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NRHA All-Industry Conference: Day 2 Wrapup

The North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) All-Industry Conference continued today with more presentations from industry experts and panel discussions.

Today’s keynote presentation was delivered by Phillip Helms, regional vice president for Central Network Retail Group (CNRG) brands Elliott’s Hardware and Town & Country Hardware. Helms shared how these companies have evolved to meet the needs of their unique, rapidly growing markets and the role CNRG has played in these processes. 

“In both the case of Elliott’s Hardware and Town & Country, they are examples of CNRG, Tyndale Advisors and Orgill’s commitment to preserving independent retailers,” Helms says. “That’s our commitment, to continue to preserve this business model. These are two brands that most likely would not be in existence today without interaction with CNRG.”

Gary Petz with the Discovery Retail Group and instructor for the NRHA Retail Management Certification Program presented about ways to increase productivity and profitability of retail stores, using the right merchandising and space management tactics.

“Merchandising has changed a lot in the last 20 years, not to mention the last 70. And that’s a constant in retail,” he says. “Space management and merchandising are so fundamental in our business because they significantly impact conversion rate, transaction size and sales.”

Dan Tratensek, NRHA executive vice president and publisher of Hardware Retailing magazine, presented about how independent retailers are differentiating their operations through innovative merchandising, marketing and promotions.

“When it comes to innovation and differentiation, independent retailers are often driving the market,” he says. “So much innovation is coming out of independent retail because they are nimble and can react quickly unlike what holds a big-box back.”

NRHA Presents 2019 Top Guns Awards

This year, 12th annual NRHA Top Guns Awards were presented as part of a panel presentation featuring the honorees.

Read some insights from the honorees below, and click here to see complete conversations with the Top Guns.

Charlie Gillman, Owner and President, Gillman Home Center
12 locations, Indiana and Ohio

On hiring: “I have two philosophies: ‘Hire slow, hire fast.’  and ‘Hire the smile, teach the trade.’ Most of our managers, department heads and store managers came from big boxes. Another benefit to that is then they bring the people with them. I give out my business cards to anyone at a big-box who gives me good service.”

Christine Hand, Handyman Home Hardware
2 locations, Newfoundland, Canada

On developing new niches and category growth strategies: “Listen to your customers. We ask customers what they want to see in our store. We also do a lot of special orders. We look for opportunities to order things we don’t stock. For example, equipment to tap maple syrup was an opportunity we discovered through listening to our customers. We also ask other dealers what they are doing.”

Mark Schulein, Crown Ace Hardware
18 locations, California, Arizona and Hawaii

On the future of the industry: “It’s getting harder, but we have to learn quickly how to deal with online competitors and these industry groups help with that. People live in houses, and they will always need to be fixed. You can’t buy everything in your underpants online. People need help and services and there is a ton of opportunity to help communities. We have to be good retailers though. The future will be strong, but it will be different.”

The 53rd Annual Retailers’ Choice Awards

To continue the celebratory spirit of awards at the National Hardware Show, NRHA hosted its 53rd annual Retailers’ Choice Awards this evening. The event is an industry favorite and highlights the products on the show floor that help independent home improvement retailers curate their product mixes, solve consumer problems and give exposure to the companies and brands that are making a difference in the industry.

“What’s great about the Retailers’ Choice Awards is that the name is self-explanatory: The winners of this program are selected by retailers who are ultimately the ones to make buying decisions for their operations,” says Dan Tratensek, NRHA executive vice president, Hardware Retailing publisher and emcee of the award program. “This event celebrates the companies, brands and products that retailers are truly excited about.”

Stay tuned to the July issue of Hardware Retailing to see this year’s winners.

Stay tuned to Hardware Retailing online and on social media this week to see all the highlights from this year’s conference. Click here for a recap from Day 1 of the NRHA All-Industry Conference.

About Melanie Moul

Melanie is the communications and content manager for the North American Hardware and Paint Association. She joined the NHPA team in 2016 as an editor for Hardware Retailing and now helps lead the communications team to deliver relevant, timely content to the industry.

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