Wallace Hardware kicked off its annual Dealer Market and Trade Show Thursday and there is one thing they hope dealers and vendors come away with for the three-day event.
It’s hard to describe, said Doyle Wallace, president of Wallace Hardware.
But, quite simply, it’s the “Magic of the Show.”
“There’s magic at this show,” he said. “But it’s nothing we can put on paper. I can’t define what the magic is. It’s the ambiance. It’s the extra things we do to tell the dealer you’re special and we want to make you special by doing business together.”
Wallace Hardware has been conducting the trade show for 53 years, Wallace said. It started when John D. Wallace, Doyle’s father, held the first one at the warehouse of Wallace Hardware. At that time, shelving was pushed into a corner, while dealers and vendors set up booths.
“When you’re poor country folks, you got to start small and that’s how we started,” Wallace said.
The shows have been at various locations including Walters State Community College. The event moved into the Leconte Center in Pigeon Forge five years ago.
Each year, independent hardware stores and lumber yards converge to the event.
They network, gain education about new products and buy for the upcoming year. It’s also a time for Wallace Hardware to show their appreciation.
This year, Kentucky Mine Supply, based out of Harlan, Kentucky, won the coveted Paul L. Cosgrave Memorial Award. The award is given each year to Wallace Hardware’s affiliate stores PRO Hardware and is named after the company’s founder. The award is given to a retailer showing great dedication to effective hardware merchandising.
Until noon Friday, there will be a series of workshops, as well as prizes given.
The opening ceremony of the trade show began 3 p.m. Thursday with videos of stores talking about Wallace Hardware and especially how Wallace Hardware’s resets helped improve their store’s performance. A reset is when the store is reorganized to help market different products.
Wallace said they offer resets to the stores and it’s something that should be done every five to seven years.
Kentucky Mine Supply was then honored. At 4 p.m., Wallace rang the bell, opening the trade show and hundreds of dealers and vendors walked into the event hall to browse the wares.
One big thing for this year’s show is Big 5 prizes, Wallace said. They are prizes that will help the stores, such as a forklift or a $5,000 cash prize to help the store do a reset.
“We want them to go away with, ‘I leave the show knowing Wallace Hardware is doing what it can to help us be successful in business,’” Wallace said.