The highlight of the event was the unveiling of Interlink Supply, a new distribution organization. ICS had the opportunity to speak with Bridgepoint CEO (and Interlink Supply trustee) Gordon Hanks to find out exactly what the creation of this new organization means to the industry.
ICS Magazine: What exactly is Interlink Supply?
Gordon Hanks: Interlink Supply is a national affiliation of independent distributors. Combined with participation from the best manufacturers and service providers, it is our goal to bring the professional cleaner and restorer the best products, prices, and services available.
ICS: What led to the creation of Interlink Supply?
GH: In the many years since my introduction into this profession, we have seen many service-minded distributors build businesses that fully support the cleaning professionals. These homegrown and locally owned distributors are doing their best to bring the professionals what they need. But more and more there are competitive pressures from national distributors and even some manufactures to bypass the local distributor.
We have conducted surveys and talked to many cleaning and restoration professionals over the past few years. They very much desire good local service, education, branded products and someone to talk to locally who can help them. But they find themselves enticed by what some of the larger national companies can bring to the table such as cheaper pricing and Internet ordering.
With the creation of Interlink Supply, the local distributor can now continue to offer everything valuable about the local location and ownership, but now offer expanded services that their national affiliation provides like better pricing, 24-hour Internet ordering, national service, technical information, education, and business building programs that would otherwise not be available.
ICS: Are the products available exclusively Bridgepoint products, or will other manufacturers' products and equipment be available as well?
GH: It is understandable to assume that since Bridgepoint is responsible for the Interlink Supply concept, that Bridgepoint may be the exclusive product line. To the contrary, Interlink Supply locations will carry the best branded products available in the industry. In fact, each Interlink distributor is solely responsible for choosing the lines he carries.
It may be worthwhile to mention at this point that Interlink Supply is set up as a separate organization from Bridgepoint. In fact it will more than likely run as a non-profit organization. Bridgepoint certainly has an interest in the success of Interlink Supply but is only one of several of the best suppliers in the industry who will support it.
ICS: When will this new identity be assumed? That is, when will "Interlink Supply" signs be appearing at a distributor near you?
GH: Some signs are already appearing. The local distributor will continue with their current identities but within the next 30 to 60 days you will see the Interlink Supply logo in tandem with their current name.
ICS: You currently have affiliates in 24 states. Are you planning to expand further?
GH: Interlink Supply is actually an international alliance. As we stand now, we have over 40 affiliate locations signed up to participate and expect 60 or more covering all of the United States including Alaska and Hawaii. We have strong interest from Australia, Canada, and other international locations looking to become members of Interlink Supply.