The sold-out 2011 National Hardware Show capped off another exciting day of product introductions, best practice sharing and new ideas to move the do-it-yourself product market forward. It began with the induction of outgoing Lowe’s president and COO Larry Stone into the Home Channel News Hall of Fame, continued with a special presentation by TV personality Ty Pennington and ended with a series of awards presentations acknowledging some of the most creative new products in the industry.
The day kicked off with the Home Channel News Golden Hammer Awards breakfast, which honored Westlake Ace Hardware as Retailer of the Year and Price Hardware True Value as Tools of the Trade Award winner. The Hall of Fame induction, which was sponsored by MSA Safety Works, honored Stone and the breakfast also included a panel of experts – Westlake’s George Smith, Craig Cowart of Marvin's (2010 Retailer of the Year) and “Tools of the Trade” winner John Price of Price Hardware True Value – who discussed trends in home improvement retailing.
Stone, who will step down in June, was introduced by Lowe's Executive VP Greg Bridgeford, who described him as "the soul of Lowe's." Stone listed what he considered the most important leadership traits, which included integrity, authenticity, and passion. "Be passionate about your company and give support and leadership to your team," he said, adding, "Your reputation will last long after you're gone."
Another highlight of the day was the awarding of the Sears “traveling toolbox” by Pennington to Opportunity Village, the preferred charity of the National Hardware Show®. “We have been speaking with the great folks here at the National Hardware Show and learned that they work with an amazing Las Vegas non-profit organization called Opportunity Village that serves people with intellectual disabilities,” Pennington told the standing room only crowd gathered around the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) Village Stage. “We think this is a great cause that really embodies the `Do It Together’ message, so Sears is providing them with a fully stocked toolbox and some other materials.”
Accepting the donation was Laura D’Amore, director of sales at Opportunity Village, who said, “The National Hardware Show has transformed our thrift store over the last two to three years and brought a whole new awareness in the community with their donations to Opportunity Village.”
The wide range of awards presentations included Hardware Retailing’s Top Guns, which included a panel discussion offering advice to independent retailers, and the Retailer’s Choice Awards, which allowed retail judges to search the show floor for the products they thought had the best sales potential in their stores. Winners included Click & Seal by Fluidmaster; Happy Feet by Happy Feet and Spotless Goddess by Boston Warehouse.
Other awards presentations were the Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Innovation awards, whose winners were Leafcat LLC (gold); Nexgrill Industries (silver); Nature Power (bronze) and Bonide (honorable mention), and the Homewares Awards sponsored by HomeWorld Business and featuring Pet Top Products (gold); Brand Marketing & Distribution (silver); Batten Industries, Inc (bronze) and The Fulhman Group (honorable mention). There were also the New Product Launch Spotlight Awards, with the gold going to Minute Key for Minute Key; silver to Generac Power Systems for the Propane Portable Generator; bronze to Bell Hudson LLC for the Infrared Heater with Remote; and Honorable Mention to Simple Man for the Spyder Bore Blade. “
“We are big believers in product innovation," said Helen Cattaneo, senior vendor manager for Amazon.com’s Tools & Home Improvement store and a judge for the New Product Spotlight Awards. “We have learned from our customers that they are interested in new selection that stands out and simplifies their lives as many are early adopters of trends and technology."
The day’s activities also included the second annual Facebook Party sponsored by Organize.com and the Tailgate party in the outdoor Tailgate Pavilion featuring live music, food and free beer courtesy of Corona Beer, the new Official Beer Sponsor of the National Hardware Show. Corona also distributed logoed T-Shirts at the event, while Allegro Foods handed out samples of brisket, chicken and catfish, as well as 300 samples of marinade.
In addition, the party featured the presentation of Tailgater Monthly Magazine’s Gameball Awards to Black Top, Cool Cups and Extreme Cooler – each of which received a Wilson Official NFL “The Duke” leather football.
Another highlight of the Tailgate Pavilion was the sweepstakes, which awarded such prizes as two tickets to a Kenny Chesney Concert – courtesy of Corona – a Char-Broil grill, 12 Tervis Tumblers and more.
Chris Matthewson, national sales manager for Jarden Sports Licensing, introduced the new TLG8 line of NFL and MLB licensed products in the Tailgate Pavilion this year and was pleased with the show traffic. “Tailgating is a very important category, and we will be adding more products going forward,” said Matthewson said. “It’s really grown as a category and is gaining momentum here at the Show and at retail.”
Tomorrow’s activities will be centered around Independents’ Day, a celebration of independent hardware retailers that will include seminars, awards and a picnic lunch in the Tailgate Pavilion.
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