Kole Imports, over the past quarter-century, has positioned itself as a leading and innovative player in the dollar and discount retail industry. For example, when Kole began selling party favors, the company did not want to offer just two or three party favors; they wanted a complete line: 20 to 30 items. It was incredibly challenging in the 1980s and 1990s to come up with excellent merchandise that could be sold for $1. Today, it is even tougher, due to the weakening of the dollar and the run-up in petroleum prices in recent years. That’s why Kole, in addition to its dollar store line, sells a line of products priced at $5 to $10 per item. “We take a rather simplistic but effective approach to each of the items we sell,” says Danny Kole, president of Kole Imports. “We look at it and ask ourselves, ‘Is this item a great deal for this price?’ If we think it is a great deal, we buy it. If we do not think it is a great deal, we don’t buy. We want retailers and their shoppers to say, ‘Wow, I got a great deal on that item’.”
Promotions to Help Partnering Retailers
For its first 23 years, Kole was primarily an import/export company. “We have changed that in recent years, so that we are a closeout company as well,” says the president. “Last year, 20 percent of our sales were closeouts. That is a giant shift in two years. We have a whole staff looking for closeouts.” Another big change Kole Imports made to its line is the addition of Promo Pallets, which are prepackaged displays of merchandise. At trade shows around the country, mainstream retailers often came into the Kole booths to declare that they loved the Kole product line, but did not know which items to buy or how to display them. The company solved both problems with the addition of Promo Pallets, which are displays available in different sizes: starter pallets, floor displays, counter top displays, premium item pallets and dump displays. Pallet categories include automotive, general merchandise, tools and hardware, housewares, lawn and garden, pet supplies, school and office and toys. “If a retailer has 50 stores, they can make a decision and perhaps put one pallet in each store for a quick promotion,” says Kole. “The great thing about these pallets is that it takes literally less than a minute to open the box and set up the display. This merchandise is priced to allow the retailer to sell it for $1 retail, and still make a healthy profit margin.”
After 25 years in business, Kole Imports is still going strong, sourcing great products, coming up with new ideas, and preparing for a long and successful future. What sets Kole Imports apart? “We add new products and closeouts on a regular basis,” says Kole in a recent article. Customers will see the Kole difference, as the company offers them detailed product descriptions for easier selection, which includes product name, real quantity in stock, UPC, detailed pictures, weight, brand name, color, length, width, height and more. “We look at our customers as our partners. That may sound corny, but we are clear on one reality; if our customers don’t do well, we don’t do well. Our slogan is, we are, ‘Your Profit Source.’ Every person from the sales department to the shipping department understands what that means to us,” adds Kole.
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