Topline Kellys is based on the North Strand, ideally located in the heart of Dublin’s city centre. One year ago they joined Hardware Association Ireland having never been a member in the past. Jim Copeland, Head of Member Relations, recently spoke to Manager Rachel Reddin as they reached their first full year as members of HAI, to find out what membership has added to their business.
Jim Copeland: What prompted you to join?
Rachel Reddin: We were already subscribers to HAI’s magazine, The Hardware Journal, which we have found to be both relevant and topical. In April 2015, you contacted us to request a meeting to discuss our joining the Association. Based on the positive content of that meeting, we decided we would sign up for the remainder of that year and decide the following year if we felt the benefits of membership were worth it. Needless to say, we are more than happy to continue our relationship with HAI.
What services have you availed of?
Thus far, we have attended the credit seminar, the inaugural Conference, and the last HAI trade show. Having found the credit seminar to be of an excellent standard we decided to put another two members of our staff through this training event, and we intend to send our counter sales staff to the customer service training events.
I see you recently attended our inaugural Conference, what did you think of the event?
We were very impressed by the inaugural Conference. In particular, the lecture series was excellent and of great benefit to hardware retailers. Every topic was focused and relevant to our business, and we left with a number of new areas of interest and concern to research further. Ongoing threats that I am sure most hardware retailers are familiar with, such as the rise of online selling and the damage poor customer service can do to your business, were addressed succinctly by industry experts, all of whom offered some very good ideas, information and solutions to keep abreast of these threats. The talk by Joe Schmidt was fantastic! And furthermore, the two days presented an excellent networking opportunity and a chance to chat with people from every aspect of our industry.
Would you recommend another merchant to join?
Absolutely. HAI functions as a vital line of communication within the Irish hardware industry. The training seminars are designed solely for our industry. The Association advocates with success on behalf of the hardware industry to the Irish government, stresses the importance of social media engagement with our customers and offers training and information accordingly. It provides current information on market trends, business and building regulations, construction product regulations etc. which is a highly valuable resource. Both the Journal and the Show are informative and beneficial to our business.
What are the top three ‘value-adds’ that HAI can offer its members?
I would place the training seminars at the top of this list. I am a firm believer in the importance of continued training for all staff members and it is of great benefit to have access to hardware-centric training seminars. Following that I rate the market intelligence highly, in particular the business index. And, lastly, the Journal itself – within every issue I find at least one area of interest for further research.