INDEPENDENT HARDWARE GROUP CONFERENCE COVERAGE T he event proved to be one of the largest gatherings of independents and industry influencers with over 2030 attendees and a buoyant energy present like never before. This was par- ticularly apparent during the business sessions and Awards of Excellence, when members and suppliers came together to hear insights on opportunities for growth under the IHG model and to celebrate the high calibre of retail and trade excellence in the group. Staying true to its theme of ‘Best Store in Town’, the IHG Expo was also a plat- form to showcase the unique character and strength of family businesses to ‘win’ in their respective markets, includ- ing powerful video testimonials from Mitre 10 and HTH members who lever- aged this point of difference. There were ample opportunities for networking with nightly functions put on for guests, including a welcome function held at the picturesque Ad- elaide Oval and an ‘Independence Din- ner’ seated event for 1400 guests on the banks of the River Torrens. Both social events were good reflections of the cul- ture of engagement that is developing within the IHG family. One underlying theme that was par- ticularly noticeable throughout the Expo was the support from members for IHG’s ‘Family Village Tribe’ culture. While a pre- existing concept for the Mitre 10 network, it has recently rolled out to the broader IHG network and now sees 23 village ter- ritories across Australia, where members in a common region collaborate and share ideas. It is built on the notion that mem- bers can be stronger together, rather than everyone acting in isolation. This united culture was not only appar- ent during social events, but highlighted at the beginning of the business session where The IHG (Independent Hardware Group) Expo, held in Adelaide from February 12-14, was one of unity and strength, as Mitre 10, Home Timber & Hardware, True Value and Thrifty-Link members came together once again under the IHG canopy. IHG’s show of strength within Australian hardware 48 | AUSTRALIAN HARDWARE JOURNAL | MARCH 2018