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Fun & Functional Innovations: 2021 Retailers’ Choice Awards

For the past 55 years, the Retailers’ Choice Awards have brought insights from independent retailers on the best products on display at the National Hardware Show.

The awards, presented by the North American Hardware and Paint Association during the show in Las Vegas, honor manufacturers for their innovation.

The Retailers’ Choice Awards differ from most award programs in that they rely on the opinions of actual retailers who know what their colleagues need in a product to attract customers. The judges were all independent home improvement retailers who walked the show floor and selected products they felt were unique and interesting.

This year’s panel included:

  • Cody Goeppner, Bleyhl Co-Op, Director of Retail Operations
    Roman Chavez, Bleyhl Co-Op, retail manager
    Robin Smith, Petersburg Hardware
    Dennis Bishop, Petersburg Hardware
    Sherry Bishop, Petersburg Hardware
    Brian Johnson, Sunpro Retail Manager
    Ian McNaughton, Owner, Gravenhurst Home Hardware

Keep scrolling to discover which products retailers felt had the most potential to excite customers and boost sales in their operation.


Cocoa bombsCocoa Bombs
Mobi Cocoa Bomb molds come in three different designs: snowflake, gingerbread man and holiday tree. The mold cavity accommodates any packet-size cocoa powder, even jumbo size. The completed bomb fits in most size mugs. Cocoa Bomb molds can also be used for making solid chocolate and ice cubes.

Mobi USA
mobicreations.com or 914-763-6351


dog toysDog Toys
Original Territory’s 2-in-1 Dog Toys are designed with durable fabric and a flexible rope structure for all types of interactive play. Plus, they include a squeaker ball that pops out for an extra level of fun. They are suitable for tug, fetch and many other fun activities.

Original Territory
originalterritory.com


rocker chairGCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker XL
The Freestyle Rocker XL™ provides comfort for a relaxing outdoor experience with a broader and tougher frame. This heavy-duty rocker has a 400-pound weight capacity and is designed with patented Spring-Action Rocking Technology. It is outfitted with patented Eazy-Fold™ Technology for easy opening and closing and a carry handle. It also includes a mesh backrest, beverage holder and phone pocket.

GCI Outdoor
gcioutdoor.com or 800-956-7328


Chipkey decoderChip Key Decoder
The Chipkey® Decoder allows retailers access to high tech, patented Sidewinder key duplication without the extra costs.
The Decoder transmits digital images of customer keys and pre-cut keys from Hy-Ko’s headquarters and are shipped directly to the store. Add 60 million vehicles to your key coverage without investing in costly Sidewinder key cutting equipment, key inventory and staff training. The Decoder also identifies all Hy-Ko key blanks and digitally verifies in-store key cuts for accuracy.

Hy-Ko Brands
hy-ko.com or 800-292-0550


Wild Bird Food
The idea behind Bird Grubs product was to offer a nutritious and unique alternative to other insect-based feeds such as mealworms. Bird Grubs (dried black soldier fly larvae) has been tested extensively against traditional mealworms at sites in Canada, and found a 50 percent improvement in both bird consumption and bird attention at feeders, and upon testing completion, a significant increase (up to 16x) in calcium was noted as well.

Armstrong Wild Bird Food
armstrongbirdfood.com or 905-779-BIRD (2473)


Pigs in a Blanket Molds
These molds for “pigs in a blanket” snacks are available in a variety of designs. Choose from Piggies, Sharks, Mini Hot Dogs, Bear Butts and Rocket. These molds are made from premium FDA food grade silicone and are all BPA free. Molds measure 9 ½ inches x 8 inches and are dishwasher safe.

Mobi USA
mobicreations.com or 914-763-6351


Home Test Kit
SLGI Asbestos Home Test Kit allows users to check for the presence of asbestos fibers in most types of bulk materials. Simply follow the instructions to collect the sample, register the kit on SLGI’s website and ship the sample back using the prepaid shipping label. SLGI will email the user when their kit is received and again once the results are ready within the specified turn-around time.

Schneider Laboratories Global Inc.
slabinc.com or 800-785-LABS (5227)


Collar Keeper
The Collar Keeper is an innovative solution to a daily frustration. No more fumbling with buttons to hang collared shirts or walking around with droopy collars. The Collar Keeper is designed to make it simple to hang collared shirts. The Collar Keeper easily snaps onto hangers you already have at home. Just slide each collar leaf into each slip and keep your collars crisp.

Collar Keeper
thecollarkeeper.com or thecollarkeeper@gmail.com


Cooling Towel
The Chilly Ice Towel is a scientifically designed towel that keeps users cool, even on the hottest days. Made from a hyper-evaporative material, it is reusable and washable. Cooling time lasts up to a few hours and is more effective than using a wet rag or bandana. Store the towel in its case to keep it moist and ready for when you need it. To clean, just hand wash it with a little soap and water, or machine wash and air dry.

West Coast Imports
wciimports.com


Kitchen Grease Drain Guard
Grease Hero PLUS storage system is designed to hold Grease Hero drain guards. Simply put the Grease Hero PLUS on your counter top and pour the oil directly from the pan into the center of the Grease Hero. Grease Hero PLUS stores the grease and effectively eliminates unpleasant odors. Once filled, the Grease Hero drain guard is easily disposed of in the trash. Made from recycled materials, the dishwasher-safe bowl and lid storage system includes two disposable Grease Heroes.

Fog Safe
greasehero.com or 570-668-1098


Smart Bidet
The Nobelet Smart Bidet toilet improves hygiene, increases independence and reduces carbon footprints. The ToeTouch sensor can open, close and flush the toilet. An included LED display shows the current seat temperature.

Trone plumbing
troneplumbing.com or 435-267-1496


Link Latch
Link Latch is an adjustable, expandable and transforming flat silicone band tie-up solution. The high quality silicone band is more durable than traditional latex core bungees. The flat design keeps the band in place and distributes pressure evenly across its load. With non-marring hooks and adjustable length it can be used for light-duty applications both inside and outside the house.

Mella
mellahome.com


Lid Latch
Lid Latch is a reusable lid-securing strap for crockpots, casserole dishes, pots, pans and more. One simple, flexible strap makes transporting food dishes easy. Made of foodgrade silicone and having flexibility of up to twice the size, the lid latch can be used on anything with a top.

Mella
mellahome.com


MySoil Soil Test Kit
The MySoil® Soil Test Kit, is a start-to-finish solution for the DIY and professional community. MySoil® successfully combines accurate soil testing technologies with an easy-to-use customer experience that assists in improving soil and plant health, while effortlessly guiding sustainable practices. Retailers can easily brand and customize test kits to recommend products on their shelf or direct link to e-commerce soil amendment or fertilizer purchases from the report.

Predictive Nutrient Solutions
mysoiltesting.com or 855-697-6451


Handheld Automatic Shovel
Rotoshovel is the world’s first automatic handheld shovel with an auger. Ideal for homeowners, DIY gardeners and professionals, the Rotoshovel’s patented design reinvents the shovel and takes the work out of gardening and landscaping. Rotoshovel halves excavation time while staying safer and cleaner than using a traditional shovel. Its safety motor stops when users hit a root or rock, protecting them from injury.

Rotoshovel
rotoshovel.com or 317-360-ROTO (7686)


Camp Kitchen
Thiessen’s Camp kitchen is foldable and features extra-large bamboo counter space that provides plenty of room for prepping outdoor meals. It includes a collapsible sink, built-in trash bag holder, storage pockets, a durable fold-out frame, adjustable shelves and feet, a coated steel windscreen and carry bag.

Thiessens
facebook.com/thiessensoutdoorgear or 877-972-5742


Shock Strap
ShockStrap® tie downs feature a built-in urethane shock absorber that allows the strap to maintain constant tension on loads as they travel. No need to pull over and re-tighten. It uses durable polyester webbing and Grade 8 hardware to keep the shock and ratchet in place and features modular construction for field replacement if needed, large S-hooks with retention clips and sewn-in soft loops on each end.

Bihler Flex
theperfectbungee.com or 908-329-9136


Magnetic Wall Hooks
Gator Magnetics is a patented magnetic storage solution that holds exponentially more weight than ordinary magnets or glue strips and can easily be removed and relocated to any of the many steel surfaces commonly found in the garage, workshop, laundry room, pantry or office. It will not damage the surface or leave a gummy residue and can be used with the Gator Wall System.

Gator Magnetics
gatormagnetics.com or 763-780-4475


Spice Sampler Pack
This multi-pack spice sampler from Pit Boss features flavors for beef, pork, chicken and poultry. The Prime Beef Rub features a smoky, natural, mesquite hardwood flavor that works well on steak, chuck roast or beef ribs. The Chicken & Poultry Rub is an award-winning blend of spices that complements poultry dishes, as well as veggies and eggs. Rounding out the sampler pack is the Homestyle Pork Rub. Its smoky and savory flavors make it the perfect rub for ribs, pork shoulder, roasts and more.

Pit Boss
pitboss-grills.com or 480-923-9630


Portable Griddle
The Pit Boss Ultimate 3-Burner Lift-Off Griddle combines power with portability. The Ultimate Griddle is fitted with an armored ceramic cooking surface that’s easy to clean and protects against scratches and rust. These units work aesthetically as the centerpiece of backyard cooking arrangements, while also being flexible enough to hit the road thanks to Pit Boss’s lift-off technology.

Pit Boss
pitboss-grills.com or 480-923-9630


Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech
Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech kills mosquitoes for up to 30 days so users can enjoy the outdoors. It doesn’t require batteries or electricity; just add warm water and shake thoroughly. It kills mosquitoes that may carry West Nile virus, Zika virus, dengue fever, St. Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis and Eastern equine encephalitis. Mosquito Pro Tech is 100 percent American made and features a 30-day money back guarantee.

Spartan Mosquito
spartanmosquito.com or 844-625-2742


Motorized Pool Tube
The PoolCandy Tube Runner is a motorized pool tube featuring a battery-operated three-blade propeller that moves users effortlessly through the water. It offers complete freedom of movement with 360 degrees of control allowing users to move forward, reverse or even spin in a circle all at the touch of a button.

B&D Group
poolcandy.net


Saber Paint
SaberPaint® RT Capless Paint Markers feature a patented retractable system that requires only one hand to operate. They are non-toxic, chloride-free, Xylene-free and Prop65 compliant. The alcohol-based formula remains permanent and resists fading. SaberPaint RT is available in black, blue, green, red, yellow and white.

Faro Tools
farotools.com or 833-500-FARO (3276)

About Hans Cummings

Born in Indiana and raised in Indiana, Germany and Virginia, Hans has worked for NRHA since 2001. He has a B.A. in English from Indiana University and is a published fantasy and science-fiction author. His hobbies include cooking, especially smoking meats, tabletop and video games and supporting space sciences and science education.

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