On the road

It’s been a busy summer and fall for HCN: Its editorial staff was taken to many corners of the great United States in pursuit of emerging brands and game-changing products. We were happy to see many industry heavyweights at several of the big trade shows this year, as well as a few hidden gems in the home improvement aisle. From old favorites to promising newcomers, here are a few highlights from the reporter’s notebook.

Valspar Paint 

Seen in Orlando, Fla. (at the Ace Convention)

A star of the Ace Convention was Valspar, and its new deal to supply the co-op with paint, including Clark + Kensington. Valspar also factors heavily in Ace’s new $75 million Paint Studio initiative, launching in May 2014. (valsparpaint.com)

Rust-Oleum NeverWet

Seen in Boston (at the Orgill Dealer Market)

Pro tip: To stand out at your next market event, come up with a silver bullet for all moisture-related woes. NeverWet stakes its claim to fame via its ability to create a moisture-repelling barrier that protects metal, wood, aluminum, galvanized metal, PVC, concrete, masonry, asphalt, vinyl siding, fiberglass, canvas, most plastics and more. (rustoleum.com)

NyloBoard NyloDeck Wood Alternative

Seen in Nashville, Tenn. (at the ProDealer Industry Summit)

Nyloboard’s composite wood alternative was on display as a wood slab culminating in a snarl of carpet fiber. What’s the big idea? The wood alternative is actually made of recycled carpet fiber that resists rot, swelling, water, mold, mildew, termites and stains. (nyloboard.com)

Shop-Vac Tool Mate

Seen in Boston (at the Orgill Dealer Market)

It’s part wet-dry vac, part tool box. The Shop-Vac Tool Mate combines two functions in a single portable unit, and the vacuum detaches easily from the toolbox. All the hoses and accessories fit nicely in the lid. (shopvac.com)

Sunshine Mills Pet Food

Seen in Indianapolis (at the Do it Best Market)

A household name among the four-legged nationwide, Sunshine Mills was in attendance in Indianapolis, showcasing its farm and feed selections. These pet treats put a premium on nutrition, dental health and an absence of additives. (sunshinemills.com)

Makita Impact Gold bits

Seen in Las Vegas (at the STAFDA Trade Show)

The market was begging for a new gold standard in impact driving, and Makita answered with a collection of insert bits that are made to stand up to the increased power of high-torque impact drivers, last up to 10 times longer and provide superior fit. (makitatools.com)

Erickson Big Bed 

Seen in Marco Island, Fla. (at the DA/PRO Group Executive Planning Conference)

Thinking outside the box — or the truck bed — is best left to Erickson, which created the Big Bed for safer handling of extra-long loads. It extends 4 ft. from the receiver and can handle up to 400 lbs of distributed weight. (ericksonmfg.com)

DAP XHose Pro

Seen in Indianapolis (at the Do it Best Market)

No one appreciates an unwieldy hose, which made XHose Pro a surefire standout at Do it Best. The tough, multi-layered material — now with solid brass fittings — expands up to twice its length when water is turned on, only to contract back when the job is done. (xhosepro.com)

Delta Toilets

Seen in Indianapolis (at the Do it Best Market)

Delta has mastered the art of showcasing product technology. Touting WaterSense labels, SmartFit Tank-to-Bowl Connection, SmartFit Supply Line and even an EZ Out Toilet Removal Kit, the product was a new draw in Indianapolis. (deltafaucet.com)

Bissell Carpet Cleaners

Seen in Chicago (at the True Value Reunion)

Here to remind us that rentals aren’t just for tractors and heavy construction equipment, Bissell showed up at multiple markets to tout its carpet cleaners and their many surface options and specialized models. (bissell.com)

Hyde Tools Optimum Ellipse LS Paint Brush

Seen in Boston (at the Orgill Dealer Market)

The Optimum Ellipse is made with microfilament polyester to promote a smooth finish. The oval shape carries more paint than the standard shape, and increases brushing efficiency for most heavy-duty projects. (hydestore.com)

Wet & Forget 

Seen in New York City (at the IHA Affordable Innovation Event)

It’s exactly what it sounds like, only now in a much-demanded shower-safe product. Wet & Forget Indoor and Shower are designed to bring the same zero-effort mold and mildew reckoning to moisture-prone indoor spaces. (wetandforget.com)

Roxul Stone Wool 

Seen in Nashville, Tenn. (at the PDIS)

In what was arguably the hottest product display at PDIS, Roxul turned the flame onto its stone wool insulation in a bid to prove its unyielding fire resistance. Also water-repellant and sound-absorbent, the insulation features a high R-value and an uncommon resistance to environmental hazards. (roxul.com)

Kwikset Kevo

Seen in Boston (at the Orgill Dealer Market)

With Kevo, if your smartphone is in your pocket or purse, you can open the door by touching the lock with your finger. Even smarter: The homeowner can send an electronic eKey to a visitor. Smarter still: Kevo always knows when the phone is inside, so it won’t open for strangers. A key fob will also do the trick. (kwikset.com)

Nature’s Recipe Dog Food

Seen in Chicago (at the True Value Reunion)

Nature’s Recipe stakes its claim on being wise to natural ingredients before organic diets were adopted into the mainstream. Its dog and cat food eschews corn, wheat and artificial flavors for wholesome, protein-rich recipes. (naturesrecipe.com)