National Hardware Show expands category reach

NORWALK, Conn. - As the housing and home improvement industries continue to gain momentum, the 2013 National Hardware Show aims to unite leaders from across the channel to share ideas, find new products, spot emerging trends and discover dynamic best practices.

Scheduled for May 7-9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the National Hardware Show will feature enhanced product categories, educational offerings and networking opportunities.

"Each year, we solicit feedback from attendees and exhibitors at the show, and we also travel throughout the industry to gather input about how to make the show better," said Sonya Ruff Jarvis, vice president of attendee programs for the National Hardware Show. "We have made a number of enhancements to the show this year as a direct result of the feedback we have received, and we are incredibly excited about how the industry is responding."

So far, Ruff Jarvis said the National Hardware Show has more than 98% of its available floor space sold out.

"We are extremely pleased with the response we are getting from the exhibitors," she said. "We will have a fantastic representation of manufacturers from across all the categories at the show, ranging from companies that are new to the industry to a large contingent of bellwether brands."

Exhibitors at the 2013 National Hardware Show include notable brands such as 3M, Ames True Temper, Apex Tool Group, Char-Broil, Elmer's, Kohler, Weber and more.

While attendees will get ample opportunity to browse big-name brands, they'll also get front-row access to new innovators - a longtime hallmark of the show.

"At SkyMall, we're always looking for up-to-the-minute products for our customers," said Vickie Mayer, senior merchandise manager, SkyMall, Inc. "The National Hardware Show is a great place to find these types of products. In addition to discovering new companies and products, the show is a great venue to facilitate meetings with current and previous partners. In this time of virtual business, it's nice to have face-to-face meetings."

Enhanced areas

In its efforts to make the event easier for attendees to navigate, the 2013 National Hardware Show will have exhibitors arranged into 11 separate categories, including: Farm and Ranch, Hardware and Tools, Homewares, International Sourcing, Inventor's Spotlight, Lawn, Garden and Outdoor Living; PDRA Paint and Accessories; Pet Products; Plumbing and Electrical; Storage and Organization; and Outdoors, Tailgate and Recreation.

While many of these areas have been staples of the show for years, others, such as Farm and Ranch, Pet Products and Outdoors, Tailgate and Recreation, represent emerging categories within the home improvement landscape.

"We know we have to be responsive to the trends that are shaping our channel, and that's exactly what drove our decision to add areas such as Farm and Ranch and Pet Products, which together account for nearly 20,000 additional square feet of exhibit space," Ruff Jarvis said.

Building Products will also make a return to the 2013 National Hardware Show. Other special areas have been established at the show to highlight products that are Made in the USA or are energy-efficient, both of which stretch across the traditional categories.

Innovative new products and ideas will share the spotlight during the National Hardware Show, with three areas dedicated to showcasing new ideas and items - New Product World, the New Product Launch Spotlight and the Inventor's Spotlight areas. New Product World and Inventor's Spotlight will be in the Innovation Station, which has a new home off the main lobby near the show floor.

"My favorite part of the show is the sheer volume of different products," said Megan Menzer, owner of Newton's True Value in Cherryvale, Kan. "I look for new products to bring into my store and the new trends in product categories, styles and colors. I get to see vendors that might not be at our distributor show. I can network with people in the business, and we can share ideas."

An educational experience

The 2013 National Hardware Show will once again play host to the North American Retail Hardware Association All-Industry Conference, which will feature a dynamic slate of seminars to keep attendees informed about changing industry trends and consumer shopping habits.

The theme for this year's educational lineup revolves around today's changing consumer and the role that emerging technology plays in the future of the industry. The three-day educational program will include some of the leading authorities on multi-channel markets and will feature a special keynote address from Kathy Daly-Jennings, a retail executive from Google, who will discuss consumers' multi-screen lifestyles.

Along with Daly-Jennings, other speakers will include noted consumer trend authority Brian Kilcourse, who will discuss how today's retail environment is evolving to meet the needs of a more tech-savvy consumer; and Timothy Dahl, a well-known home improvement industry blogger and former producer of This Old House, Elle Decor, Metropolitan Home and Woman's Day magazines, who will present on how to best find, engage and maintain customers online.

"Going to the National Hardware Show helps me stay up to date on all the latest trends that could impact my business," said Kirk Reams of Hooten's Hardware in Emory, Texas. "Staying on top of these trends helps to keep my store from becoming stagnant."

The best of the best

Along with the exhibits and educational opportunities, the National Hardware Show also recognizes the best of the best from across all channels. This year's show will feature a full lineup of awards programs recognizing distinction and excellence from individuals, companies and products.

Awards that will be presented during this year's show will include the 2013 Golden Hammer Awards, presented by Home Channel News magazine; the Industry's Top Gun Awards and Retailers' Choice Awards, presented by Hardware Retailing magazine; the Packaging and Merchandising Awards, presented by the North American Retail Hardware Association; the Paint and Decorating Retailers Association Scholarship presentations; Homewares Show Awards, presented by Homeworld Business magazine; the Lawn and Garden and Outdoor Innovation Awards, presented by Casual Living magazine; New Product World Awards, presented by DIY; National Hardware Show All-American Awards, presented by Made in USA Brand; Game Ball Awards, presented by Tailgater Magazine; and the New Product Launch Spotlight Awards, presented by the National Hardware Show.

"We have been involved in a variety of awards programs in and around the National Hardware Show for more than four decades, and we feel that it is the perfect place to recognize the innovators who are really driving the industry, whether it be through retail or manufacturing," said Bill Lee, president and CEO of the North American Retail Hardware Association.

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