House-Hasson Hardware returned to an in-person market with a bang, setting attendance records with its “Think Spring” dealer market, held January 13-14 at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.
“This is the best show I can ever remember,” said Steve Henry, House-Hasson president and CEO. “Our dealers really expressed a desire to go back to in-person markets and they showed up in big numbers.”
“Dealers use our buying specials’ prices to help make their margins. We also get a chance to visit and spend time together, and that’s important,” said Henry. More than 50 new vendors were on hand to show off their product innovations and vendors were raving about the strong sales they were experiencing throughout the show.
House-Hasson’s January market in Nashville is traditionally the company’s best attended, because dealers like the city’s central location and entertainment options, as well as the splendor and amenities of the Opryland Hotel.
The company unveiled a new logo last June and has been introducing that refreshed look with new wraps for its delivery trailers. The new trailer wrap was on display in the pallet aisle. “It was a good time to give our trailers a new, updated look that is more appealing,” said Taylor Hasson, vice president of marketing.
Sean and Rene Brownell of Lake Hardware & Feed in Lake Park, Ga., were at the show to take advantage of deep discounts on regular items and to seek out new products that are a fit for their fast-growing community. “We go to all the markets and always have fun,” Rene said.
The January market kicked off Thursday, January 12 with four seminars in the afternoon. They featured Valspar, 1-800-REPAIRS, a retirement program for retailers from Voya and New Media Retailer outlining the benefits of the website program they offer to House-Hasson dealers and other independents.
During his seminar, Keegan Edwards, New Media Retailer’s president, told retailers in attendance that most of them get thousands of local customers looking at their online presence each month. “Your website either works for you or against you. It attracts customers or deters them. It shows up at the top of Google or is buried behind the big boxes and e-retailers. It encourages customers to shop in your store or sends them away,” he said.
Edwards noted that in 2020, 93 percent of U.S. consumers searched online for local businesses, with 73 percent searching weekly. “Can local customers find you? It’s a tactic big boxes and e-retailers have used for years to convert local customers to them,” he said, adding that “hardware store near me” is a frequent search request.
Analytics can be a guiding light for retailers who adopt their website program, Edwards pointed out. “You get a monthly report that tells you progress and growth and shows what’s being viewed and searched for on your site. You’ll see how your online presence is driving people to your store.”
House-Hasson, America’s largest independent regional distributor serving hardware stores and lumberyard dealers, is the only wholesaler to host three in-person dealer markets a year. It has dealer markets scheduled for June 16-17 and October 6-7 in Sevierville, Tenn.