May 08, 2013

For more information, please contact Allison Glasgow.

LAS VEGAS - Marching bands and confetti cannons signaled the start of the 2013 National Hardware Show® this morning as the 68th annual event kicked off in grand style. ,

The opening ceremony began with a marching band providing a musical kick-start to the crowd of attendees and exhibitors who had gathered around the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) Village Stage for the official grand opening of the three-day event, which will run through Thursday, May 9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The ceremony included members of the National Hardware Show executive team as well as a collection of dignitaries from across the industry including representatives from the NRHA, the Paint and Decorating Retailers Association and Lancaster, as well as select members of the retail home improvement channel.

“Our National Hardware Show team and association sponsors go to work for everyone here. We work hard to bring a valuable event to help you grow your business,” said Ed Several, senior vice president and general manager of the National Hardware Show.

“The show has really brought back its luster and getting back to its core—big vendors and new products. That’s what I’m really looking forward to seeing this year,” said James Cabirac, owner of Kief Hardware in Louisiana, who has been coming to the National Hardware Show for the past 10 years.


After the show started with a bang, a large contingent of attendees filtered onto the show floor to browse products from the 2,500-plus exhibitors on hand, while others remained at the NRHA Village Stage to hear speakers from across the spectrum, address topics ranging from social media to the evolving consumer.

Some of the big names to present on the first day of the show included keynote speakers Kathy Daly-Jennings, head of industry, retail practice at Google; and actor, author and activist Ed Begley, Jr.

Throughout the entire first day of the show, seminars focused on the changing consumer and how the home improvement industry can adapt to consumers’ increasingly tech-savvy shopping habits.

Timothy Dahl, founder of Charles & Hudson and Built by Kids, shared how attendees can best utilize social media to reach a core audience and expand into new market segments. He said the best way to do this is for businesses to focus on customer engagement and influence on their social media sites and websites rather than increasing metrics.

“The most important customers are the ones you already have,” Dahl said. “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.”

Google’s 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 said.

“Consumers expect to get what they want when they want it from the best available screen nearby,” she added.

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.

Kilcourse said in 2010, marketers went from 20 percent penetration of mobile users to 60 percent. Today, that penetration is close to 100 percent.

“Today’s retailer must extend their brand far beyond the physical four walls of the store and move into the digital domain,” he said. “It’s not what you want to sell, it’s what, when, where and how consumers want to buy.”

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 said. "Start by doing the cheap and easy stuff around the home: install energy-efficient light bulbs, thermostats and weather stripping."

Specialty Areas

While there was certainly a full slate of educational activities taking place on the NRHA Village Stage during the first day of the National Hardware Show, there was even more activity taking place throughout the show floor, where several specialty areas drew attendees’ attention.

The product review and vetting station offered manufacturers a chance to drop off their products to be reviewed by some of the industry’s leading buyers, who provided the manufacturers with feedback about their individual might be able to best move these products into the marketplace.

“With the large number of vendors attending the National Hardware Show in May, we’re pleased to participate in the product review process,” says Steve Markley, vice president of merchandising with Do it Best Corp. “This is a great opportunity to be able to evaluate the innovative new products coming into the marketplace. Our member-owners depend on our team’s ability to identify and stock the products that will drive additional traffic to their stores, and this review process enables us to do just that.”

Along with Do it Best, other companies participating in this program included Distribution America, Lancaster, Northern Tool + Equipment, PRO Group, Val-Test, SkyMall and Sears Holdings Corporation.

The Innovation Station, in Room N109, was packed with both exhibitors showing off their newest, most innovative products, and attendees eager to see the latest and greatest products to hit the channel.

Many of the products in this area focused on ways for consumers to do everyday tasks in a simpler, more convenient way. For example, The Plumber’s Pillow offers a cushion specifically made for either sitting, kneeing, or lying down, depending on the task at hand, while the Garden Grab X is a lightweight leaf-grabber that makes it easy to pick up leaves without bending over.

“It’s simple and intuitive,” Gregg Feigelson, senior vice president of Innovative Garden Products, LLC, says of the Garden Grab X. “It’s lightweight and allows the user to pick up leaves and garden clippings without having to bend over. It’s unique and brand-new, and it seems to be attracting a lot of interest.”

“We introduced the Innovation Station concept at last year’s show and it was a big hit with attendees,” says Sonya Ruff Jarvis, vice president of attendee programs with the National Hardware Show. “It really provides attendees with a quick way to see a broad range of new items, and it also allows exhibitors to really highlight their latest innovations.”

The farm and ranch category continued to grow, and this year, it’s gotten more space than ever at the National Hardware Show. The Farm and Ranch area is set up alongside Pet Products and has a combined dedicated area of 20,000 square feet on the show floor. There are more than 200 vendors in this area, featuring everything from feed to pest control to home canning products, and more.

“This is our first year at the show,” says Scottie Smith, national sales manager with Tarter Farm & Ranch in Dunnville, Ky. “A lot of our existing customers are already here, but we’re always looking for new ones. With the farm and ranch expansion—we’re continuing to expand our products in 10 different categories—it’s a great time to get new customers.”

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.”

For the first time, this year’s show includes a dedicated Made in USA area, which features more than 125 companies showcasing products made in the USA.
The hardware show’s supporting partner Made in USA Brand will represent 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 or pennants that say “Made in USA Products” also helped attendees identify exhibitors offering Made in USA products, an area that is receiving increasing attention from buyers.

“We are excited to have specially marked products that are Made in the USA being highlighted at this year’s National Hardware Show,” says Sonya Ruff Jarvis, vice president of attendee programs for the National Hardware Show. “Studies have shown that American consumers often prefer to purchase products that were Made in the USA, so we’re happy to have exhibitors here at the show with these products. We think attendees will enjoy the variety of products offered.”

Just a couple of hours into the show, Rick Knutson, national sales manager with Imperial Blades in Madison, Wis., says the turnout at his booth had been “phenomenal already” and attributed much of it to offering Made in USA products.
“Made in USA is a big trend,” Knutson says. “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.”

“I always enjoy checking out new items and American-made products at the National Hardware Show,” says Dick Schroeder of Schroeder’s Ace Hardware in Lombard, Ill.

Matt Noonan of Noonan True Value in Springfield, Ill., agreed. “I’m looking at new products in hardware today, and I’m looking forward to seeing everything else on the show floor tomorrow. It’s a large show, and if you aren’t moving all the time, you won’t be able to see as much.”

Awards Ceremonies

In a Monday evening prelude to the National Hardware Show, the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) recognized its 2013 Young Retailer of the Year award winners to the following retailers:

  • 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 Annual Sales)
  • 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 Sales)
  • Megan McCoy-Jones, VP field support at McCoy’s Building Supply, San Marcos, Texas (Multiple Stores)
  • Justin Ellis, corporate sales manager of Builders Do it Center, Roswell, N.M. (Multiple Stores)
  • Jeremy Stine, digital marketing & e-commerce manager, Stine Home & Yard, Lake Charles, La. (Multiple Stores)

“The Young Retailer of the Year program is a celebration of strength and vitality; it’s the future of our industry,” says Bill Lee, NRHA president and CEO. “These young retailers show the future is bright for our industry. They are proof the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. ”

The ceremony included videos of the honorees’ stories and speeches by the honorees, who thanked their families, suppliers and colleagues for their support.

“My parents instilled a strong work ethic in me from the time I was a child,” says Herbert. “My family has always supported me, and it’s an honor to be up here.”

“Hardware is a longstanding and important part of everyday life,” says Yoder. “I’m proud to work for a small business.”

The recognition of industry standouts continued into today as the NRHA Packaging and Merchandising Awards were presented to manufacturers whose products represented the best of the best in packaging and merchandising.

Allison DeWitt, NRHA’s member services & events manager, hosted the seminar and discussed some of the biggest trends noticed from the award applicants this year.

“Products with clear, informative descriptions of how they are used and packaging that allowed consumers to touch and feel the product were big winners this year,” she said.

All of this year’s winners are on display in the NRHA Village. For even more information on the winners, check out the May issue of Hardware Retailing.

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.

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