2012 NATIONAL HARDWARE SHOW® Gets Started with a Bang

May 01, 2012

(May 1, 2012) Las Vegas - The 67th Annual National Hardware Show® got started this morning with a bang as exhibitors and attendees crowded around the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) Village Stage for the official grand opening ceremony.

Industry dignitaries gathered on the stage to usher in the start of the 2012 National Hardware Show while the local Metropolitan Club Orchestra entertained attendees with classic tunes from the Rat Pack era and an air cannon showered the crowd with colorful confetti to mark the show opening.

The National Hardware Show runs from today through Thursday, May 3, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Representatives from the National Hardware Show, NRHA, the Paint and Decorating Retailers Association (PDRA), Jensen Distribution and Lancaster were all present for the opening ceremony along with Kevin Harrington, formerly of the popular television program Shark Tank.

Harrington told the crowd he was eager to see all the new innovations and products at the show and was encouraged by the enthusiasm of the crowd.

"We go all over the place looking for new products, and that's why I am here today," Harrington said.

Following up on the Opening

Once the roar of the band settled down and the confetti was swept clean from the floors, both attendees and exhibitors got down to business as the energy from the opening ceremony carried over to the show floor and throughout the convention center.

"It has been a really busy day for us so far," said Shari Kalbach, managing director of the PRO Group, "We've seen a lot of people. We may even need to add another room to our area because of the traffic we have had."

On the show floor the action was also fast paced for the first day.

"We have a number of great new items and number of great new brands that we want to put in front of the hardware customers, both domestic and international," said John Constantine, president of Apex Tool Group.

Doug Laird Apex Tool Group's director of hardware sales added, "There are a lot of customers who are looking for a place to meet with us and this show gives us that opportunity to meet face to face. They know we are at the show and they are here to, it's the perfect opportunity."

Mike Graham, president of Clean Cut Dispensers agreed. "This is one of the best shows we go to," Graham said. "It's very good for our business and our brand to be here."

Specialty Areas

Areas such as the New Product Launch Spotlight and Innovation Station saw some of the busiest traffic on the first day of the show as buyers jockeyed to get a glimpse at some of the latest products and innovations at the show.

"This is my second time coming to the National Hardware Show," says Kirk Reams of Hooten's Hardware in Texas. "Seeing all these new products is really great and the vendors are coming up with so many new ideas that it really makes coming to the show worthwhile. Not only is the array of products great but it just gives me so many ideas as to what I can carry in my store."

Chad Youngblood, Senior Vice President/General Manager of the DIY Network and New Product World judge commented, "Walking through the New Product World, it was very difficult to choose 5 winners. There were so many innovative products, narrowing my choice to 5 was a challenge."

Attendees also flocked to some of the specialty product areas like the Made in USA display, the Tailgate & Outdoor Recreation area and browsed the enhanced selections of Pet Products and Energy Efficient items on the show floor.

"There is just so much to see but you find something everywhere you go," said Gary Copeland of Valley Supply in Rising Sun, Ind.

Retailer Buying Desks

This year, buyers from the industry's leading cooperatives and distributors are also on hand at the show, including True Value, Do it Best and Orgill to support their members and retailer customers as they scour the show floor.

"We're here to help retailers with the products that they might see on the Show floor, to help facilitate how we can get that product for them and help develop that relationship with the vendor," says Erika Sandilands, administrative assistant to Mike Clark, senior vp of merchandising and chief merchandising officer at the True Value company. Sandilands is on hand to help True Value retailers as they work the Show floor and gather the feedback they have for True Value buyers.

Having a program like the Buyer's Desk program is a big benefit for True Value, says Sandilands, because it provides one more way True Value can serve its members. One such member is Olive Downer Walsh, who came all the way from Jamaica to attend the National Hardware show this week. Walsh is regional manager for Agro Grace, a multiple store farm and garden center chain in Jamaica. "The Hardware Show always contains cutting edge product that are relevant to our business," says Walsh. "It presents a great opportunity to see a wide range of products."

Independent Retailer
Education Abounds

From the opening keynote address by Michael Bergdahl on How to Compete and Win in a Walmart World to presentations on the state of the home improvement industry to panel discussions about the store of the future and the paint and sundries market, there was no shortage of ideas being exchanged on the opening day of the show.

"The educational programs are one of the most important things for me at the show and we really got to see a lot of that today," according to Reams.

In addition to the speakers on the NRHA Village stage a complete selection of retailer-focused seminars were also offered free to National Hardware Show attendees as part of the NRHA Rethink Retail Conference where topics ranged from succession planning to store security.

"There are so many more independent home improvement retailers who come to the show that it provides the perfect setting for us to host our conference and really take advantage of the synergies the show offers," says Scott Wright, NRHA's vice president of member services.

About the National Hardware Show

The National Hardware Show® celebrates a rich history spanning 66 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 insights to a broad spectrum of home improvement resellers.

For more information on the National Hardware Show and to register, visit www.NationalHardwareShow.com.

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