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Dec 1, 2007
by Judi Perkins
In the mid 90's, the company experienced a tremendous growth explosion that became the award winning Ohio Wholesale, Inc. of today. About 10 years ago, the company began designing, manufacturing, importing and ultimately providing some of the finest giftware available to wholesalers. Ohio Wholesale has grown in leaps and bounds, and now houses an inventory of approximately 8,000 products, with about 2,200 items added to the inventory annually. "The key to our success is designing our own original products and the wealth of products that we offer our customers. At Ohio Wholesale, we are virtually a store within a store," says Jim Eckelberry, VP, Sales. "Many of our competitors fail to carry the breath and depth of product that we do."
The company has a talented staff of eight artists who keep their fingers on the pulse of industry trends, popular items, and ultimately, what sells. Ohio Wholesale sells giftware and novelty items for every theme and holiday imaginable. The company literally has something for everyone. Some of the categories include Americana, golf, vintage hardware, lighthouses, musical, nautical, hunting, wine, Western, Irish - St. Patrick's Day, trains and trucks, and many, many more. The products are produced in a variety of materials, which include wood, metal, glass, tin, ceramic tile and more.
The Ohio Wholesale, Inc. website was introduced in 2001. Currently, sales from the website represent about twelve percent of the company's total sales. "Our website business represents our strongest area of growth. We are continually looking for ways to increase our web business and improve our website," said Eckelberry. He explained that many customers shop on the website but ultimately choose to fax or call in their order. "We put enough information and all of the necessary ingredients on the website and make it comprehensive and user friendly enough that new customers visiting the site decide they want to do business with Ohio Wholesale," offered Eckelberry.
According to Eckelberry, more and more customers seem to be comfortable with doing business on the website. Because the company sells 8,000 products, customers can locate items by category and can click on "Top Selling Items" for the week. Other helpful items that contribute to the website's ease of shopping is "Top 100 Best Sellers," "Frequently Asked Questions," "Sales Policy," and "Order Tracking."
"Our customer service is one of the primary reasons for our customer retention," said Eckelberry. Ohio Wholesale is still a family owned and operated business. The founders of the company, Nick and Terry Harbager, remain active in the company today, as do many of their family members. Employees are not only treated like family, but customers are treated like as well. "We have a lot of customers and customer relationships are important to us. We search to find and hire the best employees to assist customers," said Eckelberry.
"Our products are primarily marketed through catalogs, followed by trade shows, and then our website," says Eckelberry. The company participates in roughly forty trade shows per year covering both large and small markets.
Ohio Wholesale sells to mom and pop operations who make small purchases, all the way up to customers who purchase over one million dollars worth of product per year. The mom and pop shops are the company's bread and butter, and were responsible for the company's growth. A minimum order for an Ohio Wholesale customer is $200. Depending on the time of year, the turn around time for orders can be anywhere from overnight to ten business days.
There are three divisions under the Ohio Wholesale umbrella. Ohio Wholeale, Inc. is the best known and has been in existence the longest. It is a leader in the giftware industry, and designs and provides some of the finest quality giftware and home decor. Countryside Finds is a cash and carry outlet in Seville, OH. It offers an exceptional mix of quality giftware, furniture, and home decor imports from around the world.
Kennedy's Country Collection represents the newest addition to the Ohio Wholesale family. A selection of rustic designs, clocks, cast iron accessories, tin items and over 350 tin and wood signs round out the huge mix of products offered.
Ohio Wholesale, Inc. has been the recipient of many awards during the last decade. The company won accolades for the Best in Visual Display for Large Tradeshow Booths in Atlanta (2006), Philadelphia (2006), San Francisco (2005), Denver (2005) and Portland (2004). The company was the recipient of a Weatherhead 100 award in 2003 for being one of the fastest growing companies in NE Ohio. In 2002, the firm received the Vendor of the Year award from County Business Magazine.
Ohio Wholesale, Inc. is regarded as the source for directions and what is new in the giftware and home decor markets. The company continues to produce the latest, trend setting items for its customers.
For more information:
Jim Eckelberry, VP Sales
Ohio Wholesale, Inc.
5180 Greenwich Road
Seville, OH 44273
Topic: Company Profiles
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