Top 50 Distributors
The reccession—after two years of near-constant media coverage, it's become something that comes off as filler content from press outlets. Another story about high unemployment numbers. More foreclosures. Wall Street scandals. The Dow is up. The Nikkei is down. Coffee sales predict this, but toy sales predict that. After a while, it all becomes a dull pessimistic hum, annoying you as you try and move on with your day.
Regardless of media-saturation, the reality of how central the recession was to our industry in 2009 can't be ignored. The worst economic situation our country had seen in years, 2009 brought huge losses across our industry, both to the big distributorship networks and smaller independent companies. Many businesses lost millions in revenue, and a large handful even decreased at the tens of millions scale. Certainly though, the bulk of these losses were not a result of poor management or leadership.
The recession blindsided almost everyone, drying up credit and crushing many reliable end-buyer markets, like banking and real estate, before anyone could realize what was happening. Not to mention the global impact of the recession causing problems with overseas manufacturing, industry supplier mainstays declaring bankruptcy and most businesses in general cutting back severely on money spent on marketing. If anything, the fact that our industry not only survived the recession, but also had companies increase in size, is a testament to the willpower, adaptiveness and skillful leadership of every distributorship out there.
It's difficult to pinpoint the source of this strength, and to be sure, it comes from different places for different people and different companies. What's easy to see is what these sources bring: an optimism and courage that has been undeniably valuable in fighting though the economic miasma until the better times arrive.
The interviews that follow with the top 10 distributor companies are reflective of this strength. There is a sense of hopefulness in each, often accompanied by an equally important steadfast attitude and finely tuned pragmatism. As we all prepare for a better and brighter 2010, it may be of benefit for those looking for motivation, encouragement or just a sense of not being alone to read on, think about what is being said, and focus on moving forward.