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National Hardware Show to welcome wide range of buyers

NORWALK, Conn. - From the Home Shopping Network to Home Depot, a wide range of buyers from across the retail and distribution spectrum plan to be on hand at the 2013 National Hardware Show, which will be held May 7-9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

"The National Hardware Show is the place for exhibitors to connect with buyers of all types who are looking to source new and exciting products," said Sonya Ruff Jarvis, vice president of attendee programs for the National Hardware Show. "Buy-side categories will be represented in a variety of formats, with big-box, independent, online and specialty retailers as well as a host of distribution operations all scheduled to be present at this year's show."

Major hardlines distributors, including representatives from Ace Hardware Corp., Do it Best Corp., Orgill, True Value Co. and Home Hardware Company Ltd., plan to attend the show for both the buying opportunities and the opportunities to connect with retailers.

For distributors, the National Hardware Show presents the perfect blend of networking and buying, according to Russell Meeks of VAL-TEST Group, an Illinois-based distributor of paint sundries.

"I've attended about 30 National Hardware Shows," Meeks said. "Primarily, we're looking for new products, and secondarily, we are saying hello to our trading partners. My favorite part of the show is the personal interaction at the booths. The National Hardware Show has more international exhibitors than any other show, and we advise all of our members to attend."

For more traditional hardlines distributors like the buyers at Washington-based Jensen Distribution Services, the size and scope of the show make it a can't-miss event.

"We've been going to the hardware show for more than 35 years, and it grows bigger every year," said Jensen's Kerri Jones. "We're really excited about the building materials display this year. We're seeing positive movement in the building sector, both in building and remodeling, and the show will help us prepare for that. Most of our customers attend the show, so we walk through with them and look for new products and trends that can help improve their stores."

On the retail side, the presence of independent retailers from around the world also continues to grow.

Adam Busscher, owner of Picton Home Hardware in Picton, Ontario, attends the show to look for new products and learn new ways to grow his business. "I've been attending the show for five years, and I find the National Hardware Show is the perfect place to find new or unique products or learn a novel idea that will make us leaders in our market," he said. "The National Hardware Show is different than other shows I attend because a lot of major vendors are there showing all of their new products. I think all retailers should attend the National Hardware Show. It's also an opportunity to learn at the NRHA All-Industry Conference, and you can see vendors you can't see at your wholesaler markets."

Online heavyweights like Amazon and eBay, as well as non-traditional specialty retailers like SkyMall and QVC, plan to attend the event looking for just the right products to spark consumer interest.

"Because successful products in SkyMall tend to share common attributes - innovative, solution-based, unique - versus falling into specific product categories, it is important for us to explore venues that showcase these type of products," said Vickie Mayer, senior merchandise manager with SkyMall, Inc. "The National Hardware Show is one of the best trade shows that showcases new and innovative products our customers expect to find in our catalog and on our website.

"SkyMall also serves a dual purpose for manufacturers and wholesalers - in addition to placing their products in front of the end-use consumers, SkyMall also provides significant B2B exposure to other retail and distribution channels," Mayer added. "The National Hardware Show allows us to interact with exhibitors and clarify all the benefits of participation in our catalog."

In addition to some of the less traditional buy-side attendees who plan to be on hand in May, the growing appeal of the National Hardware Show and the broadening range of product categories on display at the event are drawing attendees from a wider spectrum of operations. Companies such as Cabela's, Tuesday Morning, Marmaxx, Sam's Club, Costco and BJ's Wholesale Club will be walking the aisles alongside contractor-focused operations like BMC and Ganahl Lumber. Even general merchandisers like Walmart and Sears, and grocers like Price Chopper, Harris Teeter and Wakefern/ShopRite, plan to be in Las Vegas.

"For more than 30 years, we at Wakefern have relied on the National Hardware Show to help us provide our stores with the newest and most sought-after seasonal, home and garden, and hardware offerings," said John Rij, senior category manager, general merchandise for Wakefern Food Corp. and judge at this year's Homewares Show Innovation Awards. "This event is always a great opportunity to see the best of the year's new products and network with fellow retailers and wholesalers alike."

"It's great to have so many attendees from both within and outside the home improvement sector attending the National Hardware Show," Ruff Jarvis said. "It illustrates how widely the appeal of the show has spread and how many buyers consider the show a 'must-see' event. We're looking forward to having all of these attendees at the show in May."

 

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