The Hardware Show – Pre-Show Optimism Well-Placed?

May 12, 2017

Left for Las Vegas early this week with a degree of optimism that the pieces seemed to be in place to see a full and vibrant range of new products & innovations. Like many predictions the reality – as I perceived it – is a little more nuanced than a simple right or wrong.

The Backyard, BBQ and Tailgating section was significantly expanded from years past mirroring the growth in Outdoor categories at large. New players, new cooking platforms and a consistent traffic flow generated a fair amount of energy.   Score one for the Optimist.

Facing the New Product Area right inside the main entrance I was surprised at the small number on display. Optimist  – strike one.

Working my way around the show over 2½ days I did take note of the increased presence of overseas manufacturers – by itself not surprising but along with that: the products are looking better and better and are reaching into more categories. Optimism – neutral, for now.

New products that caught my eye include:

  • Stanley branded electric pressure washers (by AR Blue Clean). A nice new form and a well-integrated hose reel.
  • ProTouch Caulking System by Adhesive Technologies, been on the market for about a year. Makes a “no matter how much you prepare you’ll still end up with a mess” job a lot less difficult and messy. May mark my return to caulking jobs around the house.
  • Kreg Tool’s Accu-Cut – allows a circ saw to cut as accurately as a table saw, and
  • General Tool & Instruments Laser Tape. (full disclosure – we designed the product). Learned quite some time ago that when you hear statements like “Should have been done long ago”, “Why didn’t we think of this” as I did you’ve hit on a true innovation.

As for the host city? Love it or hate it, what’s indisputable is the total and complete buy-in by local businesses, hotels, service workers – just about everybody – to the idea that visitors are guests and that impeccable service leads to good things for the city…like conventions returning year after year and drawing pro football and hockey teams to town.

Frank von Holzhausen
Co-founder/Chief Design Officer