Hardware Retailing

APR 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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Independent Thinking O ne aspect of my job that I truly enjoy is the ability to get out and spend time with the retailers, distributors and manufacturers who all play integral roles in making our channel so vital. Recently, between the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) board of directors meeting, the various wholesale markets and a trip to the International Hardware Fair in Cologne, Germany, I have had some great opportunities to spend time with all these channel partners. During these engagements, there is one thing that I try to do that is more important than just about anything else—listen. I listen to what all these groups have to say: the good, the bad and the ugly. I want to hear everyone's thoughts on the industry, and most importantly, I want to solicit their input on how we can all come together to help independent home improvement retailers succeed. One thing that I have heard loud and clear over the last several months is that independent retailers are passionate about their businesses and they are also passionate about helping each other. They all go to work every day in different towns. Their stores are all slightly different, and they all fly different flags. But the one thing they have in common is that they are independent and they are eager to help their communities and each other. Since I have worked at NRHA, there have been a lot of changes in this industry. Businesses open. Businesses close. Companies merge. These kinds of changes will likely continue well into the future. Throughout all the changes, however, independent retailers have found ways to go to market, serve their customers, support their communities and carve out a living for their families. Because of this shared experience, when you get a room of independent retailers together, they are quick to offer support to one another regardless of wholesaler affiliations, product mix, geography, size of operation or time in business. That's what makes events like the NRHA All-Industry Conference so important to every member of the home improvement channel. This event, held annually in conjunction with the National Hardware Show ® , provides a setting where independent retailers can come together and share their war stories, provide support to one another and offer ideas and best practices to help each other succeed. But the NRHA All-Industry Conference is also an important event for all members of the channel because everyone is welcome there—distributors, manufacturers, analysts or anyone else who has a vested interest in the wellbeing of independent home improvement retailers. We want to provide an event where the entire industry can unite to celebrate the successes of independent retailers, learn from each other and broaden their horizons about the support network that is out there for them. To find out who you might meet at the NRHA All-Industry Conference, turn to Page 66 and learn more at nrhaconference.com. Also, look for even more detailed information about the event in next month's issue of Hardware Retailing. And most importantly, when you are out in Las Vegas attending the NRHA All-Industry Conference, I and other members of the NRHA team will be on hand, ready to listen to what we can do to help you succeed. Bob Cutter, President and CEO bcutter@nrha.org " We want to provide an event where the entire industry can unite to celebrate the successes of independent retailers. " We're Ready to Listen HARDWARE RETAILING | April 2018 8

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