May 05, 2016

Norwalk, CT (May 5, 2016)—After a strong start Wednesday, the momentum at the National Hardware Show®, which runs through May 6 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, continued today.

Attendees and exhibitors were impressed with the size of the crowds and positive atmosphere at the Show, as well as how much was available to those wanting to learn, network and find new trends in the home improvement industry.

Attendees kept the Magna Industries booth busy, and company president Todd Whited says he has seen plenty of excitement about his company’s brands.

“We had a spectacular day yesterday,” Whited says. “It was probably our best day ever, and this is my 25th hardware show.”


Once again, the NRHA Village stayed busy with a slew of speakers. First up was a retailer panel with participants who spoke about their journeys to becoming leaders. Scott Wright, who is executive director of the Retail Leadership Institute, which is part of the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA), moderated the panel. Panelists included 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.

“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 panel presentation. “It was definitely a learning opportunity for me.”

Today’s keynote speaker was Mark Herbek of the Cleveland Research Company, who 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 on the NRHA Village Stage 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.

Specialty Areas

Once again, there was plenty to see on the Show floor. The Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ (formerly Outdoors, Tailgate & Recreation) saw a few changes this year. In addition to a new name, this area moved back to the Silver Parking Lot and offered attendees the opportunity to take in an enhanced outdoor experience, with a chance to see an expanded selection of products from Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Living and enjoy a variety of new activities.

Smokehouse Products (Outdoor 238) 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 Energy Efficient and Eco-Friendly areas continue to be popular. In addition to displays in the Featured Product Gallery, located in room N101 across from the Central Hall’s entrances, there are booths specializing in these areas throughout the Show floor.

Inventors Spotlight, located in Meeting Room N109, showcases a variety of products that could become the next big thing in the industry. It includes multiple opportunities for inventors, including the chance to meet with members of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and see Pitch the Experts, where inventors share their products and receive feedback and advice from industry leaders.

The National Hardware Show is the place to find products and companies not just from the U.S., but from all over the world. Exhibitors from China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Pakistan and Taiwan are featured in the International Sourcing area in the Central Hall, and Israeli companies have their own pavilion on the Show floor.

Lancaster Buying Show

As in past years, paint sundry source Lancaster co-located its show with the National Hardware Show. The Lancaster Buying Show began today at the Westgate Resort Hotel & Casino and will continue through Friday. Friday’s floor hours are 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

More than 100 brands, including Wooster, Purdy and Krylon, are available at the Lancaster show.

Awards Ceremonies

Awards ceremonies continued throughout the day today, on the NRHA Village Stage and throughout the convention center.

The ceremonies kicked off with the Spirit of Independents Award, 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.”

Next, 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,” Jeremy 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, Eli 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

There were plenty of other awards ceremonies held throughout the afternoon. See the following for the winners of several of these programs.

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

  • First Place
    • 5.0 Gallon SureCan by SureCan Incorporated
  • Second Place
    • Earth Talon Fiberglass Shovel by ERA Group
  • Third Place
    • zero-G Water House by Teknor Apex Company
  • Honorable Mention
    • Bird Photo Booth by Lovett Lab Inc.

Homewares Awards
Presented by HomeWorld® Business

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

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 share new products, ideas and insight with a broad spectrum of home improvement resellers. For more information on the National Hardware Show, visit

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