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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April 2018 | HARDWARE RETAILING 69 RJ McDaniel B&B Hardware & Rental The Explorer For a first-time attendee, the show floor of the National Hardware Show seems neverending. Explorers hit the floor to find cool new products and walk away with key items to take home to their businesses. I'm Here for the Products Just outside the NRHA Village in the Las Vegas Convention Center, the expansive landscape of the National Hardware Show begins. Walk the show floor with a retailer like RJ McDaniel, and you will find everything you are looking for. As co-owner and vice president of B&B Hardware & Rental, McDaniel attends the show to be the first to spot products that will help grow his business. He attended the 2017 NRHA All-Industry Conference at the National Hardware Show with a Young Retailer of the Year award in tow. He received the honor in part because of his focus on expanding B&B Hardware's rental business, starting a new disc golf niche and growing the company's firearms department. "I'm always looking for new products in stores and online," McDaniel says. "The show presents another unique opportunity to do that." Across the Categories McDaniel served as a judge on the Retailers' Choice panel, which is a group of independent retailers who walk the show floor and choose their favorite items. The selected manufacturers receive the Retailers' Choice Award from Hardware Retailing during the conference. "Serving on the Retailers' Choice panel was a lot of fun," he says. "I was able to connect with other retailers and talk about the products that work for them, and I got to explore new items." McDaniel approached the show floor with a strategy. Back home at the store in Milan, Illinois, he was planning to expand his outdoor living category with a focus on grilling. B&B Hardware & Rental features a popular line of grills and accessories, and McDaniel was looking for items to complement his selection. Another member of the panel discovered a gadget that slices hot dogs to help them cook more evenly, and McDaniel found smoke tubes to put on charcoal grills to turn them into smokers. He also identified products that would serve his rental business, including an innovative extension ladder. "I was looking for outdoor living and grilling items, but I found a few other items that were good additions to the store, too," he says. Inspiration on the Show Floor The sheer size and selection that's available on the show floor is striking. McDaniel says he values his wholesaler events and attends those as often as possible, but the National Hardware Show is something different entirely. "When you go to the show, you have opportunities to see what other items and vendors are available outside your wholesaler," he says. "It's good to experience that because if you only attend wholesaler events, you can get tunnel vision." McDaniel says it's also helpful to see how vendors set up their displays on the show floor. After attending last year's event, he took some of their ideas home to Illinois. "I'm inspired by four-foot planograms at shows," he says. "I remerchandised in the store based on how vendors set up in the booth at the National Hardware Show. Everything has improved in volume since we reset those areas." McDaniel has spoken to other retailers about the NRHA All-Industry Conference at the National Hardware Show, and he talks about more than just products. "You can get new ideas, make new connections and see what products are out there," he says. "It helps broaden my perspective on my business to see so many different options." " When you go to the show, you have opportunities to see what other items and vendors are available outside your wholesaler. "

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