National Hardware Show® attendees were flocking to find new products, hear from educational speakers and network with other members of the industry.
“I enjoy seeing all the new products,” says independent home improvement retailer Tim Buchheit. He has been attending the show and the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) All-Industry Conference, which began May 9 and end May 11 in Las Vegas. The conference is co-located with the National Hardware Show.
“I also like hearing from the speakers. I learn a lot that I can bring back to the store,” Buchheit says. His business, Buchheit Enterprises, is based in Perryville, Missouri.
On May 10, the National Hardware Show awarded a $100,000 prize to Caribou Jack’s Trading Co. in Soda Springs, Idaho, to fund plans for improving the store.
The show offered the prize through its new Reimagine Retail program, which was developed to support independent retailers.
Caribou Jack’s and more than 100 other independent home improvement retailers submitted business improvement project proposals to the first Reimagine Retail program this year. Caribou Jack’s was named the grand prize winner at the show.
Caribou Jack’s owner Robert Lau and his staff will use the money to build an in-store cafe where they can host grilling and cooking events and provide a space for members of the Soda Springs-area community to use at no charge.
Lau is thrilled and honored to be awarded the prize money, he says.
“There wasn’t a bad idea in the group of finalists,” Lau says. “Our next phase is to work with our local health department and start laying out the kitchen. Then construction starts. We hope to be live by Labor Day.”
He is looking forward to providing his community with another gathering space, he says.
“It’s about accumulating experiences, and a cafe lends itself to that,” Lau says. “It’s the vibe, the experience. And there isn’t a lot of community space in our town, so this will be a good place for community groups to gather.”
Product Review Program
The National Hardware Show’s Product Review & Vetting program allows inventors to get their newest products in front of an audience that includes distributors, cooperatives and other businesses.
Participants submitted product entries, and buyers are reviewing their submissions this week at the show. Those buyers include representatives from Ace Hardware, Distribution America, Home Hardware, Jensen Distribution, Lancaster, Mid-States Distributing Co., PRO Group, Sears, United Hardware, Val-Test and Wayfair.
“Participating in this program gives our merchandise managers an opportunity to see what new and exciting products are out there that we can introduce to our distributor members and retailers,” says Shari Kalbach, vice president at PRO Group.
Dave Christmas, president and CEO of Distribution America, says his organization’s members have dedicated buyer time to looking at the products.
“New product vendors have a great opportunity to get their product in front of key decision makers in the industry in one place,” Christmas says. “They can’t get that kind of exposure in such a short time anywhere else.”