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(House)wares It Well

Innovation, technology and the intersection of food and food prep will be key themes at the 2017 International Home + Housewares Show.


For grocery retailers that want to stay ahead of the competition, the International Home + Housewares Show is an essential event. 

“As consumers’ choices for where to purchase groceries grow, so does the consumers’ willingness to purchase non-food items in a grocery environment,” says Perry Reynolds, vice president, global trade development for Rosemont, Ill.-based International Housewares Association (IHA), the show’s owner and operator. “And as all supermarket buyers know, the profit to be had in housewares is a significant contributor to the bottom line.”

From March 18-21 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, 2,200 exhibitors from around the world, including 400 new companies exhibiting for the first time, will show their wares. Officials for IHA say the size of this year’s show has exceeded last year’s exhibit space square footage—a sign, they say, of the importance of the show, especially for the grocery channel. 

Many of the exhibitors agree. 

“General merchandise has proven to be highly profitable for the modern grocer, who can stay in touch with consumers’ needs as they shop for daily necessities,” says Tom Barber, senior vice president of product development for Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based Bradshaw International. “In the area of food prep, the natural pairing of groceries and the tools required to cook at home is a given, and more important than ever as the kitchen is still the most active part of the house that brings families together.” 

The best example of that natural paring will be on display at the Cooking Theater, which will feature celebrity chefs demonstrating their cooking techniques in presentations each show day. Some of the chefs that will be presenting include: Rick Bayless (Saturday, March 18 at 12:30); Tyler Florence (Sunday, March 19 at 11 a.m.); Paula Deen (Monday, March 20 at 11 a.m.); and Geoffery Zakarian (Monday, March 20 at 2 p.m.).     

There is always something new to see at any given International Home + Housewares Show. Reynolds says this year’s most exciting addition will be the IHA Smart Home Pavilion, a display in the Hall of Global Innovation that will illuminate the progress the industry has made in supporting the smart home revolution. “Experts in the smart home/connected products arena will be on hand to answer questions at the pavilion,” he says. “In addition, exhibitors throughout the show that have smart or connected products in their booth will have signage highlighting them for buyers.”

Not to be forgotten is the show floor where exhibitors—such as the ones featured below—display their latest and greatest products. 

Big Time Products


Big Time Products is fully committed to growing its business as a partner in hand protection and umbrellas. “I want visitors to walk out of our booth saying, ‘I do not need to worry about my results in the categories I stock Big Time Products,’” says Tim Stapleton, president of U.S. and international sales for the Rome, Ga.-based company.

Though Big Time Products is just 14 years old, it does business with more than 100,000 retailers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico—and it is growing. Stapleton says growth is occuring at double-digit rates annually. He credits the growth to the use of best practices in distribution, logistic, IT, design and sales. 

“Supporting our customers is our No. 1 goal,” he says.

Bradshaw International 


From food prep tools and gadgets, to cookware, bakeware and food storage, Bradshaw International offers just about everything a home cook could need.  Bradshaw’s big reveal at the show will be its entry into the hydration market. GoBottle is a complete line of plastic drink bottles and insulated stainless steel drink mugs that will be marketed under Bradshaw’s flagship GoodCook brand. 

“The GoBottle hydration system was designed to appeal to first adopters who aren’t afraid to try new brands or expand their choices in order to meet their everyday needs at work, school, the gym or with the family,” says Barber. 

The collection includes 25 SKUs in many popular sizes, and is designed to appeal to Millennials and the trend toward personal hydration. The acrylic bottles come with a variety of drinking lids, including straw sippers, biker-style squeeze valves, lockable chuggers and dual-sided openings. A stainless steel selection offers pro grade performance and vacuum insulation technology that keeps hot liquids hot for up to eight hours on some bottles and cold liquids cold for up to 24 hours on others. A Growler-style beer jug and wine-chilling tumbler is also part of the collection. 

Butler Home Products


As a diverse supplier, Butler Home Products officials say the Hudson, Mass.-based company creates solutions for its retail partners. “We can be that one-stop shop supplier across many categories,” says Michael Silverman, senior vice president. 

Butler will be showcasing all of its main business units at this year’s International Home + Housewares Show. Silverman says Butler will feature new product offerings in a multiple of categories, including cleaning tools, sponges, household gloves, laundry accessories and lint products. 

He adds that the company’s goal at the show is “to continue to explain the value-add we can supply to our customers. For more than 70 years, we have been a trusted partner to our retail customers and, as we continue to grow, we have more to offer.”

Cool Gear International


Visitors to Cool Gear International’s booth should feel quite comfortable. That’s because the Plymouth, Mass.-based company will unveil a new booth that resembles a home.   

“As you flow through the ‘home,’ you see all the different areas that Cool Gear plays in, from kids hydration and lunch bags, to tabletop and food storage, to backyard novelty items,” says Tracy Wilson, senior product manager, hydration. “We hope that attendees see the breadth of the brand and leave with a smile as they see the vibrant approach that Cool Gear has bought to the hydration market.”   

That approach includes the launch of several products such as: the Callisto chiller, an upgrade to the chiller introduced in 2010; the Zeus Protein Shaker, a two-stage sports hydration bottle that releases a mixing ball and protein powder from the patent pending lid into the 21-ounce bottle with the twist of a dial; and System Series bottles, a
line that includes eight single-wall and double-wall insulated BPA-free hydration bottles and three modular caps that create 24 custom bottles.

Wahl Clipper Corp.


Wahl Clipper Corp. is focusing its energy on creating a lineup of shavers for the mass market. The shaver line consists of the LifeProof Shaver, which is specially designed for on-the-go. Steven Yde, vice president marketing, NAC Div. for the Sterling, Ill.-based company, says it is gym bag tough with the ability to run for more than an hour and has a one minute quick charge. The Speed Shave Rechargeable is a lithium ion wet/dry waterproof foil shaver with Speedflex precision foils for shaving, trimming and wet or dry shaving with a precision ground trimmer blade. The Smart Shave has all the abilities of the other two shavers, along with a smart LED system that informs users of exactly how many shaves are left.  

In addition to the line of shavers, Wahl will introduce the Comfort Grip Pro hair clipper kit. “This new kit features all the power of our regular clippers in a compact body,” says Yde. “We have spent several years researching and developing a new attachment guard system that will create an even better experience for end users.”

​Whink Products Co.


Whink Products Co. is celebrating 70 years of manufacturing U.S.-made specialty household products. Steve Throssel, CEO of the Eldora, Iowa-based company, says Whink provides professional strength products engineered for safe use in the home. 

“By visiting our sales team, retailers will witness Whink’s positive ‘can-do’ approach with flexibility on promotions that move product through the register,” says Throssel. 

One of Whink’s fastest growing products is its new Professional Strength Lime and Rust Remover, which Throssel says contains a formula that can be used on a wide range of surfaces. It is available in a 32-ounce bottle for value-conscious consumers, while bringing a larger option to retailers.      

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