EVENTS

New at the Hardware Show

BY HBSDealer Staff

Organizers of the 73rd National Hardware Show, coming to Las Vegas May 8-10 (Tuesday to Thursday), expect more than 2,500 hands-on exhibits across more than 15 product categories.

New experiential product displays and special events are expected to energize the event and live up to its new slogan: “The Tool that Powers Your Business.” Attendee badge registration grants access to the NRHA All-Industry Conference, personalized exhibitor and product recommendations, the NHS Mobile App and other planning features to offer attendees a seamless attending experience. (Register here.)

“This year’s Show, our 73rd edition, begins a new era for the National Hardware Show” Rich Russo, vice president of NHS says. “For years, we have served the industry as a way for hardware & home improvement professionals to connect face-to-face annually. While that won’t change, in addition to an all-new logo and look, we’re enhancing the Show experience with new interactive exhibits, new ways to showcase trends, enhanced NRHA All-Industry Conference, new participation from retail leaders and so much more. This is truly a year not to be missed.”

Three new Show features offer interactive ways to experience trends:

  • Smart Home Virtual Reality experience will give retailers an immersive look at the home of the future and what they can do to become go-to destinations for customers in this category. Take a virtual tour of the products, accessories and whole-home integrations customers will be asking for in the years ahead.
  • Ultimate Backyard outside in Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ presents the latest and greatest in grilling, outdoor living and more. Take a moment to relax and unwind and see what’s cooking in this popular category to help make your customers’ backyards their favorite destination in town.
  • Operation Tiny Home will offer attendees an exclusive look at the tiny home building process and the products specially made for these homes. Operation Tiny Home will be hosting a 3-day Tiny Home Building Workshop with the host of Tiny Home Nation, Zach Giffin, where veterans will become proficient with tiny home construction practices and general carpentry skills and you’ll watch the building process from start to finish.

Visit Nationalhardwareshow.com for updates on all of the above.

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EVENTS

Deadline looms for $100,000 Giveaway

BY HBSDealer Staff

The deadline for independent retailers to submit their entries for the National Hardware Show’s Reimagine Retail $100,000 giveaway is quickly approaching.

Retailers have until March 30 to provide their response to this year’s question: If you had $100,000 to spend on improving your retail business’ technology—how would you invest it?

This innovative event awards one independent home improvement retailer with $100,000 to fund a business improvement project centered on technology to help their business reach new heights.

Entrants must provide a summary of 250 words or less detailing how they’d invest the money in technology to propel their business forward. Submissions may also include photos or videos, but these supplemental materials will not be judged as part of the overall submission. A panel of industry professionals will review each entry and evaluate their potential. Five finalists will be notified by April 28 and flown to the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, where the Reimagine Retail winner will be announced on the NRHA Village Stage on Wednesday, May 9.

For more information and to submit and entry, visit nhs18.com/reimagineretail.

[Note: This article was updated to include the extended deadline, which is now March 30.]

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Ace Hardware Spring Convention 2018 — John Surane
EVENTS

In Dallas, it’s Ace vs. Amazon

BY Ken Clark

Dallas — In an increasingly Amazonian retail world, Ace Hardware executives hammered on the power and potential of the independent hardware store and their “red-vested heroes.” But there are a lot of challenges that independent stores must conquer to thrive in the future.

Here at the kickoff general session of the co-op’s Spring 2018 Convention and Exhibits, Ace executives offered a boatload of guidance, checklists and must-wins, as well as firing several shots across the bow of the formidable battleship Amazon. Repeatedly, Ace stores were presented as the human antidote to the faceless, cheap and faraway retail giant.

“All those people chasing Amazon and all those retailers chasing e-commerce are concerned with two things: speed and efficiency,” Ace Hardware executive VP John Surane said during the general session. “To get that efficiency, they are taking people out of the equation. Just do it cheap,” — he paused for emphasis — “that’s not our motto.”

Instead, it’s the job of Ace dealers to offer the customer those things for which they are famous: service, quality and “taking care of our neighbors and doing it right,” Surane said.

Furthermore, Surane used the words of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as a caution to those manufacturers who see the online giant as a viable partner. Surane said Bezos has described the profit made by vendors and manufacturers as fair game for Amazon to capture for its own. “You hear that vendors?” Surane asked, as part of an effort to encourage them to seek the independent hardware channel as the preferred distribution partner.

The harshest attacks on Amazon came from guest speaker Jules Pieri, founder and CEO of The Grommet and a self-described champion of the little guy. Amazon, she suggested, is “a parasite attached to our economy, deliberately destroying the kind of competition that made America great.”

Ace Hardware Spring Convention 2018 — Amazon

On the show floor, a sign of the times.

In her remarks on the background of The Grommet, the new product incubator purchased by Ace Hardware Corp. last year, Pieri described Amazon as approaching a “state-owned monopoly” of retail.

As Amazon continues to grow — the Seattle-based company’s sales grew 31% last year — and the retail industry continues to change, the independent Ace dealers were encouraged to use their person-to-person and local-market advantages and win in three key areas in 2018, according to Surane:

  • Invest in the co-op’s 20/20 Vision high-performance retailing program, which includes enriched assortments and brand investments.
  • Commit to and grow business-to-business sales. The co-op pointed to a new focus in 2018 on the residential property management customer. The effort is bolstered by new leadership from former Grainger executive Bill Walton.
  • Embrace the launch of the new Ace Hardware website. The site will include an improved buy online, pick up in store function (announced to applause), and in the words of Surane: “A game changer will be our ability to introduce BODFS — buy online, deliver from store.”

Ace Hardware CEO John Venhuizen, batting clean-up on the general session agenda, described several ideas on the future of retail for Ace Hardware, including better use of consumer intelligence and data and developing a unique shopping experience.

He also talked about evolving the role of product distribution: “We are going to need to become either an optimized logistical machine or an ultra-hyper convenient shopping experience — or both,” Venhuizen said, adding that he’s leaning toward both.

“The challenge of our time is for us to figure out a way to deliver less stuff to our stores more frequently,” he added. And he said the company is taking steps in that direction, with good results so far in a test in the Phoenix market, which he described in detail.

“We need to develop a persuasively compelling proposition to recruit, train and inspire the best talent the retail world has to offer,” he said, as his last but not least point about the future of Ace.

The Ace convention runs through March 17.

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