Show business

New director, same direction for National Hardware Show
Russo, director of the “buying event”

Nothing has changed about the core mission of the biggest hardware show in North America — but with first-year event director Richard Russo at the helm, there will be some notable new twists for the May 10 to 12 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. 

Russo, who for the past decade has helped direct sales for the event, will oversee the show’s first co-location with the North American Retail Hardware Show’s All-Industry Summit. This year marks the launch of Buying Desks, which allows independent retailers to buy product through their distributors. Also new for 2011 will be the introduction of new categories — pet products, DIY security and outdoor recreation among them.

Russo took time to talk about show biz with Home Channel News:

HCN: What will your approach be to promoting and running the show?

Russo: As the new event director for the National Hardware Show, I plan to adapt our strategies to meet the needs of our customers. We will continue to focus on increasing the depth of product categories from exhibiting manufacturers that retailers and independents need to help make their business more profitable.

HCN: Some of the co-ops and distributors have reported strong attendance for their shows so far in 2011. Does that bode well for your event? 

Russo: Absolutely. We are currently tracking ahead of last year’s registrations and feel that this pace will continue. Big brands like Benjamin Moore, Skil/Bosch, The Coleman Co., Char-Broil and many others will be among those exhibiting. The show will have more than 700 new product introductions, and attendees will need all three days to discover what the National Hardware Show has to offer.

HCN: Have the reasons for coming to the show changed at all over the years since you’ve been involved?

Russo: The show has evolved dramatically over my past 11 years and has transformed from a networking event to a buying event. The mind-set of our attendees has shifted to focus on buying. Buyers come to our event with the intention to buy new innovative products that convert to more sales and written orders. Knowing this, the National Hardware Show has strategically sourced exhibitors that offer new product categories to help expand the retailer’s business. 

HCN: What’s going to be the hot product in 2011?

Russo: There are so many new products to discover that narrowing it down to one product or category is very difficult. We have more than 700 new product introductions and over 600 new exhibitors participating at this year’s show. There is more innovation within product categories, with introductions such as Faux Foam Panels for the DIYer, the Hanger Hamper and Heated Walkway Mats, to name a few. There are so many new products to discover that can change your business and increase your sales.

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