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Hardscape North America recap

Attendance for HNA, an Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) event, and GIE+EXPO jumped 11 percent this year, with more than 10,500 landscape and hardscape professionals in attendance. In its 10th year and in its new, expanded location taking over the entire North Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center, HNA exhibits increased 18.5 percent, including 72 new exhibiting companies. HNA and GIE+EXPO were held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky., October 20-22. Once again, co-locating with GIE+Expo (Green Industry & Equipment Expo) provided HNA attendees with over 676,000 net square feet of indoor exhibits (or the size of 14 football fields) and 20 acres of demo space in the Outdoor Demonstration Area.

Dealers were highlighted this year as the term “Year of the Dealer” was coined. Specifically, Dealer Day programs were enhanced to provide dealers even more opportunities to jump-start their businesses. Judy Guido presented the Dealer Program titled “The Profitable Dealer” with a new format that included a round table of industry experts. The Dealer Keynote, sponsored by Gravely and STIHL, drew over 500 participants to hear best-selling author Jason Dorsey,”The Gen Y Guy,” discuss how to sell across generations. Following the program, dealer participants were invited onto the show floor for the always popular Dealer Day, the exclusive sneak peek for dealers to see the show before it opens to the industry and have one-on-one networking time with exhibitors.

Hardscape contractors, as well as landscape contractors, also had tremendous opportunity at this year’s trade show to watch and learn as Bill Gardocki and his team led a continuous build in the Hardscape Outdoor Arena. Contractors also had an opportunity to attend new contractor briefings in HNA’s first-ever trade show floor classroom.

The fifth year of the HNA Installer Championships proved to be the biggest one yet with 24 teams competing from the United States and Canada.In the first year of Regional Installer Championships, held in four cities prior to HNA, four winning teams were selected to move on to the competition. The winners of the Regional Championships were awarded free airfare and hotel accommodations at HNA 2016 and a chance to compete in the National Installer Championship. Twenty four teams then competed in the four preliminary rounds with the four highest scoring teams moving on to the final Championship round at HNA. The Hardscape North America Installer Champion was then named. Oak Leaf Landscaping of Danville, Ohio emerged as this year’s winner.

The HNA awards, which were presented during a recognition reception on Oct. 20, drew over 100 entries. There were 15 awards presented and 15 honorable mentions. The winning entries are available at www.hardscapena.com.

Several HNA attendees walked out of the Kentucky Exposition Center on Friday a little wealthier including James Widdecombe from Wethersfield, CT who was drawn as the $10,000 Fabulous Friday Giveaway winner. The giveaway was sponsored by Belgard Hardscapes.

HNA’s co-location with GIE+EXPO makes it part of the lawn and landscape industry’s largest trade show. GIE+EXPO attendance was also up in 2016, with more than 22,600 attendees, a 12% increase over the previous year. Thirty three percent of dealer and 44% of lawn and landscape attendees were first timers.

The dates for the 2017 show in Louisville are Oct. 18 for dealers, distributors, retailers and media and Oct. 19-20 for everyone in the industry. The Demo Area will be open Thursday and Friday, Oct. 19 and 20. HNA, which first co-located with GIE+EXPO seven years ago, has an agreement to co-locate through 2018.

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