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National Hardware Show attendance grows for second year

The buzz, the buying and the best practices shared were hallmarks of the 66th Annual National Hardware Show, which concluded May 12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. On top of a 20 percent increase last year, attendance at the 2011 Show grew an additional 4 percent, with exhibitor bookings for 2012 already up 16 percent from a year ago.

“The buzz that began with the marching band at the Opening Ceremony continued right through to the end of the Show,” said Ed Several, senior vp and general manager of the National Hardware Show. “We are so pleased to hear all of the great feedback from attendees and exhibitors who successfully identified products and services to move their business forward. The increased attendance and increased buying on the Show floor creates a strong foundation for 2012.”

Attendees were excited about valuable time spent at this year’s event.

“I will add at least 10 new vendors to our group’s buying programs as a result of the two days spent at the show,” said Paul Van Noy, managing director of Reliable Distributors, a marketing group of distributors across the United States, Canada and Latin America.

The 2011 National Hardware Show also marked the debut of Independents’ Day – an entire day devoted to independent retailers and their contributions to the home improvement industry. Hardware store owners and other attendees took a break from the action on the Show floor to gather around the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) Village stage and share ideas about promoting their businesses in the community.

“This was the best and most productive Las Vegas National Hardware Show PRO Group has ever experienced,” said Steve Synnott, CEO of PRO Group, Inc. the nation’s largest independent hardlines group with more than $3 billion in annual distributor sales. “We heard great speakers and met with current and new vendors and rep groups.”

Independents’ Day also featured the NRHA’s launch of PlanItDIY, an exciting new consumer marketing initiative designed to promote independent home improvement retailers to consumers as “the places to shop” for home projects and advice. As part of the initiative, the NRHA unveiled the PlanItDIY.com website, which promotes traffic to independent home improvement retailers and provides consumers with practical how-to advice and tips.

The NRHA awarded two Hard-Earned Vacations for Hard-Working Retailers, which went to Isobelle Swift of the International Hardware Association in Chaddlesley Corbett, U.K., and Patty Schaffer, owner of Foster’s Ace Hardware in Newberry, Mich.

“One of the main reasons we came to the show is to attend the seminars on social media and have learned so many things we can take back and put into place,” Schaffer said. “Winning this award capped off a great experience at the National Hardware Show.”

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