Posted by: Diane Capuano
Perhaps as a harbinger of better times ahead, the PDRA Paint & Accessories Section at the National Hardware Show® was filled with mostly upbeat reports and robust activity.
The show took place May 1-3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev. Retailers in attendance received a peak at new products and a chance to chat with key vendors. Exhibitors had a chance to give their best sales pitches to a quality group of attendees eager to move forward in what is hoped to be an improving economy.
The PDRA Paint & Accessories Show is part of the industry’s biggest show. In addition to paint and accessories, the National Hardware Show® also features sections for hardware and tools; housewares; lawn, garden and outdoor living; plumbing and electric; storage and organization; tailgate products; and pet products.
Show attendance this year topped 27,000, a 5-percent increase over 2011. Exhibitors were pleased with both the quantity and quantity of attendance. Among them was David May of Trimaco. “Customers from large to small seemed very enthusiastic and definitely upbeat about the current business environment,” May said. “They seemed more eager for new products and ideas than in the recent past, where the economic state seemed to be holding people in a very conservative attitude toward adding new product as opposed to beating down costs of the current offering. We were very encouraged, and we are definitely signed up for next year.”
Dignitaries from the National Hardware Show®, the National Retail Hardware Association, the Paint & Decorating Retailers Association, Jensen Distribution and Lancaster gathered on the main stage to mark the opening of the show with a blast of colorful confetti. Jeff Baggaley, as association president, represented PDRA. Kevin Harrington, well known from the TV show “Shark Tank,” also came on stage to announce he was on hand to look for innovative products. And, really, what better place to do so than the National Hardware Show®?
In fact, there was a whole room dedicated to the ingenuity of the industry. Known as “Innovation Station,” this special section of the show was bustling with show-goers who wanted to get a firsthand look at the products of the future. This, coupled with the nearby “New Products World” section, provided a great sneak peak on what will be hitting store shelves in the coming year.
The best of American-generated know-how was on display in the “Made in the USA” show sections as well as at many of the other booths throughout the show floor. An added benefit for the paint and decorating sector this year was the co-location of the Lancaster Show at the Las Vegas Hilton, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Lancaster Show provided paint and decorating retailers with more vendors, more products and more opportunities to network and make deals.
Speakers and presentations on the NRHA Main Stage gave additional value to the show experience. The keynote speaker was Michael Bergdahl, former Walmart executive who spoke on the topic of “How to Compete and Win in a Walmart World.” Bergdahl acknowledged that independent retailers can’t compete with Walmart and other discounters on price, so he advised them to compete on other factors. “You are not a discounter, so don’t try to act like a discounter,” Bergdahl told his audience. “Instead, leverage your other strengths—location, convenience, product knowledge and especially service.”
Also offering terrific insights was Sonu Mathew of Benjamin Moore during her presentation entitled: “Connect to Your Customers Through Color Trends.” Among the trends that Mathew identified were “Earth and Sky,” featuring natural elements; “Eclectic Elegance,” a diverse palette that works well in any décor; “Spiced Life,” an urban trend of well-seasoned hues; and “Sense and Sensibility,” featuring timeless colors interpreted for a modern lifestyle. Mathew also identified Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year: Wythe Blue, a blue-green hue with a cool gray cast.
Another highlight of the show was the presentation of the PDRA Scholarship, generously sponsored by the National Hardware Show®. See this blog entry for details.
The Paint & Decorating Show, in conjunction with the National Hardware Show®, will return to Las Vegas on May 7-9, 2013. Look for details in upcoming blog posts and issues of Paint & Decorating Retailer magazine.