• STIHL KMA 80 R

    STIHL KMA 80 R

    • Includes 14 optional attachments that are interchangeable between both KombiMotors.
    • Runs on a brushless motor for a virtually maintenance-free experience.
    • Versatile, able to perform a wide range of yard maintenance tasks with one powerhead.
    • Max speed of 7,000 RPM for powerful performance.
    • Adjustable front handle can be moved 360 degrees for comfort during any yard work.
    • Quick-release coupling system allows for easy switches between Kombi attachments.
    • Able to be quickly dismantled for easy transport and storage and reassembled without tools.
    • Multi-function control handle provides easy access to all controls.
    • Loop handle mounted on shaft provides support and to control the machine in different positions.



  • R2-D2 Popcorn Maker

    A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a man named George Lucas created one of the most successful movie franchises in cinema history—”Star Wars.” He set a 2012 Guinness World Record for film merchandising success and earned $4.05 billion after selling the rights to Disney. The movie franchise has become so popular that May 4th is celebrated as “Star Wars Day,” as a spinoff of the movie’s popular saying, “May the Force be with you.”

    If you watched the news this May 4th, you most likely saw Star Wars actor Mark Hamill meeting the President and participating in the daily news briefing. The question is:“How do independent hardware stores capitalize on the trend?”

    The answer is the same one Lucas himself discovered: branded merchandise. During the spring markets, I had the opportunity to discover the Uncanny Brands company. Its mission is simple: “to find new ways to bring fun and fandom into everyday life. To make the ordinary (making waffles) into the extraordinary (making waffles in the shape of Bob Ross’ face).” The company offers more than 30 different Star Wars-branded kitchen merchandise ranging from an R2-D2 Popcorn Maker to a Darth Vader Light-Up toaster. Full disclosure: it was the Darth Vader toaster that first caught my attention in the booth.

    A few months later, the company shipped us an R2-D2 Popcorn Maker and toaster for review. The timing was perfect, both personally and professionally. Our May issue was on the horizon, and my 11-year-old son asked to celebrate May 4th by watching a few Star Wars movies. When I told him that not only could we celebrate with a few movies, but we also had an R2-D2 Popcorn Maker to review, I thought his head would explode.

    The officially licensed R2-D2 Popcorn Maker uses hot air to pop 98 percent of the kernels; no oil is required. The popper includes a measuring cup and an inside chute for popped kernels, and R2-D2’s head comes off, creating the bowl. The finished product was an outstanding, fun and healthy snack. The process is so easy that R2-D2 has made us a few additional bowls post-May 4th.

    Retailers are always looking for ways to set their stores apart from the ordinary, and branded merchandise could be one tool. Branded merchandise also helps create potential customer events like a “Build your own Lightsaber Night.”

  • Flame King Propane Refilling Kit and Refillable Tanks

    Having resided in South Florida for over a decade, I’ve witnessed firsthand the varied impacts of tourism on local communities—both beneficial and detrimental. Over time, I’ve developed a strong aversion to single-use products and the waste they generate.

    Each community clean-up invariably uncovers the same assortment of items—beverage containers, Styrofoam (cups, coolers, etc.), and disposable propane cylinders. Once discarded, these cylinders contribute significantly to the waste filling our landfills. Some individuals resort to the risky practice of refilling disposable tanks, a choice with potentially dire consequences.

    Flame King, the leading provider of propane storage solutions, has introduced refillable propane cylinders in the most commonly used sizes, along with a safe refilling system. These refillable tanks boast high-grade steel construction, undergo X-ray and hydrostatic testing, and are powder-coated for enduring exterior protection. Click here for a brief company video.

    Upon receiving samples of Flame King’s refilling kit and refillable tanks in various sizes (quarter, half, and 1 pound), we distributed them to users accustomed to single-use canisters. Initial reactions from the group were marked by astonishment at the sturdiness of the refillable tanks compared to their single-use counterparts. One tester admitted to having previously refilled a single-use canister and feeling fortunate that it hadn’t exploded upon realizing the stark contrast in construction between the two products. All testers reported that the refill process was swift, straightforward, and cost-effective.

    If your store currently offers or utilizes single-use propane canisters, consider adding Flame King’s refillable kit to your inventory. Stores operating in environmentally sensitive areas should consider establishing an exchange program for customers—click here to learn more.

  • Midwest BuildRight Deck Screws

    • Available in handy, resealable contractor pack that includes star-drive bit.
    • Has a Type-17 cutting tip with a sharp, pointed design and cut-out flute to remove waste, allowing a self-drilling function, no pre-drilling required.
    • Ideal deck screw for affordable quality and engineered to be cost-effective.
    • Exterior coating is recommended for treated lumber and outperforms hot-dipped galvanized steel (HDG) deck screws.
    • Coating also protects against the elements, helps prevent corrosion and resists wet weather.
    • Star drive head helps ensure secure, snug placement and prevents stripping of screw heads, slippage or cam-outs.

    Midwest Fastener


  • Pale Blue Rechargeable Batteries

    As a child in the early 1980s, I was surrounded by toys with one common component—replaceable, disposable batteries. I constantly swapped old batteries for new ones, with the discarded battery going into the trash. We even tried various rechargeable options, but everything required additional charging units or the performance was far below average.

    Fast forward to now, and honestly, the landscape has not changed too much. Until Pale Blue, most rechargeable batteries required a bulky recharging kit and provided subpar performance. Pale Blue’s batteries are recharged using a micro-USB port directly on the battery connected via a USB-C cable. Users can expect to charge AAA batteries within an hour or less. Charging time does vary by the battery size and USB power output, with larger batteries taking a few hours. Pale Blue offers a wide selection of rechargeable batteries, including AA, AAA, 9V, C, D, and CR123A.

    Our testers were given a four-pack of AA batteries for review. Each tester referenced the absence of a traditional charger and the convenient design of the sleek four-pack, which includes the USB-C plug. One tester’s comment on the recharging system stood out the most: “Eliminating the bulky charger greatly expands how and where the battery can be used.” He went on to explain it allowed for almost unlimited charging opportunities compared to requiring a dedicated 110-volt device.

    All hardware stores selling batteries should consider adding the Pale Blue line of rechargeable batteries to their inventory. Solving the recharging issue with a common USB-C plug is a potential game changer. 

  • Shübug Active Insect Repellent

    • Repels mosquitoes, ticks and other insects for up to 12 hours with DEET-free ingredients.
    • Active formula idea for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, cycling, fishing, camping or golf.
    • Dries quickly with clean-feel formula that won’t damage fabrics or plastics.
    • Long-lasting protection and doesn’t need to be reapplied during the day unless you go into water.
    • Unlike other insect repellent aerosol sprays, the Shübug 360° Bag-on-Valve (BOV) can be applied from any angle without inhibiting ability to disperse contents.
    • Unscented formula utilizes Picaridin, which is considered comparable to DEET in effectiveness.
    • Available in 5 oz. spray can with attractive in-store merchandising options.



  • Mi-T-M ChoreMaster 3200 and the Work Pro 3200

    • Built-in detergent injector makes washer an ideal choice for cleaning dirt and grime off concrete driveways, siding and vehicles.
    • Includes quick-connect nozzles (15º, 25º) and detergent nozzle along with a 25-foot x 3/8-inch, wire-braided hose.
    • Comes with two-piece, 36-inch lance with professional-grade trigger gun.
    • Warranty of one year for the Mi-T-M pump and three years for the Mi-T-M engine.
    • Durable frame is powder-coated steel and includes 10-inch flat-free tires.
    • Equipped with Mi-T-M Pressure Relief Start, thermal relief value and in-line water strainer.
    • Several accessory options, including hose upgrades, rotating nozzles and 50-foot hose lengths.

    Mi-T-M Corporation


  • Lodge Cast Iron 12-Inch, Love is Like a Butterfly Dolly Parton Skillet

    • Special edition design inspired by Dolly Parton’s music and love for butterflies.
    • Naturally seasoned with 100 percent vegetable oil so cooking surface makes for long-lasting heirloom.
    • Can be used in oven, stove, grill or campfire.
    • Use to back, broil, braise, grill, sauté or sear.
    • Made without PFOA or PTFE for a safer way to cook.
    • Excellent heat retention and even heating.

    Lodge Cast Iron


  • Ultra-Bright Ball Top Light with Solar Panel Option

    • Ball-top light with a 45-foot-long power cord and plug.
    • Includes photo sensor to detect when light should go on.
    • Utilizes eight ultra-bright, 8mm LED light bulbs for complete illumination of flag.
    • Constructed with gold-colored aluminum, the ball top light is durable and withstands weather.
    • Ideal for commercial-grade and residential in-ground flagpoles.
    • Solar-powered, automatic on/off sensor is low maintenance way to ensure flag is illuminated at the right time.

    Valley Forge Flag


  • Shübug Bug Spray

    Safety has always been a fundamental concern for humanity and is constantly evolving. Comparing your childhood to today, you can see the progress. Our family started wearing seatbelts when I was 12, and I remember flying in the smoking section of airplanes. Safety evolution does not stop there but also extends to the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the chemicals we apply to our skin, if any. The last one might have caught you off guard, but your skin is the body’s single largest organ and is absorbent, also known as dermal absorption.

    While spring may bring longer nights, baseball games, and other outdoor activities, it’s also the beginning of mosquito season. Seeking relief from biting insects, we reach for bug spray with little to no thought about which chemicals we apply to our body’s largest organ. The chemical that raises concern is DEET—the active ingredient in many repellent products. Some have started to question whether there are any effects of long-term exposure from daily use. While many companies offer non-DEET repellents, they generally don’t perform as well. At least, that was before Shübug.

    Shübug offers two DEET-free alternatives: Shübug Active and Shübug Natural. The Natural formula is a 100-percent-natural, oil-based blend of coconut MCT and walnut oils. The Active version utilizes picaridin, a compound found in plants used to produce black pepper. The Active version offers 12 hours of protection while the Natural version provides 10 hours of protection.

    The company shipped us both versions—Active and Natural—for testing. Living in south Florida means mosquito season is year-round, which gives us plenty of opportunities to test bug repellents. We supplied our samples to a wide range of testers, including soccer moms and their children, landscapers, and backpackers. All the testers reported similar results to those expected with products containing DEET but without any of the chemicals. The children preferred the Natural version, because it “felt like lotion” and was not “sticky.” One tester said the product “felt light, too, almost non-existent on the skin.”

    When planning your spring product assortments, consider adding these DEET-free products from Shübug, which perform just as well as synthetic products. If it can work in south Florida, it can work in your local market.

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