NORWALK, Conn. June 3, 2013) - The 68th annual National Hardware Show recently came to a close at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and based on the feedback from exhibitors and attendees alike, the three-day event was a successful one.
Attendance was up more than 16 percent from last year's show, showing once again that the home improvement industry continues to grow stronger.
"The National Hardware Show was a great success this year," says Sonya Ruff Jarvis, vice president of attendee programs for the National Hardware Show. "It was bigger and better than ever. Strong attendance really shows the home improvement industry is coming back, and we've gotten some great feedback from both attendees and exhibitors who were very happy with the show."
Exhibitors were thrilled to see the traffic coming through the show. "We had herds of buyers at our booth," says Rich Katzmann, vice president of business development for Danco/MJSI.
"We weren't sure what to expect on our first show, but we've had a lot of traffic through our booth," says Betsi Schumacher of Sleep Innovations. "This is the perfect show for us to launch our product."
Attendees, too, were impressed. "SkyMall is always on the hunt for unique, innovative products for the 650 million passengers who see our catalogs every year," says Christine Aguilera, president of SkyMall. "We were very impressed with the breadth of new products we saw at the recent National Hardware Show. From the Grillbot, the grill-cleaning robot, to the reJuvenator microbubble shower head, we know the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well! We will definitely be back next year!"
"The show is excellent," says Spencer Krull, proprietor with EQ Ready in Los Angeles. "It's one of the best shows I've ever been to. It's so well-organized."
Bob Eames of Ace Hardware in Richmond, Calif., was also happy with his time at the show. "I do a lot of buying at the National Hardware Show. I walk every aisle of the show when I'm here and I've been seeing a lot of new items this year."
The National Hardware Show is shaping up to be even bigger next year, with a renewal rate of 25,000-plus square feet more than last year.
The Building Products category was a new addition to this year's show, with the selection spread throughout the showfloor, while the Pet Products category continued to draw more traffic than ever.
"We came back to the show this year [after a few years away] because there's been more of a demand for these products," says Wendy Sacra, international sales manager with VIP Pet Products in Phoenix. "Our sales have actually gone up during the recession. When people are staying home to save money, they spend more time with their pets, so they may spend more money on them, too."
The Farm and Ranch section was located next to Pet Products, with the two sharing a dedicated 20,000 square feet of space on the show floor.
Arlan Landey of Custom Quest in Anderson, Ind., was there with a new product, the Big-4 Wheeler. "Farm and feed is definitely growing as a category," he says. "We're seeing growth both in younger and older age groups. We're hoping to get a solid distribution base here at the show."
Outside, traffic stayed busy with exhibitors in the Outdoors, Tailgate and Recreation category showing off grills, coolers and more.
Made in USA and Energy Efficiency continue to be two big trends for consumers.
The hardware show's supporting partner Made in USA Brand represented the Made in USA Brand Certification Mark, the only certification mark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for labeling and identifying products that are made or grown in the United States.
Floor decals and pennants that say "Made in USA Products" also helped attendees identify exhibitors offering Made in USA products.
"Made in USA is a big trend," says Rick Knutson, national sales manager with Imperial Blades in Madison, Wis. "It's one of our No. 1 selling points. It's a huge draw for our customers and probably has been for the past four or five years."
Energy Efficient products had their own special section, sponsored by Polaroid and Intelligent Green Products, on the show floor.
"Energy efficiency is becoming more top of mind for consumers," says David Karpinski, vice president of sales at Polaroid. "The goal of manufacturers needs to be to lower the retail cost of energy-efficient items, like LED light bulbs, so consumers will start buying."
And, of course, many attendees and exhibitors alike are always eager to check out the newest, most innovative products to hit the market.
"Of the new products we're showcasing at the National Hardware Show this year, three of them are from products we discovered at the show last year. One of them was a winner of the Retailer's Choice award," says Corey Talbot, vice president of marketing and new product development at Hyde. "The National Hardware Show is the best place to find great talent - inventors that need someone to help them move their product along the distribution channel. Those inventors typically have a new product 80-percent of the way developed, but need someone to take it the rest of the way."
The Innovation Station in Room N109 was packed with exhibitors showing off their latest and greatest products.
Gregg Feigelson, senior vice president of Innovative Garden Products, LLC, was there to show off the company's Garden Grab X, a lightweight leaf-grabber that makes it easy for users to pick up leaves without bending over.
"It's simple and intuitive," Feigelson says of the Garden Grab X. "It's unique and brand-new. It's attracting a lot of interest."
This year's show offered plenty of speakers for attendees. One of the big names present on the first day of the show was Kathy Daly-Jennings, head of industry, retail practice, at Google; and actor, author and activist Ed Begley, Jr., who both spoke at the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) Village Stage.
Seminars focused on the changing consumer and how the home improvement industry can adapt to their new habits.
Daly-Jennings told attendees about consumers' changing technology habits and shared what some retailers are already doing to reach consumers where they likely are: on their mobile devices.
According to industry research, more consumers will access the Internet from mobile devices rather than a desktop computer in 2014, she says.
"Consumers expect to get what they want when they want it from the best available screen nearby," she adds.
Begley, Jr. spoke about the important role environmental awareness can play with today's consumers and how everyone, regardless of their roles within the channel, can help foster this kind of earth-friendly awareness.
"You don't need to buy wind turbines to be energy efficient," he says. "Start by doing the cheap and easy stuff around the home: install energy-efficient light bulbs, thermostats and weather stripping."
"The most important customers are the ones you already have," says Timothy Dahl, founder of Charles & Hudson and Built by Kids, who spoke on the NRHA Village Stage. "If you're using social media and can connect with those customers, they'll be the most likely to share online and be ambassadors for your brand."
Brian Kilcourse, managing partner at RSR Research and senior partner of BEK Consulting, discussed mobile shopping and check-out methods, while Pat Murphy, CEO and co-founder of the Institute for Social, Search & Mobile Marketing talked about the role mobile devices play in today's marketing techniques.
The seminar and speaker lineup continued on the second day of the show on the NRHA Village Stage, starting with the "Meet Today's Empowered Consumer" panel discussion, moderated by Hardware Retailing managing editor Jaime Koch.
The consumer panel, featured shoppers from different generations, talked about their preferences and experiences in shopping for home improvement items.
"Online responsiveness makes consumers feel special and will likely be more loyal to a brand, especially among Generation Xers who are interacting more with companies via social media," Koch says. "Brands and retailers can tap into that by offering a personal one-on-one experience and creating a relationship with the consumer."
In the "Virtual Last Mile" keynote presentation, Heath Hyneman, CMO of National Builder Supply; Eric V. Holtzclaw, CEO of Laddering Works; and Danny Davis, CEO of Proving Ground discussed what keeps consumers from taking the final steps to make a purchase online.
Hyneman says consumers are more likely to abandon their virtual shopping cart on mobile devices (91 percent) than they are shopping cart in a brick and mortar store (1 percent).
"'Shopping cart' as it pertains to mobile devices is a misnomer because some consumers don't think of mobile shopping carts as a shopping cart-it's more of a wish list," Holtzclaw says. "People drop in and out of the shopping experience."
Davis explained possible ways to decrease mobile shopper abandonment is to tap into consumers' reasons for purchase: peer and expert recommendations.
"Brands have to have ways to communicate with people as they're shopping on a mobile device," Holtzclaw says. "The experience can't be the same for every user. It needs to be customized."
Because the National Hardware Show is a top gathering place for the industry's biggest names, it was the perfect place to host a variety of awards events, including the following:
NHRA's Young Retailer of the Year
- Jesse Loucks, manager of Mount Shasta Do it Best Hardware, Mount Shasta, Calif. (Under $2
million in Annual Sales)
- Willow Yoder, general manager of Greenwood True Value Hardware, Seattle, Wash. (Under $2
Million in Annual Sales)
- Ceva Courtemanche, owner of Hensel's Ace Hardware, Arcata, Calif. (Over $2 Million in
- Kim Ytsma, dealer owner of Alliston Home Hardware Building Centre, Alliston, Ont. (Over $2
Million in Annual Sales)
- Kyle Herbert, co-owner of New Milford Hardware, New Milford, Pa. (Over $2 Million in Annual
- Megan McCoy-Jones, VP field support at McCoy's Building Supply, San Marcos, Texas
- Justin Ellis, corporate sales manager of Builders Do it Center, Roswell, N.M. (Multiple
- Jeremy Stine, digital marketing & e-commerce manager, Stine Home & Yard, Lake Charles,
La. (Multiple Stores)
Home Channel News' Golden Hammer Awards
Ray Griffith, retired CEO of Ace Hardware, was inducted into the Home Channel Hall of Fame.
Nebraska-based builders, Kearney received the Tools of the Trade Award. The Springfield,
Mass.-based Rocky's Ace Hardware, received the Retailer of the Year Award.
The following vendors were honored at the 2013 Golden Hammer Awards in the following categories:
Hardware Tools and Supplies:
- Cleaning Supplies - 3M
- Electrical Supplies - Leviton
- Fasteners - The Hillman Group
- Floor Care - Shop Vac
- Hand Tools - Irwin
- Gloves & Apparel - Carhartt
- Home Security and Safety - First Alert
- Paint Supplies and Tools - Wooster
- Plumbing Supplies and Equipment - Fluidmaster
- Power Tools - DeWalt
- Decorative Hardware & Locksets - Kwikset
- Decorative Lighting & Fixtures - Hunter Fan
- Plumbing Fashion and Fixtures - Moen
- Home Organization - Closetmaid
- Major Appliances - Whirlpool
- Paint: Wall Treatments and Stains - Valspar
- Small Appliances - KitchenAid
- Bathroom Vanities - Kohler
- Building Materials - Boise Cascade
- Insulation & Housewrap - Owens Corning
- Caulking & Sealants - Dap
- Doors - ThermaTru
- Lumber & Plywood - Georgia Pacific
- Windows - Anderson
- Barbecue - Weber Stephens
- Decorative Landscaping - Oldcastle
- Garden Accessories - Design House
- Lawn & Garden Organics/Chemicals - Scotts
- Lawn & Garden Tools & Irrigation - Ames True Temper
- Outdoor Power Equipment - Husqvarna
- Pools Supplies - ARCH (HTH)
Hardware Retailing magazine's Top Guns
This year's Top Gun class included: Tim Buchheit of Buchheit Stores, Bruce Ellis of Builders
Do it Center, Dennis Stine of Stine Home + Yard and George Preckwinkle of Bishop Ace
Homewares Show Innovation Awards (Presented by HomeWorld Business magazine)
Honorable Mention Award
Gard Oven Protector
Booth # 12814
Braincase Solutions, LLC (Bagit USA)
Booth # 4239
Gleener The Ultimate Fuzz Remover
Washroom Décor, LLC
Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Living Innovation Awards (presented by Casual Living)
Honorable Mention Award
DIY Rain Barrel Diverter & Parts Kit
Earth Minded LLC
N 200-Solar Light bulb
Garden Gems Paper Planter
Walters Seed Company
New Product Launch Spotlight Awards (presented by Skymall Inc.):
Honorable Mention Award
Epiphany! Shower System
Intelligent Green Products IGP
The Handy Camel Bag Clip
The Handy Camel LLC
Spray & Seal
Hardware Retailing magazine's Retailers' Choice Awards
Booth # TG520
The Handy Camel, LLC
Novelis Foil Products
Booth # TG108
Dr. Doormat, LLC
Drywall Taping Tool
Booth # 5336
Easy Key Ring
Ergo Master Pro
A.A.C. Forearm Forklift
Glow in the Dark Light Switch Plates
Eco Glo, Thumblite
Glue Dots, International
Eagle Nest Outfitters
Booth # TG432
Heat Holder Socks
Booth # 4946
Multifunction Storage Box
Booth # 7337
Glamous Wire Products
Booth # 7832
Reach 'N Spray
Robo Reel Air
Great Stuff, Inc
Safe Receiver Hitch
Mesa Safe Co.
Single Use Gorilla Glue
Solar Charging Unit
Booth # 2421
Steelie Car Mount
Booth # IS312
New Product World Innovation Awards (Presented by DIY Network)
- Aesthetics: Grill Daddy, Heatshield BBQ Set, Booth 12553
- Differentiation/Uniqueness: Karcher North America, Power Squeegee, Booth 7626
- Fills Consumer Needs: Wheelzbarrow, Wheelzbarrow, Booth 8459
- Overall Value: Absorbent Specialty Products, Quick Dam, Booth 1910
- Packaging/Merchandising Support: Lullaby Paints, Paint, Booth 5208
Made in the USA Awards (Presented by Made in USA Brand)
- Best Marketing: Adams Manufacturing, Booth 10715
- Best Packaging: Tub-O-Towels, Booth 4831
- Best Trade Show Display: Made in America Store, Booth 8260
- Best New Product: Doggy Delirious, Booth 8545
Game Ball Awards (Presented by Tailgater Monthly)
- Best New Outdoor Product: Integrity Outdoor Brands
- Best Cooler Concept: IceHole
- Best Overall New Product: Zinger Grills
- Best New Tailgate Accessory Product: BBQ Dragon
- Best Outdoor Game: Mega Pongo
- Best New Electric Product: Masterbuilt
Lancaster Buying Show
For the second year, the Lancaster West Coast Buying Show was co-located with the National Hardware Show. It was held at the Las Vegas Hotel, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center.
"This show gives us a presence in the western part of the country and with all the attendees at the National Hardware Show," says CEO Mitch Jolley.
Mark your calendars for the 2014 National Hardware Show, which will be held May 6-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
About the National Hardware Show®
The National Hardware Show® celebrates a rich history spanning 67 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 America's 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.