(LAS VEGAS, May 9, 2017) – The National Hardware Show® got off to a strong start this morning, as thousands of attendees gathered at the Las Vegas Convention Center for one of the largest events in the home improvement industry.
The Green Valley High School marching band kicked off the opening ceremony with a spirited performance as several leaders took to the stage in the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) Village to welcome everyone to the Show.
“The National Hardware Show is full of innovation, imagination and networking opportunities,” says Rich Russo, vice president of the National Hardware Show. “Our theme this year is ‘Reimagine Retail,’ and we are so excited to open the doors and let you explore all that’s inside.”
Retailers were looking forward to their first day at the Show and all that it had to offer.
“I came last year, so I knew what to expect this year, but still, it’s a really big and exciting show,” says April Rembert of Jared’s Ace Hardware in Bishopville, South Carolina. “I like going to Inventors Spotlight and the Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ. Overall, it’s just a fun time. I also enjoy spending time at the NRHA All-Industry Conference to learn from all of the great speakers they bring in for this event.”
There are a variety of featured areas to visit across the Show floor and throughout the convention center, including:
Featured Product Gallery
The Featured Product Gallery, located in room N245, includes New Product World, Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Recovery Product Display, Energy Efficient Product Display, the Homewares Awards and Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Living Awards Product Displays.
Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Recovery, a newer featured to the Show showcases the latest products for attendees to stock at their businesses to ensure they—and their customers—have everything they need for any sort of emergency situation.
One exhibitor in this area was Nextorch, offering a selection of flashlights and other emergency products.
“The National Hardware Show is a great way for us to make a connection with the home improvement channel,” says Michael McCrory, president of Nextorch USA. “Retail in the United States is very challenging right now, but this channel is a viable one. And with the combination of products we offer, including tools, lighting and knives, we think we can make a very good partner within the industry.”
Consumers also continue to look for products that use less energy and are more environmentally friendly. Several vendors throughout the Show floor were showing off these types of products. One of these exhibitors, Lifan Power USA, produces small gasoline engines.
“We’re introducing new products, meeting new customers and getting a chance to visit with current ones,” says Larry Cotten, CEO of Lifan Power USA. “We do business in the United States and Canada, and some throughout South America. We often see those contact once a year—here at the Show.”
New Product Launch
At New Product Launch in the Central Lobby, attendees can find new products that haven’t even hit the market yet—with no pre-negotiations, pre-sales or exclusives. And these products represent a variety of categories across the industry.
One product is the Snapatite, which is a plastic multiuse utensil that includes a spoon, fork, knife and bottle opener. Because it’s plastic, it’s even approved to be taken on a plane, says Sonal M. Patel of Sona Enterprises, the company that created the product.
“We’ve priced the Snapatite in a way that it’s almost the price of something disposable, but it’s more than that,” Patel says. “We encourage people to stop by during the Show to see how it works.”
Inventors Spotlight features products that may not yet on the market but could be “the next big thing” in the home improvement industry. Inventors also have the opportunity to meet with buyers and potential investors.
One exhibitor in this area was Monkey Rung, a ladder accessory tool that company president Lawrence Ayala called “the tool that holds all tools.” The ladder accessory tool includes multiple attachments that can connect on just about any type of ladder.
“It’s great to be at the Show and have this exposure to all of these companies, both national and international,” says Ayala. “It’s our first time here at the Show, so we’re excited.”
The award began last night, when NRHA recognized eight Young Retailer of the Year honorees, all of whom are 35 years old or younger and who have helped grow their businesses, continued their hardware education and helped contribute to their community.
“These retailers exemplify what is great about the future of the independent home improvement industry,” says NRHA chief operating officer Bob Cutter. “We are thrilled to honor these individuals and we look forward to see what they accomplish in the industry moving forward.”
The 2017 Young Retailer of the Year honorees are:
Under $2 Million in Annual Sales
Reed “RJ” McDaniel Jr., vice president, co-owner, B&B Hardware, Milan, Illinois
Over $2 Million in Annual Sales
- Joseph Franquinha, owner, Crest True Value Hardware and Urban Garden Center, Brooklyn, New York
- Bobby Heuser, president, Heuser Ace Hardware, Bluffton, South Carolina
- Jackie Sacks, owner, Round Top Mercantile, Round Top, Texas
- Camille Gibson, general manager, Mark’s Ace Hardware, Tucson, Arizona
- Jarrod Haines, store manager, Buchheit, House Springs, Missouri
- Matthew Payzant, general manager, Payzant Home Hardware Building Centre, Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia
- Jason Plummer, vice president, R.P. Lumber Co., Inc., Edwardsville, Illinois
The awards ceremonies continued today, when NRHA presented its annual Packaging & Merchandising Awards, which honor manufacturers who have created innovative product packaging and creative merchandising aids.
The NRHA Village Stage stayed busy with the first day of speakers, who talked about providing strong customer service, the importance of the brick-and-mortar store and much more.
First up was Dustin Kaehr, who presented, “Customers Uncensored: What They Wish You Knew.” He told retailers a little more about what customers are saying when retailers aren’t around.
“Think differently about the way you do business, treat employees and serve customers,” says Kaehr. “If you have people who work with or for you, you’re a leader. It takes courage to lead well.”
Next was keynote speaker Dr. Kit Yarrow with “Decoding the New Consumer Mind.” Her presentation is based on a book of the same name, which discusses how consumers have changed their shopping habits over the years.
“The No. 1 thing customers say they want is omnichannel retailing,” says Yarrow. “Customer say they prefer to go to a store, but it’s just so complicated to get there. Bring technology into the store to help customers understand what they are about to buy.”
Bill Brunelle of Independent We Stand and Dan Tratensek of NRHA gave an update to the Home Sweet Home Study, focusing this time on pros and their shopping habits, and how those can impact local communities. Al Meyers, a business innovator from Kalypso, told independent retailers how they can set themselves apart from others in his presentation, “Break Out of the Pack.”
“There are a lot of different ways to make the customer experience innovative and informative with technology,” says Meyers. “Look at retailers with a strong focus on innovation and creativity. Have a vision, have a strategy and have a direction.”
Will Aubuchon of Aubuchon Hardware talked about the company’s omnichannel initiative, Aubuchon Go, and GE Lighting’s James Patton talked about the future of lighting solutions and how retailers can incorporate lighting into their smart home options.
The National Hardware Show continues through Thursday, May 11. For more information, visit nationalhardwareshow.com.