May 09, 2013

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LAS VEGAS - The energy and excitement that started at yesterday’s grand opening event didn’t let up at all during the second day of the 2013 National Hardware Show®, which was marked with speakers, seminars and awards ceremonies.

The show continues through tomorrow at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

On Wednesday, attendees were enthusiastic about their experiences throughout the first two days of the show. Spencer Krull, proprietor with EQ Ready in Los Angeles, was thoroughly impressed with his first trip to the show.

“I’m here sourcing a lot of emergency preparedness products, and I’m finding a lot of good products here,” he says. “The show is excellent. It’s one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. It’s so well-organized.”

Veteran attendees of the show say they continue to find it a place where they can see a wide array of products and buy for the coming months.

“I do a lot of buying at the National Hardware Show,” says Bob Eames, Ace Hardware, Richmond, Calif. “I walk every aisle of the show when I’m here and I’ve been seeing a lot of new items this year.”

Specialty Areas

As the speakers, seminars and breakout sessions continued, activity also continued on the show floor as well.

The building products category was a new addition to this year’s National Hardware Show. “We were able to add this category thanks to the growing strength of the housing market,” says Sonya Ruff Jarvis, vice president of attendee programs for the National Hardware Show. “We want to make the show as valuable as possible to attendees and exhibitors, and keeping up what’s happening in the housing market and home improvement industry is the best way to do that.”

The selection of Building Products is spread throughout the show floor and is designated by special signage, making it easy for attendees to spot. The category includes more than 150 manufacturers in aluminum products; doors; millwork, mouldings; windows, skylights and more.

Some of the exhibitors in this category include hand include Cisco Sales Corp., Louisville Ladder, Nedia Home, and Toolway Industries Ltd., among others.

“We’ve been coming to the show for at least 10 years,” says Santiago Veytia, director of marketing with Louisville Ladder in Louisville, Ky. “We like seeing our distributors here. We can see a lot of our customers in a short period of time.”

The Pet Products category, which was also represented with an enhanced array of products at the show, continues to be more popular than ever, thriving even during the recession. There are more than 75 million pet dogs and more than 85 million pet cats in the United States, offering plenty of opportunities for retailers to sell to pet owners.

“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.”

While attendees were busy shopping the aisles inside the Las Vegas Convention Center, activity was also brisk outside in the Silver Parking Lot, where exhibitors in the Outdoors, Tailgate and Recreation category gathered to enjoy the nice weather and show off grills, coolers and more.

Jeff Grady of Outdoors Unlimited, Inc., in Sugar Grove, Ill., was optimistic about not just this category, but the home improvement industry as a whole.

“I think the industry is coming back,” he says. “The show seems a lot more energized this year. People are buying innovative products—that’s a good sign.”

He said that customers in his category covered all price points. “Some people stick to basic needs when purchasing outdoor, tailgate and recreation products. Others are willing to spend to get what they want, no matter the cost. Most are somewhere in the middle.”

Consumers are always looking for ways to make their homes more energy-efficient, so the National Hardware Show focused on the trend throughout the show floor and in a special Energy Efficient Products section, sponsored by Polaroid and Intelligent Green Product.

“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.”

Actor and environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr., representing Intelligent Green Products, spoke about the important role environmental awareness can play with today’s consumers.

Lancaster Buying Show

For the second year, the Lancaster West Coast Buying Show is co-locating with the National Hardware Show. Lancaster’s show, which opened today, is being held in the Las Vegas Hotel, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center, and will continue from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow, May 9.

“We have two other trade shows, in New England and the southeast, and this show gives us a presence in the western part of the country and with all the attendees at the National Hardware Show,” says Mitch Jolley, CEO. “It worked well for us last year and seems to be doing well so far this year, too.”

“It gives us an opportunity to meet with a lot of our customers and get face time with key vendors as well,” he says. “It’s a good fit for us.

Awards Programs

Several awards programs to honor the industry’s elite also took place today during the show, including NRHA’s Top Guns awards, the Golden Hammer Awards, presented by Home Channel News, and the Homewares Awards, Lawn, Garden and Outdoor Living Awards and New Product Launch Awards.

This year’s Top Gun class includes: Tim Buchheit of Buchheit Stores, Bruce Ellis of Builders Do it Center, Dennis Stine of Stine Home + Yard and George Preckwinkle of Bishop Ace Hardware.

“This year’s Top Guns are a testimony to the fact that the independent retailer today is alive and well, and not just surviving but also thriving,” says Dan Tratensek, publisher of Hardware Retailing magazine.

The Golden Hammer Awards were presented by Home Channel News and honored vendors in more than 30 categories who had been selected by their peers a well as members of the retail and distribution channels.

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 Golden Hammer Awards recognize the best of the best in home improvement,” says Ken Clark, editor of Home Channel News. “We believe we have assembled a field of high-profile and high-performing retailers and suppliers for another great Golden Hammer event.”

For more than 30 years, Hardware Retailing magazine has been recognizing exhibitors’ innovation and showcasing the best of the best products at the National Hardware Show with its Retailers’ Choice Awards.

“Retailers are always interested in finding new products at the National Hardware Show, and they enjoy the chance to reward the most innovative ones they find at the show,” says Tratensek. “It also offers and opportunity to thank the manufacturers who are the driving force behind these products.”

From homewares to lawn and garden, the products recognized covered a variety of home improvement categories. The Homewares Show® Awards; Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Living Awards; and New Product Spotlight Awards were all held Wednesday afternoon.

Below is the full list of winners:

Homewares Show Innovation Awards (Presented by HomeWorld Business magazine)

Honorable Mention Award
Gard Oven Protector
Booth # 12814

Bronze Award
Bag Up
Braincase Solutions, LLC (Bagit USA)
Booth # 4239

Silver Award 
Gleener The Ultimate Fuzz Remover
Gleener, Inc.
Booth #REG37

Gold Award

Drain Wig
Washroom Décor, LLC
Booth #IS310

Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Living Innovation Awards (presented by Casual Living)

Honorable Mention Award
DIY Rain Barrel Diverter & Parts Kit
Earth Minded LLC
Booth #10322

Bronze Award
N 200-Solar Light bulb
Booth #11359

Silver Award
Garden Gems Paper Planter
Walters Seed Company
Booth #REG33

Gold Award
Grillbot LLC
Booth #12858

New Product Launch Spotlight Awards (presented by Skymall Inc.):

Honorable Mention Award
Epiphany! Shower System
Intelligent Green Products IGP
Booth #2809

Bronze Award
The Handy Camel Bag Clip
The Handy Camel LLC
Booth #10356

Silver Award
Cord Dome
Spray & Seal
Booth #IS423

Gold Award
Grillbot LLC
Booth #12858

Seminars and Presentations Continue

The speaker and seminar lineup continued on the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) Village Stage today with a focus on changing consumer habits and technology and honoring some of the top independent retailers in the industry.

At the “Meet Today’s Empowered Consumer” panel discussion, Hardware Retailing managing editor Jaime Koch moderated as a consumer panel featuring shoppers from different generations talked about their preferences and experiences in shopping for home improvement items.

Panelists included millennial Nick O’Connor, gen Xer Deanna Tratensek and baby boomer Pat Meis. All emphasized quality was important to them in the home improvement products they purchase and that sincere, good customer service made them more likely to shop at a store. Each also said they were more responsive to technology.

“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 said. “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 said 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 said. “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 said. “The experience can’t be the same for every user. It needs to be customized.”

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

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