The National Hardware Show® continued today with attendees scouring the Show floor for the latest products, attending educational seminars and networking with industry representatives. 

The National Hardware Show brings retailers together for important conversations, product exposure and opportunities we wouldn't have otherwise," says attendee Jamie Gentner, chief operating officer of Center Hardware & Supply in San Francisco.

Today's events included more valuable insights from speakers on the NRHA Village Stage and celebrations at various awards ceremonies. See the wrapup of today's awards below. 

Awards Ceremonies

UIA Inventors Spotlight Awards
Sponsored by the United Inventors Association and Invention Home
  • Most Innovative—Dropout Cabinet Fixtures (Booth #IS408)
  • Best Marketing—MagnetPAL (Booth #IS222)
  • Pinnacle Award—Robbox (Booth #IS330)
Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Living
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
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
American Manufacturing Awards
Presented by Made in USA Brand and GBQ Partners
  • Best New Product—Mag Instrument Inc., LED Rechargeable System // Booth #5937
  • Best Packaging—Woodcraft LLC, Furniture Paint // Booth #4937
  • Best On-Site Patriotic Marketing—Catahoula Manufacturing Inc., Mason Twine // Booth #8858
Tomorrow, check the e-newsletter of the Show Daily for the winners of The Camping Authority Awards, presented by 50 Campfires, and the Game Ball Awards, presented by Tailgater magazine.

Be sure to attend the last segment of awards at the Show tomorrow on the NRHA Village stage starting at 11 a.m. The New Product Launch Awards, presented by Amazon, and the New Product World Awards, presented by the DIY Network, celebrate innovations in the newest products to hit the market.

New Products

New products continued to be a big draw to the Show, and there’s no shortage of places to find them. If you didn’t get a chance yet, tomorrow is your last chance to check out New Product World (Level 2, N245), New Product Launch (Level 1, Central Lobby) and Inventors Spotlight (Level 1, N109).

You can find products that are brand-new to the market or, in some cases, haven’t yet hit the market and are being launched here at the Show! It’s a great way to see what products are new and trending across the home improvement industry in the coming weeks and months. 


The North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) All-Industry Conference hosted several valuable presentations spanning a variety of key industry topics.

Starting the day was Scott Reynolds, CEO of Member Insurance, who delivered a presentation on the realities that cybersecurity risks pose for small businesses.

Exposure to cybercrimes is real, it's significant and it's on the rise," Reynolds says. "Cybercrimes are more and more directed at small businesses that likely don't have the encryption or firewalls in place."

The third keynote of the Conference came from 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 spoke about how home improvement retailers can become the place for eco-friendly solutions on a larger scale to better protect the environment.

We can't reinvent houses one lightbulb at a time," Ballard says. "We need to find a way to reinvent houses faster because the environment is on the line."

Ballard says home improvement retailers have an opportunity to refocus the building materials and housing industries, and preserving the environment should be a priority concern.

"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," he says.

Also on the stage this morning, NRHA and Independent We Stand presented the results of the latest edition of the Home Sweet Home Study. This original research overviewed the impact on local communities when consumers choose to purchase home improvement products on Amazon, rather than at their local stores.

From the beginning of our journey with these studies, our results have proven time and again that when consumers make their home improvement purchases through locally owned businesses, the local communities benefit," says NRHA executive vice president Dan Tratensek. "When you look at Amazon specifically, seven times more money stays local when a consumer shops at a local hardware store instead of making the same purchase online from Amazon." 


Today at the National Hardware Show®, one lucky retailer received $100,000. Matt Woods, CEO of Woods Hardware in Cincinnati, Ohio, was chosen as the winner of the Reimagine Retail program, now in its second year.

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.

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."

For this year’s Reimagine Retail program, independent retailers were asked to describe 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.
“This year, we asked our retailers, ‘If you had $100,000 to spend on improving your retail business’s technology, how would you invest it?’” says Rich Russo, vice president of the National Hardware Show. “These finalists came up with some really great innovative ideas. We received a number of different submissions, and it was a difficult decision. Congratulations to all of our finalists.”  


For the last 11 years, NRHA has honored independent home improvement retailers with the Top Guns Award. This award is given to retailers who are excelling in their businesses, supporting their communities and are taking the independent industry to the next level through innovative leadership. 

The Top Guns Awards were presented today on the NRHA Village Stage, and the honorees gathered for a panel discussion about changes in the industry and how they are differentiating their businesses to continue finding success well into the future.

Years ago, a product that’s hot today would have been hot for 18 months. Today, it’s hot for one day, then it drops tomorrow," says honoree Megan Menzer, who operates two Newton's True Value locations in Kansas. "Learning how to buy your product, when to get in and get out is always a gamble. Business has always been fast paced, but it’s harder to keep up now more than ever before."

This year’s Top Guns honorees are:

Amanda Fancy

Gow’s Home Hardware | Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

After buying the family business seven years ago, Amanda Fancy has continued to grow the operation despite its somewhat limited market. By using proactive marketing and merchandising strategies, she has positioned Gow’s Home Hardware in Canada as one of the industry’s top retailers. 


Jamie Gentner

Chief Operating Officer
Center Hardware & Supply | San Francisco

Center Hardware & Supply serves mostly commercial and industrial customers in downtown San Francisco. In that environment, Jamie Gentner sees unique challenges with the decline in trade professionals. She is passionate about the industry working toward a solution.


Megan Menzer

Newton’s True Value | two locations, southeast Kansas

Megan Menzer has looked for ways she can contribute outside her Kansas store. She has taken active leadership roles in organizations within her community and industry. Currently, Megan is serving as chairman of the NRHA board of directors and has emerged as a high-profile advocate for independent businesses.


Angela Merritt

General Manager 
Ederer’s Do it Best | three locations, southern Wisconsin

Angela Merritt did not anticipate a career in hardware, but 19 years ago, she took on the role of manager of her parents’ new business. Since then, she has helped the operation grow to three locations in rural Wisconsin, where she is leading and teaching the next generation of farm owners.

This year's Top Guns honorees each operate successful businesses and have found ways to connect with their changing communities," says NRHA president and CEO Bob Cutter. "They are passionate about independent business and have dedicated their careers to ensuring that independence remains a compelling option for the next generation of consumers and employees." 


The National Hardware Show® is the place to be if you’re looking to stay ahead of the trends in the home improvement industry. There will still be time tomorrow to discover what's new in the industry, so make time to visit room N245 on Level 2 of the convention center to find the following product displays: New Product World; Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Living Awards; and the Homewares Awards.

The New Product World display showcases the newest innovations, products and trends across all categories that have been released in the last year.

“I think this area is well designed, and it’s nice because it’s not as busy as other areas of the Show floor,” says Brandy Adcock, customer marketing manager at Central Garden and Pet. “I’ve been to many of these booths and enjoyed seeing these products. I really enjoy how the National Hardware Show lays out all the different categories because it makes it easy to navigate.”

The Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Living Awards product display is also in this room and it focuses on innovative, new products specifically in this category. The Homewares Awards product display also highlights top products in this category, making this area of the show the place to find award-winning products any home improvement store should consider selling.

The Central Lobby is another area where you’ll be able to discover a wide variety of products. The New Product Launch is home to products that have not hit the market, are not available for pre-sales and give attendees a chance to see items before they’re available, giving them a sneak peek at potentially the next big thing on the market. The Central Lobby is also home to Made in USA product display, where attendees can discover all of the exhibitors that have products primarily manufactured in the USA.

With the increasing consumer interest in smart home products, the National Hardware Show has introduced another new area in the Central Lobby, called the Smart Home Virtual Reality Experience. This interactive product display shows the latest products in the environment they are meant for.

One of the last featured product areas not to miss during the remainder of the show is Inventors Spotlight. Located in Room N109, you’ll find products not on the market and have the chance to meet the inventors of these new, innovative products. Inventors even have the chance to pitch their products to the Home Depot Product Pitch Panel.

See the awards for the New Product Launch and New Product World tomorrow at 11 a.m. on the NRHA Village Stage. 



Retailers looking for a full line of outdoor power equipment products that is available in multiple power classes should look no further than Yard Force.

The Yard Force brand’s offerings include pressure washers,  leaf blowers, lawn mowers, line trimmers and more, and all of their products come in versions powered by battery, gas or electric.

“From a retailer’s standpoint, that’s very important,” says John Plocic, president. “The more you can buy, sell and service products from the same line, the more efficient you can be. We allow retailers to offer multiple options with our products in their stores.

“From the beginning, one of our goals in establishing this brand was to make sure we covered all the different platforms,” he says.

That beginning wasn’t so long ago. Yard Force’s parent company, SUMEC, is a global company with offices in North America, the U.K., Germany and Australia. The company was founded in 1978, but launched the Yard Force brand in the U.S. in 2015.

The North American office is headquartered in Kennesaw, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. That office handles the operations, sales, marketing and design aspects for North America. SUMEC even has its own production facilities to make its own four-cycle engines for its OPE products.

“We started in 2014, and we’ve really built up the business,” Plocic says. “We have great product reviews online, and we’re proud of those reviews. We’re also proud of our positive customer interactions. We’re focused on our customers, large and small, and I think that shows in the feedback we’ve received.”

One of the biggest focuses this year, Plocic says, is on the company’s new lithium ion batteries and the products they power. They launched the new power form last August, with a few of their pieces even taking the spotlight in an episode of Lifetime TV’s “Designing Spaces.”

“We have lawn mowers, leaf blowers, line trimmers and a chainsaw that run on that lithium ion battery,” says Plocic. “There are many advantages to those batteries, including ease of operation, a push-button start and a quieter and more compact piece of equipment.

There’s more to it, though. “That battery is the fastest-growing segment of OPE—everyone is focusing on it—and we’ve taken a leap ahead of the competition,” says Plocic. All of the Yard Force products are 120-volt, unlike other manufacturers’ product lines, where users are more likely to find 40-, 50- and 60-volt products.

“We’ve gone all the way to the top,” Plocic says.  “Of course, the cost is there as well, but we went for more power and more torque to give consumers what they’re really looking for.”

At the Show, attendees can learn more at Booth #12629 and see a selection of 120-volt products, including a self-propelled lawn mower, leaf blower and line trimmer.

They’ll even be able to see a lithium ion battery-powered chainsaw, which will be launched at the National Hardware Show, as well as other battery-operated models of lawn mowers, a new pole saw and a new hedge trimmer.

“These products are all part of this same platform,” Plocic says. “We did a soft launch on these products last year, and now they’re really starting to take off this year.”  


“I have plenty of inventions, but I haven’t yet brought anything to market, so I’m interested in that. I also loved the ‘Good Bones’ presentation.”

—Moni Myers, designer and inventor, Moni Myers and Company

“I’ve been coming to the Show for 12 years. I’m always looking for new products and seeing how we can expand on what we have.” 

—Martin Prus, owner, Abbotsford Paint & Decorating

“We want to find the latest and greatest products before our competitors can get them. We’re especially interested in outdoor living products.”

—Adam Busscher, owner, Picton Home Hardware Building Centre

“We’re constantly looking for products for our electrical department. There are always improvements to be made there.” 

—Diana Newton, vice president, Bay Hardware

“The Show has it all: products, networking, learning more about managing and running a business. It’s an event you can’t miss.” 

—Sherri Amos, director of dealer support, Home Hardware


  • 9 – 9:45 a.m.

    Last Chance Look From the Show Floor: NRHA Panel
  • 10 – 10:45 a.m.

    Inside NRHA's Social Media Strategy at Events
    Presented by: Hilary Welter and Renee Changnon, NRHA
  • 11 – 11:15 a.m.

    New Product Launch Awards
    Presented by: Amazon
  • 11:15 – 11:30 a.m.

    New Product World Awards
    Presented by: DIY Network



Mixol is a universal tint that works with water-, oil- or solvent-based products. “You can use it with paint, stain, epoxy, wax, cement—almost anything,” says JoAnne Setear, sales and marketing director.

Mixol is known for its color saturation, the fact that it’s easily dispersed and its extremely minute particle size. It has an indefinite shelf life and is resistant to heating and freezing.

Mixol comes in 33 colors, as well as three metallic—gold, silver and copper. To learn more, visit Booth #4737


If you’re looking for bags of all-natural barbecue pellets, you won’t want to miss what Griller’s Gold has to offer.

“Barbecue pellets really came on the scene a couple of years ago,” says Nunzio Maniaci, manager of business development. “Ours are all-natural with no flavor added. The flavor comes from the wood.” The pellets are made in the USA and offer a consistent and uniform source of grilling heat.

Learn more by visiting 
Booth #Outdoor329


Programmable products, from kitchen appliances and lighting to HVAC and shower heads, are continuing to attract more consumers, especially with the lure of time, energy and money savings.

For the first time at the National Hardware Show®, visitors are able to interact with a collection of home automation and smart home products in the new Smart Home Virtual Reality Experience.

The designated area includes interactive displays and a virtual tour of a smart home filled with products showcased in their everyday environments. 

In addition to the virtual highlights, the halls of the convention center “in real time” are filled with many smart trends in home improvement, including these six:


Green Building

Green building supplies cover many eco-friendly products, from water-saving plumbing fixtures and energy-efficient appliances to sustainably sourced lumber and alternative fuels for homes and farms.

Some retailers, like Texas home improvement company TreeHouse, have successfully based their entire business models on providing a one-stop shop for green products. TreeHouse founder Jason Ballard will discuss the company’s program as keynote speaker at the Show this year.

Many exhibitors will also be showcasing environmentally friendly products for use in construction, remodeling and home maintenance, like Bull Bag™ (, a reusable dumpster bag that stands up to demo demands again and again.


Eco-Friendly Paints & Stains

Driven by new regulations and consumer demand, manufacturers have prioritized research and development into new ingredients that lower VOCs and are better for the environment while maintaining the same performance properties.

Thanks to the almost daily release of eco-friendly products into the paint marketplace, retailers have an opportunity to set themselves apart from the competition by highlighting the changes and advantages of these products.

Some examples include organic and water-based paints to innovative stains like Safecoat® DuroTone™ ( from AFM Safecoat’s line of interior stains that offer coverage without harsh chemicals and odors.


Modern Farmhouse

The farmhouse look with its painted cabinets, whitewashed accents, and natural decor elements is still being promoted at home shows across the country, but for 2018, it’s been given a modern boost, combining the whitewashed, natural elements with the boldness of modern technology and metallic finishes. Keep an eye out at the Show this year for beaded paints and metallic finishes from Golden Paintworks® ( These bold modern wall coatings partner well with the clean and simple farmhouse style. 


Be sure to visit these exhibitors in their new booths.
  • Lotus

    Booth #2620
  • Prima Marketing

    Booth #5631
  • Eccotemp

    Booth #3018