The National Hardware Show, held every August in Chicago, is one
of the biggest shows for the building industry. Traditionally it's
where tool manufacturers introduce their new lines, but at this
year's show, several major manufacturers were conspicuous by their
absence. It is clear that the industry is changing.
Undoubtedly, economic pressure from big-box
distribution has been heating up the already
fierce competition and, most likely, changing the marketing and distribution
strategies of some manufacturers. How companies that were absent, such as
Bosch, DeWalt, and Hitachi, will unveil their new tools remains to be seen.
The manufacturers' reps who did attend seemed to place an emphasis on
providing innovative tools, with