The 73rd annual National Hardware Show® wrapped up today, and once again, the event delivered an incredible experience this week for attendees from around the world. 

Thousands of attendees spent the last three days exploring the Show floor for the latest products. This year, technology was a big part of the conversation, and many products found ways to solve consumers' problems with just the touch of a button on a screen. 

Attendees explored opportunities in the Smart Home Virtual Reality Experience. Through virtual reality goggles, users could see an entire virtual home and explore the smart devices that are available for each area.

Technology was also the theme of this year's Reimagine Retail program, which awarded $100,000 to an independent retailer to implement tech-based solutions in their business. This year's winner is Matt Woods, from Woods Hardware in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"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." 

The 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.

Woods Hardware will use the Reimagine Retail award 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. 


The final day of the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) All-Industry Conference was spent looking back on the week at the National Hardware Show and exploring how to use social media at large events. 

Last Chance Look From the Show Floor

NRHA staffers took the stage to talk about their favorite parts of the Show and their overall experience in Las Vegas. Two of the panelists were first-time attendees and talked about how impressive the National Hardware Show is. 

"For me, it was pretty incredible to see the size of the Show and how many exhibitors there are," says regional sales manager Jon Dawson. "Every exhibitor was so excited about their products, and it was really great to see how much pride they have."

Show veteran Renee Changnon, who attended for the third year, says she enjoyed finding all the technology on the floor. 

"I noticed all the WiFi-enabled products," she says. "At our Retailers Choice Awards, we honored a smartphone-compatible mousetrap."

Technology caught the attention of first-time attendee Hilary Welter, too. She explored the Smart Home Virtual Reality Experience and looks forward to including products in her home in the future.

All the panelists remarked on the innovations of the exhibitors, whether they were brand new products featuring cutting-edge technology or if they were typical products that an exhibitor had found a new way to improve it for the end user.

"There is so much going on in this industry all the time, but I love that even with all the change, there is some consistency," says Dawson. "So many manufacturers are finding ways to improve traditional home improvement products, and that's really cool to see."

Using Social Media at Events

Following the panel, Welter and Changnon took the stage to present an overview of their social media strategy going into the show. 

Welter, who is the marketing and research coordinator at NRHA, delved into why it's important to connect on social media from conferences, and Changnon talked about how to approach social media from a news perspective.

"When your brand is present and also engaging with people at a conference, it’s encouraging people even more to post about your event," Welter says. "If you’re excited on social, it encourages them to be, too."

Welter encouraged retailers, manufacturers and vendors to utilize social media at their events because it helps engage attendees at the event, increases engagement and brand awareness, connects with followers who are unable to attend and keeps followers informed of everything that happens.

Changnon reminded attendees that checking in your success is an important component to social media management at events.

"After an event, it’s important to evaluate what worked and what didn’t so you can change your social media strategy accordingly to increase engagement at future events," she says. 


At the Paint and Decorating Retailers Association (PDRA) booth on the Show floor, Wednesday was buzzing with excitement. The association awarded its 10th annual scholarship to Jeremy Keim during a networking event in the booth. 

Independent paint and decorating retailers were in attendance, including Jeremy's parents, Donna and Jerry Keim, who accepted the award on his behalf. The Keims own and operate Keim's Paint Center in Rock Island, Illinois and have been members of the PDRA for 28 years.

"Jeremy is at home taking final exams, so he couldn't attend," says Donna Keim. "But we are thrilled to accept this award for him. It's a huge help."

The National Hardware Show has sponsored the PDRA scholarship for many years, and the organizations have worked together at the Show for many years, too. 

"I want to thank the National Hardware Show, on behalf of the PDRA board and the association for their continued support," says PDRA CEO LeAnn Day. "We're looking forward to opportunities to grow our partnership in the future."  


The award ceremonies at the National Hardware Show are always a memorable event. Exhibitors from throughout the various categories on the Show floor were honored with several awards throughout this year's event. 

The final awards for Wednesday were in Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ. See the winners for the Game Ball Awards and The Camping Authority Awards below.

Game Ball Awards
Sponsored by Tailgater magazine 
  • Best New Product Overall—Beefer Grillgeräte GmbH // Booth #Outdr501
  • Best Innovation—Otterbox // Booth #Outdr712
  • Ultimate Backyard Award—Global Outdoor Concepts Inc. // Booth #Outdr324
  • Best Tailgate Concept—Outdoor Essentials // Booth #Outdr504
  • Best Overall Product—Hessaire // Booth #Outr115
  • Best Marketing Concept—Traeger Wood Fired Grills // Booth #Outdr104
The Camping Authority Awards
Presented by 50 Campfires
  • Essential Gear
    • Goal Zero Crush Light // Booth #Outdr312
    • Camp Maid // Booth #Outdr325
    • The Boltz Group // Booth #Outdr412
    • Rinsekit // Booth #Outdr1010
  • Backyard Essentials Award (NEW!)—Great Scrape // Booth #Outdr135
  • Editors Choice
    • Smokehouse Products // Booth #Outdr121
    • Flippin’ BBQ // Booth #Outdr146

Also on Wednesday, the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) hosted its 52nd annual Retailers Choice Awards.

Independent retailers scoped the Show floor to choose the products that stand out and those they think would appeal to consumers in their markets. 

The event is often a crowd favorite because it's a relaxed ceremony that celebrates innovation from exhibitors across categories. This year's winners came from areas throughout the Show floor. See the list of winners below.
  • 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

The Last Day's Awards

Today, the final two award ceremonies took place on the NRHA Village stage. The New Product World Awards and the New Product Launch Awards honored new products in the Featured Product Area of the Show floor. 

See the winners here.

New Product World Awards
Sponsored by the DIY Network
  • Aesthetics—Plugfones // Booth #7365
  • Differentiation/Uniqueness—Grypmat // Booth #7856
  • Fills Consumer Needs—Hygienic Toilet Squeegee (Better Living Products) // Booth #4334
  • Overall Value—Hazard Flasher (Wagan Corporation) // Booth #4234
  • Packaging/Merchandising Support—Surly Soap // Booth #4930

New Product Launch Awards
Sponsored 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 



The DuroMax tagline is “Powering Everyone…. Anywhere!” 

DuroMax offers a full line of portable generators and is a leader in dual-fuel technology, which means a lower cost, more flexibility and a more environmentally friendly product.

“We have generators, engines, pressure washers and pumps—all small-engine equipment that can run off propane or gas,” says Michael Black, sales and marketing manager.

Generators can be used for tailgating, camping or running a home if the power goes out. 


Trends are always changing, and it's important to stay current on what the next big thing will be. Discover what's new in the world of eco-friendly cleaning, lighting and plumbing fixtures and how to make contractors jobs a little easier on the job site.

Chemical-Free Cleaning

Demand for products that provide natural alternatives to traditionally chemical-based solutions is a trend that is only gaining in momentum, especially as millennials, who prefer natural alternatives to harsh chemicals, become homeowners and parents.

Fortunately, new National Hardware Show® exhibitor Aunt Fannie ( offers a full line of vinegar-based cleaning solutions in the form of floor washes, countertop wipes and traditional spray bottles.

The cleaning vinegars are available in a variety of scents, including eucalyptus, lime mint, lavender and sweet mandarin. Many other exhibitors also offer natural alternatives in the housewares category. Collect them all for a chemical-free cleaning display.


Bold Fixtures

Bold is the best word to describe the many design trends of 2018, and that includes the plumbing and electrical category. 

New black matte or dark bronze mixed metals and even gold lighting and plumbing fixtures for kitchens and baths are hot right now and, as a bonus, the fixtures not only offer the bold look of luxury, but many also provide the latest features in efficiency and energy conservation, such as many of the lighting products from National Hardware Show exhibitor Luminance ( which combines the look of luxury with the efficiency of LED.


Contractor Conveniences

Many of the newest exhibitors at the National Hardware Show offer solutions to problems only professional contractors who work day in and day out in the home improvement industry can have.

Solutions to minor inconveniences and bodily wear and tear that your contractor customers will thank you for, like the AmpTamp™ (, a patented, hand-operated tamper that eliminates recoil and arm fatigue or injury common in cast metal tampers, or Add an Inch, a patented new tool that attaches to standard tape measures and  allows users to make more accurate marks, especially in tight corners.

These products are just two solutions to contractor complaints that are available at the Show.