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In Cologne, outdoor living show attracted 40,000 plus

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The garden trade fair with the funny name — spoga+gafa — came to a close this week in Cologne, Germany, tallying 40,800 trade visitors from 106 countries.

“The international spectrum of exhibitors including numerous top brands has impressively confirmed its innovativeness,” said Oliver P. Kuhrt, executive VP Koelnmesse GmbH. “Thanks to the large presence of the decision-makers from the trade and industry, spoga+gafa has once again underlined its position as the leading business platform for the green market.”

For a slideshow from Cologne, click here.

A total of 2,056 suppliers from 57 countries presented their product ranges in Cologne, according to the show organizers. The trade fair for the lawn and garden sector — named for the German words for sports/leisure and garden — is organized by Koelnmesse and held in Cologne, Germany.

The show included a first-ever "boulevard of ideas" area, presenting ideas and vignettes for garden concepts throughout the year. The event also featured special exhibition areas in the barbecue, garden furniture, beach and waters ports sectors.

In the “garden creation” and “garden care” sectors, the buzzwords for 2011 are comfort and sustainability, according to show organizers. When it comes to lawncare and care of greenery and green spaces, the customer is increasingly choosing appliances that score in terms of user friendliness and efficiency. To this end, the manufacturers are offering, among others, optimized grass cuttings flow, easy-start systems and innovative technology. Thanks to rechargeable battery appliances using modern lithium-ion technology, mowing without a mass of tangled cables is also a popular trend.

More than half — 56% — of the trade visitors traveled to Cologne from outside Germany for the show. Spoga+gafa 2011 will return to Cologne Sept. 4-6.

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Traffic stop leads to $70,000 worth of stolen circuit breakers

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A routine highway stop over an expired license plate resulted in the arrest of an Arizona man and the recovery of several hundred circuit breakers stolen from Home Depots in five states, according to a report on WISH-TV, an Indianapolis station.

Steven Wang, 52, was arrested on Aug. 31 by members of the ProActive Criminal Enforcement (PACE) Team, which is made up of officers and deputies from multiple law enforcement agencies. He was driving along Interstate 70 with expired plates and a suspended driver’s license, according to authorities. Wang was also charged with marijuana possession.

PACE officers say they discovered “several hundred electrical circuit breakers” stolen from more than 20 Home Depot stores in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Utah. Ultimately, detectives found several hundred more circuit breakers at another location in Indiana. Investigators believe the stolen merchandise is valued at $70,000.

Wang has been arrested seven times for shoplifting at Home Depot stores all over the country, according to a PACE team spokesman.

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Florida man buys back family hardware store

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Jeff Gross purchased Ormond Ace Hardware in Ormond Beach, Fla., for the second time in his life, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Gross was a part owner with his uncle until 1996, when he left the business to pursue a career at Ace Hardware as a Florida-wide business and project manager. Later his uncle sold the business to Nick and Harriet Pasquine.

In July Gross purchased the business back from the Pasquines, who are set to retire.

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