Kai USA Ltd., Kershaw Knives, and Zero Tolerance Knives are proud to announce the winners of our 2012 sales, distribution, and retail achievement awards.
2012 Overall Distributor of the Year
The 2012 Kai USA Ltd. Overall Distributor of the Year is D-Po Company, headquartered in Moscow, Russia. This company is passionate about the knife business and has deep knowledge of knife markets worldwide. They are leaders in the Russian market and have worked with Kai USA as a strategic partner to expand the market and sales for our quality brands. During 2012, they exhibited triple-digit growth and have demonstrated absolute commitment to our brands.
2012 International Distributor of the Year
Our 2012 International Distributor of the Year is Agora-Tec of Belmont de la Loire, France. Agora-Tec is a long-time Kershaw partner and has recently joined us in working to establish the Zero Tolerance brand in its markets. Agora-Tec opened the French market to our brands and outperformed all expectations—even in a down European market. Under Agora-Tec’s leadership, Kai USA brands experienced double-digit growth during 2012.
2012 Representatives of the Year
John Cunningham of Morton & Associates takes the award as our individual Representative of the Year. Morton & Associates handles western and mountain states for Kershaw and ZT. John himself is a 20-year veteran of working with, at first, Kershaw, and then with Zero Tolerance. Serving an established territory, John was able to fully double his sales and customers during 2012. Known by his buyers for his excellent customer service and responsiveness, John Cunningham well deserves this recognition and we are proud that he represents our brands.
We are also happy to present the Representative Group of the Year award to Schooler & Associates, based in Albany, Texas. Each representative in the group saw significant growth in their own territories during 2012. As a team, Schooler showed astounding growth of 72%. Their enthusiasm and willingness to work with us as a team had paid off. This is a real “roll up the shirtsleeves” team that has helped both Kershaw and ZT in everything from tradeshow order writing to helping reduce overstock inventory. This is Schooler’s second year with us, and we are eager to continue to work with them.
2012 Top Performers of the Year
Two Top Performers share the award this year: Justin Holcombe of Schooler & Associates, a rep group based in Albany, Texas, and Doug Ballou, of Kolder Canada, based in Bradford, Ontario.
Justin Holcombe had an impressive year—especially since he is one of our newer representatives. He doubled his territory from 2010 to 2011, and then nearly tripled it again from 2011 to 2012. Justin was a key player in helping move overstock inventory for Kai USA and was a major support during our trade shows. His enthusiasm and strong advocacy of our brands makes him one of our Top Performers of 2012.
Vancouver, BC-based Doug Ballou of Kolder Canada has had equally impressive results. He worked to achieve the highest rate of Kai USA brand growth in any Canadian territory. Doug has been a significant contributor to Kolder's 50% year-over-year sales increase. He is extremely committed to our brands and provides the very highest level of service to our partners in British Columbia.
2012 Retailers of the Year
The 2012 Kai USA Ltd. Retailer of the Year is Wholesale Sports, a sporting chain with locations throughout the northwestern US and Canada. Wholesale Sports showed strong growth of our brands during 2012. They invested strongly in employee training, even sending employees to our manufacturing facility to gain behind-the-scenes information about the products. Advertising support as well as all-around brand support makes Wholesale Sports a great multinational partner for both Kershaw and ZT brands.
Our 2012 Kai USA Ltd. Independent Retailer of the Year is Mark's Outdoor Sports of Birmingham, Alabama. During 2012, Mark's excelled in sales of both Kershaw and Zero Tolerance products, selling six times the ZT products of the previous year and four times the Kershaws. They demonstrate excellent product knowledge and have a genuine passion for our brands.
2012 New Customer of the Year
For 2012, we are proud to recognize TSC Stores, "The Incredible Country Hardware Store" as our New Customer of the Year. TSC Stores is headquartered in London, Ontario. This Canadian owned and operated retailer has been in business for over 46 years and is going stronger than ever.
Kershaw Knives, Zero Tolerance Knives, and Kai USA proudly recognize all these outstanding partners for their contributions to our business during 2012 and we look forward to working with them during 2013 and into the future.