2019 spoga+gafa show

Hardlines attended spoga+gafa, the giant show for lawn & garden and outdoor living in Cologne, Germany, in early September. We found lots of innovations (including vendors looking to get their products to Canada, so send me a note—Michael).

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Barbecues comprised a big part of the show, with two whole halls devoted to grills and accessories. Here’s a twist: a French company, L’art du jardin, with a pizza oven that flips up to double as a traditional grill. (Looking for Canadian Distribution) Education played an important role in this year’s spoga+gafa. A series of seminars was held throughout the event, including this one by Joe Franquinha of Crest Hardware in Brooklyn, N.Y. He’s created an incredible garden centre destination in his inner-city store (and he’ll be a featured speaker at this year’s Hardlines Conference!—Editor)

Hyundai is a successful automotive brand in North America, so we’re not likely to see this tool line come to Canada anytime soon, but it’s being rolled out aggressively in markets like South America. Nathan Wheeler, Director of sales for Europe at Broil-King, says the show is the most important in Europe. Here, he shows off a high-end barbecue that’s already catching on with Canadians.
The market for children’s outdoor play accessories was nothing short of astounding at spoga+gafa. Asian importers exhibiting here called it the most important show in the world for this category. Jim Brady, an industry veteran who now consults for suppliers looking to gain traction with top Canadian buyers, was at the show off a hose in a bucket made with recycled plastic.
Pretty much a patio set in a box. This pop-up garden chair, from DeVries, was a big hit. How to take back indoor spaces and reclaim them as green: Here, the fixings for a “living wall” of plants. Crazy!
Style and colour were important aspects of the show, with lots of emphasis on live goods. One of the main attractions of the shows in Cologne is the city itself. Steeped in history,  yet vibrant and modern, Cologne sits aside the Rhine and has some of the best beer in world (Just sayin’!)
Best invention ever for Canadian summers: Dig a hole in your yard, drop this device into it, and it stores beer, kept cool by the cool earth below! Tobias Finke demonstrates how simple it is to pull the rack out and help yourself to a beer.  (Looking for Canadian Distribution) Tents for kids of all ages were on display, including this tent ideally suited for old hippies who pine for the days of travelling the country in a Volkswagen micro-bus.