The Hub of Hardware

The 2019 Hardware Show took place in Dublin’s Citywest Convention Centre on the 17th and 18th of February. Sponsored by Intact Software, the event was commended by some exhibitors as “the best show ever!”. 

The 2019 Hardware Show was by many accounts a massive hit, with over 160 suppliers exhibiting over the course of the two-day event with 2000 trade visitors from across the country. HAI kicked-off the show on Sunday morning with a very special guest, Irish rugby prop, Cian Healy. Healy’s hunger for hardware was highlighted to HAI by a tweet that he’d posted pre-Christmas 2018 saying that he’d “really enjoy it if he could do all of his Christmas shopping in a hardware store.” Cian was shown around the vibrant and eclectic stands of The Hardware Show by HAI CEO, Annemarie Harte, and HAI President, Sean Moran, who were both keen to introduce the sports star to as many exhibitors as possible.

Stories and laughs were exchanged as Healy made his way around each individual stand at the event, stopping for a photograph and a chat with excited show attendees and exhibitors. An avid knife-maker himself, Healy was right at home in the surroundings of the multitude of products on display at the show, from tools to clothing, paint to insulation and everything in between.

The Hardware Journal took to the show floor to speak with exhibitors and attendees about their experiences with The Hardware Show and to ask them why they were there.
We received many great testimonials from exhibitors, who explained that the show was an excellent networking tool, as well as a way to keep on top of the latest product developments in the hardware industry amongst other things.

Emma Duffy from headline sponsor Intact Software gave her take on the show, saying, “The entire Intact team are delighted to be the sponsor of The Hardware Show for 2019. We’ve been working not only with merchants, but also with distributors in the hardware industry for the last 26 years, so this always feels like home. For us, it’s a great place to network with our existing customers, to meet people in the trade and obviously to generate new business. This is our main trade show that we will always attend, it’s a great show for Intact. Hardware Association Ireland are a dream to work with and the whole thing has been fantastic.”

Foreign representation at the show was as strong as ever. The Italian Pavilion at the show served as an indicator of the powerful intercontinental business ties that Irish companies have been developing for many years. Coming from Germany, Klaus Raaf of OHRA Racking Systems explained the benefits of attending The Hardware Show, saying, “We meet a lot of new customers, old customers and existing customers and resellers at the show. It’s not
the first time we’ve participated here; I think we started about 10 years ago, and we appreciate it very much, because we encounter a lot of potential business on this platform. It’s very exciting for us.”

Danish company, Mascot Workwear were also represented at the show by Ed Sweeney. Ed was quick to comment on the early successes that he’d experienced at the show, saying, “Even though we’re only four hours in, we’ve had some fantastic people come up to the stand. It’s a real success for us so far, to the point that we already know that we’re going to be coming back. We’ve had a team of people come over from our headquarters in Denmark to help us build a quality stand, all with the intention of achieving a better level of distribution.”

Closer to home, John Finn of Wavin Ireland recognised the business advantages that the show presents, saying, “It’s a great benefit for us to be at a show like this and we’ve invested a lot of time and effort to come here and promote our products. HAI and ourselves work very well together throughout the year. With their connections to the builders merchants and end-users, we meet quite a few of our customers from all over the country at this show. It’s a very good show to be able to display our wares, and long may it continue.”

Amongst the regular show exhibitors, there were many first-timers at the show. Dylan Cahill of Finsa Forest Products mentioned the significant exposure that a show like this gives to newer companies. He said, “We’re a new company to this show, so it’s a great chance to see our customers here. Also, people get to know our company a bit better. We’ve seen a lot of existing customers here already and we’ve spotted a lot of potential new business and new customers at this early stage. It’s definitely a good choice to be here.”

Show attendees were greeted upon entry with goody bags, which included product samples from exhibitors, HAI stationery and a comprehensive voucher booklet with various discounts for products that were on display throughout the show. There were lots of happy faces to be seen ambling the show floor, inundated with bags of product samples and literature for later inspection over a cup of coffee and a free lunch, provided by HAI.

It was clear that interactivity was a priority for exhibitors at this year’s Hardware Show. From the hands-on Dulux Roller Tester, which allowed attendees to visualise their chosen colours in their true form, to Bostik’s Kick and Stick football stand, along with a pool table at the ARC Building Products stand, the bar is steadily being raised for exhibitors each time The Hardware Show rolls around.

Additionally, companies were keen to show off their products in practical use, with stands like Gardena displaying their robotic lawnmower in action.

In the evening of Sunday 17th February, The President’s Ball took place at Citywest Hotel. At the event, over 460 key figures in the hardware industry welcomed Sean Moran into his new position as HAI President. The event is an opportunity for HAI members to gather together and socialise as well as to network. This year’s Ball gave workwear brands a
chance to showcase their clothing lines, with the first ‘Workwear Fashion Show’ taking place on the night. The fashion show included products from Origo, Portwest and Snickers Workwear.

The busy evening continued with the presentation of the 2019 Innovation Awards. The awards were presented by judging panel chairman, presenter of Home of the Year and architect, Hugh Wallace, and the list of winners can be viewed below.

The evening concluded with a thrilling performance from Irish music group Sephira, and delegates got to dance the night away with the Conor McKeon Band.

HAI CEO, Annemarie Harte, said ‘We’re delighted with the response both from exhibitors and visitors to this year’s Show. The commitment by our exhibitors to continually improving and investing in their stands and raising the product bar through the Innovation Awards is a great indicator for the future of the industry’.

Innovation Awards 2019 Winners

Overall Product Winner
Winner: Elite Form (Elite Fencing) – The Kilally Fence

GARDEN
Elite Form (Elite Fencing) – The Kilally Fence
Commended: National Agrochemical Distributors Ltd – Viano MO Bacter Instant 2L

HOME
Winner: McLoughlin RS – Minky M Cloth Non-Scratch Anti-Bacterial Cleaning Pad

HARDWARE/DIY
Winner: Henkel Ltd – Click & Fix
Highly Commended: Hightower Painting Products Ltd – Hightower Painting System
Commended: Dulux Paints Ireland – Dulux Roller Tester

BUILD
Winner: DS Supplies Ltd – Adjustable Hole Cutter c/w Heavy Duty Dust Collector
Commended: Botament MC Building Chemicals – Botament PF1 Pavement Revive

BEST NEW IRISH PRODUCT
Hightower Painting Products Ltd – Hightower Painting System

BEST SUPPLIER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Glennon Brothers