Wednesday, June 30, 2010

GoPro's Universal Stair Bracket System

Part of Our “Best of NHS Products & Innovations” Series…

“The universal stair bracket is to this decade what the joist hanger was to the 70's.” - Steve Peplin, President of GoPro Construction Solutions

Our “Best of…” series from the National Hardware Show continues this week
with a better way to build stairs, according to GoPro Construction Solutions, who introduced the universal stair bracket. This bracket system was designed by Canadian master carpenter Eric Gobeil as an attempt to save builders time, money and headaches. With pre-stamped measurements on each bracket, the system was created to reduce effort spent measuring and marking the stringers as one builds a staircase. Screwing the steel brackets into the wood stringers compared to nailing wood to wood for conventional stairs is likely to result in less squeaking and, ultimately, a stronger staircase. The brackets also meet all state building codes and accommodate all rises, runs and pitches. It seems virtually mistake-proof to us…and that is why we are so fond of this product. GoPro Construction markets these stair brackets to U.S. stair manufacturers, lumber yards, home centers and construction hardware stores, but for more information, simply visit

Consumer magazine and website editors, this is a means to sharing one of the most unique products with your DYI readers. The bracket system permits DYIers to easily install stairs on their own for the first time. – Trade media members, we believe that retailers, builders and contractors would find a product profile with images of great help, given their ongoing need for products that help expedite their projects and jobs.

~ Sarah Kate

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sears Blue Tool Crew

Part of Our “Best of NHS Products & Innovations” Series…

As readers of our blog might recall from an earlier post, we previewed some features of Sears Blue Tool Crew following our time at the National Hardware Show. We mentioned the company’s obvious fresh spin on customer service with Social Media networking and the new Click-to-Call element on the Sears Blue Tool Crew website. These are the efforts Sears is making to enable its customers more interaction with the tools and brands the company carries. And, Sears carries a robust selection of power and hand tools, more than 30,000 tools from 400 national brands like Craftsman and the newest in-store addition, Hitachi.
The National Hardware Show was the venue at which Sears announced the addition of Hitachi products to the shelves of its vast tool department. Hitachi’s high-powered HXP lithium-ion battery technology proves the superior and innovative design for which the brand is known. This HXP battery technology is featured in many of Hitachi’s power tools like the Micro Series’ Driver Drill and Screwdriver, both of which provide exceptional results in smaller packaging. A great thing about a new line like Hitachi merging into the Sears family of products is that the Blue Tool Crew will be available to provide expert advice and service to customers using not only the Hitachi tools, but also all Sears tools in general.

Blue Tool Crew members serve many roles to customers, a matchmaker between shopper and the perfect screwdriver, a knowledgeable expert on drill bits, even a middle person for a consumer’s pick-up order. Customers can order online then drive to the nearest store, and a Blue Tool Crew member will deliver the order within five minutes, the “Guaranteed in 5” service. We love how available these services are for online shoppers as well. The Click-to-Call feature on the website connects to a Blue Tool Crew member either by allowing the shopper to dial 1-877-4BLUCRW or request a call back. Or, people can tap into Blue Tool Crew’s Facebook, Twitter or YouTube for engaging ways to become tool experts.

Sears’ Blue Tool Crew is making high-level products coupled with information and support readily available online, by phone and in person. This modern system of interfacing with customers is unique to the industry, and it addresses today’s younger demographic of homeowners who face their days in a hurry, with too much to do, and not enough time in which to do it. In short, the best part of the Blue Tool Crew is super-fast product information in real time and easy-to-get help from real people.

In our day-to-day article writing for editors and ongoing public relations work in the home, garden, design, homewares, and hardware categories, we have experienced various branded programs intended to supply product information and relational support to customers. But, none has been quite as impressive or wide-ranging as the Blue Tool Crew. Our hats are off to the folks behind the brand and this truly innovative initiative, which is why it was an easy decision for us to include the Blue Tool Crew in our “Best of Products & Innovations” series. – Editors and producers, comment below or contact us with your feedback and questions. The Blue Tool Crew would make for a solid expert resource to share with your readers, listeners or viewers.

~ Don and Jeff

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Clear Choice

Part of Our “Best of NHS Products & Innovations” Series…

We continue our series by showcasing a viable, safe and eco-friendly alternative to traditional herbicides called Clear Choice. And, during the summer season of cookouts and backyard play, the last thing consumers want to worry about is pesky weeds or the harsh spray covering their yards. The brainchild of Petro Canada Lubricants, Inc. (The world's largest manufacturer of white oils), Clear Choice offers lawn and garden consumers the option to effectively knock out over 60 types of tough broadleaf weeds with a spray that has dramatically reduced chemical loads.

With more and more lawn and garden consumers aware of the harmful dangers that chemicals in weed killers exude, Petro-Canada developed the Clear Choice formula with pure synthetic isoparaffins and technologically advanced surfactants. This means that the smaller particle size formulation allows for easier absorption by the pores of the weeds, making Clear Choice as effective as traditional herbicides. And, the low odor of the spray and the ergonomic design of the bottle are two additional features that make us enamored with Clear Choice.

~ Jeff

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shade Made Easy

Part of Our “Best of NHS Products & Innovations” Series…

Innovative quality shade at value prices. That is the tagline for the Shade Made Easy umbrella products: easyFlex, easySide and easyUpDown. These three shade solutions feature Shade Made Easy’s simple opening and closing technology as well as quality materials. The combination of superior manufacturing and beautiful design makes creating shade in any outdoor environment a breeze. In particular, these shade options are value-priced, making them quite attainable for homeowners. So, retailers, distributors and dealers, take note of these fantastic products from the National Hardware Show. I am sure you will be hearing a lot more about them in the near future.

The easyFlex wall umbrella allows for sun protection all day long and then conveniently folds right against any wood, brick or concrete to which it is attached, maximizing outdoor space and making winter storage hassle-free. Space-saving when needed, this umbrella product truly is shade made easy, as it allows for shade even when the sun changes position throughout the day.

Next, the easySide umbrella collapses above standard table height and requires one quick touch to open or close, making it a functional addition to patios. Whether used for a lounging area by a pool or to cover an outdoor dining space, the open-close motion supplies versatility and ease-of-use.

Finally, there is the easyUpDown wood umbrella. With its Indosian hardwood pole, quick-touch design and square or round canopy top, easyUpDown is made to fit any standard table or to stand alone. For beachside homes or just in the back yard, the basic up-down function is often most practical and necessary. This option is convenient and offers a touch of elegance as compared to so many umbrella selections on the market.

Based upon the shade product feedback we receive from our media contacts, we believe this “Best of…” will hold high interest for editors and their readers. And, see Shade Made Easy’s website,, for more information and options for fabric and color.

For those interested in a higher-end designer and more fashion forward shade line, ShadeScapes Americas provides North American luxury home and contract markets with designer shade solutions, – Media members, comment here or contact us through phone or email with any questions or for high-resolution images.

~ Sarah Kate

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rapid Tools

Part of Our “Best of NHS Products & Innovations” Series…

We continue our “Best of”
reviews for products and innovations from the National Hardware Show last month with an invention from Rapid Tools called the The Rapid Shark. Aptly named, this ferocious tool combines a utility knife and wire stripper into one. The knife and stripper have been cleverly combined in a rugged yet ergonomic case, about the size of a standard utility knife, with a one-button blade change feature and storage in the body for four blades total. Wow! Rapid Tools has definitely made The Rapid Shark a worthwhile tool to have inside any toolbox. We also have to note the two different models available, the original Shark with stripping holes for AWG 10-18 wires and the Big Bite Shark for larger AWG 6-12 wires.
With a whimsical design yet powerful features, what an amazing product spotlight this tool could be for any interested editors! And readers, feel free to leave any thoughts below. – Next week, we have a few pretty incredible hardware and homeware products to feature, so stay tuned.

~ Sarah Kate

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Black Flag’s Home Insect Control

Part of Our “Best of NHS Products & Innovations” Series…

As many of you already know, we spent time blogging and writing articles about “Sneak Peeks” for the National Hardware Show that took place in Las Vegas, NV, May 4-6. While there, we scoured the trade show floors to develop a long list of products and innovations to share with everyone as our newest series titled, “Best of Products & Innovations”. With interviews we have conducted along with in-person and online research on the part of our team, we’ve narrowed our selections down to feature some remarkable items. Our showcase begins today with…Black Flag brands.

Black Flag introduced us to its powerful new indoor / outdoor pest control formula in a 1.33-gallon high-performance pump spray that protects against more than 40 different pests. We found it to seem easy, affordable, and most importantly, effective.

The pump spray boasts a 10-minute continuous spray after just a dozen or so pumps. The concentrate itself is not only fragrance-free but also non-staining, so it can be used indoors as well. This saves a homeowner the costs of hiring outside pest control services, since to spray with the Home Insect Control product costs less than 20 dollars, incredibly affordable for any DIYer. With this product, the company has made pest control easy and doable for homeowners, even those with a fear of the little critters.

For more information, visit – Members of the media, let us know your questions or feedback.

And, stay tuned for more “Best ofs…” from the National Hardware Show.

~ Don & Jeff

Friday, June 4, 2010

More than Just a Garden Hose

One of the notable things This Old House does extremely well is reinvent household, home ware and hardware items. Its TV hosts and magazine / online editors and writers are exemplary at finding alternative uses for common household objects. The case in point refers to a common garden hose and 10 creative uses for it, other than its typical function of watering. Some of this article’s highlights for us include the “Gird the Garage” and the “Grip Buckets” (pictured below) tips.

To protect a car and a garage from unavoidable dents and dings from a driver-in-training, This Old House suggests screwing lengths of hose at bumper level to absorb the blow. And then, note how handy a hose can be as a better grip for a bucket handle. TOH contributor Jeanne Huber even shares her idea of linking hoses to relocate an outdoor spigot to a convenient location.

We hope other editors and home improvement industry leaders are as enamored with these pointers as we are. See the rest of the article:,,1607708,00.html

The TOH article is one incredible example of ingenuity with products for homeowners. Nice job, TOH!We have some additional “tips” ideas based upon other, similar products. - Members of the media, for a unique set of tips related to home wares and hardware exclusive for your readers or viewers, contact us anytime. Our mix of clients and sources could make for a great new article of tips with exclusive content.

~Sarah Kate