After interviewing Butch Winkler, industry legend and co-owner of Holiday House Distributing, along with his wife Lynn, he insisted on sending me a catalog. That turned out to be a good idea, because even though my Gourmet Coffee Service operation did business with Holiday House for years, I had no idea the extent of what they had to offer.
Leveling the playing field
My business partner Larry Deagon, who dealt on the operations side, knew exactly what Holiday House supplied to us. As the “sales guy,” I just knew that from the very beginning, we always had the parts, filters, organizational tools, displays, dispensers and racks that allowed us to be a formidable competitor against any coffee service, including the industry giants. Holiday House made it easy for us.
So much under one roof
What I learned from the catalog is that Holiday House is the national distributor for Everpure, 3M, Urnex and Omnipure. They are the founders of Homeland Water Filters and the sole distributor of DeJong Duke parts and the Eltek Water Block overflow safety device. They carry replacement parts for Bloomfield, Bunn, Cecilware, Curtis, Grindmaster, and Newco, among others. Additionally, they are a major distributor of John Guest quick connect fittings as well as many other plumbing and electrical components. Then of course, there is a myriad of dispensing and display items to choose from.
“They are a single source for just about everything a vending or OCS operation needs,” said Deagon. “Instead of chasing after twenty different suppliers, there is so much available under one roof from Holiday House.”
Still creating awareness
“It’s amazing after 40 years in business and a client base of 3,000 customers, how many operators really do not understand what we can do for them,” said Winkler. “We are working on increasing an understanding of our offerings, and in fact, we have recently been reaching out to USG members and other operators. It has resulted in some new customers. What we often hear is, ‘We didn’t know you carried that.’
“While we do not sell equipment or consumable products, we provide almost everything else that is needed to repair, install and maintain equipment or display or dispense products,” said Winkler. “We are successful because we listen to our customers and continue to adapt to what operators tell us they need. That responsive approach has turned into 5000 products.”
Water Block – an essential solution
Water filters are the number one selling item for Holiday House, but Barbara Russell, vice president of sales and marketing, suggests that operators look deeper into their catalog. “Water Block technology is a must have item for coffee service operators,” said Russell. “Here is an $18 item that can stop a leak and rescue an operator from a very expensive nightmare.”
Russell noted that every major OCS operator, including Canteen, Aramark, First Choice and Royal Cup are all utilizing this simple leak prevention device. “One major operator told us that the Water Block has saved them $2 million in insurance claims,” she added. Looking ahead, Winkler predicts that sometime soon, Holiday House will be offering a telemetric water detection system that immediately notifies an operator when a leak has occurred.
Deagon reminded me that our Gourmet Coffee Service enjoyed an insurance premium decrease when we put the leak prevention equipment on all our equipment. “We also slept a lot better at night,” Deagon said, recalling some multi-floor leaks before we installed the Water Block.
Installation Kits – increasingly popular
What can best be described as a powerful organizational tool for OCS service departments, customized installation kits from Holiday House are a popular choice among leading operators. “We develop and deliver custom boxed installation kits, requested by our customers. These can include all the parts necessary for installations, from plumbing parts, to filters to Water Blocks. With a customized kit, technicians have everything they need on location and it ensures uniformity,” Russell said.
“There is never a need for the techs to run to a big box store to grab that missing fitting to complete an installation. A new customer can generally replace ordering from five to seven vendors, saving time, shipping and costs associated with issuing multiple purchase orders,” she added. “This is what the industry leading operators are ordering.”
Support beyond parts and supplies
In 2011, Holiday House opened a custom marketing and printing department, which Russell said has been well used and much appreciated by operators. “They can work with our graphics team to create their own custom look, which is increasingly important in today’s workplace,” said Russell. “It certainly helps that our marketing people understand the industry and the message that operators are trying to convey.”
Commitment and recognition
Butch and Lynn, along with their team, have been dedicated to the convenience services industry and have been recognized for that commitment. Before starting Holiday House Distributing in 1990, they were OCS operators in New York for 10 years. Holiday House Distributing has been awarded Supplier of the Year from NAMA, NCSA and ECSA. Butch has served on the NAMA board and has been recognized as a Coffee Legend by the association. Barbara Russell received the Coffee Legend award in 2020 and is a founding member of WIN (Women in NAMA) and serves on NAMA committees.
Winkler promises operators that Holiday House Distributing will continue to serve operators without compromise. “The mission has always been to quickly meet customer needs,” he said. “With the development of our secure website, we offer online ordering. Our customers can sign on, order, see their pricing, pay online and see previous orders. Non-customers will only see the products and descriptions, no pricing. We do not sell retail.”
“Most importantly, we will always listen to our customers to understand how we can best serve their changing needs,” said Winkler.
To order a Holiday House Distributing catalog, or to learn more about its products and services, contact Barbara Russell at (800) 443-4318 x 232 or visit hhdonline.com
About the Author
Industry consultant and VendingMarketWatch.com contributor Bob Tullio is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up and advises suppliers on how to successfully connect with operators. Tullio’s YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, is designed to “elevate your business in two minutes.” Tullio is currently developing an online course, Leverage the power of LinkedIn to grow your business. Visit tullioB2B.com to learn more about VMW's contributing editor and his b2b services.