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3 Trends From Chicago

It’s a wrap for the first Independent Home improvement Show, which ran alongside the 2019 Independent Garden Center Show (IGC) in Chicago last month. In addition to well-known keynote speakers and a convention center filled with vendors, attendees had access to several panel discussions. One discussion lead by North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) executive vice president and Hardware Retailing executive editor Dan Tratensek addressed real-time trends with retailers. Three trends that stood out included:

Unique Impulse Buys: According to panelist and Indiana retailer Leigh Ann Akard of Akard True Value, impulse items that cannot be found online are boosting sales at her store. She shared with the group that every time customers come into the store, she wants them to see something different that they can’t find online or someplace else.

DIY Landscaping for Small Spaces: Gino Pitera says his young homeowner customers are having difficulty finding affordable landscapers willing to take on small projects. At Gertens, a greenhouse and garden center in Minnesota, those customers are taking on weekend projects themselves and looking to Pitera and his staff for help in personalizing their outdoor living spaces.

Environmentally Friendly Products: Panelist Sara Carpenter of Steve’s Ace Hardware in Iowa says customer preferences are driving them to change lines of fertilizers, pesticides and lawn treatments to more environmentally friendly products. But she emphasized that she still wants to offer solution-based products that she knows are going to work.

About Liz Lichtenberger

Liz Lichtenberger
Liz is the special projects editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and trends, visits retailers, and attends industry events. She graduated from Xavier University, where she earned a degree in English and Spanish and was a member of the swim team. Liz is a Louisville, Kentucky, native who lives in Indianapolis with her husband and two children. She enjoys swimming, reading, doing home improvement projects around her house and cheering on her two favorite basketball teams, the Kentucky Wildcats and the Xavier Musketeers.

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