2018 National Hardware Show® a Great Success

May 29, 2018

(NORWALK, Connecticut, May 29, 2018)—Earlier this month, thousands of hardware and home improvement professionals from throughout the industry gathered at the Las Vegas Convention Center for the 73rd edition of the National Hardware Show. Attendees and exhibitors alike had the chance to network, learn about new products and see the latest and greatest in industry trends.
“The 2018 National Hardware Show was a successful one,” says Rich Russo, vice president of the National Hardware Show. “With three busy days full of excitement and enthusiasm, we were thrilled to see such a great turnout and hope everyone left feeling inspired by the ideas, best practices, insights and new connections made at the Show. It was inspiring for us to see so many industry professionals from across the country and all over the world gather together here at NHS.”
As always, a key focus for all who attended were new products—not only could retailers find the latest and greatest at the Show, but there were several featured areas where their latest innovations and developments were on display.
“We’re constantly looking for products for our electrical department,” says Diana Newton, vice president of Bay Hardware in Seal Beach, California. “There are always improvements to be made there.”
The educational seminars at the North American Retail Hardware Association’s (NRHA) All-Industry Conference, held in the NRHA Village in the Central Lobby, were also a popular area for many attendees.
“This event has it all: products, networking, learning more about managing and running a business,” says Sherri Amos, director of dealer support at Home Hardware. “It’s one you can’t miss.”

Specialty Areas
The Ultimate Backyard
This brand-new area offered a chance for attendees to find the latest and greatest outdoor living products in their natural environment: outdoors!
Fiberbuilt Umbrellas featured their product in this new display. “I like The Ultimate Backyard,” says Paul Knapp, president of Fiberbuilt Umbrellas. “I’ve come to the Show for years and always came out to the tailgate area, but I had to head back inside to see the outdoor accessories. This area brings everything together in one place.”
The Ultimate Backyard was sponsored by Adams Manufacturing. Other participating vendors included:

  • Better Life Technology
  • Blue Orange Pottery
  • Bug Elimination & Prevention Co.
  • Classic Accessories
  • Canadian Spa Company
  • Coolbox Cooler
  • Dometic Corp
  • Fiberbuilt
  • Garden Weasel
  • Global Outdoor Concepts
  • GoSun
  • Great Scrape
  • Husqvarna Professional Products 
  • La Crosse Technology
  • Lifetime Products
  • Naturae Décor
  • Pawleys Island Hammocks
  • Portacool
  • Real Flame Fireplaces
  • SnapLock Industries
  • SYNLawn
  • Tarter Farm and Ranch
  • The Boltze Group/ Ember Grills
  • Toy State
  • Official Bar Sponsor: Traeger Grills
  • Official Truck Sponsor: Nissan Commercial Vehicles

Operation Tiny Home
Operation Tiny Home joined the National Hardware Show family this year to showcase the latest trends in tiny and container home construction and raise awareness about housing instability across the country.
Zack Giffin, co-host of “Tiny Home Nation,” teamed up with local veterans to teach them valuable woodworking and construction skills as they completed a furniture-making workshop. The furniture was then displayed in a tiny home that attendees could tour outside in Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ. The home was later donated to provide shelter to veterans in need.
“The workshops aren’t just about learning new skills,” says Gabrielle Rapport, founder and executive director of Operation Tiny Home. “It’s about a community building and creating something together.”
Nearby was 2 x 4s for Hope, a nonprofit organization that works to build safe and secure shelters for veterans and those affected by natural disasters or who lack safe housing. Attendees could make a small donation and sign a message on a 2 x 4 that would later be used in one of the organization’s building projects.
Smart Home Virtual Reality Experience
As the popularity and shear number of smart home products continues to rise, the Show provided a new interactive way for attendees to learn more—the Smart Home Virtual Reality Experience. This display, located in the Central Lobby, offered a virtual reality tour of a fully equipped smart home.
Scott Bard of 84 Lumber gave the Smart Home experience a try. “It was the first time I’d tried something virtual reality like this,” he says. “It was really cool to see. I was able to walk through a living room and bedroom and look all through the house.”
Products were on display from the following companies:

  • Buy It Installed
  • Garage Smart
  • GE
  • Jiawei
  • La Crosse
  • Ring
  • Smanos

Inventors Spotlight
Attendees who wanted to find “the next big thing” in the home improvement industry could check out Inventors Spotlight in N109 to see 200-plus brand-new inventions and solutions for their consumers. Inventors in this area also had the opportunity to pitch their products and to meet with buyers and potential investors.
“This is our first time at the National Hardware Show,” says Clint Bunch, president of Dropout Cabinet Fixtures. “We are hoping being in Inventors Spotlight can help us find some manufacturing help instead of doing everything locally.”

International Sourcing
The International Sourcing area represents exactly how the National Hardware Show draws professionals from all over the world. This area included exhibitors from China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Taiwan and Pakistan.
It was a great opportunity for attendees to get some face-to-face meeting time with exhibitors who they may not otherwise have gotten to meet in person. Exhibitors covered a variety of categories, including Building Products, Plumbing & Electrical, Paint & Accessories and more.
Attendees could also find other international exhibitors throughout the Show floor.
Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ
Due to increased popularity, this area of the Show has continued to grow each year. Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ, located in the Silver Parking Lot, offered attendees the perfect opportunity to experience products in a more interactive way than they might on the Show floor.
The area included food, games, music and networking opportunities, as well as the chance to experience new products.
“Traeger is a lifestyle brand that happens to sell barbecues,” says Luke Edgar, vice president of specialty sales for Traeger. “We spend a lot of time at this Show building relationships and showing off our brand.”
There were also a number of events and awards ceremonies taking place in this area. Attendees could take some time to head outdoors and experience all the area had to offer.
Featured New Products
This year, the Featured Product Gallery was located on Level 2 in Room N245 and included New Product World; the Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Living Awards display and the Homewares Awards display. This area showcased some of the latest and greatest projects highlighted at the Show.
KODA North America was one company with their product on display in New Product World. They offer a motion-activated light with a camera that has dual-light sensors.
“This is our first year as a vendor,” says Melody Chen, product marketing manager. “With a Show this size, it can be difficult to see everything and New Product World helps show off those products that stand out. We’re happy to have our motion-activated light as a part of that area.”
Two other featured products areas were located in the Central Lobby: New Product Launch and Made in USA.
Made in USA products continue to be popular to consumers, who like the idea of buying a product made domestically—and, in some cases, locally.
“Quality matters,” says Alex Stephens of Tie Boss, a company showcasing its offering of several types of pulleys and hoisting systems. “Our products are manufactured in Ohio, and they’re solid. When you’re hanging your $1,200 kayak from the ceiling of your garage, you don’t want to cut corners. With Tie Boss, you know you have a good product.”
New Product Launch included items that haven’t yet hit the market—with no pre-negotiations, pre-sales or exclusives. The products represent a variety of categories across the industry.
Ryan Holland from Tinker Towel Bar had his product on display in the New Product Launch area.
“This is our first time at the National Hardware Show,” he says. “I think one of the best things about the New Product Launch area is that it gives you exposure to all that traffic coming in the doors.”
Pet Products
Pet Products continues to be a growing category, and it was a featured one at the National Hardware Show. One trend exhibitors are seeing is that consumers want products that are more natural, says Greg Hill, president of Davis Manufacturing, which was showcasing its selection of pet shampoos and antibacterial sprays.
“Everyone is looking for natural products,” he says. “Our millennial customers, especially, seem to be very anti-chemical.”
Farm & Ranch
Another popular niche is Farm & Ranch, and plenty of Show exhibitors had the products attendees would need for their farming customers.
“Hobby farming continues to be popular, especially for people who want to do more gardening at home and who want to take more control of their food chain,” says Cindy Hoff, manager of consumer products with Barenbrug USA. “A lot of young adults are looking to be healthier and think more carefully about the food they’re putting in their bodies.”

Awards Ceremonies
There were a number of awards ceremonies during the Show to recognize the best of the best in the industry, including the following:
Reimagine Retail
The National Hardware Show asked, and retailers answered: What would you do if you were given $100,000 to improve your business?
It was the second year for the Show’s Reimagine Retail program, which this year asked independent retailers how they would use technology to improve their businesses.
Each entrant submitted a 250-word plan detailing how they would incorporate technology in their operations. Retailers were encouraged to consider how technology could streamline their inventory management systems, checkout process, marketing initiatives, e-commerce offerings and training programs.

Five finalists attended the Show, and the winner was announced on Wednesday afternoon.

That winner was Matt Woods, CEO of Woods Hardware in Cincinnati, Ohio. His store plans to use the prize money to implement a program allowing them to offer same-day delivery to customers within a three-mile radius of each of its five stores.

The business has already developed a 3D walkthrough of its downtown store that links to the e-commerce website. The complete plan would allow customers to virtually walk through the aisles of the store, click on an item and have it delivered the same day.

To implement the system, Woods Hardware needs to make significant improvements to its POS system so it can send accurate inventory data to the website in real time. The company also wants to hire a full-time IT professional to manage the system.

"I couldn’t be more excited," says Woods. "We’ve had this ready to rock and roll—now we just have to hire the team to upgrade our systems. With this prize, we can start taking steps to put our plan into action."

Young Retailer of the Year
The awards started with NRHA’s Young Retailer of the Year program. Eight honorees, all 35 years old or younger, were recognized for their achievements in growing their businesses and continuing their hardware education, as well as their innovative work as they look to the future of the industry.
The 2018 Young Retailer of the Year honorees are:
Under $2 Million in Annual Sales

  • Ronna Kilts, Manager, Mattson’s True Value Hardware, Howard City, Michigan
  • Megan Zarbano, Owner, Handy Hardware & Rental, Valley City, North Dakota

Over $2 Million in Annual Sales

  • Sean Angelo, General Manager, Budget Home Supply, Longmont, Colorado
  • Taylor Baker, Owner, Foothills Hardware & Builders Supply, Pilot Mountain, North Carolina
  • Mike Wilson, General Manager & Dealer-Owner, Wilson’s Home Hardware Building Centre, Barrington Passage, Nova Scotia

Multiple Store Operations

  • Byron Clouse, Owner, Lewiston Ace Hardware, Lewiston, Michigan
  • Nate Ludwig, General Manager, Dazey’s Building Center, Garberville, California
  • Diana Newton, Vice President, Bay Hardware, Seal Beach, California

Top Guns
Four women were recognized last week as Top Guns by NRHA. These honorees spoke on a panel at the Show, talking about their insights in to the industry, as well as some advice for other retailers.
“The Top Guns program is centered on highlighting retailers who put every ounce of themselves into their business, and it shows,” says Bob Cutter, NRHA president and CEO.
The four winners are:

  • Amanda Fancy, dealer-owner, Gow’s Home Hardware, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia
  • Jamie Gentner, CEO, Center Hardware & Supply, San Francisco
  • Megan Menzer, owner, Newton’s True Value, two locations in Kansas
  • Angela Merritt, general manager, Ederer’s Do it Best, three locations in Wisconsin

PDRA
The Paint and Decorating Retailers Association (PDRA) awarded its 10th annual $5,000 scholarship, which went to Jeremy Keim, son of Jerry and Donna Keim, who own and operate Keim’s Paint Center in Rock Island, Illinois.
Jeremy is attending Saint Louis University and is in his fifth and final year of a combined bachelor’s and master’s in accounting program.
“It’s exciting to have won something from the paint industry, because I have been helping out at our store since I was in grade school,” Jeremy says.
50 Campfires—The Camping Authority Awards
Presented by 50 Campfires
Essential Gear

  • Goal Zero Crush Light
  • Camp Maid
  • The Boltz Group
  • Rinsekit

Backyard Essentials Award (NEW!)

  • Great Scrape

Editors Choice

  • Smokehouse Products
  • Flippin’ BBQ

American Manufacturing Awards
Presented by Made in USA | GBQ Partners

  • BestNew Product: Mag Instrument Inc, LED Rechargeable System
  • Best Packaging: Woodcraft LLC, Furniture Paint
  • Best On-Site Patriotic Marketing: Catahoula Manufacturing Inc, Mason Twine

Game Ball Awards
Presented by Tailgater Magazine

  • Best New Product Overall: Beefer Grillgeräte GmbH
  • Best Innovation: Otterbox
  • Ultimate Backyard Award: Global Outdoor Concepts Inc.
  • Best Tailgate Concept:  Outdoor Essentials
  • Best Overall Product: Hessaire
  • Best Marketing Concept: Traeger Wood Fired Grills

Homewares Awards
Presented by HomeWorld® Business

  • Gold: Dr. Bronner’s. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap
  • Silver: PLOT, Miletus
  • Bronze: Comadeco Ovni Blockystar Door Stop
  • Honorable Mention: Skyline Brands, Modernhome Family-Sized Digital Air Fryer

Lawn, Garden and & Outdoor Living Awards
Presented by Lawn & Garden Retailer

  • Gold: GTX Turf Farms, Grotrax™ Big Roll
  • Silver: Scepter, SmartControl Fuel Containers
  • Bronze: Chapin International, Mixes-on-Exit
  • Honorable Mention: Fiskars Americas, Curved Micro-Tip® Pruning Snips

New Product Launch Awards
Presented by Amazon

  • Gold: Kreg Tool, Kreg Track Horse
  • Silver: Snow Joe, Sun Joe ION+ 24V Cordless 120-PSI Air Compressor with Digital Gauge, Auto Shut-Off and 4 Nozzle Adapters
  • Bronze: Dynamic Solutions Worldwide LLC, DynaTrap Flylight
  • Honorable Mention: Toilet Fresh, Toilet Air Purifier

New Product World Awards
Presented by DIY Network

  • Aesthetics: Plugfones
  • Differentiation/Uniqueness: Grypmat
  • Fills Consumer Needs: Hygienic Toilet Squeegee (Better Living Products)
  • Overall Value: Hazard Flasher (Wagan Corporation)
  • Packaging/Merchandising Support: SURLY Soap

UIA Inventors Spotlight Awards
Presented by the United Inventors Association (UIA)

  • Most Innovative: Dropout Cabinet Fixtures
  • Best Marketing: MagnetPAL
  • Pinnacle Award: Robbox

Retailers’ Choice Awards
Presented by NRHA and Hardware Retailing magazine

  • Rite in the Rain Product Line, JL Darling
  • Drain Weasel, FlexiSnake
  • Clip-On Microscope, ScienceWiz
  • Q-Swiper, Proud Grill Co.
  • Greenlid Biodegradable Kitchen Food Waste Bin, Greenlid
  • Pro Stud Finder, Franklin Sensors
  • Original Tick Key, Tick Key
  • DynaTrap Flylight, Dynamic Solutions Worldwide
  • SURLY Soap, Surly Soap
  • Looeegee Squeegee, Better Living Products International
  • Handzy, Handzy USA
  • Toy Towers Acrylic Display, Toysmith
  • Pour in Place, Sandleford Holdings
  • Pizzeria Pronto, The Companion Group
  • ENO Display, Eagles Nest Outfitters
  • Rinse Kit, Rinse Kit
  • Water Magic, Reach Co.
  • Bag of Fire, Insta-Fire Inc.
  • Field Tablet, Pradco Outdoor Brands
  • Smart Kill, Woodstream
  • Johnny Jolter Professional Power Plunger, K-Co Products
  • Paint Tray Solutions, Paint Tray Solutions
  • KeySmart Pro, KeySmart
  • UpCart® City, UpCart TriFold
  • Plan Station Pro, Nielsen Products
  • Spring Loaded Impact, Spring Impact Tools
  • E-Roller, Ergonomic Paint Roller
  • Surebonder, Surebonder
  • PocketStop, CQ Innovations
  • Flippin’ BBQ, Flippin’ BBQ
  • The Buddy, Beach Buddy USA
  • The Tape Thing, Collision Edge
  • Elf Easy, Moonlight Concepts
  • Lickety Split, Gaski Enterprises
  • Snow Shark, Shark Industries
  • DoorStop Upgrade, Innovious

Speakers
The NRHA Village Stage was home to a full slate of industry presentations last week, exploring everything from competing online to cybersecurity to competing online to managing retailer-supplier relationships.
Tuesday’s first keynote speaker was mother-daughter duo Karen E Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk, stars of HGTV’s “Good Bones.” In their presentation, “Small Business Management: Turning a Hobby Into Something More,” they talked about how their hobby of rehabbing old homes turned into a business, and then their TV show. They also talked about using their roles as a way to promote other local businesses.
“Since we have a TV show, we get to feature so many cool companies, like artists, retailers and contractors,” says Starsiak Hawk, “so it’s great to give our local businesses a national platform and give them the recognition they deserve.”
Their presentation was followed by a meet-and-greet, giving attendees a chance to speak briefly one-on-one with the duo.
The second keynote presentation of the day was from Jules Pieri, CEO and co-founder of The Grommet, a product discovery platform that helps its community and retailers learn about innovative and unique products. In “How to Discover the Next Big Thing,” Pieri discussed how the company discovers new products—many of which later become well-known household names.
“We can recognize very quickly if something is distinctive and interesting,” says Pieri. “Our promise is to discover what's next.”

“There are many companies who are supporting the Maker community,” she says. “All the things these companies need to compete are being created in fresh and innovative ways.”

Wednesday’s keynote speaker was Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of TreeHouse, the world’s first home upgrade company. In his presentation, “How TreeHouse Grew Its Roots and Where It’s Headed,” Ballard talked about “the future of the home” and how to build healthier, more sustainable homes while being award of your carbon footprint.

“We need to find a way to build homes that cooperate with human health and with our planet,” Ballard says. “If there is one thing to take away, it should be this: It is existentially important that we find a way to shelter ourselves in a way that doesn't harm our health or the world around us.”
Other speakers were:

  • Andrea Ridout, whose presentation “Rooster Economics—Understanding Your Flock Can Help You Sell Your Business,” talked about how her company mascot, George the Rooster, helped her take a closer look at her business and build a nest egg.
  • The NRHA Young Retailer Panel gave attendees a chance to hear from past Young Retailer of the Year honorees, who shared some industry insights and offered advice on managing their small businesses.
  • The Reimagine Retail Panel, presented by The National Hardware Show, offered the opportunity for audience members to hear from the five finalists of this year’s program, which awards $100,000 to one lucky retailer, as they spoke about their ideas for how they would use the money to improve their business.
  • Jim Robisch of The Farnsworth Group addressed consumers’ online shopping habits and how expectations differ between generations and market segments in his presentation, “Competing Online: Appealing to Multiple Consumer Generations and Pros.”
  • Daniel Duty, a former Target executive whose presentation, “Collaborating to Win: New Approaches to Retailer-Supplier Engagement,” addressed how to engage in collaborative forms of negotiation and plan successful strategic partnerships between retailers and their suppliers.
  • Scott Reynolds, CEO of Member Insurance, talked about cybersecurity and what attendees could do to avoid data breaches in their business.
  • NRHA and Independent We Stand presented the results of the latest edition of the Home Sweet Home Study, which included original research about the impact on local communities when consumers choose to purchase home improvement products on Amazon, rather than at their local stores.

Lancaster Las Vegas Buying Show
This year, the Lancaster show was found in Central Hall meeting rooms N101, N102 and N103—just steps away from the Show floor. Manufacturers exhibiting at the Lancaster show include Zinsser, Rust-Oleum, Wooster Brush Co, Purdy Brush and many more.
Product Review & Vetting
Product Review & Vetting, found in meeting room N119, offered those with a new product the opportunity to get that product in front of a concentrated audience, featuring some of the biggest distributors and wholesalers throughout the industry.
Products were reviewed by representatives from:

  • 84 Lumber
  • Ace Hardware
  • Arett/NPS
  • Distribution America
  • Home Hardware
  • Jerry’s Home Improvement
  • Lancaster
  • Mid-States Distributing Company
  • PRO Group
  • Sears
  • United Hardware
  • Val-Test
  • Wakefarm
  • Westlake

“Product Review & Vetting gives PRO Group merchandise managers an opportunity to see what new and exciting products are out there that we can introduce to our distributor members and retailers,” says Shari Kalbach, vice president of PRO Group.
Dave Christmas, president and CEO of Distribution America, says the program provides a great opportunity for their members’ entire buying group to preview new merchandise.
“The central, private location affords our group the opportunity to collaboratively identify and discuss products that may be right for our retailers,” he says. “The vendors will receive almost immediate feedback from buyers, providing a unique opportunity to further refine their marketing plans.”
Save the Date
The 2019 National Hardware Show will be held May 7-9, 2019, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Keep up to date throughout the year by visiting nationalhardwareshow.com.

About the National Hardware Show          
The National Hardware Show® celebrates a rich history spanning 73 years of serving the home improvement marketplace. From its early beginnings in New York during the post-World War II housing boom and eventual move to Chicago in the 1970s, to today’s current location in Las Vegas, the National Hardware Show continually evolves through the industry’s involvement, commitment and passion to improving Americans’ quality of life through their homes. Today, the National Hardware Show is the place for global manufacturers, associations, organizations and the media to unveil their new products, ideas and insight to a broad spectrum of home improvement resellers. For more information on the National Hardware Show, visit www.nationalhardwareshow.com.

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