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How Specialty Markets Can Grow Your Business

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Walking the aisles of a trade show or buying market can be both an exhilarating and daunting prospect. What products represent the next big trend for your store and customer base? How much can you afford to spend? How do you pack an entire show’s floor into a few hours of your visit, and, now that you’re thinking about it, has your manager checked in with you today while you’re away from the business?

While shows conducted by hardware wholesalers and co-ops are important to attend, trade shows that go deep into specific categories offer a new look at what your business can become and what kinds of products it can offer. Hardware Retailing explored niche markets that can help retailers expand their product offerings. More information about these trade shows and buying markets, as well as even more markets retailers might want to consider, are available here.

Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market®

The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market® and The Atlanta International Area Rug Market® offer products in the home, rug, gift and apparel categories. Specialty categories include garden gifts, furniture, outdoor living, birding, holiday, gourmet foods, housewares and more. A partner show, the Las Vegas Market, is a furniture, gift and home decor market catering to West Coast style.


  • The Atlanta market has a team on hand to assist with orientation and planning for retailers new to the show. 
  • The Las Vegas Market holds a show in summer and winter and specializes in furniture, bedding, home decor and gifts.

Upcoming Dates

  • Jan. 8-15, 2019
    AmericasMart, Atlanta
  • Jan. 27-31, 2019
    World Market Center Las Vegas, Las Vegas

Contact Information

The ARA Show

The ARA Show is the American Rental Association’s (ARA) annual convention and trade show for the equipment and event rental industry. It features equipment for the construction/industrial, general tool/light construction and party/special event rental segments. The ARA Show is a closed show, meaning only those involved in the equipment and event rental industry are eligible to register and attend. Hardware stores that offer tool rental would be eligible to attend and take advantage of an ARA membership.


  • This show allows retailers with equipment and event rental to see the newest products and trends entering
    the rental industry.
  • Buyers can make purchases for rental equipment and products at the show, and many exhibitors offer
    exclusive deals.

Upcoming Dates

Feb. 17-20, 2019

Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California

Contact Information

800-334-2177 or arashow.org

Global Pet Expo

Global Pet Expo offers attendees the chance to learn about the opportunities available in the pet industry. There are numerous educational seminars and networking events for attendees.
The event is presented by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA).
The 15th annual show will feature more than 350,000 square feet of exhibit space, more than 3,000 new product launches and the pet industry’s largest new products showcase.


  • The new products showcase stands on 45,000 square feet on the show floor and is set aside to display the newest products launching in 2019. Products are organized by category, with nearly 1,000 product entries each year.
  • For those seeking educational opportunities, Global Pet Expo offers free seminars for retailers. The 2019 lineup features 20 speakers and 35 hours of education. 

Upcoming Dates

March 20-22, 2019

Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida

Contact Information

203-532-0000, ext. 525 or globalpetexpo.org


The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo offers a showcase for indoor-outdoor living products. Hundreds of leading hearth, patio and barbecue manufacturers and suppliers demonstrate their latest solutions; indoor and outdoor fireplaces and hearth-related products; grills, grilling accessories and fully equipped outdoor kitchens; casual patio furniture and outdoor accents; water and landscape features; all-weather entertainment products and more. It’s also a one-stop-shop for retailers worldwide to find not only the latest products for their showrooms, but also the latest services and technologies for their companies.


  • The New Product Pavilion is where attendees have the chance to see the latest and greatest products from the current year’s exhibitors.
  • The Outdoor Burn Area exhibitors will be cooking and handing out samples at the HPBExpo Tailgate. HPBA affiliate teams also face off for top honors in a Cook-off Competition.

Upcoming Dates

March 13-16, 2019

Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas

Contact Information

703-522-0086 or hpbexpo.com

IGC Show

The Independent Garden Center Show (IGC) is where independent retailers gather to discover the products and trends that will dominate the coming lawn and garden season. Attendees can meet face-to-face with 550-plus exhibitors to see, touch and compare what’s new in gardening now and next season. Retailers save with exclusive specials on orders placed at the IGC Show, including discounts, lower minimums, free shipping and special dating.


  • The show will include three free morning keynote speakers, educational seminars and a free party and concert.
  • The IGC Show is an order-writing opportunity—retailers can take advantage of the specials at the show and plan out their coming season in one visit.

Upcoming Dates

Aug. 13-15, 2019

Lakeside | McCormick, Chicago

Contact Information

203-286-8772 or igcshow.com

International Sportsmen’s Expos

International Sportsmen’s Expositions (ISE) produces expos in four states spotlighting thousands of products and services from 1,300 companies and hosting more than 100,000 attendees. Each show includes free seminars, contests and hands-on show features to educate and inspire outdoor enthusiasts.


  • Retailers can meet with hundreds of the best local outdoor experts to learn skills, discover hot new sporting destinations and find the best gear for successful adventures.
  • The International Sportsmen’s Expos hosts vendors that specialize in outdoor gear, often featuring unique products hard to find in more general markets.

Upcoming Dates

Jan. 10-13, 2019
Colorado Convention Center, Denver

For more dates and locations, visit sportsexpos.com.

Contact Information

800-545-6100 or sportsexpos.com

NAHB International Builders’ Show®

The NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) focuses on the light construction industry, hosting more than 60,000 attendees and 1,500-plus manufacturers and suppliers from around the globe. IBS features more than 130 IBS educational sessions, with topics ranging from sales and marketing to custom building and remodeling. The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) is held at the same time and location, allowing for an expanded look at these categories.


  • Discover the best practices for improving efficiency in all areas of the home, and watch how-to demonstrations to learn more about various products on display.
  • Tour a newly transformed two‑story home equipped with remodeling products new to the housing industry.

Upcoming Dates

Feb. 19-21, 2019

Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas

Contact Information

800-368-5242, ext. 8610 or buildersshow.com


SuperZoo attendees can find tools to grow their businesses and connect with pet industry professionals. With over 850 products debuting from more than 1,100 local and global suppliers, SuperZoo offers the opportunity to scout cutting-edge accessories, nutrition products and pet gadgets hitting store shelves in the second half of 2019. The annual trade show brings 21,000 members of the pet retail community together, offering more than 70 seminars spanning four main content areas: trends, innovation, service industry and animal wellness.


  • Attendees have access to the Pet Tech Showcase, which highlights technology products, including fitness trackers, pet GPS devices, feeders, interactive toys and Bluetooth-equipped gadgets.
  • SuperZoo features vendors that design and manufacture products in the U.S. while also bringing in many international manufacturers to offer a diverse array of products.

Upcoming Dates

Aug. 20-22, 2019

Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Contact Information

info@superzoo.org or superzoo.org 

About Chad Husted

Chad Husted
Chad is an assistant editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A Purdue University graduate, Chad has covered sports and news at the high school, college and Olympic levels as a sports writer, editor and designer for multiple newspapers. Prior to joining the NRHA, he was the sports editor for the Herald Journal in Monticello, Indiana, and a designer and copy editor for the AIM Media Indiana group in Columbus, Indiana. When not cultivating his beard, he enjoys backpacking, cooking, traveling and watching too much sports and Netflix.

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