Mike Benson, Product Manager of Thomas Brooker & Sons Ltd, discusses the growing popularity of water-based paints and how keeping an eye on sector trends can benefit the wider NBG group.
Thomas Brooker & Sons Ltd, or Brookers, has been open for business for over 140 years, trading across North Hertfordshire. Now operating from three locations, the firm has been an NBG partner since 2006.
Product Manager Mike Benson has been working at Brookers for 33 years, starting on the trade counter and working his way up to general manager of the paint division and his current role. “Though I now look after all the products that Brookers offers, I still specialise in paint,” says Mike. “It’s a crucial part of our business.”
Joining NBG from another buying group, Brookers has immersed itself in the group with members of staff sitting on the Decorating and Hardware Category Management Team (CMT). Mike explains: “We joined NBG because the style of the group complemented our approach to business and there was a variety of deals available. We thought it was important to make the most of being a partner from the outset and wanted to play active roles within our CMT.
“I’m now a team leader of paints and woodcare and have responsibility for finding and overseeing deals as well as providing support to partners within the team and wider group.”
He adds: “Recently we’ve agreed on deals that mean partners have access to the full range of Orkla brushes and decorating sundries. We’re always looking for the next best deal or biggest trend, so we can appeal to as many NBG partners as possible and encourage them to extend their offerings. The biggest trend we’ve noticed is the growth in popularity of water-based paints and technology, not just for manufacturers but also for the trade, decorators and the general public.”
Benefits of water-based paint include better finishes with no fading or yellowing, and it is a more hard-wearing product. Mike says: “Aesthetics aside, water-based paint is also much more environmentally friendly. They don’t include solvents and manufacturing them produces lower emissions.”
Indeed, Eurocell’s The Future Home Report reveals that 29% of 25-40-year-old renters or homeowners believe having an eco-friendly home is one of the most appealing design trends. Almost half (49%) said that they would be more likely to buy or rent a home if it was eco-conscious.
Mike says: “Now that customers are becoming increasingly conscious about the environment, it’s important that NBG partners understand the benefits of these new products, so they have the confidence to sell to their customers. Through keeping an eye on sector trends, the decorating and hardware CMT can make sure it’s securing the best deals for all NBG partners and supporting them in exploring new products to maximise sales.”
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