Mr. Checkout is a national association of independent wagon-jobbers and full-line distributors. We distribute product to approximately 35,000 independent stores around the country and are always seeking the next hot new product. If you have a product, we want to hear from you!

Independent Hardware Store Distribution

Gift Stores

Distributing to independent hardware stores is all about satisfying the store’s needs in what type of products their customers demand. Independent hardware stores want a product that has been established and will sell quickly. Contacting local independent hardware stores is a good first step to get a feel for what products do well in that market.

Finding a distributor who already has an established relationship with independent hardware retailers is essential. The distributor and retailer relationship is important in product placement in independent hardware stores. If a distributor has a good reputation with an independent hardware retailer the process of getting products into the store is a lot smoother.

Building a relationship and a positive track record is a very important part for the distributor. It is important for the distributor to do some research on what kind of hardware products do well in each hardware store, which can be dependent on where they are located. If a product does well in one independent hardware store the likeliness the distributor will put it in other stores is high. In independent hardware stores and independent stores in general it is all about shelf space and what sells well will claim that shelf space. Products that do not, will be given less space or no space in order to move in a new product that sells well.

Independent hardware stores look for products that are innovative and will set them apart from competitors. So, new products have a better chance of making it into an independent hardware store  vs. a big box retailer. An independent hardware store will have a stronger personal relationship and knowledge with products compared to big box stores as well. This is beneficial to everyone involved because having knowledge about the product in stores will improve sales.

In order to get a product into an independent hardware market contacting the correct distributor is the first step. The next step would be sending samples and other pertinent information to that distributor if requested. They like to see proof of sales and selling points of that product. Communicating about price points and minimum order quantities is very important. If the distributor likes the product and thinks it would be a good fit for their route they will purchase the product.

If the product does well in stores, the distributor will continually order more. Proof of sales will bring more orders and getting in contact with other distributors in other parts of the country is the next step. A product with proven sales in a few independent hardware stores will make its way to independent hardware stores all across the nation through different distribution channels. Establishing and building relationships with distributors is the best way to get products into independent hardware stores.

Top 5 Hardware Store Distributors

The rate of construction is very high. New building and renovation projects are carried out daily. It is hardly news to hear of new construction sites or the development of new estates. Old houses are being refurbished to look modern and fairly new while repairs are carried out almost every day on new houses. The real estate industry is one that wouldn’t and still can’t survive without certain items referred to as “hardware.” As with other essential items, upgrades are always being carried out and new hardware produced.

Just like any other product, hardware needs a reliable supply chain. It is essential to have a distributor who gets products from the manufacturers and get them to the local retail stores.

Top hardware store distributors would be given below. This list is not arranged in any particular order:

Orchard Lock Distributors

With about 47 years in the business of door hardware distribution, this distributor has been able to gain an industry reputation that sets it apart.

Orchard Lock Distributors is a full-line wholesale distributor of architectural and commercial door hardware and security products. They are a distributor for the industry’s leading premium brands. Customers can depend on their product and use knowledge, technical expertise to deliver the door hardware products they need.

A-Line Distributors

A-Line Distributors is an Alberta based wholesale security and door hardware supplier based in Edmonton, with branches in Calgary and Cambridge.

The distributor has over 30 years of experience, and it works with nearly 50 global lock and accessory manufacturers; delivering the products their customers demand, at competitive prices.

Monroe Hardware

For over 130 years, Monroe Hardware has been serving the Southeast for all their hardware needs, from hand and power tools to building materials. Monroe Hardware’s sales force provides the personal touch a local retailer needs. New products and technologies allow the local dealer to remain competitive with the “big box” hardware stores.

Reiss Wholesale

Reiss Wholesale Hardware serves a variety of clientele, including hardware stores, lumber yards, mason supply, locksmiths, plumbing supply, electrical supply, tool stores, landlord supply and paint stores. Reiss is a member of the PRO distributor buying group, which enables it to offer its customers competitive pricing. Its extensive direct import program also allows the company to provide quality products at competitive prices.

McGregor Hardware

McGregor Hardware is a leading wholesale distributor of hardware products located in Springfield, MO. The company was founded in1866 and today it is one of the oldest hardware distributor companies in the country. The company offers a wide range of hardware products, such as paints, building hardware, electrical components, heating systems and components, plumbing fittings and supplies, farm and hand tools, and many other building materials.

Its warehouse counts over 15,000 products from renowned manufacturers like Stanley, Kwikset, Dap, National, Amerock, 3M, Scotch, Harvey’s, American Hardware, LCD, Masterlock, Black and Decker, and many more.

Here are the 6 steps you need to take to have your product picked up by a distributor.

1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product, you need to ask yourself a few basic questions. Do you need to build demand for your product, or is there already a demand for it? Do you know that the distributor would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with them, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to the distributor, or do you want to license your product to a manufacturer that will handle distribution?

2. Be prepared to profit.) Does your product offer enough of a profit margin for a distributor? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check the distributor’s guidelines for other fees that you will have to build into the cost of your product in order for you to be able to turn enough of a profit to make the effort worth your while. If you work with a discount retailer, they will try to strip your profits down to zero in order to keep their prices as low as possible.

The typical breakdown of margins are: If a products costs $1 to produce, that product will retail for $4. That product that retails for $4 will wholesale for $2 to distributors and stores that purchase direct. Big box retailers like Walmart may offer to pay $1.25 to the manufacturer if the product costs $1 to produce. That is the typical profit margin.

3. Determine if the distributor is the right one for your product.) The relationship between you and the distributor starts with you browsing the store’s that they service for competing products. If the stores already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Picture in which zone your product would best fit on the shelf and keep in mind that the most precious asset that these big box stores value are their shelf space. Keep this information in mind when you are preparing your presentation to the distributor.

4. Pitch your product.) Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to the distributor. Your presentation depends heavily on your strengths as a businessperson as they will most likely ask financial questions and logistics questions.

It’s common for companies to hire a broker to pitch their product to a distributor, as it will be more likely that your product will make it to the next stage if the individual pitching your product has industry knowledge or a personal relationship with them. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product.

We at Mr. Checkout have experience dealing with brokers and know that there are several retail brokers that have poor business practices that can potentially damage your brand. If you are seeking a legitimate broker, please give us a call for a recommendation. It could save you a huge headache and a lot of money.

5. Complete the required paperwork.) Often a distributor will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required, you should contact them and let them know your intentions. Having a contact inside of the company will potentially move your application more smoothly through the process.

6. Anticipate the need for increased volume.) Having a distributor pick up your line will most likely mean a significant increase in volume. You should be prepared to ramp up your production and informing your manufacturer of this opportunity.

Having production, logistics and distribution to sync is not only difficult, it requires a significant amount of time invested in customer relations. Also, distributors may have stipulations in the contract that may penalize you for delays in shipping and production. Have an attorney explain all contracts to you if you don’t understand the terms.

If you’re looking to distribute your product through a distributor, be sure to thoroughly assess the marketplace, carefully prepare for production growth, and take full advantage of resources available to help you grow your business.


Mr. Checkout is a national association of independent wagon-jobbers and full-line distributors. We distribute product to approximately 35,000 independent stores around the country and are always seeking the next hot new product. If you have a product, we want to hear from you!