Fixings manufacturer Cobra Anchors is a ‘new kid on the block’ in the UK and mainland Europe, despite being a market leader in North America – but this is changing fast. Supplied in the UK by Metex Online (based in North Wales) to hardware stores around the country including Home Hardware and Bira members, Cobra fixings are now also finding their way to online retailers like Ironmongery Direct and Wall Wizard, and large sheds like B&Q and Selco, with other strong retail brands such as Screwfix & FFX to follow later in 2022.
Cobra have been operating in the US & Canadian fixings market since 1973, and have introduced over 22 worldwide owned patented products, more than any other fixings manufacturer in North America. Their fixings range from plasterboard and masonry fixings to picture hooks and ceiling fixings, with many self-drilling options and distinctive (and descriptive) names like FlipToggle, TripleGrip and MegaHook.
In the UK and the rest of Europe, brands like Fischer and Rawlplug are more visible in the market, but Cobra is making itself known: “Fischer is of course a well-established and known brand in the European market. Cobra doesn’t have the same recognition, but with the deployment of all our new products on the market since the last 15 years Cobra has built a solid reputation on the world market,” comments Cobra Sales Manager Michel Belzile. Belzile adds that the well-known Bauhaus chain of DIY stores in Germany and Europe have also chosen Cobra as a main fixings partner.
Cobra Anchors started out in 1973 by first simply distributing fixings – and the market was very different: “Cobra made its debut in the anchoring world by taking the distribution route. At the time, there was very little choice in this segment and the products available were of very poor quality. Afterwards, we made the transition from a distributor to a manufacturer due to investments. Since then, our mission is to market one new product every two years,” Belzile describes.
Cobra is now considered the largest direct manufacturer for wall fixings and hooks in North America, and operates two state-of-the-art plants in Montreal, Canada and in Temple, Pennsylvania, as well as a distribution centre in Gonesse, France and up to 15,000 points of sale around the world.
Belzile credits Cobra’s growth and success to innovation: “The fact that we have invested heavily in the development of innovative anchoring products has allowed us to stand out from our competitors. The proof today is that the largest retailers (including Lowes, Home Depot and Bauhaus) in North America and Europe sell Cobra products!”
With a heavy focus on innovation, Cobra invests a great deal in research and advanced technology, with the goal of always improving the performance, safety and ease of use of their products.
“We always start with existing products and look at the possibility of improving them. Our motto is always “Faster, Stronger and Easier” when starting a product development process. We also have the necessary equipment and qualified personnel to do the testing here in-house, which speeds up the process. And finally, we have partners/suppliers who always provide us with state-of-the-art manufacturing products,” says Belzile.
As an example, their newest fixing in the market is WallDriller Plus, which is, in fact, an improved version of their well-known WallDriller, but with double the maximum load, improved grip with three expandable legs, and ceiling fixing capacity. “We started from an existing product and were looking for a way to make it even more efficient. We also wanted a product that could resist vibration, and at the same time we were also looking to fill a need for ceiling installations,” explains Belzile.
Distributed in the UK by Metex Online, Cobra fixings are now available online for home delivery at B&Q, and also at Selco for trade customers. Launch at Screwfix and FFX is scheduled for later in 2022 and trade customers will also have the opportunity for a closer look at Cobra fixings with Metex Online at the Screwfix Live trade show in Farnborough on September 23rd – 25th.
Metex started supplying Cobra fixings in the UK as a complementary range to their own dot & dab wall fixings, and they have become an essential part of Metex’s DIY retail kits, as Marketing Director Daniel Hopkins states: “Following the success of our own dot & dab wall fixing solution ‘Corefix’ - we set about finding a suitable manufacturer of a premium fixings range to complement Corefix. Nearly two years later we reached agreement with Cobra Anchors to distribute their products in the UK and Ireland. The fit alongside Corefix is a natural one, as we were already supplying into many of the DIY and merchant brands with an innovative fixing solution.”