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Irrigation, PVF & Waterworks Executive Message

Scott Bardreau Vice President

A well-deserved thank you once again to our sponsors of the IMARK Irrigation Hospitality Suite at this year’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio. The good folks at K-Rain, Watts/FEBCO, IPEX and Chicago Fittings brought nearly 100 members together for all kinds of SWAG, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.

While at the 2024 IMARK Annual Meeting in San Antonio, members expressed great interest in the opportunity to expand into the irrigation business. Irrigation is one of our fastest-growing verticals, with new and existing suppliers continuing to join the ranks. For a plumbing distributor to expand into irrigation is a relatively easy move as many irrigation contractors are currently coming into their business for pipe, solvents and cements, backflow and pressure-reducing valves, pumps and other key essentials. It makes sense to many—adding a line of controllers, rotors, sprays and accessories allows distributors to scale their business and increase revenue. I spent time with one of IMARK’s biggest supporters, Greg Dougherty from K-RAIN, to discuss the opportunities. K-Rain was a sponsor at this year’s Irrigation Hospitality Suite in San Antonio, and he submitted the following composition for review and consideration.

Expanding Product Categories: A Small Business’s Key to Maximizing Sales and Customer Satisfaction

In the competitive landscape of today’s business world, independent enterprises often face the challenge of sustaining growth and profitability. One strategy that has proven to be both financially rewarding and customer-oriented is the expansion of product categories. This approach boosts sales and enhances perceived value and customer satisfaction. In this article, we will explore the financial and perceived benefits of small businesses adding new categories of products to their offerings.

Diversification for Financial Stability

  • Increased Revenue Streams
  • Reduced Dependency
  • Maximizing Existing Customer Base
  • Enhanced Perceived Value – One-Stop Shopping
  • Brand Trust and Credibility
  • Cross-Selling Opportunities
  • Adaptation to Changing Trends
  • Competitive Advantage

Increased Revenue Streams: Expanding product categories allows small businesses to tap into new revenue streams. By offering various products, a business can capture the interests and needs of a broader customer base. This diversification can provide a financial cushion during economic downturns, as different products may be affected differently by market fluctuations.

Reduced Dependency: Relying on a single or product category can be risky. By diversifying their offerings, small businesses reduce their dependency on a specific product or market segment. This safeguards them against potential industry-specific challenges or shifts in consumer preferences.

Maximizing Existing Customer Base: Expanding product categories can increase sales from existing customers. When customers find a trusted brand offering a wider range of products, they are more likely to make additional purchases from the same business. This strengthens customer loyalty and retention. Why force your customers to shop across the street for those items you don’t carry? Increase your revenue while limiting the potential of competitive pressure.

Enhanced Perceived Value and Customer Satisfaction Through One-Stop Shopping: Customers appreciate the convenience of one-stop shopping. When a small business offers a variety of products, customers are more likely to visit and shop regularly, as they can fulfill multiple needs in a single place. This convenience enhances the perceived value of the business.

Brand Trust and Credibility: Expanding product categories can bolster a business’s reputation and credibility. When customers see a brand consistently delivering quality products across various categories, they develop trust in the brand. This trust can lead to customer referrals and positive reviews, further boosting sales.

Cross-Selling Opportunities: Offering multiple product categories opens up cross-selling opportunities. Businesses can strategically recommend related products to customers, increasing the average transaction value and encouraging repeat purchases. This not only drives sales but also deepens customer relationships.

Adaptation to Changing Trends: Markets are constantly evolving. Adding new product categories enables small businesses to adapt to changing consumer trends. By staying relevant and innovative, they remain competitive in the long run.

Competitive Advantage: Small businesses that expand their product categories can gain a competitive edge. They differentiate themselves from competitors who offer limited choices. An expanded product offering will attract new customers looking for variety and quality.

In conclusion, the benefits of a small business adding new product categories are substantial from a financial and perceived value perspective. Diversification leads to increased revenue and reduced risk, while offering a wider range of products enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty. By strategically expanding their offerings, small businesses can position themselves for long-term success in a dynamic marketplace. For more information on K-Rain and the advantages they offer, I urge you to contact Greg, director of North American sales at

Two of the Irrigation industry’s biggest shows, the Irrigation Show and the Equip Exposition, both take place this year. The Equip Expo, an annual event dedicated to the growth of landscapers’, hardscapers’, manufacturers’ and dealers’ businesses will take place in Louisville, Kentucky, from October 15-18.

Equip Exposition is renowned for showcasing the latest and greatest products with more than 1,000 exhibits, creating a unique opportunity to explore and compare cutting-edge innovations in the industry. The event is aptly named “The Proving Ground” as it allows businesses to pit their products against each other, providing valuable insights and opportunities for growth. Attending Equip Exposition can offer valuable insights, networking opportunities and a chance to stay at the forefront of industry developments. This event is designed to benefit your business in irrigation.

Secondly and equally as important, this year’s Irrigation Show will be in Long Beach, California, from November 4-7. The Irrigation Show is the place where suppliers showcase their latest products and services. IMARK suppliers K-RAIN and ADS are both Irrigation Show sponsors. More to come on this event as the time draws closer.


We recently welcomed Wells Septic Tank Inc. to the IMARK Waterworks vertical as a new member starting February 1. It’s notable that Wells Septic Tank has a rich history, having started as a family-owned business in 1967 and evolving into one of Alabama’s largest onsite wastewater and storm drainage companies.

The decision in 1991 to focus on manufacturing (precast septic tanks) and sales/distribution while discontinuing excavation and service suggests a strategic shift that has contributed to their success. The company’s footprint in 15 counties in Alabama and five counties in Georgia demonstrates a substantial regional presence.

Being a part of IMARK Waterworks and Plumbing implies additional opportunities for collaboration, networking and access to a broader industry network. We look forward to seeing our many suppliers welcome the Wells family and introduce themselves and their products. Seeing businesses evolve and grow within their respective industries is always exciting.

The upcoming ACE24 waterworks conference in Anaheim, California will be here before we know it. It’s important for members and suppliers to take note of the schedule changes, with pre-conference workshops on Monday and the opening general session on Tuesday. The exhibits will be open from Tuesday through Thursday. For additional details and daily schedules, participants are encouraged to refer to the “Schedule at a Glance” for the most up-to-date information on the ACE24 website at

This year’s conference venue is the Anaheim Convention Center, located at 800 W Katella Ave., Anaheim, CA 92802.

The co-headquarter hotels for the event are the adjacent Hilton and Marriott.

Be sure to mark your calendars and make the necessary arrangements to ensure a successful and productive experience at ACE24.


The ASA IPD commodity report shared in a recent issue that there was a 6% industrywide domestic malleable increase that was implemented on January 1. Rising energy, labor and raw materials were noted as the primary reasons for the increase. To the contrary, carbon steel prices have declined since the start of the new year, and hot roll coil pricing is down 26% to date. This is due largely in part to additional capacity having been brought online and a decline in demand.

It’s reported that 2024 started as a promising year for projects that stainless steel was to be used on. It seems prices have leveled out with some signs that we will see an upward movement, as most customers are expecting the economy to strengthen should interest rates come down in the coming months.

Forge, steel fittings and branch outlets saw little to no pricing increases or adjustments throughout winter. Material pricing remains semi-stable and material appears to be readily available, according to suppliers of these products.

Domestic manufacturers of cast iron pipe and fittings, McWain and Charlotte Pipe, executed a list price and multiplier change, producing an overall approximate 5% increase for the market in January. The increase affected service weight, no hub pipe and fittings, along with specialties, plugs and extra heavy pipe and fittings. There were no price increases reported for service-weight gaskets or no hub couplings.