HARDWARE STORES

And the winner of the Reimagine Retail contest is…

BY Steph Koyfman

Las Vegas — Innovation is not just for the big boxes. And that's the defining message that shaped the announcement of the winner of the Reimagine Retail contest, a challenge to independents to dream up a compelling future for their store.

We do have a general sense of what most retailers would improve. Polling results pointed to 87% tech, 75% employees, training and retention, 68% to store design, and 65% to new products.

To enter, retailers had to submit a 500 word (or less) essay explaining how they would improve their store with $100,000. And out of what National Hardware Show VP Rich Russo said were more than 100 entries, only one would walk away with the money to put where their mouth is.

As it happens, the winner was Caribou Jack's Trading Co in Soda Springs, Idaho. 

The store won over the judging panel with its vision of building an in-store cafe for hosting grilling and cooking events, and for free use by community organizations. In addition, the company will build an area for growing the produce used in the cafe. The company will also develop a mobile app to help groups coordinate events in the store. 

Other finalists included:

Debbie Supply, Inc. in East Rochester, New York
K Hardware Stores in Idaho Falls, Idaho
La Grange Park Ace Hardware in La Grange Park, Illinois
Logan Hardware in Washington, D.C.
Mark's Supply in Frackville/Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
Parry's in Hamilton, New York
Sandpoint Super Drug in Sandpoint, Idaho
Shaw Hardware Store Inc. in Plattsmouth, Nebraska
Woods Hardware in Cincinnati, Ohio

Russo added that retailers who didn't get a chance to make a compelling case will have another opportunity next year. "This is not just a one-year thing," he said. "We want to continue this."

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Home sweet home, local edition

BY HBSDealer Staff

A new study — commissioned by groups that support independent hardware stores — is advancing the idea that buying home building supplies from locally owned businesses, as opposed to national chains, brings substantial benefits to local economies.

This concept has been advanced before. But the new study, conducted by economic analysis and strategic planning firm, Civic Economics, was released at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, follows the dollars further into the pro arena.

The study, “Home Sweet Home: Pros’ Edition,” was released at the National Hardware Show and commissioned by the North American Retail Hardware Association and Independent We Stand.

Among the findings:

  • Purchasing home building supplies and products from locally-owned retailers keeps more than twice as much of that money in the local economy as identical purchases made at big box chain stores.
  • Based on analysis, independent Stihl dealers as well as other independent home improvement and building supply dealers recirculate 250% more local dollars than their major chain competitors.
  • Nationwide in 2016, a total of $243 billion was spent on single-family residential construction in the private sector. Collectively, these projects would require $133.7 billion in purchases of tangible goods. If professional contractors, builders and tradespeople shifted just 10% of those purchases from national chain dealers to independent suppliers, hometowns around the nation would enjoy the benefits of an additional $1.5 billion in economic activity.

The Pros’ Edition of this report builds on the findings from previous analyses on the impacts locally owned businesses have over national chains on communities, but takes it a step further.

The study evaluated how purchases by professional contractors, builders and tradespeople building a hypothetical single-family home with a $1 million budget impact the community through purchases in three distinct sectors: building materials (35%), hardware (15%) and power tools and equipment (5%).

At the end of the project, excluding labor costs, the study shows about $550,000 would be spent on supplies. If these expenditures were made at locally owned independent home improvement and building supply dealers, $129,650 would stay in the local community. If these same expenditures were made at chain stores, only $64,025 would remain in the local economy. That’s a difference of $65,625 that stays local, according to the study.

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Hardware made in Germany

BY HBSDealer Staff

Las Vegas — Where do organizers of the International Hardware Fair go to promote their Cologne, Germany, event. One of the places: The National Hardware Show.

Koelnmesse executives Matthias Becker and Stefan Lohrberg were making the rounds here at the National Hardware Show, spreading the word that an international perspective awaits retailers and manufacturers in Cologne in March 2018. Some 90 to 100 American manufacturers are expected to attend the event, along with some 2,700 exhibitors from around the world.

Next year's show will introduce a few new changes, and expand some ideas that worked in past shows. One change for the event is that the fair will return to its four-day format, after trying out the three-day format in 2016. "The purpose of the Fair is to establish business and not to avoid business," said Becker, explaining the return of the extra day.

And as trends in ecommerce disrupt American retail, Becker and Lohrberg say the same disruption is occurring everywhere. And the International Hardware Fair will address the trend with an expanded Ecommerce Summit during the Fair. "This topic is more and more relevant," Becker said. "Google, eBay, Amazon and so on — we are seeking participation from all of these companies. We are looking forward to establish this as a lighthouse for the industry, and an event for the retailers and industry to get involved."

Koelnmesse is working with the President's Council and the National Retail Hardware Association to develop programs to connect manufacturers and retailers. It will offer a rebranded and relaunched USA pavilion. And the show's organizers also expect American travelers to find advantageous exchange rates in Europe.

"The currency situation is very nice for the Americans to come to Europe," Becker said. "The euro has been at an all time low, pretty much for the last year.&quot

While the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas has a focus on North America, Becker and Lohrberg describe the International Hardware Show as a worldly event. "If you want to see what's trending in the rest of the world, and see a tremendous range of manufacturers and tools, that's what we provide."

The International Hardware Fair is slated for March 4-7 in Cologne, Germany.

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