Cash mob offers help to Newtown Hardware House
A cash mob recently filled the aisles of Newtown Hardware House in Newtown, Pa., to help bail out the store, which has been suffering from the weak economy for four years, according to an article on Philly.com.
Owner Dave Callahan has been running the store for 27 years.
Local publicist Andy Smith’s organized the cash mob with a Facebook message that read: “Each ‘mobber’ is encouraged to spend about $20, although you can spend more if you wish. With spring here, there has to be $20 of stuff you need for around the house — grass seed, a tool, paint, etc.”
Facebook, Twitter and email helped spread the word.
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Inventors enter Shark Tank
Las Vegas — New this year to the National Hardware Show was the Pitch Tank, where inventors got two minutes to demonstrate their new products to a panel of three experts for some criticism and advice. But there was no Simon Cowell skewering the amateurs in the glass-walled booth near the Inventor’s Spotlight section. Kevin Harrington of ABC’s Shark Tank and chairman of TVGoods, along with two other product development specialists and marketers, offered mostly positive feedback to a cavalcade of hopeful candidates.
The inventors of Tape Ease admitted there were already a number of tape measures on the market — but none of them came with a rubber end hook that clips on to pipes, lumber and masonry. This accessory fits on any standard 1-in. tape measure.
“Did you bring it to Stanley?” Harrington asked.
The answer was yes. But Stanley wanted to see some retail sales first. Harrington referred the inventor to a business associate at the show who handles licensees. “Get some sales first and then go back to Stanley,” Harrington said.
The panel really liked “Dot marks the spot,” a stick-on device that greatly simplifies hanging photos, shelves and other objects.
“That’s pretty cool,” said Steve Rogai, also from TVGoods. But he worried that consumers might have a hard time understanding how the product works. “Once they do,” he added, “it’s eureka!”
The panel advised the inventors, a married couple named Susan and Grillo, to consider lowering the price points.
“They seemed like they were very impressed and they asked a lot of questions, which was helpful,” Susan Grillo said after the session.
The Pitch Tank will hold an awards ceremony for the best inventions at the NRHA Village Stage on May 3, the last day of the show. The first place winner will receive a two-minute informercial product deal with Harrington’s company, TVGoods.
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Energy-saving products flood NHS
Las Vegas — Energy efficiency, a consumer focus that is influencing the residential building industry, is moving into the home improvement sector as well, judging from the exhibits at the National Hardware Show. Vendors with energy-saving products could be found in almost every category, and were marked with a special decal this year.
LED Lighting products flooded both halls, working their way through lawn and garden to electrical, homewares and even tools. Coast, a longtime maker of LED flashlights, brought models with a telescoping end that shapes the size of the beam. The Portland, Ore., manufacturer also debuted a patented multi-tool with a built-in LED light.
Heating and cooling costs are top of mind for homeowners, and a new generation of space heaters promises warmth with minimum energy consumption. Heat Storm introduced a quartz infrared wall heater that consumes only 1,000 watts. Other manufacturers focused on cooling, especially on patios and other outdoor living settings. Port-A-Cool displayed an entire line of evaporative coolers that can be used indoors and out, including as spot coolers in air-conditioned homes.
“You can use it to supplement air conditioning,” said Leon Aldridge, director of marketing and advertising. At 25 cents to 50 cents a day to operate, the evaporative coolers are an energy bargain.
A firm called EnerG+ promised to extend the summer with outdoor/indoor water-resistant infrared electric heaters that use standard AC wall units. A down-under company called Environmental Sciences Australia combined daylight and natural ventilation in one product via a directional exhaust ventilation system connected in a light pipe. The system uses no energy and creates a healthy home, the manufacturer claimed.