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Top Five Reasons Retailers Should Attend the National Hardware Show®

The home improvement industry’s largest gathering of independent retailers is right around the corner: The National Hardware Show® will be May 6-8 in Las Vegas. And the NRHA All-Industry Conference, which will offer a free series of educational seminars and breakout sessions, will be co-located with it.

If you haven’t signed up yet, now’s the time to do just that. Want to learn more about what you’ll see? Here are the top five reasons to attend.

New Products

Most retailers who attend the National Hardware Show are looking for new products. It makes sense—hundreds of new products are set to be launched at this year’s show. The Inventor’s Spotlight area houses products from several categories, including Hardware & Tools, Housewares, Plumbing & Electrical and more, that inventors are ready to introduce to the market. And in the International Sourcing area, attendees can meet exhibitors and see products from more than 20 countries around the world.

Educational Seminars and Speakers

The NRHA All-Industry Conference will offer a full slate of speakers, who will talk about the most relevant issues in the industry today. Mark Herbek, an Amazon specialist with the Cleveland Research Group, will be sharing reports about Amazon’s continued growth. Jill Waage, editorial director of home content at Better Homes and Gardens, will discuss the Millennial generation’s homebuying preferences, while David Crowe, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, will talk about the current state of the housing market. Want to learn how to stay up to speed with today’s technology and how it can help your marketing plan? Pat Murphy, from the International Society of Social Media, will offer some ideas.

“I attend the National Hardware Show because it is the premier event for hardware dealers in North America,” says Will Barnhart, regional district manager of Oregon-based Wilco. “I always enjoy the events put on by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA), and you can learn a lot by staying close to the Village Stage area where NRHA conducts the seminars.”

And that’s only the beginning. Along with other speakers, retailers will have the opportunity to attend breakout sessions, where they can discuss in small groups specific elements of the business.  They can learn more about NRHA’s new Basic Training program and get some more information about the Affordable Care Act and how it can affect small businesses.

“The informational seminars and programs held on the NRHA Village stage are very informative and offer new ideas to improve my business,” says Greg Schlecht, owner of Greg’s True Value in St. Francis, Wis.

Networking

Want to chat with fellow retailers? Get some ideas about their businesses? Talk to new vendors? The National Hardware Show is the place to do all this, and more. Meet the industry’s movers-and-shakers during one of several awards programs, such as Top Guns and the Retailers’ Choice Awards, or mingle during a reception in the Outdoors, Tailgate and Recreation area. And all business doesn’t have to be done at the convention center—Las Vegas offers plenty of dining and entertainment options where attendees can talk shop while seeing all the city has to offer.

“We have several buyers attend from our company as well, but for me, it’s all about visiting with my fellow store dealers, seeing what’s new, and keeping up with what’s trending out there,” says Barnhart.

Adam Busscher, owner of Picton Home Hardware in Picton, Ontario, agrees.

“The National Hardware Show offers a great opportunity to network with other independent retailers and suppliers,” he says. “There is no better in show in North America or a better way to connect with suppliers and colleagues in the home improvement industry.”

Big Brands

Want to spend some time with some of the biggest names in the business? You can do that at the National Hardware Show! From 3M to BLACK+DECKER to SC Johnson to The Hillman Group, there are plenty of vendors to meet and network with at the show.

“The key difference from our wholesaler’s trade show is that this is not as much a buying show as it is a preview show of what’s available,” says Barnhart. “The giant retailers across the country all have buyers there, scoping out what’s new and getting their sights set on what to look for when they get ready to make buys.”

New Niches

The National Hardware Show covers 15 product categories, from old favorites like Hardware & Tools to newer trends, including Energy Efficient, Made in USA and, new to the show this year, Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Relief.

“In today’s world, hardware stores, in addition to great customer service, must offer new niches and update our merchandise selection,” says Schlecht. “The National Hardware Show opens doors to new opportunities.”

 

About Amanda Bell

Amanda Bell was an assistant editor of Hardware Retailing and NRHA. Amanda regularly visited with home improvement retailers across the country and attended industry events and seminars. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Ball State University and has received honors for her work for Hardware Retailing from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

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