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The NRHA All-Industry Conference Addresses the Changing Industry

Competition in the home improvement industry is rapidly becoming more diverse and more challenging to get ahead of. And those competitors are bigger than just big boxes and e-commerce retailers. With shrinking big-box footprints, countless discount retailers and consumers who are accustomed to fast, connected service, the independent home improvement channel needs to reassess how it can compete.

The 2019 North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) All-Industry Conference starts that conversation and includes voices from all corners of the channel. The event takes place May 7-9, in conjunction with the National Hardware Show® in Las Vegas.

The National Hardware Show is one of the home improvement industry’s largest events, and NRHA provides all of the educational programming for the show. Get a preview here of the presentations and panels that will address the current state of the channel, according to the conference theme, Industry in Evolution. Industry executives, high-performing retailers and channel partners who are helping retailers innovate will share their insights into how the industry can thrive through transition.

In addition, see a preview of everything that’s happening on the show floor at the National Hardware Show.

This Year’s Speakers

John Hartman
President and CEO, True Value Co.

Hartmann has 20 years of corporate experience, with 16 years in the home improvement sector. He joined True Value in 2013 and has since led the company through the creation and implementation of a strategic plan, including a transition in 2018 to a new ownership structure.


Phillip Helms
Regional Vice President, Central Network Retail Group

In his role, Helms is responsible for two of CNRG’s highest performing brands: Elliott’s Hardware in Dallas and Town & Country Hardware in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. As a former hardware store owner, Helms appreciates what it takes to be successful in this industry.


Tasha Hilderman and Sarah Rurka
Home Hardware Building Centre–Lloydminster

Home Hardware Building Centre in Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada, is celebrating 20 years in business this year. Hilderman and Rurka oversee the company’s marketing, community building and popular social media channels.


Gary Petz
Co-Founder, Discovery Retail Group

Petz is a partner and co-founder of Discovery Retail Group, a consulting company that helps retailers facilitate and communicate profit-focused differentiation. Having served at both retail and wholesale hardware and lumber operations, Petz has developed a unique perspective that allows him to help retailers focus on the customer experience.


Jim Robisch
Senior Partner, The Farnsworth Group

The Farnsworth Group specializes in market research and strategy consulting for the home improvement industry. In his role, Robisch directs all retailer and wholesale service activities, including customer intelligence, brand positioning, advertising, market expansion and more.


Matt Woods
President and CEO, Woods Hardware

Woods joined his family’s hardware operation Woods Hardware after first spending 10 years as a financial adviser. He now serves as the president and CEO of the Cincinnati-based business, which has grown rapidly in recent years, thanks to Woods’ understanding of the evolving industry.

National Hardware Show

Take It to the Show Floor
The NRHA All-Industry Conference co-locates with the National Hardware Show® to give independent retailers a comprehensive experience of educational programming and product research.

Exhibitors from across more than a dozen core and niche categories fill 600,000 square feet inside and outside the Las Vegas Convention Center. From traditional categories like hardware and paint to those that may help set an operation apart, such as pet products and emergency preparedness, there is something to explore in every corner of the show floor.

“There is great value in having the National Hardware Show just steps away from the NRHA All-Industry Conference,” says Dan Tratensek, NRHA executive vice president and Hardware Retailing publisher. “The scale and breadth of the exhibitors are remarkable, and we encourage conference attendees to explore the show floor to find that special line or item that will make a difference for their operations.”

Awards From a New Angle
One of the highlights of the National Hardware Show each year for attendees and exhibitors alike is the NHS Awards program. This year, the program has been redesigned to recognize achievements in innovation, uniqueness and value in categories throughout the show floor.

There will be first, second and third place winners in each of the following categories: homewares (including smart home); hardware and tools; Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Living and Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ; paint and accessories; and plumbing and electrical. There will also be awards for products in the New Product Launch, Made in USA and Inventors Spotlight featured areas.

The awards will be presented on Wednesday, May 8, on the NRHA Village Stage as part of a reception hosted by the National Hardware Show. Winning products will be on display in the Featured Product Gallery following the presentation.

More Spots to See
This year’s show puts a microscope on the tiny living lifestyle. Tiny Living @ NHS is designed for professionals within the industry to find specialists in products and services for the tiny home, modular and manufacturing industries.

In addition to having a special area at the show, the Small Build & Construction Technology Conference will be held in conjunction with the National Hardware Show. The event will offer attendees the opportunity to learn about tiny homes and related trends during two days of seminars and interactive panels.

Other can’t-miss areas at the show include the Interactive Smart Home and the Backyard Marketplace, located outside in Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ.

NRHA Village Stage Schedule
Each day of the NRHA All-Industry Conference is packed with keynote speakers, presentations, panel discussions and more. Click here to view the full stage schedule.

The Social Connection
Be sure to follow NRHA on social media for in-the- moment updates throughout the conference and to follow along with the association to see how it serves the independent channel after the conference is over.

Instagram: @nrha_official
Twitter: @nrha_official
Facebook: @NorthAmericanRetailHardwareAssociation

About Melanie Moul

Melanie is the communications and content manager for the North American Hardware and Paint Association. She joined the NHPA team in 2016 as an editor for Hardware Retailing and now helps lead the communications team to deliver relevant, timely content to the industry.

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