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BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Hardware Show’s independent focus falls on trends and solutions

The No. 1 question asked at the Hardware Show this year among and between attendees is almost guaranteed to be the same as last year, or the year before that — “What have you seen that’s new?”

There will be no excuse for coming up blank. Not only because of the sheer number of vendors, but because organizers have placed an emphasis on featured areas that highlight the newest products and trends that drive sales at independent retailers.

“There are a large number of independent retailers within the home improvement industry,” says Rich Russo, vice president of the National Hardware Show. “At the Show, we offer networking events, complimentary education sessions, new products, buying opportunities and more for these independent retailers to take advantage of during just one trip.”

The National Hardware Show kicks off Tuesday, May 9, at the Las Vegas Convention Center and runs through Thursday, May 11.

“I love the networking that takes place between store owners, vendors and manufacturers,” said retailer Megan Menzer of Newton’s True Value in Cherryvale, Kansas. “I can talk to hardware store owners who work with all different distributors, not just those with my own co-op. The contacts, new ideas, educational training and networking that go on makes it well worth my time to attend the show.”

That dialog among independents will be advanced by a presentation by Will Aubuchon, the CEO of 110-store Aubuchon Hardware, described as the “largest independent home improvement retailer in the United States.” The executive is planning to discuss some of the ideas behind the company’s omnichannel initiative — “Aubuchon Go” — which was launched with the intent to seamlessly blend customers’ Aubuchon experiences in the store and online. Aubuchon, which owns the “hardwarestore.com” web address, rolled out its groundbreaking initiative in 2016.

Around the show floor, featured areas include Inventors Spotlight, New Product World and New Product Launch. There’s also a Made in USA area where attendees can celebrate Made in USA exhibitors and the latest products and trends that are manufactured (primarily) in the USA. The Made in USA Brand/ GBQ Partners-sponsored American Manufacturing Awards will be presented at 3 p.m. on May 10.

Greg Schlecht, owner of Greg’s True Value in St. Francis, Wis., attended last year’s show. His mission was to look for new products and new ideas. “It’s always refreshing to see the new items that are on the market,” he said.

The National Hardware Show will celebrate its rich history spanning 72 years of serving the home improvement marketplace. From its early beginnings in New York during the post-World War II housing boom and eventual move to Chicago in the 1970s, to today’s current location in Las Vegas, the National Hardware Show continually evolves through the industry’s involvement, commitment and passion to improving America’s quality of life through their homes. Today, the National Hardware Show is the place for global manufacturers, associations, organizations and the media to unveil their new products, ideas and insight to a broad spectrum of home improvement resellers.

For more information on the National Hardware Show, visit www.nationalhardwareshow.com.

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