Dave Fishwick, the self-made millionaire whose story inspired the Netflix film Bank of Dave, told delegates at the Unitas conference in Athens that independent wholesalers can “take the world on” through the combined strength of the Unitas group.
The founder of the community bank Burnley Loans & Savings, who challenged the high street banks in a David v Goliath struggle, told the 300 delegates: “I feel like you’re as close to me as I am to you. The Bank of Dave is the Bank of Unitas. Together you are so strong and you can take the world on.
“When you’re going up against the forces that are out there – the massive supermarkets, the national restaurant chains – together you can beat them.”
Fishwick’s keynote speech ended four days of presentations on the retail and out-of-home markets in which Unitas’ 155 wholesalers operate. TWC’s Tom Fender reported how the most recent data shows Unitas members outperforming the market across all categories, while Jill Livesey of Lumina Intelligence outlined the sectors which are driving out of home dining above 2019 levels.
Other experts in their field explored challenges and opportunities in the trading environment, including economy, politics and policy, technology, investment in people, and sustainability.
New services to members were highlighted in presentations by the Unitas team. These services include central invoicing, a new own-label range, and a new scheme to offer members better pricing on their utilities and other business contracts.
Wholesalers and suppliers joined the central office trading team to discuss examples of collaboration on promotions, depot activations, events and data sharing.
The conference was opened by Unitas chairman Mark Aylwin who shared how the group’s members were outperforming the market in retail, foodservice and on-trade and how, with continuing investment in their businesses, they were well placed to grow even further in 2024 and beyond.
Unitas managing director John Kinney told delegates: “We are committed to driving growth for our members. This is not about simply adding more members, it will be through being better at what we do. Our strategic focus will be on driving a value offer, providing additional support to members through enhanced procurement, and optimising our respective supply chains, all underpinned by digitalising the operation to make it easier for our members and suppliers to work together better.”
Next year’s Unitas conference will be held in Vilamoura in Portugal on 20-24 September.Published Date: September 25, 2023