceal found imagery and text to create a personal narrative. Artists need to bring their own book to alter.

For Retailers Without a Classroom
Interactive Paint Live!
This event is ideal for locations that do not have a classroom space.  In this setting, a Chroma artist will create a painting in the store, using Binder Medium, Fast Medium, Slow Medium, Water Sprayer and/or Unlocking Formula.  This is a great alternative to the stand-behind-a-table demo, because customers will be able to see the paint and mediums used by an artist, ask questions artist-to-artist and try the paint themselves.

The events are typically 2-4 hours, and for classes, attendees are usually registered in advance with the number being determined by the room size. In advance of the event, you will be provided with promotional materials such as fliers and bag stuffers. For all events, the Chroma artist facilitating the event will be available for questions and comment.  Support materials include presentation boards and printed collateral. Chroma will supply the paint and mediums necessary but request that the store or artists provide surfaces, brushes, and water basins.

For more details contact Jennifer VonStein

It’s Torrit Grey Season From Gamblin

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

gamblin torrit graygamblin-swish-colorGamblin’s ever cool, only annual TORRIT GREY promotion is  available from March 15 – May 31, 2009!
Usually complementary, always complimentary
Every spring, to celebrate Earth Day, the paintmakers at Gamblin Artists Colors clean the Torit® Air Filtration system and collect the mixture of all the pigments used to make Gamblin Artists Colors.  Then all of the pigments are mixed together to make Torrit Grey.  Because the mix of pigments changes, every batch of Torrit Grey is different. In 2008, over 20 different shades of Torrit Grey were created. Gamblin Artists Colors Co is pleased to announce the 16th annual Torrit Grey Promotion and Contest!  Shelf signs are now available for your Gamblin Artists Colors merchandising display to inform your customers that Torrit Grey is coming again soon.  This is recommended as a gift-with-purchase promotion for this popular limited edition color.  Advertising the promotion is a great way to drive extra foot traffic to your store.  Images and copy for your flyers, newsletters, and websites are now available on Gamblin’s new retailer portal at  Many artists collect this complementary color each year and seek out the unique qualities of each edition.  To better support our retailers, we are extending the promotion through May 31 this year to maximize the opportunity the promotion creates.

Participation in the Torrit Grey Painting Competition continues to grow each year.  160 submissions were received in 2008 representing a 35% increase.  The artists came from 31 states and 5 Canadian Provinces.  Along with increased participation, the overall quality of entries continues to challengejudges during the jurying process.  Visit Gamblin’s Torrit Grey Web Gallery to see all of the submissions at

It is easy to receive Torrit Grey for your store.  On your next order for Gamblin Oil Colors, add item #GB992670 with the quantity you need for your promotion (honor code suggests that you keep your order between 12 and 24 tubes per store location.)

saperchris-woman-in-whiteLast years winners: Woman in White was the first prize

Honorable mention: Waiting for Dark, Vanitas, and Boats at Portsoy

Check out the video feature from the local Portland Oregon Newspaper:

Gamblin Artist Colors

Strategies to Win in the Down Economy

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

economyUSA retailers are facing challenging times that rival anything seen in a lifetime. For the first time, it seems the art supply retail sector is no longer immune from the broader trend. In this dreary environment it’s refreshing to witness new thinking and creative approaches. The best merchants in our industry are clearly not satisfied to grumble or leave their fate to chance. Instead they are undertaking an urgent search for approaches and strategies that will ensure survival and with patience, success. The customer counts and average ticket may be down, but top retailers realize that this situation is temporary. In managing core resources such as personnel and inventory it is critical to maintain the positive outward image of business as usual.  If the shelves look half empty or there is no one to answer questions, the customer gets the message loud and clear, “Do your shopping somewhere else”.
dsc00085_2MacPherson’s core advantage to retailers is our ability to ship small quantities from a huge vendor selection at warp speed.  This allows for high customer satisfaction with a resulting low inventory investment through reduced minimum “presentation quantities” and quick stock recovery. In these times this strategy may seem like a “no brainer”, but it is actually smart in the long-term, too.  We call it “buying for the best total value”. Look at it this way; the price you pay for goods is not the only cost associated with inventory buying. Ask Bruce Merrifield, the “guru of TPC,” or Total Procurement Cost. Bruce has identified 11 elements of buying that range from fill rates & buying costs to lost opportunities & carrying costs. While, to a lot of buyers, searching for the best deal usually means the lowest price, there are added financial factors that need to be weighed. Understanding all the procurement costs and deploying ways to reduce them can pay big dividends. The simplest example is the time it takes to delivery and fill rate. If it takes a month to order, deliver and receive, and only 75% of what is ordered arrives in the shipment, how many sales will be lost and how many consumers will leave the store discouraged? Even if the fill rates on the direct orders are higher than 75%, most retailers have to wait to get up to the minimums for free freight and that lag time adds to the potential for customer-frustrating out of stocks.

So, what’s the appeal of the large order purchasing concept?
outofboxpicOld thinking: When you’re small you buy from distributors because you can’t meet the manufacturers’ minimums. When you graduate to the “big leagues,” you buy everything you can for price because you need the margin to compete. When you’ve “arrived”, small and frequent orders are just for “fill-ins.”
New Paradigm: Art supply stores are full of slow moving items. “Large order” minimums for all but a handful of products will last months if not years on the shelf. Slow inventories choke growth and profits. Concentrate direct buying energy on the few SKUs that really move and use “just in time”, “turn & earn” methods to get rid of all excess items. When you reach this state of “Inventory Nirvana,” distributors like MacPherson’s are the only true partner you have!
The new paradigm has produced impressive results for art supply retailers because its primary focus is on having just enough inventory to last until the next order arrives rather than an arbitrary amount dictated by supplier minimums or buyers convenience. The problem of inventory management is particularly tricky for art supplies. MacPherson’s stocks 32,000 items. The fastest 1,500 items by dollar volume account for 49.6% of our sales.  The next 4,500 add up to 30% of sales. Proof that the 80/20 law holds true… that is 80% of our sales come from 20% of the items. Take a look around your store. Our bet is the 80/20 rule works there too. The top items or “Triple A’s” are what your customers measure you by.

Consider this: The average art supply store turns its inventory 2.2 times per year or 5.5 months worth of the typical item on hand at any given moment. If your inventory is worth $300,000 at cost and you improve turns to 4 turns, the bankable savings is an incredible $135,000! Why not earn interest or pursue another market niche with plenty of “liquid” resources.

Leave nothing to chance: If you are like us, your business is your life and needs to be guarded and cared for with the best partnerships available. It’s just too important to leave to emotional or capricious decision making. Our fast fulfillment and high fill rates are the result of a rock solid commitment to keeping the industry‘s highest-tech distribution centers, the best purchasing staff and an uninterrupted flow of goods from the manufacturers. All of this requires MacPherson’s to have rock solid financial strength.

So the next time you are tempted to put a large order out to bid consider a few of Bruce Merrifield’s TPC factors. Is the lowest price all-important or do inventory turn and fill rate issues have a much greater impact on your bottom line? If you want help in evaluating these points, remember that MacPherson’s professional sales representatives are skilled in the process and full of positive ideas. Working with us can be a modern business partnership at its best!