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When the news first broke last year that KIK Custom Products would purchase BioLab (and its subsidiary BioGuard) from Chemtura, news media covered the basic facts of the event, but it’s taken some time to discern the direction the new parent company will take.
Six months have passed — time enough to see what the change in ownership may mean for dealers. With that in mind, AQUA magazine recently caught up with Jon Viner, president of BioLab, to see what KIK has in store for retailers bearing the BioGuard logo.
Tell us a little about the acquisition.
At the time, this is last December, not a lot of people knew who KIK were. Relationships mean a lot in this industry, and people want to know what’s going on with a company they work with.
The very first thing we did, within a week of the deal closing, is get the KIK senior management to come to our annual BioGuard enrichment conference. And straight off the bat they were able to see the BioGuard dealers and the uniqueness of them — they’re all independent retailers, and you can’t use a cookie-cutter approach with them. They all have different needs and business models and they are all in different stages of development.
I think it was an eye-opener for both sides.
But when a change like this takes place, the first question on people’s minds is, “What does this mean to me?”
Yes. What does this mean for the individual BioGuard dealer?
What is really important for the BioGuard dealer to know is that KIK is very committed to the pool and spa industry and to this channel, and they are going to invest in it to help their dealers compete and be more successful.
We never got to that point with our legacy company because, obviously, they were looking to divest us.
What type of investments?
We’re talking about a lot of different strategies and activities that we will share with our dealers and future potential dealers as we go through this first year of integration with KIK. I can’t get into the specifics until we’re completely ready for the rollout.
But the independent retailer is very important channel for KIK and BioLab and we want to help it grow. That’s one thing about KIK — their main focus is growth. They’ve been successful, and they want to continue that success, and they want to win in the independent retailer channel.
When will we see some of this in the marketplace?
We are going to be sharing some of these investments in Q4 of this year.
There was a lot of publicity surrounding the purchase, and after going through the first four months, we’re very happy with the way things have gone. Dealers are going to start to see benefits soon. Our focus is to make them better.
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