About Us

The Hardware Connection is published eight times a year by The Hardware Connection Inc. to help independent hardware retailers improve and grow their businesses, to help manufacturers better understand the needs of retailers and to help strengthen the two-step channel of distribution. We offer a fresh perspective to the industry from an independent retailers’ view. We have chosen an electronic format because it allows for interaction between readers and the editorial staff and advertisers.

The Hardware Connection is a digital magazine targeted to:

  • Independent hardware/home improvement retailers in the two-step channel including specialty retailers in the paint, lawn and garden, plumbing, electrical, commercial/industrial and farm/feed markets.
  • Wholesale buyers
  • Hardware/home improvement manufacturers

We know hardware!


Meet the Staff

Craig CopePublisher/Principal; craig@thehardwareconnection.com

Craig is the current director of The Hardware Conference, which is the largest gathering of independent hardware dealers and is held annually in Marco Island, Fla. Previously he spent 13 years with Philip Morris holding numerous roles in sales and retail marketing.


Tom Chasteen—Founder/Principal; tom@thehardwareconnection.com
Tom is a third-generation hardware retailer and owner of Tavernier Hardware in Tavernier, Fla. For the past 23 years he and his wife, Dale, have been conducting The Hardware Conference in Marco Island, Fla., which has grown into the largest gathering of independent retailers in the industry. Tom is also a former manager of NRHA’s Southeast Region.

Chris Jensen—Editor/Principal; chris@thehardwareconnection.com
Chris is a former editor and executive editor of Hardware Retailing/Do-It-Yourself Retailing magazine who spent 21 years directing publications for NRHA. He has visited more than 1,500 hardware stores around the world during his hardware industry career.


Dan Akers—Marketing and Creative Director/Principal; dan@thehardwareconnection.com
Dan spent five years at NRHA serving as art director for Hardware Retailing and director of creative services and new media. He previously served as graphic designer for Riley Children’s Foundation and is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art & Design.


John Hammond—Senior Business Advisor; jhammond@thehardwareconnection.com
John spent 38 years at NRHA, serving as editor and VP-publishing and later serving a number of years as managing director. Since retiring from NRHA at the end of 2008, he has done consulting work for several industry firms.



Cathy Karabag—National Account Manager/Director of Women in Hardware; cathy@thehardwareconnection.com
Cathy has over 31 years in the marketing industry. She successfully developed a hardware flyer program serving the independent hardware dealers (Ace, Do it Best, Orgill and True Value) in Florida. Cathy’s knowledge, commitment and hands-on approach with working with hardware retailers and manufacturers is a perfect fit for The Hardware Connection in her new role in advertising sales and director of the Women in Hardware program.



Doug Donaldson—Contributing Writer
Doug has 18 years of experience writing for hardware publications including Hardware Retailer/Do-It-Yourself Retailing and Farm Supply Retailing as well as various custom publications for hardware industry clients. He has written product-driven articles for top consumer publications including Men’s JournalBetter Homes & Gardens and Men’s Health.


John Franklin—Contributing Writer; john@thehardwareconnection.com
John has more than 40 years experience in hardware retailing.He held various management positions in hardlines categories at Sears over 17 years. More recently John spent 21 years at Williams Lumber, which operates eight home centers in upstate New York. His duties included store manager and later merchandise manager. He also served as district manager/retail consultant for Ace Hardware Corp.

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