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2018 National Hardware Show® Highlights Innovation, Ideas

2018 National Hardware Show® Highlights Innovation, Ideas

Last week, the city of Las Vegas brought the heat in many ways.

In addition to warm weather, the 2018 National Hardware Show® and the North American Retail Hardware Association’s (NRHA) All-Industry Conference presented a sizzling showcase of unique products, informative speakers and international exhibitors all under one roof.

The show and conference were held in the Las Vegas Convention Center May 8-10, giving the independent home improvement channel a chance to gather and stay on the cutting edge of the industry.

This year, the National Hardware Show unveiled updated branding. It featured a new logo and design theme that were highlighted throughout the event space. The show also included several new areas to engage attendees.

“This year’s show is all about new: from our logo and branding to 500+ new exhibitors,” Rich Russo, vice president of the National Hardware Show, says. “There are new experiences everywhere you turn, and new products to bring back to your stores.”

In addition to discovering new products, show attendees also benefited from the the NRHA All-Industry Conference, held in conjunction with the National Hardware Show. The conference featured a full panel of awards, research and speakers which helped attendees stay up-to-date with industry news and trends.

Products Solve Problems and Spark Interest

The 2018 National Hardware Show gave attendees a chance to discover the latest and greatest products on the market, including many items that haven’t been released yet.

Inventors Spotlight was one of the areas with lots of traffic during the show, as it was home to more than 200 new inventions and solutions. The inventors and vendors in this area even had the chance to pitch their product ideas to interested buyers and manufacturers.

“This is our first time at the National Hardware Show,” Clint Bunch, president of Dropout Cabinet Fixtures, says. “We hope that being in Inventors Spotlight can help us find some manufacturing help instead of doing everything locally.”

Another popular new edition to the show was an area called the Smart Home Virtual Reality Experience. Located in the central lobby of the convention center, it gave attendees a chance to take a virtual tour of a mock home and test out the latest smart home products on the market.

“It was the first time I’d tried virtual reality,” Scott Bard of 84 Lumber says about the experience. “I was able to walk through a living room and bedroom and look all through the house.”

The Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ area of the show was once again a hit with attendees. While foods were being perfectly grilled and products were tested, showgoers found the area to be the perfect place to see outdoor living products precisely in the environment they’re meant to be enjoyed.

The National Hardware Show is not a buying show, so brands like Traeger used the event as an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships while showing guests what their brand is all about.

“Traeger is a lifestyle brand that happens to sell barbecues,” Luke Edgar, vice president of specialty sales for Traeger, says. “We spend a lot of time at this show building relationships and showing off our brand.”

Not only were 2018 National Hardware Show attendees able to talk directly to vendors and check out new products, but several product-related awards were given this year. One such prize was NRHA’s annual Retailers’ Choice Awards, which included a wide array of products specifically chosen by independent retailers at the show. Stay tuned for the July issue of Hardware Retailing to learn even more about how these innovative products can enhance your inventory.

“For me, it was pretty incredible to see the size of the show and how many exhibitors there are,” NRHA regional sales manager Jon Dawson says. “There is so much going on in this industry all the time, but I love that even with all the change, there is still consistency. So many manufacturers are finding ways to improve traditional home improvement products, and that’s truly impressive.”

Educational Topics and Winning Ideas

Matt Woods, CEO of Woods Hardware in Cincinnati, was chosen as the winner of the Reimagine Retail program. Woods plans to use the prize money to implement a system that allows his business to offer same-day delivery to customers within a 3-mile radius of each of his company’s five stores.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” Woods says. “We had this system ready to rock-and-roll and we just have to hire the team to upgrade our systems. With this prize, we can start taking steps immediately to put our plan into action.”

Woods Hardware was selected based on its 250-word plan detailing how it would incorporate technology to improve various facets of its operations.

“This year, we asked our retailers, ‘If you had $100,000 to spend on improving your retail business’s technology, how would you invest it?’” Russo says. “These finalists came up with some really great innovative ideas. We received a number of different submissions, and it was a difficult decision. Congratulations to all of our finalists.”

Before the show officially kicked off on May 8, NRHA also recognized successful and inspiring young retailers during its annual Young Retailer of the Year awards ceremony. Later in the week, NRHA also honored four retailers during its 11th annual Top Guns Award ceremony, the first all-female lineup in the program’s history.

Aside from discovering new products and hearing from leading retailers in the industry, NRHA’s All-Industry Conference provided a wide array of educational and networking opportunities for attendees. The show offered three different keynote presentations, which included Karen E Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk, the stars of HGTV’s “Good Bones;” Jules Pieri, CEO and co-founder of The Grommet; and Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of TreeHouse.

The 2019 National Hardware Show will take place May 7-9 in Las Vegas.

About Renee Changnon

Renee Changnon
Renee Changnon is an assistant editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on industry news and new products, visits retailers and attends industry events. She graduated from Illinois State University, where she earned a degree in Visual Journalism and was the features editor for the school newspaper, The Daily Vidette. After college, Renee worked for Jimmy John’s, where she implemented marketing and promotions initiatives at franchise locations across the country. Renee is from Champaign, Illinois, and is new to Indianapolis. She enjoys reading, Netflix marathons and exploring her new city with friends and family.