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United Hardware’s Lawn & Garden Buying Market Highlights Category Management

Spring was in the air as United Hardware held its annual and expanded Lawn & Garden Buying Market in October, shifting the event three months earlier from its prior time slot in January.

The event, which was United Hardware’s third hybrid buying market in 2022, provided retailers the opportunity to prepare for their 2023 selling season and brought in 150 vendors and additional member attendees. Previously known as the “Expo” show, this year’s Lawn & Garden Buying Market expanded from dropship-only purchasing to include warehouse options. In addition, attendees found category management opportunities and gained tools to support their marketing and spring 2023 promotional events.

To accommodate all United Hardware retailers, the Lawn & Garden Buying Market included a virtual option, held over two weeks, and a three-day in-person event held at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Members responded to the market positively, reflected by increased sales.

Category Management

As members walked through the doors and into the hall, United Hardware’s new Category Management Core Store was featured prominently, showcasing key vendor partners such as Valspar, General Electric, Milwaukee, Dewalt, Weber, Traeger and many others.

“The Core Store concept features the best performing products from our United Hardware assortment, in addition to the recommended supporting items,” says Angie Kopacek, senior category manager. “The signage is designed to make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for, and it lends a sharp, clean look to the stores. We’re very excited to offer these new programs to our United Hardware members.”

The Core Store highlighted several of United Hardware’s Power Programs from the departments of paint and supplies, tools, automotive, outdoor power equipment, outdoor living, lawn and garden and electrical lighting. Vendor partners worked directly with merchandising and category management teams to design the right mix of product and signage for these Power Programs, with the goal of enhancing store presentation and product promotion.

Training Opportunities & Marketing Support

United Hardware’s exciting Emerging Leaders program launched at its previous Buying Market in June of this year. The company held the second session of this multipart program at the Lawn & Garden Buying Market, with a featured focus on the subject of successful staffing. The Emerging Leaders program provides new and upcoming managers and owners a way to connect in person, share ideas and obtain new knowledge and resources to strengthen their leadership and management capabilities as they grow their businesses.

Additional training opportunities at the Lawn & Garden Buying Market included a training session from Lisa Makowski, director of brand and member marketing. In support of 2023 marketing and promotional goals, Makowski focused on key enhancements to the current Marketing Advantage+ program and shared information on the additional tools and resources that are available to retailers to support their spring promotions. Many retailers visited the marketing booth during the event to discuss their plans for 2023 promotions and to participate in new branding opportunities.

Future Buying Markets

As United Hardware looks to the future, its teams are already actively collaborating on two upcoming 2023 Buying Markets. Every United Hardware Buying Market will feature key buying opportunities, trainings and programs to assist members in achieving business growth and anticipate consumer and industry trends.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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