National Hardware Show® Opens with a Rousing Opening Ceremony, packed aisles and great new product introductions

May 10, 2011

(Las Vegas, NV May 10, 2011) – The 2011 National Hardware Show® opened today at the Las Vegas Convention Center with a marching band, canon blast of confetti, orange juice toast and a welcome to all the attendees of the 66th annual National Hardware Show. "We said last year that when the economy began to pick up we'd send in the band and we did not want to disappoint you," said Ed Several, Senior Vice President & General Manager, National Hardware Show®. "With the recently released April jobs report showing an increase in hiring, and the long awaited start to those delayed home renovation and repair projects driving more homeowners to our stores, we thought that nothing could be more appropriate than to celebrate in style and to help us kick off the 66th annual National Hardware Show."

The Las Vegas High School marching band – undefeated in competitions – broke through a paper wall playing a rousing fight song for the standing room only crowd gathered around the North American Retail Hardware Associate (NRHA) Village stage. After an orange juice toast to the success of the Show, HGTV personality Lisa LaPorta hammered the ceremonial nail, leading to a blast of confetti and the official Show kickoff.

The Show aisles were packed the first day of the 2011 event, which also featured several enlightening seminars, including one hosted by actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. on behalf of Santerra Green, a premium environment-friendly composting toilet system made in North America by Sancor Industries Ltd. Delivering the annual "State of the Industry address was Dan Tratensek, vice president of publishing for the NRHA, whose All-Industry Convention is being co-located with the National Hardware Show® for the first time. "Overall, things are getting better…Home maintenance and repair is going to sustain the industry, although we won't expect pre-recession type growth until we see housing a remodeling activity rebound," Tratensek said.

The Show also featured several new and returning exhibitors, including Butler Home Products, which has returned after a 10-year absence to introduce a brand-new, never-before-seen line of Black & Decker cleaning products at the 2011 National Hardware Show®. "We felt there was a void in the marketplace for unique and innovative products, for which we are known," said Michael Silverman, senior vp – marketing for Butler, which acquired the Black & Decker license in January. "We felt the National Hardware Show was the perfect place for the launch. That's where hardware buyers come to shop."

Robert Bosch Tool Corp. has also returned after a decade-long absence, introducing several new products and showing the industry its multiple award winning merchandising sets. And Cosco, the largest manufacturer of folding furniture, step stools and ladders, is introducing the Flip Clip line of bike racks, multipurpose racks and ladder rack clips that fit easily onto beams in your garage, shed or barn. It is the first product of its kind in the industry, according to Troy Franks, EVP-GM of Cosco, who said, "It's instant tool-free storage, easily customizable and you can quickly change it or add to it. And the Hardware Show is the perfect place to introduce it to the marketplace."
There were also several awards presentations, included the much anticipated NRHA Young Retailer of the Year program, now in its 15th year. This program which recognizes outstanding performance in those 35 years or younger, honored Jeremy Haskins, Store Manager, J & H Hardware, Bellows Falls, VT.; Rob Ferraro, Manager, Jerry's Paint & Hardware, Narraganset, R.I.; Jeffry Peters, Owner, Jack's Home Improvement Center, Wiggins, MS; Conrad LeBlanc, Owner, Tediche Home Hardware Building Centre, Cap-Pele, New Brunswick, CN; and Suzanne A. Musto Carrara, Owner/Partner, Ace of Hammonton, Hammonton, NJ. 2011 sponsors of the program included 3M, The Scotts Co., Apex Tool Group, Fluidmaster and the American Hardware Manufacturers Association.

The NRHA also presented the annual Packaging and Merchandising Awards – choosing from more than 130 manufacturers throughout the United States and Canada that submitted their best packaging and merchandising/point-of-purchase display materials. In addition, the National Hardware Show and the UIA (United Inventors Association) presented the fourth annual Inventor's Spotlight awards, which chose the best among more than 100 inventions displayed at the show. Winners were chosen in three categories: LRX Enterprises (Best Market Research); New Way Concepts (Best Product Concept); and Strap-N-Go (Best Overall Product).

Tomorrow's highlights will include the Golden Hammer Awards breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m. and featuring the induction of Lowes' president and COO Larry Stone into the Home Channel News Hall of Fame; a presentation of the Sears "traveling tool box" by national TV personality and design expert Ty Pennington to Opportunity Village, the National Hardware Show's preferred charity (NRHA Village stage 12:20 p.m.); a Facebook Party hosted by (NRHA Village Stage, 4 p.m.) and a Tailgate Party featuring the Tailgater Monthly Magazine Gameball Awards, free beer courtesy ofCorona Beer, the new Official Beer Sponsor of the National Hardware Show, and a sweepstakes drawing with products from Char-Broil Grill2Go Ice Grill, EZ Grill Product Bundles, Corona Beer (two tickets to a Kenny Chesney Concert), Tervis Tumblers, XtremeCooler, On the Edge Marketing, ShurTech Collegiate Tapes, Mr. Beer Brew Master, Just Ducky Products and a grand prize VIP Experience Package for Two from UFL/Las Loco.

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.

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