Home » Industry Events » NHS 2023 Day 2: Food and Fun in the NHS Backyard

NHS 2023 Day 2: Food and Fun in the NHS Backyard

Dedicated to all things lawn, garden, farm, ranch, outdoor living and grilling, the NHS Backyard was sizzling with new products in the outdoor and grilling category, networking opportunities and lots of delicious samples straight from the grills. 

Throughout the Backyard, vendors shared their grilling and outdoor goods and products. Many of the booths also offered free food samples, serving up everything from breakfast quesadillas to filet mignon. The TerraFlame booth shared a little something different, allowing attendees to make inside-out s’mores on the company’s tabletop fire bowls. 

“This is our first show. Our company started about three years ago, but because of the pandemic, we weren’t able to get out,” says Eugene Fox, Manager of E-comm and Online Strategy at TerraFlame. “We love being in the Backyard and have had great traffic. People have loved having something sweet with our s’mores.” 

During the NHS Cook-Off, celebrity chefs competed head-to-head to create a unique dish using a set of specific ingredients. The event was hosted by bestselling author, serial entrepreneur and renowned business speaker Mitche Graf from BBQ Nation. Participating chefs included Tim Scheer, Renea Caroline, Steven O’Neill, Matt Lott, Kevin Spenla, Mark Anderson, Ryan Fey and Hakim Callender, with Scheer winning the cook-off. 

“This event brings chefs from all around the industry. Some of these people have been doing this for 30 years, and for other people, this is their first official competitive event,” Graf says. “When we do the sliders, there are no rules. They can use wagyu beef if they want to, or they can use tofu, chickpeas or pineapple. And most of the chefs that have cooked for the last three years enjoy that aspect and that’s why we get repeat chefs coming back.”

The NHS Backyard Stage also played host to several Favorite Finds sessions, where industry influences shared and demoed their favorite products from the Show floor. Some of the influencers who shared their top picks included Brent Ridley, Chris and Yvonne Johnson, Kevin O’Connor, Timisha Porcher, April Wilkerson, Stanley “Dirt Monkey” Genadek, Ethan Abramson, Travis Collins, Brent Gentling, Kathryn Emery, Tom Gray and Sarah Listi.

Each afternoon of the Show, attendees gathered for Happy Hours in the Beer Garden, enjoying the Vegas sunshine, a cold drink and networking opportunities.  

“The NHS Backyard is always the place to be to grill and chill,” says Kathryn Emery, NHS Public Relations. “I’m excited this year, as the Backyard is newly imagined and includes even more products for all things lawn, garden, farm, ranch, outdoor living and grilling—all areas of home improvement that continue to bustle.”

The Show Floor Shines

Out on the Show Floor, attendees could visit the Retail Solutions Center for evolving software, technology and merchandising solutions to help improve functionality and increase engagement both in-store and online.

NHS launched the Retail Solutions Center in 2023 in response to retailer needs for technology solutions—showcasing companies that offer valuable solutions for improving technology, functionality and profits at your business, both online and in-store.

Featured services and solutions included retail revenue optimization, commerce platforms/gateway, electronic shelf systems, merchandise replenishment solutions, barcode scanning and forecasting.

David Horne, key account manager for North America at SES-imagotag in Chicago, Illinois, was at NHS to present price automation solutions, such as electronic shelf labels.

“There’s been a lot of interest in converting the physical retail store into a digital retail store,” he says. “It’s about bringing what people like about shopping online to the brick and mortar.”

NHPA’s Foundations of Merchandising Management Live! Recap + Show Floor Tours

Sponsored by and held on-site at NHS, the North American Hardware and Paint Association’s (NHPA) Foundations of Merchandising Management Live!, was a two-day educational event held on Tuesday and Wednesday for new and experienced staff responsible for managing merchandising at their operations.

NHPA worked with industry-leading retailers to develop this program and provided attendees with the strategies and skills to successfully improve and manage their merchandising and assortment planning. Topics included:

  • Visual merchandising standards and techniques
  • Promotional space management
  • Resets and remodels
  • Assortment planning and category management
  • Vendor relations
  • Merchandising integration with marketing
  • Pricing strategies and management
  • In-store technology and design elements

“The Foundations of Merchandising Management curriculum provides students with the essential skills and best practices needed to optimize the merchandising processes in their stores,” says Scott Wright, executive director of NHPA’s advanced retail education programs. “The teachings will help retailers maximize their inventory productivity and salesfloor space to create a better overall shopping experience for customers.”

In addition to classroom learning from industry experts, attendees also benefited from hands-on learning on the Show floor—on Wednesday, attendees were able to tour the Show floor with former retailers, who shared how to maximize efficiency working a show or market and cover the entire floor in the time allotted. Those retailers also shared what to ask vendors to gather the most pertinent information to make the best deal possible for purchases and how to source new and innovative products on the show floor using available resources both before and during the event.

Paul Clodio, president of Pacific Equipment Company in Commerce, California, attended the event and Show tour.

“It was excellent information and included a recap of all the things we can put into daily use and use to form an action plan,” he says.

Stacy Oliva, CEO of Nikiski Hardware in Nikiski, Alaska, says she is relatively new to the industry—having opened her store three years ago—and she appreciated that the program was designed both for those who are experienced and less experienced in merchandising. 

“The program was easily digestible and easy to implement,” she says.

To learn more about future online Foundations of Merchandising Management course sessions—also sponsored by NHS—visit YourNHPA.org/foundations.

Check out the Day 1 recap of the Show here.

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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