Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest onthe 2011 National Hardware Show

The National Hardware Show marked its 66th year with new categories, exhibitors and the unveiling of about 700 new products – all of which contributed to a highly successful event at the Las Vegas Convention Center. There was something for everyone at this year’s show – from the hardcore professional, to the weekend warrior, to the do-it-yourself homeowner. And the appeal of the show has gone well beyond the traditional hardware and tool industry with the addition of categories like tailgating, outdoor recreation, energy efficient products and pet-related goods, attracting buyers not only from traditional retail and wholesale outlets but channels like grocery, mass, drug, catalog and the Internet. Below are some examples of the most interesting and relevant new products found at this year’s event:

  • Tailgating is steadily increasing its presence in the hardware channel, and after a 10-year absence from the National Hardware Show, Coleman celebrated its return by launching the TLGA brand of licensed NFL, MLB and NCAA products in such categories as canopies, quad chairs, coolers and stadium seats. “Sports fans find any reason to get together with family and friends to eat, drink, and watch the game,” said Jeff Diamond, director of product development & brand marketing for Jarden Sports Licensing. “There is an opportunity for retailers to tap into this passionate consumer and provide another outlet for fans to buy products and complete their ultimate tailgate collection.”
  • Butler Home Products introduced a brand-new, never-before-seen line of Black & Decker cleaning products, including push brooms, angle brooms, scrub brushes, mops, floor squeegees, and accessories. Lightweight handles made primarily of fiberglass and soft grips set them apart from similar products. “We felt the National Hardware Show was the perfect place for the launch,” said Michael Silverman, senior vice president of marketing for Butler, which acquired the Black & Decker license in January. “That’s where hardware buyers come to shop.”
  • Also introduced for the first time was Costco’s Flip Clip line of bike racks, multipurpose racks and ladder rack clips that fit easily onto beams in your garage, shed or barn. “It’s instant tool-free storage, easily customizable and you can quickly change it or add to it,” said Troy Franks, EVP-GM of Cosco.
  • For those looking to save time, Craftsman introduced a quick charging system for its NEXTEC line of tools. Throw the 12-volt battery from your hammer or impact driver on the QuickBoost Charging System, wait three minutes and you’re back up to 25% power – perfect for finishing a job without the wait.
  • No doubt pet products are growing in the hardware channel. Taking the gold in this year’s Homewares Awards was the Pet Top portable drinking device, a bottle top that fits most standard water bottles and allows your pet to take a swig during long walks or car rides.
  • Among the standout eco-friendly products at the show were the Helix EcoMower with heat-treated carbon steel blades, adjustment posts for simple blade tuning and ergonomic handle positioning; and PD Worx’s new dsolv® compostable lawn bag, which holds 50% more leaves, grass and yard waste than standard paper bags. Plus, a portion of the profits go toward the development and maintenance of park lands in the communities where dsolv is sold.
  • Capitalizing on the continuing popularity of the outdoor room, Jordan Manufacturing Company introduced its new Eco Friendly Wood Furniture line, as well as the new outdoor furniture line and cushion program done in partnership with HGTV personality Lisa LaPorta. The Eco Friendly line is made from Mid-Western hardwood and stainless steel hardware to prevent rust.
  • Sporting the National Hardware Show’s new Energy Efficiency designation was Sylvania’s indoor and outdoor digital timers, which limit the amount of electricity a household uses – thus shrinking the monthly utility bill. “This is an expanding market that needs to be fed quality products,” says Billy Thea, a spokesman for Hardware Innovations, a leading supplier of  timers under the Sylvania brand. “The more you control lighting or other electrical circuits, the more energy you save.”
  • The trend toward urban farming is reflected by Nature’s Footprint’s UrBin Gower, a flexible raised bed/organic growing system made for small spaces such as backyards, balconies or indoor spaces. The fact that it conserves water is a definite plus for the green conscious as well.