May 17, 2016

Norwalk, CT (May 17, 2016)—Over 2,800 exhibitors and nearly 30,000 industry professionals from 32 countries converged on the Las Vegas Convention Center for the National Hardware Show®, held May 4-6. The Show, in its 71st edition, offered members of the hardware/home improvement industry the opportunity to discover new products, network, learn about industry trends and more.

“This year’s Show was, once again, a successful one,” says Rich Russo, vice president of the National Hardware Show. “We were thrilled to once again see so many industry professionals from all over the world, and from the feedback we’ve received so far, there were many new business relationships forged, new products discovered and best practices shared that will have an immediate impact on businesses across the industry.”

Attendees and exhibitors alike enjoyed their time at the Show and were impressed with the large crowd and positive atmosphere.

Greg Schlecht, owner of Greg’s True Value in St. Francis, Wisconsin, was looking for new products and new ideas. “It’s always refreshing to see the new items that are on the market,” he says.

The Magna Industries booth stayed busy as attendees checked out everything the company had to offer. Company president Todd Whited says it was his 25th hardware show, and the first day of this year’s Show was probably the company’s best ever. “We had a spectacular day,” he says.

Specialty Areas

As in past years, the Show was divided into 15 product categories to help attendees and media navigate through the thousands of products and vendors. It was spread throughout the convention center’s North and Central halls, with the Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ category outside in the Silver Lot.

Each morning, attendees enjoyed coffee and refreshments at the convention center, along with a happy hour in the main lobby each afternoon to wrap up the day.

The Energy Efficient, Made in America, Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Recovery and Eco-Friendly areas continue to be popular, and in addition to exhibitors showcasing these products on the Show floor, product displays from each of these categories were showcased in the Featured Product Gallery, a new area that combined multiple new products displays into one area. Along with those product displays, the Featured Product Gallery also included New Product World, and just a few steps away, Inventors Spotlight and New Product Launch.

Conrad Traut, representing inventor Greg Wiseman of Wisick, LLC, showcased American-made Gallery Magic, which is a magnetic picture-hanging system.

“We wanted to try to just do the right thing,” Traut says of producing the products in the U.S. “From just an ethical standpoint, we want to focus on American jobs and American quality.”

Outside, Smokehouse Products was demonstrating its smoker box, which can be connected to any grill or other outdoor cooking device to smoke foods.

“We’ve had quite a bit of good interest in our new one,” company representative Amy Jensen says.

The National Hardware Show was the place to find products source from companies from all over the world. This year, exhibitors from China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Pakistan, Taiwan and Israel to name a few, were in attendance.


There were a variety of speakers on the NRHA Village Stage throughout the Show to talk about leadership, the importance of mobile technology and more.

First on the stage was Donna Embry, chief payments advisor with Payment Alliance International. Embry discussed new mobile payment trends and what retailers need to do to meet the expectations of today’s omnichannel buyer.

“It’s important that you create a more engaged environment for consumers. You have to do retailing at the speed of life and one way is by making it easier for consumers to pay,” Embry says. “The experience is the new value driver we need to keep in mind. It’s important to keep them engaged and keep them coming back.”

Next up was keynote speaker Charles Fishman, who talked about the history of Walmart, how the company is changing and what those changes can affect Walmart’s competitors.

“Sam Walton had employees visit competitors’ stores each week and report what they saw. But they could only report positive things because he didn’t want to know what they were doing poorly,” Fishman says. “He wanted to know what they were doing smartly. He certainly wasn’t above ideas and strategies that competitors were employing, which is the most important idea you can steal from Sam Walton. The way to be an excellent retailer is to visit your competitors. Visit Lowe’s and Home Depot. Visit an Apple or REI store and think how they would sell what you sell.”

Jim Robisch, senior partner with The Farnsworth Group, talked about how customers’ expectations have changed and what retailers can do to ensure they are meeting those new expectations. Even with a stable market, the things customers want continue to change, and Robisch reminded retailers to be aware of how they can continue to meet customers’ needs.

Next, Pat Murphy, vice president at Mobinar, talked about the importance of mobile-friendly retail experiences and how retailers must embrace technology to continue to connect with millennials.

“You have to find platforms to reach mobile audiences on their level. You have to go where they are,” Murphy says.

Michael Switzer, partner in Goldberg Segalla LLP, a law firm that works with Member Insurance Agency, spoke about cyber security. He spoke about data breach and cyber liability, coverage for data breach liability and how retailers can protect their businesses from closing if they have customer data compromised.

A retailer panel moderated by Scott Wright, who is executive director of the Retail Leadership Institute, which is part of the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and made up of panelists Jim Rivas, director of retail operations, Friedman's Home Improvement; Christian Herrick, president and CEO, Randy's Do It Best Hardware; and Josiah Gates, director of retail innovation, Aubuchon Hardware, offered the panelists the opportunity to talk about their journeys to becoming leaders.

“My first big responsibility was opening a new store. When it came to handling day-to-day operations, I was overwhelmed and didn’t know what my role was,” Josiah Gates said during the presentation. “It was definitely a learning opportunity for me.”

Keynote speaker Mark Herbek of the Cleveland Research Company talked about the state of the U.S. economy, how the home improvement market was recovering and some merchandising initiatives to help retailers realize their businesses’ full potential.

Next up was Dale Hoover of Anza Environments. Hoover spoke about problems that innovative store design solves, and how design can help retailers improve their bottom line.

“They want an open and more efficient shopping experience,” Hoover says of consumers.

Finally, Tom Stimac, chief innovation manager for GE Lighting and Steve Hegenderfer, director of development programs for Bluetooth, took the stage to talk more about the smart home category and how growth in this category could mean great success for retailers.

Awards Ceremonies

The National Hardware Show offers a time and place to honor individuals and groups in the industry for their dedication, innovation, success and more.

On Tuesday evening, NRHA recognized its 2016 Young Retailer of the Year honorees:

Under $2 Million in Annual Sales

  • Travis Hellvig – operations manager, Hartford Building Center, Hartford, South Dakota

Over $2 Million in Annual Sales

  • Marc Currie – president, Niece Lumber, Lambertville, New Jersey
  • Richard Lukowiak – general manager, Johns Creek Ace Hardware, Johns Creek, Georgia
  • Kyle Martinez – owner/president, Interstate Building Materials, Many, Louisiana
  • Jared Sawyer – owner/manager, Sawyer’s True Value, The Dalles, Oregon

Multiple Stores

  • Christian Herrick – CEO, Randy’s Do it Best Hardware, Timberville, Virginia
  • Dan Moulton – dealer-owner, Alliston Home Hardware Building Centre and Hanover Home Hardware Building Centre, Alliston, Ontario and Hanover, Ontario
  • Aimee Nichols – business owner and manager, Berger Hardware, Hawthorne and Port Chester, New York

Each of the honorees spoke after accepting their awards during a ceremony Tuesday night, repeatedly acknowledging the privilege of getting to know the other outstanding recipients.

“It’s been really cool to hear where other people have come from and why they’re here,” Travis Hellvig of Hartford Building Center in South Dakota.

Christian Herrick of Randy’s Do it Best Hardware in Virginia echoed the sentiment, saying fellow independent home improvement retailers aren’t competitors and need to support each other

“We’re one of the last holdouts in the independent retail world,” Herrick says.

The recognition continued the next day with the Packaging and Merchandising Awards, which recognize the development of innovative packaging and merchandising. Attendees heard a summary of the judges’ comments and more about emerging packaging trends.

“This year, we had some excellent entrants into the program who offered clear, concise packaging along with bright graphics,” says Sara Logel, market research analyst at NRHA. “Some of the merchandising aids we saw were very impactful in not only providing shoppers additional information but also in grabbing their attention.”

The Spirit of Independents Award was presented by NRHA and Hardware Retailing magazine. Bill Lee, president and CEO of NRHA, recognized retailers, manufacturers and a distributor who have worked with NRHA to support the work of The Fuller Center for Housing, which is a nonprofit organization with a mission to eliminate poverty housing.

“NRHA is committed to bringing the channel together to support this worthwhile effort,” Lee says. “This is a cause our industry can get behind.”

David Snell, president of The Fuller Center for Housing, also spoke, praising the donations and other contributions from the companies represented.

“We are helping families establish independence,” he says. “What we’re doing improves lives, improves communities.”

NRHA presented The Industry’s Top Guns award, which recognized the accomplishments of four of the home improvement industry’s most innovative independent retailers. This year’s honorees are Eli Bliffert of Bliffert Lumber & Hardware, Tim Fansler of Family Farm & Home, Jack Foxworth of Foxworth-Galbraith and Jeremy Melnick of Gordon’s Ace Hardware.

The four retailers shared stories about the business challenges and successes they have weathered, and what they have done to grow their operations.

Adding new store locations, and branching out into suburban markets rather than sticking only with urban stores, have been key to the success of Gordon’s Ace Hardware.

“In the end, it’s been about diversification and diversifying risk,” Melnick says. “It’s part of survival. When you’re a single-store operation, you have all your eggs in one basket.”

Growth for Bliffert Lumber involved cleaning house in the retail space as well as in back office processes, Bliffert says.

“We’re really old, so every store I went to, there would be stuff from the ‘50s,” he says.

The Paint and Decorating Retailers Association and the National Hardware Show teamed up to present their annual $5,000 scholarship to James Nathan Koerperich with J & M Paint & Decorating Center in Garden City, Kansas.

In addition, this was the 50th year Hardware Retailing recognized some of the most innovative products in the industry with the Retailers’ Choice Awards. The products and their manufacturers were recognized in a ceremony today. Listed below are the winners:

  • Big Kat Buggy by Big Kat Buggy
  • The Coolest Cooler by Coolest LLC
  • GreaseX by ITW Global Brands
  • Ice Shoot by EK Ekcessories
  • Not a Lock Dummy Lock by EK Ekcessories
  • Comfort-Tech Grip Wrap by Sims Vibration Laboratory
  • ShooAway by ShooAway USA
  • Stake a Statement by My Yard Card®
  • Hammerstop Technology Line Hoses by Danco
  • BinTRACKS by Hyperlily LLC
  • Heat Storm EnergyWise Solutions
  • LoveHandle Smart Products by DMD Products
  • Erase-A-Hole by Intromark Inc.
  • Speed Cinch, Inc (Line of Products)
  • UpCart from TriFold, LLC
  • Wheel Chock and Tie Down Strap Kit by Erickson Manufacturing
  • Afterglow by Echo Valley
  • Trigger-start Torch Hose Kit from BernzOmatic
  • Spin Chill and Chill Puck by Spin Chill
  • Cheers Sunglasses by Cheers Sunglasses LLC
  • Worx® Switchdriver™ by Positec
  • The Amazing Rake by Potwheelz
  • Burnie All Wood Self Burning Grill by Burnie Grill
  • The Eagle EA-2000 Compressor by Wood Industries Inc.
  • Stump Chunks by StumpChunks LLC
  • Step-On-It Dust Pan by Butler Home Products
  • Ergieshovel
  • Stir Whip™ from Hyde®
  • The LED Emergency Bulb by The NCC
  • Chateau Spill® by The Grommet Wholesale
  • ‘Snot Tape by Snot Co.
  • Wheelies™ Tractor Wheel Covers by Good Vibrations
  • Bug Protector™ by Protector Products Companies
  • Re-Grip by Preval™
  • Blazer® Wireless Control Module from Midwest Air Technologies

Below are some winners from several other awards ceremonies held during the Show.

2016 National Hardware Show American Manufacturing Award Winners
Presented by Made in USA and GBQ Partners

  • Best Packaging
    • Herb Growing Kit by Walters Seed Company
  • Best On-Site Patriotic Marketing
    • Extension Poles by Mr. LongArm
  • Best New Product
    • Dura Tie by Garris Brands LLC

50 Campfires—The Camping Authority Awards

  • Essentials Award: QuickFire
  • Editor’s Top Choice: GoSun Stove

Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Living Awards
Presented by Lawn & Garden Retailer

  • Gold
    • 5.0 Gallon SureCan by SureCan Incorporated
  • Silver
    • Earth Talon Fiberglass Shovel by ERA Group
  • Bronze
    • Zero-G Water House by Teknor Apex Company
  • Honorable Mention
    • Bird Photo Booth by Lovett Lab Inc.

Homewares Awards
Presented by HomeWorld® Business

  • Gold
    • ODii – The Ultimate Grab-It Gadget by Northern Response International
  • Silver
    • Pizza Oven Box by BakerStone International
  • Bronze
    • Cord Buddy by Cord Buddy, Inc.
  • Honorable Mention
    • LoveHandle Smartphone Grips by DMD Products

New Product Launch Awards
Presented by Amazon

  • Gold
    • 3M Consumer Business Group—ScotchBlueTM PlatinumTM Painter’s Tape
  • Silver
    • Inventor Lady—Clingless Curtain Keeper
  • Bronze
    • Generac Power Systems—IQ2000
  • Honorable Mention
    • Flood Avert—Flood Alert Boom Tube

New Product World Awards
Presented by DIY Network

  • Aesthetics
    • Alkilu Enterprises—Trip Lit
  • Differentiation/Uniqueness
    • Hansen Global, Inc.—The Tool Hanger
  • Fills Consumer Need
    • Garris Brands, LLC—Dura Tie
  • Overall Value
    • Speed Cinch—Speed Cinch
  • Packaging/Merchandising Support
    • Microtext Products Inc.—Firemizer

Game Ball Awards
Presented by Tailgater Magazine

  • Best Tailgate Concept
    • Instagate
  • Best Innovative Product
    • CampMaid
  • Best Marketing Concept
    • FireDisc Grills
  • Best New Product
    • Elevate Grill
  • Best Overall Product
    • Big Kat Buggie

Inventors Spotlight Awards
Presented by UIA

  • Pinnacle Best in Show
    • Tad Pole
  • Most Innovative
    • Fred’s Trolley
  • Best Marketing
    • The Slammer Tool

Lancaster Buying Show

Once again, paint sundry source Lancaster co-located its show with the National Hardware Show. The Lancaster Buying Show was held at the Westgate Resort Hotel & Casino and included more than 100 brands, such as Wooster, Purdy, Krylon and many others. View the full list of participating vendorshere>>

Exhibitor Opportunities

Exhibitors working on new products had several opportunities at the Show to get feedback on or gain exposure for those products. In addition to the Product Review and Vetting Program, which allows exhibitors to have their products reviewed and vetted by buyers from some of the industry’s biggest distributors and buying groups, there were buyers participating in the Presidents Council Buying Days, a Pitch the Experts panel, the QVC Sprouts Product Search and a panel from The Grommet.

Save the Date for 2017
The 2017 National Hardware Show will take place Tuesday, May 9 through Thursday, May 11 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. 

Attendees and media can pre-register on the National Hardware Show website here>>

Companies interested in exhibiting can learn more here>>


About the National Hardware Show®           
The National Hardware Show celebrates a rich history spanning 71 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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