Coming Back For More

By Jerry Rabushka,

  Filed under: Feature


National Hardware Show 2017

Let’s dive in—you already know it’s a big show with lots of attendees and exhibitors, but there’s one pressing question: is it worth coming back year after year? Yes! Say some happy retailers.

“I came last year, so I knew what to expect this year, but still, it’s a really big and exciting show,” says April Rembert of Jared’s Ace Hardware in Bishopville, SC. “I like going to Inventors Spotlight and the Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ. Overall, it’s just a fun time. I also enjoy spending time at the NRHA (North American Retail Hardware Association) All-Industry Conference to learn from all of the great speakers they bring in for this event.”

Several featured areas showed new and improved paint and sundry products, as people are still finding new ways to get paint from the bucket to its ultimate destination, or get that destination prepped and ready. The Featured Product Gallery included New Product World, Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Recovery Product Display, Energy Efficient Product Display, and other disciplines of the hardware industry.

New Product Launch is always popular, and it was front and center in the central lobby. Here, attendees could find new products that hadn’t yet hit the market. When it finally hits your shelves, you can say “I knew it was coming!”

Inventors Spotlight is almost a bazaar atmosphere, with everyone hawking their wares to the passersby. One exhibitor in this area was Monkey Rung, a ladder accessory tool that company president Lawrence Ayala called “the tool that holds all tools.” It includes multiple attachments that can connect on just about any type of ladder. “It’s great to be at the Show and have this exposure to all of these companies, both national and international,” said Ayala.



It’s often said paint and hardware retailing is an older person’s paradise, and especially with paint, that no sane young person would open a store. That’s one reason NRHA recognized eight Young Retailer of the Year honorees…to spotlight the success of this youthful insanity. “These retailers exemplify what is great about the future of the independent home improvement industry,” says NRHA chief operating officer Bob Cutter. “We are thrilled to honor these individuals and we look forward to see what they accomplish in the industry moving forward.”

The Extra-Special Eight:
• Reed “RJ” McDaniel Jr., vice president, co-owner, B&B Hardware, Milan, IL
• Joseph Franquinha, owner, Crest True Value Hardware and Urban Garden Center, Brooklyn, NY
• Bobby Heuser, president, Heuser Ace Hardware, Bluffton, SC
• Jackie Sacks, owner, Round Top Mercantile, Round Top, TX
• Camille Gibson, general manager, Mark’s Ace Hardware, Tucson, AZ
• Jarrod Haines, store manager, Buchheit, House Springs, MO
• Matthew Payzant, general manager, Payzant Home Hardware Building Centre, Lower Sackville, NS
• Jason Plummer, vice president, R.P. Lumber Co., Inc., Edwardsville, IL

NRHA also recognized four more young retailers during its annual Top Guns presentation with a special “Young Guns” edition, highlighting next-generation retail leaders. The four honorees offered insights into the goals of their businesses and discussed their ideas of the future of the industry.

The Fab Four:
• Scott Jerousek, Farm & Home Hardware, Wellington, OH
• Jonathan Miller, Miller Hardware, Valdosta, GA
• Diana Brunjes Newton, Bay Hardware, Seal Beach, CA
• Matt Woods, Woods Hardware, Cincinnati, OH


Talk the Talk

The speakers seemed especially popular, with the chairs for their presentations more full than usual. First up was Dustin Kaehr, who presented, “Customers Uncensored: What They Wish You Knew.” He told retailers a little more about what customers are saying when retailers aren’t around. “Think differently about the way you do business, treat employees and serve customers,” says Kaehr. “If you have people who work with or for you, you’re a leader. It takes courage to lead well.”

Next was keynote speaker Dr. Kit Yarrow with “Decoding the New Consumer Mind.” Her presentation is based on a book of the same name, which discusses how consumers have changed their shopping habits over the years. “The No. 1 thing customers say they want is omnichannel retailing,” says Yarrow. “Customers say they prefer to go to a store, but it’s just so complicated to get there. Bring technology into the store to help customers understand what they are about to buy.”

Bill Brunelle of Independent We Stand, along with Dan Tratensek of NRHA, gave an update to the Home Sweet Home Study, focusing on pros’ shopping habits and how those can impact local communities.

Eugene Andreassi talked about Benjamin Moore’s Store of the Future. “Customers today are more demanding,” he acknowledged. “Everything has to be customized and engineered for the individual. They’re likely to be unforgiving of any flaws in the process; they’re always a click away from giving a good or bad review.”

Retailers enjoyed the combination of product and speakers. “I enjoy seeing all the new products,” said Tim Buchheit of Buchheit Enterprises, Perryville, MO. “I also like hearing from the speakers. I learn a lot that I can bring back to the store.”


Walk the Walk

We know it was a short walk from the end of the show to press time, so a lot of exhibitors haven’t had time to get the news out about what they did at the show. Therefore we extend an invitation for any paint and sundry exhibitors from NHS or Lancaster to send us their information for next month’s issue and we’ll be happy to share the news.



Strike Gold in Vegas

While the weather was pleasantly mild in Las Vegas, inside the convention center things were red hot as Golden Paintworks rolled out the introduction of Lifestyle Finishes™, a line of decorative wall finishes, the company reports. This line of 18 decorative finishing products offers a fresh way to bring the beauty of nature’s textures inside, allowing customers to show off their creativity and individual personality.

“Visitors to the booth confirmed our belief that the timing is right for these kinds of products to be available to contractors and customers,” said Brent Barnard, Golden Paintworks’ Sales Manager, “As interest rates remain low, millennials are entering the home buying market and want to put their personal stamp on their home environment; but instead of doing it themselves, they’d rather pay a professional do the work. This dynamic creates a win-win for the retailer and the contractor that can offer something unique and creative.”



Easy to Hold

The Chroma Painting System had a concept that stayed on dealers’ tongues for much of the show. A single frame adjusts to various sizes of rollers, and just as important, it’s easy to get the roller off the frame—neatly. This product line will be available in the fall.

The Chroma adjustable handle was pretty cool, as you may have already read about in this month’s Prime Coat. With a simple twist of the collar, the it picks up or releases almost any size cover, without touching the roller cover itself! Engineered to provide even distribution of paint, the Chroma handle’s patented design minimizes unwanted deflection and roller stipple. Universal handle adjusts to fit most roller covers up to 9″.

Other items continue to simplify the painting process. The one-hand Chroma tray and handle set makes painting safer, easier, and a lot more fun, they tell us. One-handed carry lets you use your other hand to more safely nagivate a ladder and other difficult to reach areas.

The Chroma corner wheel makes painting siding, edges, and hard-to-reach corners a breeze, reducing. cutting a room from hours to minutes. Roller Covers are available in 4″, 7″, 9″ and corner roller covers are made with premium microfiber.




Seeking Out Hyde

A newly branded Hyde Group showed off new products from its construction division brands: HYDE® and Richard®. Hyde is the longest continuous participant in the show, with a tradition of annual new product rollouts that began the very first year of the Hardware Show’s existence.

New products this year included: • A new MudGun® Drywall Finishing System that uses your choice of pre-loaded MudPaks or mud pulled directly from 5-gallon tubs. The MudGun® promises a more successful process and professional finish not only for drywall pros, but for inexperienced users as well.

• Three specialty snap-off utility knives, including a heavy duty 25mm knife with a powerful screw lock that withstands up to 110 pounds of holding force.
• New Flexi-frame Paint Rollers that apply uniform pressure for a better finish when painting floors and other large-area applications. (Rollers can’t “walk” their way off the this frame!)
• An Adjustable Mini-Roller Frame promotes smoother paint rolling. It can be mounted onto an extension pole and then be angled for convenience. Perfect for more accurate edging.
• A one-tool-does-it-all Caulk Aid, with features that let you remove old caulk, cut open a new caulk tube and evenly spread new caulk like a pro.
• A Dust-Free Professional Pole Sander, designed for pros, takes 99% of the dust out of sanding drywall. It eliminates some common issues associated with pole sanders, like “flipping.”

So, if we didn’t see you this year in Vegas, perhaps it’s odds on we’ll see you next year! The 2018 show is May 8-10.