More than just another distributor

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MidwichHome wishes to become a leading specialist distributor of AV and CE products to the independent sector. Neil Drain and Lee Hooker told Anna Ryland, how they plan to gain the support of electrical independents.

Established in May 2011, MidwichHome is a specialist trade-only distributor of home technology solutions for the consumer installation and independent retail markets. MidwichHome supplies everything the home market needs – from AV furniture to high-tech connectivity systems for the home. In addition, the company distributes home automation systems to control lighting, heating and security from one central box that can be operated remotely from anywhere in the world.

MidwichHome is a division of Midwich a trade distributor of solutions in AV, print, digital imaging, and connectivity. Established over thirty years ago, Midwich is a privately owned company with approximately 330 employees. Its headquarters are in Diss, Norfolk, where Midwich is one of the area’s major employers. The company also has offices in other parts of the UK, Ireland, and France. Its turnover in 2011 was £206 million.

Midwich has established partnerships with some of the world’s leading manufacturers, maintaining exclusivity on several well-known brands. For example, at the beginning of 2012, MidwichHome became a distributing partner to Dutch manufacturer Marmitek, specialising in AV, security and automation products for the home, and to Erard, the French manufacturer of flat screen mounts and furniture. These product offers are complimentary to the company’s existing custom installation business. 

MidwichHome is headed by Neil Drain, retail sales manager, previously a managing director of Lawton Trading which went into voluntary liquidation in 2011.

Mr Drain points out that MidwichHome is now in an excellent position to diversify, by delivering a broad product offer of CE technology and accessories to independent retailers and is able to offer them a strong support infrastructure.  The company carries over 1,200 product lines, offers 24/7 web ordering service (www.midwich.com), with 24 hours delivery – all orders placed before 4.30pm are dispatched next day. MidwichHome has a specialist product support team, in addition to a dedicated sales team, external area sales managers and in-house product training facility. The company also plans to open a product showroom in the South East in 2012. 

The company is growing fast; in January and February 2012 the number of its trade accounts grew by 133% (in comparison with January-February 2011). “This is a reflection of the fact that the trade is realising that MidwichHome distributes many product which they require and they’re starting to come on board,” explains Neil Drain. “This also is due to the acquisition of Harris & Russell accounts. Our accessory offering has also been expanded by some of the Lawton’s lines.”

“Since the beginning of 2012 we added 20 new suppliers and ten more are coming on shortly,” added Lee Hooker, general sales manager for MidwichHome. “They are all accessory products, ranging from AV furniture, through cables, accessories for Apple products to products streaming internet television throughout the home.”

“We are not looking at just any accessories but lifestyle products with outstanding design,” says Mr Drain. “Within the next six months, we will probably have the broadest range of accessories in the UK relating to the independent electrical market. We are also joining the main buying groups such as CIH and Sirius. My role now is to get this company better known to all those in the industry who never heard about MidwichHome.”

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