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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David Dishke Grand River Home Hardware, Grimsby Home Hardware The Networker These conference attendees make it a point to meet someone new for valuable insights to propel their businesses forward. HARDWARE RETAILING | April 2018 68 I'm Here for the People David Dishke may be one of the newer members of the NHRA board of directors, but he's not a newcomer to the industry. Dishke owns two Home Hardware store locations in Ontario, and he is in the process of acquiring a third. Dishke has been involved in the business since he was a teenager, and he and his wife took over ownership of the Caledonia store from his family in the late 1990s. In 2004, Dishke received NRHA's Young Retailer of the Year award, and he has been attending conferences and staying engaged with the association ever since. He says the greatest value of attending the NRHA All-Industry Conference is the opportunity to meet people you wouldn't otherwise encounter. "Sometimes people get tied up in their own wholesaler," he says. "While attending wholesaler events is wonderful, and I highly recommend it, you want to go outside the box sometimes." Dishke admits the National Hardware Show can be overwhelming, but he says it's OK to be intimidated by such a large event. "The scale of the show brings it into perspective that the hardware industry is not a little fish in the sea," he says. "It's important to see it." Engaging Connections Whenever he attends an event, Dishke sets a short list of goals for himself: Get one good idea and engage with someone or ask a question. Setting these goals helps him look outside his immediate community for valuable insights. Dishke says meeting people who are from the same industry but who work with another wholesaler or serve a different market is an invaluable part of attending the conference. "The amount of people you can meet and the connections you can make by attending the NRHA conference at the National Hardware Show is phenomenal," he says. "When you surround yourself with like-minded people from the industry, you can learn from them and grow." Crossing the Border The NRHA All-Industry Conference takes place in conjunction with the National Hardware Show. NRHA encourages independent retailers to take advantage of the access to products and vendors on the show floor while also engaging with the association in the NRHA Village. Dishke appreciates both sides of the annual event, but on the products side, attending international trade shows can sometimes be challenging for Canadian retailers, he says. Often, products that are immediately available to American retailers aren't available on the same timetable for Canadians. But Dishke says there is an advantage to seeing those products ahead of time. "The National Hardware Show seems to be a little bit ahead of the Canadian market by about six months," he says. "There was a vendor at the show last year that had its products available in the U.S. last summer, and they're just now launching this summer in Canada. But I got to see them a whole year in advance because I was at the show. You get to see things sooner than you might otherwise." Attending trade shows, even for just a short amount of time, can offer insights that you don't get just exploring new products from your office at the store, Dishke says. "I can look stuff up on the internet, but I won't interact with any humans and talk to them and ask them to show me how something works," he says. "I can buy product every day, but interacting with people and learning how their brain ticks and how they make their businesses successful is what I look forward to." " When you surround yourself with like-minded people from the industry, you can learn from them and grow. "

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