National Hardware kicks off
Clint Engel -- Casual Living, May 1, 2012
Big brands, big name buyers and big opportunities -- this year's National Hardware Show kicked off today with an opening ceremony featuring the Metropolitan Club Orchestra taking place at 8:45 a.m. on the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) Village Stage located in the Central Hall Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The National Hardware Show will run from Tue., May 1 through Thur., May 3.
With booth space selling out at a record pace early in the year, the National Hardware Show expects strong attendance from the vendor community, particularly the big-brand industry leaders. This year's show has more than 30 percent more large-brand companies in attendance than the past several years.
Some of the latest additions include well-recognized names such as Ames True Temper, Apex Tools/Cooper Tools, CLC Workgear, Weber Stephens Grills, The Toro Company and many more.
"We are excited to be at the National Hardware Show this year, as it provides a great forum to once again meet with our customers to share our new products and merchandising plans. This event allows us to showcase our portfolio of products and brands to many of our customers from around the world at one convenient location" said Karen Richwine, director of business development at Ames True Temper.
There is also a long list of returning big-brand vendors from every segment of the industry that continue to find the National Hardware Show the best place to interact with the movers and shakers of the industry. In addition, the International Sourcing area will feature more than 700 exhibitors representing manufacturers from more than 30 countries.
While the number of large brands on hand at the show continues to increase, more and more of these manufacturers are also using the show as a launching pad for their new products and innovative programs.
Leading Buyers in Attendance
The show is also attracting more attention from the home improvement industry's distribution community, with buyers from Ace Hardware, Distribution America, Do it Best, Orgill, PRO Group, True Value, United Hardware, Home Hardware, Lancaster, Gro Group and more signed up to attend.
"The National Hardware Show gives our team, including the PRO merchandise managers, an opportunity to meet with our distributor members and manufacturer partners and also see new products. We're (also) able to take what we learn at the seminars and directly apply it to our programs. Last year, we took away valuable lessons about what retailers are doing in advertising and social media, for example. This year, we are excited to see that the programming for and about independent retailers has been expanded," said Shari Kalbach, PRO Group's managing director."
Beyond the ranks of traditional home improvement retailers and distributors, the National Hardware Show has also become a gathering place for a broader range of buy-side companies, according to Sonya Ruff Jarvis, the National Hardware Show's vice president of attendee programs.
"One of the things we are excited about is that, over the years, the appeal of the National Hardware Show has broadened and, in addition to buyers from the home improvement space who attend the event, we now have more and more buyers from across the retail, distribution and online spectrum who feel the show is a must-attend event for their buying teams," Jarvis says.
This list of buyers from around the world of retailing includes heavyweights such as Amazon, Costco and Walmart but also spans the world of specialty product providers like Big Lots, Organize.com, Pep Boys, Home Shopping Network, SkyMall and Tuesday Morning to name a few.
"Pepboys finds the National Hardware Show invaluable to our business as we use the show to meet with new and existing suppliers, look for new and emerging trends and more importantly look for new business opportunities, whether they be new items or new promotional opportunities," said Caesar Girod, senior category manager of Pep Boys.
On the Floor
This year, the industry identified four areas that have been drawing a lot of attention from consumers and present good opportunities for buyers willing to try them: Made in the USA products, pet products, energy efficient products and tailgate & outdoor recreation. This year's National Hardware Show® will dedicate some space to these areas so attendees can easily identify those relevant products.
For more information on the National Hardware Show and to register, visit www.NationalHardwareShow.com.