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A Consumer Reflects on the NRHA All-Industry Conference at the National Hardware Show

Deanna Tratensek has spent many years as a volunteer at the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) All-Industry Conference. But she’s not a retailer, she’s a consumer and an observer at the event.

In between attending stage presentations and assisting association staff in the NRHA Village, Deanna makes her way around the National Hardware Show® to see what catches her eye. Hardware Retailing checked in with her ahead of this year’s big event to find out what she’s looking forward to discovering and what categories she hopes her hometown store will stock in the future.

Click here to read about the types of people you have the opportunity to meet at this year’s conference.

Hardware Retailing (HR): What kind of home improvement shopper are you? Do you consider yourself an advanced DIYer?

Deanna Tratensek (DT): I’m kind of a mid-range DIYer because I’m a beginner on some things, but I know my way around other projects. I’ll read through instructions prior to taking on a project so I know exactly what I need when I go into my local hardware store. I go in with a purpose.

While I consider myself a shopper with a purpose, I also wander. For example, I’ll go in knowing I have to fix a garden hose, and once I’m at the store, I’ll get the piece I need, but then I’ll look for other projects to do. I keep mental notes about the projects that I have coming up and look for inspiration on those things. 

HR: What are you most excited to see this year at the conference and the National Hardware Show?

DT: I enjoy the educational presentations every year. There are always really interesting speakers.  

This year, I’m looking forward to the keynote presentation from the ladies of “Good Bones.” I really like the TV show, and they’re local to Indianapolis, so that’s a cool connection.

On the National Hardware Show side, I enjoy going through the Inventors Spotlight area. That section features products that are coming out or are just getting started. The products are developed by people who have really great ideas, but they’re looking for a distributor to get their products out. You can find something that’s a unique take on solving an issue.

There’s also a new Smart Home Virtual Reality Experience that sounds interesting. Smart home is really growing, and I know I have been experimenting with it to try to turn our house a little greener. I’m looking forward to seeing more of those products at the show and in local home improvement stores.

HR: How do you make your way around the show floor?

DT: I gravitate toward lawn and garden and housewares. I also like to look at what’s new in cabinet hardware, as well as indoor gardening. I find that really fascinating. Looking out for trends in design and home decor is high on my list, too.

Favorites aside, I’m going to make it a point this year to branch out because I know there are hidden gems out there that I don’t see because I don’t gravitate toward those areas.

When I’m going around the show floor, I’m also thinking about what things I’ll tell other people about. When I get home, I’ll tell my friends about everything I saw, and maybe they will go out and buy it based on my thoughts.

HR: Do you have any words of wisdom for a first-time show attendee?

DT: Comfortable shoes are a must! Otherwise, I really do recommend taking time to attend the educational presentations. There is a lot of great information for retailers and manufacturers on the business side of things, and they may be able to get new ideas for their operations.

About Melanie Moul

Melanie Moul
Melanie is the features editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. Originally from South Bend, Indiana, has a degree in professional writing. She worked in central Pennsylvania for several years after college as a barista and an editor and returned to the Hoosier State in late 2016 to join the NRHA team. In her spare time, she enjoys testing new recipes and watching online makeup tutorials. She and her husband are raising their son and two fur children in Indianapolis.

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