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GREEN YOUR OPERATIONS  MILLWORK: GO HIGH- OR LOW-END?  NAWLA SPECIAL ISSUE

Building Products Digest

AUGUST 2010

INDUSTRY NEWS & MONEY-MAKING STRATEGIES FOR LUMBER & BUILDING MATERIAL DEALERS & DISTRIBUTORS


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BPD

August 2010

Building Products Digest

Special Features 8 FEATURE STORY HIGH-END VS. LOW-END MILLWORK

10 PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT SOUTHERN CYPRESS WINS POINTS FOR GREEN BUILDING PROJECTS

12 MANAGEMENT TIPS GREEN YOUR OPERATIONS

16 INDUSTRY TRENDS LUMBER PRICES HAMMERED BY END OF CREDIT, RISING IMPORTS

20 SPECIAL FOCUS: NAWLA 16-PAGE SPECIAL SECTION DEVOTED TO LUMBER WHOLESALERS

40 MANAGEMENT TIPS STOP “SLACK-OFF SUMMER” SYNDROME

48 PHOTO RECAP: SLMA SOUTHEASTERN LUMBER MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION MEETS IN FLORIDA

 Volume 29  Number 6

In Every Issue 6 TOTALLY RANDOM 14 COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE 19 OLSEN ON SALES 36 ASSOCIATION UPDATE 37 MOVERS & SHAKERS 38 GREEN RETAILING 42 NEW PRODUCTS 47 IN MEMORIAM 48 CLASSIFIED MARKETPLACE 49 DATE BOOK 50 IDEA FILE 50 ADVERTISERS INDEX 20 OVER THE COUNTER

Online BREAKING INDUSTRY NEWS & INDUSTRY PHOTO DOWNLOADS BUILDING-PRODUCTS.COM (FOLLOW LINK FOR PHOTOS)

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BUILDING PRODUCTS DIGEST is published monthly at 4500 Campus Dr., Ste. 480, Newport Beach, Ca. 92660-1872, (949) 852-1990, Fax 949-852-0231, www.buildingproducts.com, by Cutler Publishing, Inc. (a California Corporation). It is an independently owned publication for building products retailers and wholesale distributors in 37 states East of the Rockies. Copyright®2009 by Cutler Publishing, Inc. Cover and entire contents are fully protected and must not be reproduced in any manner without written permission. All Rights Reserved. BPD reserves the right to accept or reject any editorial or advertising matter, and assumes no liability for materials furnished to it.

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 Building Products Digest  August 2010

Building-Products.com


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TOTALLY Random By Alan Oakes

Forever changed

have been forever changed by the recession as to how we are running and will run our businesses in the future. A recent survey of small business owners suggested that two-thirds of us are thinking differently about how we operate. As I wrote last month, we are in a highly interconnected global market where the slightest sneeze anywhere sends a panic signal around the world. Information is pushed out instantly, at the touch of a send button. Much of this information is without commentary, leaving plenty open to interpretation. Most of us have learned that nothing is predictable, and the business models we have used to great success may no longer be valid in today’s revolution of change. For those of us who are surviving, many are different from what we were three years ago when the recession kicked in. We have become leaner and meaner (and meaner maybe not in a good way), pragmatic, cynical, and yet still uncertain of what the future holds, particularly in our industry, which could well be among the last to recover from the effects of the recession. I can well understand the temptation to hunker down and wait for the sun to shine again. Again, as I wrote earlier, at a time when the national and global psyche has changed due to factors out of our individual control, it is difficult to invest in new business opportunities—or even to get capital. But when competition fades and distribution strategies change, one man’s bust is another man’s gain. As someone told me recently, the sooner we all realize and accept that everything has changed, the faster we will look at our opportunities in a different light and the faster we will recover. So accepting that today is a new day and believing in the 80/20 rule (that 80% will not change enough), what do you do to make yourself one of the 20% who will? I remind that you can never be satisfied with what you have achieved one day after you have achieved it. Take a moment to enjoy your achievements, but realize that tomorrow is another day. Sitting still should not be an option. Instilling that thinking throughout your company is not easy, especially when many are burned out from the stresses of the past years and wary of change. As someone who has consulted for other businesses, I have learned that most companies lack a clear understanding of who they are, what they are, and where they are going. Business sort of just happens. When was the last time your company sat down and in a meaningful way rethought its vision and strategy for the future? Each company must understand and restate why it exists. When your firm started, for example in 1982, there was a different reason for doing business than what exists today. Times change, as do the reasons you exist. What do you want to achieve—be a $50-million company, be the No. 1 in your region, or beat out XYZ Co.? Define how you will go about achieving those goals in clear, concise and actionable statements. Next, what values do you expect throughout the organization? Yes, the old standards are still valid (integrity, respect, etc.), but you should also include ways to differentiate your service from everyone else. Lastly, create or recreate your brand by also differentiating your company or products. A brand is not just a logo or ad campaign; it is about creating a platform from which all marketing, communications and actions emanate. Everything you do afterwards either enhances or dilutes the brand. Understand what your customers think of you (something I can guarantee most of us are clueless about) and take actions that strengthen the brand. Identifying what makes us tick provides the ammo to push forward and take us to a better place. There has never been a better time to begin the analysis. Good luck! THINK MANY OF US BUSINESS OWNERS

Alan Oakes, Publisher ajoakes@aol.com

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 Building Products Digest  August 2010

BPD

Building Products Digest www.building-products.com

A publication of Cutler Publishing

4500 Campus Dr., Ste. 480, Newport Beach, CA 92660

Publisher Alan Oakes ajoakes@aol.com

Publisher Emeritus David Cutler

Director of Editorial & Production David Koenig dkoenig@building-products.com Editor Karen Debats kdebats@building-products.com

Contributing Editors Carla Waldemar, James Olsen, Jay Tompt Advertising Sales Manager Chuck Casey ccasey@building-products.com Administration Director/Secretary Marie Oakes mfpoakes@aol.com Circulation Manager Heather Kelly hkelly@building-products.com

How to Advertise

SOUTH, MIDWEST & WEST Chuck Casey Phone (949) 852-1990 Fax 949-852-0231 ccasey@building-products.com NORTHEAST Paul Mummolo 404 Princeton Ave., Brick, N.J. 08724 Phone (732) 899-8102 Fax 732-899-2758 mummolop@comcast.net

ONLINE Alan Oakes www.building-products.com Phone (949) 852-1990 Fax 949-852-0231 ajoakes@aol.com.

CLASSIFIED MARKETPLACE David Koenig Phone (949) 852-1990 Fax 949-852-0231 dkoenig@building-products.com

How to Subscribe

SUBSCRIPTIONS Heather Kelly Phone (949) 852-1990 Fax 949-852-0231 hkelly@building-products.com or send a check to 4500 Campus Dr., Ste. 480, Newport Beach, CA 92660 U.S.A.: One year (12 issues), $24 Two years, $39 Three years, $54

FOREIGN (Per year, paid in advance in US funds): Surface-Canada or Mexico, $49 Other countries, $65 Air rates also available. SINGLE COPIES $4 + shipping BACK ISSUES $5 + shipping

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FEATURE Story High-End vs. Low-End Millwork

High-end vs. low-end The millwork industry goes to extremes

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ALK TO A MOULDING and millwork company that’s surviving the recession—or one of the few that’s thriving despite it—and you’ll probably hear one of two seemingly disparate tales: They’ll admit that the housing slump has killed their sales of low-end products typically used in tract homes, but they’re flourishing with high-end products for custom, luxury homes. Or they might say that tough economic times have made low-priced millwork more appealing to cash-strapped do-it-yourselfers, forced to stay in and fix up their old homes. So which is it? Windsor Mill, Cotati, Ca., provides both high-end and low-end products, but growth has come from the former— because those are the customers who have survived. “For the space that we’re in, the quality craftsman and the quality builder have survived over the last five years because of the quality of the wood,” says president Craig Flynn. “They’re our core customer, and we haven’t seen them switch.” On the other hand, notes Dwight Duncan, owner and president of Century Architectural Specialties, Marietta, Ga., “From my viewpoint in the millwork industry, the slump continues with high-end new construction, unless it is large scale project related. For instance, we have had some recent success with commercial installations in

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upscale, Atlanta hotels that are looking to boost guests through an easy, elegant addition such as crown mouldings.” “Meanwhile,” Duncan continues, “the d-i-y segment seems to be gaining momentum. Homeowners realize the economic situation remains to poor, but the initial shock is gone and people are gaining some confidence again. Many cannot afford to sell their homes, but they can undertake di-y and small remodeling projects to make their homes more comfortable or more competitive, should they decide to sell. Geographically, we have noticed a large upswing in Texas, specifically the Austin area, where the real estate market remains viable in these economic times.” Jim Russell, president and sales manager, Russell Manufacturing, Hubbard, Or., agrees: “During recessions, homeowners elect to do repairs themselves, which boosts the home center business. Door shops and distributors typically purchase material for new homes, which is off maybe 40-50% from previous years, so they’re slow. Banks have tightened money to contractors so it’s harder for them to finance a spec home. Starter homes and multi-family housing has been hit the hardest; a new homeowner finds it difficult to secure a mortgage.” Some high-end business remains—but it already was a small slice of the pie. “People who have luxury homes have the money anyway and see that this is the cheapest time to remodel, as everyone is looking for work, but only maybe 5% of production goes to high-end custom homes,” Russell says. Richard A Ungerbuehler Sr., president, Federal Millwork Corp., Fort Lauderdale, Fl., has seen a recent uptick in demand, but attributes it to the loss of competing custom manufacturers rather than an increase in constrution. “To be sure, in our south Florida marketplace, the construction industry continues to lose jobs every month,” he says. “The overbuilding, coupled with mortgage abuses, foreclosures, the shifting population, business closures adding to the unemployment numbers, and the lack of land for development all add to the malaise in which we all have fallen victim.” He thinks, percentage-wise, high-end may be holding up better than low-end. “The construction we see in the residential market is at the upper end of the construction ecoBuilding-Products.com


nomic scale,” Ungerbuehler shares. “They seem willing to spend because of the stiff competition among builders fighting over contracts, lumberyards and manufacturers offering deep discounts, reduced land costs, and low interest rates.” He sees the trend, however, as dating back even before the recession, as “potential buyers (seemed) more discriminating when it came to profile, species and finish. The buying public was becoming more discerning in their taste for quality over quantity, highend instead of low-end products.” Yet, says Ungerbuehler, “there will always be a place for the low-end product offered to the public. Frankly, that is what the masses can afford. However, with the introduction of synthetics of all types, there seems to be a move to offer the appearance of high-end products at the low-end price. Flooring is a good example. Quality hardwood floors are being replaced with laminated products, both with wood and a form of plastic veneers. A quality hardwood floor will last the life of a home and can be refinished. The synthetics may last a generation, but offer no way to regenerate its appearance or functionality.” Moulding & Millwork, Ferndale, Wa., has been fortunate to have a healthy housing market in its backyard. “In Vancouver, B.C., housing prices have flourished,” says Stuart Cuthbert, national sales manager. Construction “slowed down, there was a bit of a dip, but ever since housing values have shown a constantly upward graph. However, in the last 18 months, there’s been significant pressure to be tight on cost. But that hasn’t necessarily pushed people toward lower end profiles.” Although Dorris Lumber & Moulding Co., Sacramento, Ca., produces only premium solid pine mouldings, c.e.o. Joshua Tyler also sees cost as the key, no matter if one specializes in “high-value or low-value mouldings.” Retailers who squeeze hardest on price are still buying. “I would say that if you sell into Home Depot or Lowe’s, business is better than normal,” Tyler explains. Overall, both scenarios seem true— millwork companies are succeeding by focusing on low- and high-end. Everything’s down, but sellers are improving their chances for serving the demand that remains by knowing their market and specializing in what it wants. Building-Products.com

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August 2010  Building Products Digest 

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PRODUCT Spotlight Southern Cypress

Cypress wins points for green building projects

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T’S NO WONDER southern cypress— known for its natural beauty and durability—is a favorite in green building projects. From interior ceilings to exterior siding, cypress performs. “Not only does it provide a beautiful appearance, but its resistance to rot and acceptance of a wide range of finishes are just as attractive,” says Nancy Tuck, vice president of finance at Gates Custom Milling, Gatesville, N.C., and past president of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association. Gates Custom recently supplied cypress siding for the Merchants Millpond Visitor Center in Gatesville. Located in Millpond State Park, the new 7,500-sq. ft. welcome center was designed by architect Frank Harmon, who prefers to specify locally sourced wood.

HURRICANE-DOWNED cypress from New Orleans’ Botanical Park was used to construct a modular pavilion that was built for garden volunteers, but is also used for meetings, seminars, and parties. (Photo by Mike McKay, Lexington, Ky.)

CYPRESS reclaimed from the nearby Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was milled into siding for the Merchant Millpond Visitor Center, Gatesville, N.C. (Photo by Richard Leo Johnson, Atlantic Archives Inc., Savannah, Ga.)

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Although the architect initially specified Atlantic white cedar for the exterior of the center, Tuck suggested using cypress—in this case, logs salvaged from the nearby Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and milled into siding by Gates. “Cypress supplied the warm, clean look he wanted and stands up to the elements naturally,” says Tuck. Along with locally sourced wood, the building also includes recycled-steel structural members, concrete block with high fly-ash content, and a metal roof with solar reflectivity that reduces heat gain—which will probably add up to LEED Gold certification. At Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, Orange, Tx., hurricane-downed cypress from the property and cypress salvaged from rivers Building-Products.com


in nearby Louisiana was used to construct new buildings, walkways, viewing structures, and outdoor furniture. The project earned LEED Platinum certification and was named one of the Top Ten Green Projects of 2009 by the American Institute of Architects. “We often use cypress, especially where we need a highly decay- and infestation-resistant material that can stand up to the elements,” said Bob Harris, LakeFlato Architects, San Antonio, Tx. “It’s a sustainable material that adds lasting beauty that holds up over the long haul.” After Hurricane Katrina severely damaged New Orleans’ Botanical Park and uprooted many old cypress trees, director Paul Soniat invited local mills to collect the wood. Frank Vallot, owner of Acadia Hardwoods, Ponchatoula, La., accepted the invitation and then donated cypress lumber for a new volunteer’s pavilion. Soniat’s nephew, architect Mike McKay, who practices in Lexington, Ky., and teaches at the University of Kentucky’s College of Design, was the designer. The open-air structure has a storage area for gardening tools and supplies, a potting shed, and a meeting area for meetings and seminars. “People want to have parties and lectures in it,” says McKay. “It went

NEW RESIDENTIAL COMPLEX at Rice University, Houston, Tx., where vertical-grain cypress wraps the first-floor exterior, extends as paneling into an interior entry, and then up a stairway to the second floor. Window trim is also cypress. (Photo by Rice University)

from this little potting shed into a really beautiful pavilion that people can use for other things.” Custom Lumber Manufacturing, Dothan, Al., recently supplied vertical-grain cypress for a new residential complex at Rice University, Houston, Tx., at the request of architect Sir Michael Hopkins. “He liked the look of vertical grain cypress—had seen it at another project we supplied in Long Island, N.Y.,” says Chuck Harris, Custom’s

ACCOUSTICAL CEILING of the newly renovated ticketing hall at Jackson Hole Airport, Grand Teton National Park, Wy., was manufactured from cypress rather than Douglas fir. (Photo by Rulon Co., St. Augustine, Fl.) Building-Products.com

president. “We were tracked down because he wanted the same look.” According to Harris, cypress siding wraps the first-floor exterior, extends as paneling into an interior entry, and then up a stairway to the second floor. He said that the window trim was also constructed of vertical-grain cypress. Harris says that Custom recently supplied a second order of cypress for the university and has received an inquiry for a third shipment. “As less western red cedar and redwood becomes available, cypress seems to take the place of these woods,” he says. “People want the beauty of cypress.” Out west, at the Jackson Hole Airport in Grand Teton National Park, Wy., vertical-grain cypress was used for acoustical ceilings in the newly renovated ticketing hall—even though the architect first specified Douglas fir. “Unlike Douglas fir, cypress is classified as a hardwood and it performs just as well, or better,” says Jonathan Robison, purchasing manager at Rulon Co., St. Augustine, Fl., a leading manufacturer of such ceilings. “It’s easy to machine and dries better, too.” Lower shipping costs to and from Rulon’s plant are another important factor. “Cost and availability is comparable to Douglas fir, but cypress is local to us.” As architects strive for environmentally friendly designs that qualify for LEED certification, they will continue to look to cypress—a durable wood with lasting beauty.

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MANAGEMENT Tips

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Green your operations

the workplace, LBM dealers have a headstart advantage. Most dealers already sell common green building products—from compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and automatic light sensors, to enviro-friendlier caulking and insulation. Greening your own business can be as easy as installing and using products from your own inventory. Going green also means being aware of every product being used in your business. Everything from the copy paper in the office to the toilet paper in the restrooms is available in a greener version. Get your employees involved and look for ways to recycle, reduce, and reuse. Remember that waste isn’t just bad for the environment—it’s also bad for your bottom line. HEN IT COMES TO GREENING

Get a Plan

Overall, the greatest savings relate to energy efficiency—even simple, inexpensive changes can reap big benefits. Higher savings will require more effort, but the payoff can be impressive. The first step is to develop a green-business plan that covers every aspect of your business: energy and water efficiency, waste reduction, transportation, computing, equipment efficiency, and building design. Then you can choose which options can be implemented now, and which can wait for later.

Light Wisely

Artificial lighting accounts for up to 40% of the energy consumed by businesses. Taking advantage of natural light lowers energy costs, boosts retail sales, and improves worker productivity and satisfaction. When natural light is not adequate, install energy-efficient CFLs and LED desk lamps. An LED bulb can last 60,000 hours, while a CFL bulb provides 10,000 hours of light—significantly

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 Building Products Digest  August 2010

more than the 1,500 hours provided by most incandescent bulbs. Replace older 1.5” fluorescent tube lighting with newer 1” tubes and solid-state electronic ballasts.

Building Check Up

Plug all leaks in your building’s outer shell with weatherstripping or caulking. Use expandable foam to fill any gaps. Workspace air quality is also crucial. Good ventilation and lowVOC paints and materials (such as furniture and carpet) will keep employees healthy. If you’re building a new commercial space or remodeling an old one, consider environmental and cost-savings options such as solar panels.

Save Water

Instead of personal-size water bottles, provide filtered drinking water to encourage employees and customers to fill their own reusable containers. Better yet, consider a reusable water bottle or coffee mug as a promotional giveaway. Both items tend to be kept and used regularly by recipients, so your company name and logo will get noticed longer. Periodically inspect pipes to make sure there are no leaks, and quickly fix any leaks you do find. When it’s time to spruce up the restrooms, install dual-flush toilets and automatic faucets. These two products can go a long way toward saving water and lowering costs.

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

Place recycling bins in accessible, high-traffic areas and provide clear information about what can and cannot be recycled. When you receive unwanted catalogs, newsletters, magazines, or junk mail, request removal from the mailing list before you recycle Building-Products.com


the item. Recycle paper and refill computer ink cartridges rather than send them to the landfill. When computers and printers stop working, make sure that they are taken to a place that can recycle the parts. Donate unused equipment to a school or nonprofit and qualify for a tax credit.

Energy-Efficient Computing

Computers and peripherals consume a surprising amount of power. During the day, set your computer to go to sleep automatically during short breaks to cut energy use by 70%. Remember, screen savers don’t save energy. Make it a habit to turn off your system—and the power strip it’s plugged into—when you leave at night or on weekends. Just check with your tech expert first, to make sure it doesn’t need to be on for backups or other maintenance. When it comes time to buy new equipment, invest in energy-saving computers, monitors, and printers, and make sure that old equipment is properly recycled. Consider laptops that consume up to 80% less energy than equivalent desktops. Inkjet printers use up to 75% percent less energy than laser printers.

Reduce Printing

Think before you print: could this be read or stored online instead? All kinds of documents—even employee manuals—can be stored online, rather than copying and filing them. Besides reducing costs for paper and ink, saving documents online makes them easier to retrieve and update. Encourage communications by email, then read and store them online instead of printing. If you need to keep a copy for legal reasons, or for various other reasons, store it online. Reduce fax-related paper waste by using a fax cover sheet only when necessary. Better yet, send, receive, and store faxes online. Many companies offer an electronic alternative to notifications traditionally sent out by mail, especially when it comes to invoicing. Request that all communications be sent via email rather than snail mail to reduce the paper sent to your business.

percentage of post-consumer recycled content. Recycle toner and ink cartridges and buy remanufactured ones.

Control Your Temperature

Comfort is a function of temperature, humidity, and air movement. Thermostat settings of 3° to 5° higher can feel as comfortable with fans. Install programmable thermostats to automate your HVAC system and save significant amounts of energy.

Cut Costs for Transportation

If your business has company-owned cars or a fleet of vehicles, consider purchasing fuel-efficient or hybrid vehicles whenever possible—tax credits and special loan programs are available. Develop a company-wide policy to eliminate unnecessary idling of truck engines. Auxiliary power units can heat or cool the truck when stopped, allowing the main engine to be shut down. Look for shippers who belong to the EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership, which encourages energy efficiency that significantly reduces greenhouse gases and air pollution.

Greening your business is an ongoing affair. Once you see cost savings, you’ll be motivated to do more. Getting employees involved will also keep the momentum going, so consider organizing a Green Team to meet monthly and brainstorm new options. And don’t forget to spread the word—let your customers know that going green is a real priority for your business.

Print Smarter

The average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year. Make it a habit to print on both sides of paper, or use the back of old documents for faxes, scrap paper, or drafts. Avoid color printing. Buy chlorine-free paper with a higher Building-Products.com

August 2010  Building Products Digest 

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COMPETITIVE Intelligence By Carla Waldemar

Honing your (social) media skills

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COTT THOMAS OFFERS a word to the wise (and the not-so had better listen up all the harder). As marketing director of Parksite, a 10-location outfit based in Batavia, Il., he’s a believer in that grand marketing guru’s pronouncement that “The media is the message.” Thus, according to Thomas, spending advertising dollars solely on newsprint ads, direct mail, TV and radio while ignoring faster, more expensive modern tools is living in the past. He’s thinking digital these days. Convinced that digital marketing is the wave of—never mind the future: the world of today—two years ago, he convinced company management of his plan to exploit its potential. Sure, the company already had a website (duh) and Internet messaging (ditto), but how about expanding to include

social media—explicitly, blogs, Twitter and Flickr? The sweet part of obtaining the goahead was this: The campaigns would cost virtually nothing, beyond the expenditure of time on the part of the marketing staff, who were 100% behind the idea. The rest of the organization, not so much: “It’s still an ongoing hurdle,” Thomas concedes. “Many associates still struggle with how to incorporate these new marketing tools into their daily roles and don’t spend time communicating these resources to their customers. But,” he’s convinced, “that will change. As things evolve, companies will realize that those ‘kids with the iPads’ and the always-online mentality will be tomorrow’s customers. Additionally, as younger people come into the building material industry, they will

PARKSITE’S marketing director Scott Thomas is thinking digital these days to promote his company.

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expect access to modern technology and encourage them to be part of a company’s marketing scheme. “The point is, today, vs. 15 years ago, consumers have access to information from a bunch of different sources, not just print and TV. What dealers and distributors have to understand is that a huge, huge percentage of homeowners do research online before even entering a store. They often know about products before we do, so we’d better join ’em: Get with it, or miss the boat,” he says. “The world moves too fast to rely on wordof-mouth these days. You can’t just wait for something to happen.” Thus, Parksite has embraced marketing efforts via email and social media, such as Twitter, via daily tweets, including product updates, links to helpful blog articles, industry news and trends, and more. On YouTube, it offers videos of, say, Dupont’s Tyvek and Nichiha’s fiber cement panel applications—all aimed, says Thomas, at “relaying information on our products.” But if a YouTube video plays in a forest and no one….? Okay, that’s where email and Twitter come in— ways to alert and encourage potential viewers. Email also serves as an easy “and incredibly inexpensive” way to distribute the company’s newsletters and press releases. Here’s how Thomas has learned to utilize those email alerts: “Our CRM database includes architects, developers, builders, remodelers, lawn & garden people, general contractors and lumberyards, and we use it to drive demand for a product and to support or drive customers.” Customizing a message for each demographic segment of the list is easy. Where the skill comes in is in Building-Products.com


REGULARLY UPDATED blog can inform and foster communication with customers.

crafting the subject line—“the most important part of a message,” he instructs: “That will determine if the email even gets opened.” For an industry segment with 10,000 email addresses, Thomas tries out three different subject lines for a press release, sending each to 1,000 people. “We can get instant feedback, so we know right away which one got opened the most. Then we use that subject line for the other 7,000 in our database. You could never achieve that with a newspaper or TV ad,” he declares—“those media are a blind investment. With our CRM database, we reach thousands of people in minutes, and we can control the content and target the audience by industry, title or geography.” Digital content also has a lengthy shelf life. “Your digital information is constantly out there and doesn’t disappear,” Thomas contends. “In fact, it’s picked up by search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, which helps your website search engine rankings.” Best yet, you can track hits to your blog, tweet or video in real time, “so your ROI comes in ASAP. By linking to tracking websites, you can tell the number of viewers that day, that month, whatever. For instance, links to YouTube that we embed in email communications can be tracked on bit.ly, which shows how often a specific link was opened.” Bonus: “If a YouTube viewer tells his friends to watch it, too, he’s doing your advertising for you, and for free.” Yet, don’t get marketing director Thomas wrong. “Digital is just one component of our overall marketing scheme,” he explains. “Still the most effective element I know is face-toBuilding-Products.com

face. That’s how you build trust. Our salespeople—with an average tenure of over 15 years—are very good in communicating with their customers.” They also play their roles as what Parksite calls its building products specialists, meeting with builders, contractors, architects, what have you, to help in ways that range from correct use of a product to designing custom P-O-P displays. Parksite also offers classes that deliver continuing-education credits to contractors and architects. Okay, probably your salespeople are similarly adept at one-on-one customer service. To take that to the next step, it’s time to supplement those efforts with (bite the bullet) the abovementioned digital tools. Thomas offers this advice for beginners: “Start with a website. Then, assemble a good email database, comprised of your customers and potential customers.” Step Three: look for an email marketing service (they’re fairly inexpensive) to help you with design and deliverability. To start reaching the up-and-coming generation, think about a presence on Facebook (your company has a page, certainly?) and Twitter. Finally, says Thomas, “I’m a big fan of two-or three-minute videos, your best marketing piece today. Remarkable! They’re easy to get to

and can reach millions of people. And once the message is out, people forward it and do the marketing for you.” Are there pitfalls to steer clear of, Scott? Well, sure. But the good news is, mistakes won’t cost you money. Counsels Thomas, “Don’t start it up and then not stick with it. You’ve got to get people in your company to understand that it’s a team effort that they all need to participate in and promote. And you’ve got to have consistency of content.” Parting words of advice: “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly,” Thomas jokes. “It won’t cost you anything. Just remember: Today’s marketing is about being helpful, not intrusive, and putting constructive information in the places where people go to find it.” And that translates to social media. For inspiration, peek at Parksite’s blog at www.parksite.com/blog, tweets at www. twitter.com/parksite, or view videos at www. flickr.com/parksite.

Carla Waldemar cwaldemar@comcast.net

August 2010  Building Products Digest 

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INDUSTRY Trends By Gary Zauner, Crow’s Weekly Market Report/RISI

End of credit, rising imports hammer lumber prices

A

retreat to lows for the year, calls for production to again conform to current demand levels are growing. This is reminiscent of 2008 and 2009, when the long slog to bring production and consumption into balance was occurring. Eventually, in the latter half of 2009, a balance was restored. Now that the housing stimulus in the form of homebuyers tax credits ended April 30, demand is wavering. The pace of housing starts and permits has the appearance of slowing, builders are less confident about what the future holds, and the real estate industry is forecasting a two to three month period in which home sales will decline. Within the wood products industry, reports of a downturn in the business climate surfaced early in the second quarter. As to whether the homebuilder tax credit worked, it would be hard to argue against its success in the short term. Home construction was stimulated, certainly more than what the industry expected. Due in large part to the stimulus, lumber consumption increased and so, too, did lumber prices, giving producers and the distribution chain a long-awaited dose of price volatility and profitability. It is also within reason to argue that results from the tax credit, estimated at around $35 billion, fell short of the cost. For example, the National Association of Realtors estimates that out of the 4.4 million homes purchased during the stimulus period, only 1 million were purchased because of the stimulus. In other words, $27 billion was spent on sales that would have occurred without the stimulus. It is widely believed that the tax credit helped limit inventories of unsold houses in the market, which helped stabilize home prices. A stabilization of home prices in turn limited the loss of equity in homes. Some estimates show the stimulus saving $2 S LUMBER PRICES

16

 Building Products Digest  August 2010

trillion in homeowner equity, equating to an average of about $21,000 per homeowner. As for home construction, it appears the market has stalled, despite affordability figures that are quite favorable. Future buying and construction was likely pushed forward by the tax credits, giving the appearance of a sustainable upward trend. For instance, new home sales in May totaled just 300,000 units on an annualized basis—32.7% below the April Census Bureau figure of 446,000. Within the industry, signs of a troubled economy, even while housing starts increased, were evident in the western red cedar market. Even after significant cutbacks in production over the last couple of years, demand has lagged. Not as strongly tied to housing starts as other species, consumer spending on deck and other outdoor projects remains limited. In southern pine treated lumber, sales have stagnated since May, a time when buying is usually in full swing. Treaters report that their sales in May and June were down 10-20% compared to the same months last year. Disappointing treated wood sales played a large role in the steep and extended downturn in southern pine lumber prices. Even sales surrounding the Memorial Day holiday, typically a big weekend for big box store sales, were below expectations for treaters. The slower pace of consumption is not the only factor driving down fram-

ing lumber prices. Traders are pointing to June’s increase in Canadian lumber exports into the U.S. as a contributing factor. Their premise is not only are buyers seeing more imports ship into the states in June, they also expected in May that imports from Canada would multiply this month. Therefore, it is the well-founded stance of traders that even the perception of greater supplies available in June helped stifle demand in May. Actually, a strong connection exists between two of the largest factors influencing lumber prices over the past few months: the U.S. government’s housing stimulus and increased imports from Canada. Simply put, the homebuyer tax credit helped stimulate demand beyond production levels, pushing lumber prices higher. Elevated prices led to the elimination of duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports for June. Canadian exporters, taking advantage of the suspension of export taxes, are now shipping at a pace of nearly 1.0 billion bd. ft. into the U.S. for the month, far exceeding the pace set in either April or May. Again, it is a widely held perception within the industry that those volumes entering the U.S. from Canada are now having a negative influence on pricing. The big question from here forward is whether the housing market can stand on its own two feet without the crutch of more government spending. Whether the tax credit was successful is certainly debatable, but it is clear that the underlying economy was not strong enough to gather much momentum from the stimulus.

– Gary Zauner is editor of Crow’s Weekly Market Report, the longest-running source of prices in the North American lumber and panel industry. Reach him at gzauner@risi.com or sign up for a free trial subscription at www. risiinfo.com/crows. Building-Products.com


DEALER Briefs

Fifth-generation, family-owned

Collins Lumber Corp., Troy, N.Y., has closed after 122 years in the same location.

Stock Building Supply , Raleigh, N.C., has completed its purchase of the assets of Bison Building Materials, Houston, Tx. The operation will retain the Bison name, under Tom Tolleson, who has been with Bison for 10 years, most recently as chief operating officer. Dells Lumber & Construction, Wisconsin Dells, Wi., closed July

30 after 63 years, with the retirement of John and Joanne Van Wie.

Paitson Bros. Ace Hardware, Terre Haute, In., closed July 16 after 88 years due to “remediation.” Owner Chuck Procarione hopes to reopen, if his landlord pays to remodel, including repairing damages caused by 18 months of a leaking roof.

Ace Hardware franchise owners Joe Smith Jr. and his wife, Cindy, opened their 6th location last month in Vineland, N.J.

Ace Hardware, Duluth, Mn., has closed after a 7-week liquidation sale. Ace Hardware opens a 10,000-

sq. ft. store this fall in Greensboro, N.C. (Doug Brown, managing partner).

27 Hardware & Supply, Rock Spring, Tn., has opened store #2 in the former Ace Hardware location in Chickamauga, Tn.

Geneva Ace Hardware , Geneva, Il., suffered roof damage from a June 29 fire. Cleveland Ace Hardware ,

Raleigh, N.C., was opened July 9 by Eric Jensen and Sarah McConnell.

Ace Fix-it Hardware , Duncanville, Pa., will open its 7th store next month in Oakmont, Pa.

Aubuchon Hardware closed

its Port Henry, N.Y., store June 30.

Jim Junga, BZNDS Enterprise, is opening a 10,500-sq. ft. Ace Hardware early this fall in Saline, Mi. Building-Products.com

tial and commercial markets in southern Maryland and Washington, D.C. “These are two very important markets for us,” said Paul Hylbert. c.e.o. of ProBuild. “The combination of their local market expertise and ProBuild’s national scope will be of tremendous value to our customers in these markets.” ProBuild also opened a new millwork facility in San Antonio, Tx., which it said will serve the market more quickly and efficiently than its millwork operation in Austin, Tx.

84 Closes 7 Stores, Reopens 1

84 Lumber Co. is closing seven money-losing locations, reducing its count to 281 stores in 35 states. Earlier this month, however, the chain reopened its yard in Milton, Fl., closed since April 2008. Closing are Macedonia, Oh.; Florence, Ky.; Wyoming, Mi.; Overlea, Md.; Michigan City, In.; Austin and McAllen, Tx. Except for McAllen, said spokesman Jeff Nobers, “these are older stores, with a small footprint and in markets that have either matured with minimal housing starts or that can be consolidated into other existing stores making our overall market presence stronger.”

Michigan Dealer Reviving, Remodeling Defunct Store

This month, Peter Grebeck, owner of Peter’s True Value Hardware, Milford, Mi., is reopening True Value South Lyon Lumber, a year after the yard closed. He is remodeling the unit in the Destination True Value format and adding power equipment rentals and service, and party rentals.

East Haven Adds 2 Locations

US LBM Holdings subsidiary East Haven Builders Supply, East Haven, Ct., has added two locations, in partnership with their former owners. East Haven acquired 78-year-old Millwood Lumber, Millwood, N.Y., from Michael Malara, who will stay on to help run the business under the Millwood name. In addition, East Haven teamed with Tom Mort to reopen a truss and wall panel plant in Branford, Ct., which he had run as Universal Components Corp.

Fire Again Rips Maryland Yard

Yet again, fire has struck Bond Lumber & Home Center, Lutherville, Md., consuming 90% of its inventory, as well as trucks and forklifts. Owner Bunnie Gleiman suspects kids or drifters are to blame for the July 11 blaze. “This is, I think, fire No. 7 in 13 years,” she said. “They’ve all been arson.” “My life is gone. It’s horrible,” she lamented. “This has been my life, my family’s life, since 1937 when my grandfather started it.”

ProBuild Expands in East

ProBuild has agreed to purchase some of the assets of Chopp Lumber, Waldorf, Md., which supplies trusses, wall panels, and lumber to the residen-

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17


New Research Supports Pro-Forestry Energy Policies

Two new American Forest & Paper Association-commissioned studies show that federal energy policies can be designed to conserve the high-paying forest products industry jobs that are so critical to rural communities, while increasing the supply of woody biomass to help meet renewable energy production goals. “It is crucial that policymakers consider how best to utilize America’s forest resource to both support good jobs and produce more renewable energy,” said AF&PA president/c.e.o. Donna Harman. “These studies show that if designed carefully, national energy policies can both sustain the significant job-sustaining capacity of the forest products industry while expanding renewable energy.” The first study, “Jobs Creation in Pulp & Paper Industry & Energy Alternative in the U.S.” by RISI, found that for a given volume of wood, the forest products industry sustains nine times as many jobs as stand-alone biomass energy production. The second, “Availability & Sustainability of Wood Resources for Energy Generation in the U.S.” by Forisk Consulting, found that approximately 50 million dry tons of under-utilized logging residues and urban wood residuals was readily available, and more trees could be planted, to produce more renewable energy without disrupting the biomass supply used by the forest products industry—which supports far more jobs than stand-alone energy production. “Our economy and our environment will be best served if wood is used in ways that support the most jobs while increasing renewable energy use,” Harman said.

SUPPLIER Briefs

National Industrial Lumber Co., North Jackson,

Oh., added a DC in Indianapolis, In.

Taylor Lumber, McDermott, Oh., was acquired by priResilience Capital Partners ,

vate equity firm Cleveland, Oh.

Edwards Wood Products, Marshville, N.C., is building a $2-million sawmill in Marion, N.C.

Wolf River Lumber, New London, Wi., was purchased Acquistion LLC after three

by Wolf Investment months in receivership.

Linda Hughes Dawson Lumber Co., Fall Branch,

Tn., suffered a July 1 fire near its debarker.

Bowers Lumber & Components, Woodsboro, Md.,

suffered a three-alarm fire July 20.

Fiberon is expanding manufacturing capacity at its facilities in New London, N.C., and Meridian, Id., due to growing demand for its Horizon Decking. Production capacity has already grown by 300% since January.

International Barrier Technology, Watkins, Mn., has acquired from Pyrotite Corp. , Seattle, Wa., all of Pyrotite’s interest in its Integrally Treated Oriented Strand Board technology used in creating fire-resistant OSB panels.

Georgia-Pacific agreed to purchase Parsons & Whittemore’s Alabama River and Alabama Pine pulp mills in Perdue Hill, Al. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal, expected to close in the fall, also includes woodlands, a tall oil plant, biodiesel plant, pulpwood yard at Demopolis, Al., and chip mills at Elba and Jacksons Gap, Al.

Saunders Brothers, Locke Mills, Me., has sold H.A. Stiles Co. , Westbrook, Me., to H. Arnold Wood Turning, Mamaroneck, N.Y. Alcoa, New York, N.Y., agreed to purchase window/door maker Traco, Cranberry, N.J.

Boral USA, Roswell, Ga., acquired MonierLifetile LLC, Irvine, Ca., from the Monier Group of Germany. MonierLifetile joins Boral’s US Tile clay roof tile business as part of its U.S. Boral Roofing division.

AGR Tools, Austin, Tx., added a DC in Jacksonville, Fl., for its AGR Stone & Tools USA subsidiary.

Danzer Forestland, Darlington, Pa., received Forest Council Stewardship certification for its 20 timber tracts in southwestern Indiana.

iLevel by Weyerhaeuser is now distributing Versatex PVC trim products from Wolfpac Technologies , Pittsburgh, Pa., and Armor Coat trim and fascia. Wolfpac now allows dealers to order smaller quantities of a variety of Versatex PVC trimboard products in one skid and still receive a bulk discount.

Wolf has extended its distribution of AZEK products from the existing mid-Atlantic to include Georgia and the Carolinas. 18

 Building Products Digest  August 2010

Building-Products.com


OLSEN On Sales By James Olsen

If

you can keep your head… S

ALES MAKES US LOOK in to the

depths of our soul and ask, “Am I ever going to get another order?” or wake in a sweat (hot or cold—sometimes it feels like both) at 3:00 a.m. asking the more profound question, “Do I have what it takes?” Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was a Nobel Prize-winning author born in Bombay and educated in England. Among his better known works are The Jungle Book and the poems “Gunga Din” and “If.” “If” is where I turn for inspiration. It is more prayer than poem. I encourage you to read it. Below are some verses and how they apply to sales. “If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you.” Focus. There are many non-essential-to-sales things pulling at our attention. Focus on staying in front of customers. Stay away from the Internet and the water cooler, angry co-workers and bosses—stay in front of customers.

“If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you But make allowances for their doubting, too.” You’ll never sell that guy. You’ll never make it in the sales game. There will always be more people telling us why we can’t than why we can. Always. Listen to Kipling—listen to yourself—and have enough class not to stick it in their face when you do succeed. “If you can dream—and not make dreams your master, If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim.” Give me a moderately smart man of action over the super-intelligent salesperson every time. Thinking, dreaming and strategizing are important, but action is sales.

“If you can look at Triumph and Disaster And treat the two imposters just the same.” Watch pro sellers. They don’t over-celebrate or overbum-out when things are great or miserable. They just churn out sales work every day. “Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools.”

Building-Products.com

Even (especially?) the successful man’s upward career line is jagged. None of us will exit unscathed. Great salespeople reinvent themselves several times in a career. “If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve you long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’” I’ve never met an entrepreneur or true salesperson who didn’t have a little gambler in them. We cannot win big unless we play big. We will never be champions if we are afraid to fail or will not pick ourselves up after failure. The best salespeople receive more no’s per month than the average salesperson hears in a year!

“If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch” Communication is our skill set. As salespeople we need to communicate with the truck driver, the receptionist, the buyer, and the owner. We may deal with bankers in the morning and an on-line plant manager in the afternoon. We must project confidence without arrogance – a delicate life-long pursuit of the professional salesperson. “If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you but none too much,” It is fine to love our customers, but too many salespeople fall in love with their customers! Wasting time on customers who “used to be” great is a common problem. I talk to grown men who pine after an erstwhile great customer instead of getting on the phone or on the road to find new ones! It is emotionally difficult to let go or reduce contact with a past-great-customer we really like, but we must keep ourselves in front of new people who can and will buy from us. To inspire others, we must be inspired. Look for inspiration in family, spirituality, friends and co-workers. But if you wake up at 3:00 a.m. and could use a prayer, try “If.” James Olsen Reality Sales Training (503) 544-3572 james@reality- salestraining.com August 2010  Building Products Digest 

19


[NAWLA 2010]

New networks and training help reposition wholesalers

A

WELL - KNOWN SAYING that became popular during the recent recession is that “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” What that economist meant, among other things, was that during a time of uncertainty and change, companies have the opportunity and leeway to reposition in a way they wouldn’t during good times. Over the last two years, markets have shrunk or disappeared, production has decreased, and the industry has consolidated. The companies that have made it through are in a unique position to redefine themselves through better networks, workforce development, and crucial industry information. Companies can take advantage of the many programs offered by the North American Wholesale Lumber Association to assist them.

Expanded Networks

Companies have joined NAWLA for decades for the networking opportunities membership provides. These opportunities exist on a national and regional level, for both networking and education. The NAWLA Traders Market was started in 1996 with the primary purpose of connecting the producer to the wholesale distributor. In those 15 years, the show has grown to average over the last few years 570 wholesale buyer attendees, 510 manufacturing representatives, and 260 exhibiting companies. With a program geared towards creating network events, it is known as a work-focused tradeshow. “Traders Market is a unique tradeshow because it focuses almost entirely on the sale and distribution of lumber products. Because the exhibitors are primarily manufacturers and the attendees are primarily

20

 Building Products Digest  August 2010

wholesale buyers, Traders Market provides a very business focused atmosphere,” says Gary Vitale, president of NAWLA. “As companies continue to reposition themselves and search for new customers during the economic recovery, no other venue can provide this affordability and value.” While some companies need to constantly address their national networks to thrive, some only need to focus on regional networks to expand their customer base. Lumber wholesalers whose procurement and distribution networks are located near to their business have the chance to be more active in regional meetings conducted by NAWLA. Each NAWLA regional meeting is customized for that area. Some are morning seminars with an industry expert speaking on a timely topic

while others are evening receptions with panel discussions. With attendance ranging from 40 to 120, they can be a productive and manageable networking and educational tool.

Workforce Training

Almost every company has had to cut back on its workforce lately. With employees being asked to perform more duties while also being more productive, companies have looked at developing the workforce they have. They also have to ensure that any new hires learn the ropes in less time than previously. The Wood Basics Course provides a comprehensive overview of the forest products industry, covering everything from seed to tree and from production to sales. Companies looking to train their employees and invest in their future have the option of sending Building-Products.com


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PROUD MEMBER OF


The NAWLA Traders Market is the premier tradeshow devoted to the sale and distribution of lumber and related products, both softwoods and hardwoods. The Traders Market Advantage: s%XCEPTIONAL6ALUEAND!FFORDABILITY s5NLIMITED.ETWORKING Opportunities s%XCELLENT!CCESSTOTHE %NTIRE3UPPLY#HAIN New this year: s.EW0RODUCT3HOWCASE s%NHANCEDGLOBALPROGRAMMING s+EYNOTE3PEAKER Jim “The Rookie� Morris s3ALES4RAININGBY$AVID+AHLE #OMPLETEINFORMATIONAND REGISTRATIONAVAILABLEAT www.nawlatradersmarket.com

new or veteran employees to the course. Since 1981, almost 1,500 people have attended. For many in the industry, the class establishes their initial industry networks. “These new friendships have the potential to benefit our company far into the future�, says Mark Kasper, president and c.e.o. of Amerhart Ltd., Green Bay, Wi. “It shows our staff that we are making a real commitment to their education and advancement in their careers.� The next Wood Basics Course will be held Sept. 13-16 in Corvallis, Or. In addition, NAWLA is considering holding a course in the Southeast in spring 2011. As the economy continues to recover, the ability to make the sale will become increasingly important. Companies will specifically need to train their sales force to differentiate itself from its competitors. Here again, NAWLA provides a special sales training class during the 2010 Traders Market. David Kahle, of the DaCo Corp., will present his Top Gun Survival School during Traders Market. Companies have the chance to send their mid-level professionals to learn how to prioritize markets, create new customers, and make the close. With so many companies cutting travel budgets, however, some are looking for online training. Technology now allows workforce training to be delivered directly to the office. NAWLA has hosted more than 40 webinars since the first in 2004. Webinars enable companies to invest in their workforce with little commitment. Multiple employees can attend without leaving the facility. Usually lasting a little over an hour, they cover topics ranging from chain of custody certification to marketing green products. NAWLA will host a webinar on Sept. 16 on credit management presented by credit managers from various wood products companies. Companies today must work harder to make sure they have a competitive edge over other businesses. The industry and the market have changed dramatically since the recession begun and possibly no other industry has been more affected. Companies looking for the advantage of more networks, a better trained workforce, and timely information should consider the various benefits of NAWLA’s programs.

– More detailed information on the services and programs offered by the North American Wholesale Lumber Association, including membership possibilities, can be found at www.nawla.org.

  sINFO NAWLAORG

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 Building Products Digest  August 2010

Building-Products.com


[NAWLA 2010]

RISI economists:

Housing stock and vacancy

T

By Bob Berg, RISI

HE TIMING OF THE HOUSING recovery hinges on two critical factors: the size of the inventory of vacant homes and the pace at which households are being formed. If we know these data, then we could develop solid estimates of how long it will take to absorb the excess inventory of vacant homes. In past cycles, the market was not saddled with the level of vacant homes we currently have at the beginning of this recovery. In addition, solid recovery in the economy prevented household formations from straying far from the trend levels. Consequently, demand for new homes (additions to the housing stock) was quickly realized as the recovery unfolded. In the current market, after more than a decade of excess production, we are saddled with a significant volume of vacant homes and the slow pace of economic recovery (which is in part due to the absence of a rebound in housing) is stifling job creation and putting downward pressure on household formations. Focusing here on the vacancy issue, our inability to generate a solid estimate for vacancies arises from the inherent errors in the reported data and the difficulty in differentiating between total housing stock and economically viable housing stock. Errors in the reported data are due to the facts that the data are only updated once every 10 years during the Census and that in the interim years they are based on estimates that at the time seem quite confusing.

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 Building Products Digest  August 2010

As a stock concept, housing stock at the end of a year is equal to housing stock at the end of the previous year plus additions (housing completions and mobile homes) minus subtractions (demolitions) during the year. The table on page 26 contains the U.S. Census housing stock estimate from 2002 (when the data was last updated with the results of the 2000 census) through 2009 along with the housing completions (reported by the U.S. Census) and mobile home production (reported by The Institute for Building Technology & Safety). Given the housing stock and additions data (completions and mobile homes), one can calculate the demolitions used in developing the housing stock data. These demolition data are presented at the top of the table. The confusing part of these data is the fact that the demolitions are negative in 2006-2008. Over this period, in effect, 1.44 million housing units were added to the inventory as a result of “demolition.� During the very strong peak demand years in the 1970s, we experienced this same phenomenon as alternative buildings (i.e., old factories) were converted into housing faster than the rate at which houses were lost to natural and intentional demolition. However, during the period 2006-2008, demand turned lower and it became increasingly evident that excess housing inventory was built. Consequently, one has to question whether the apparent net additions (rather than removals) reported under the demolitions category actually occurred. Then in 2009, apparent demolitions shot up to just over 1.0 million units, which was almost three times the average demolition pace in 2002-2005. The average demolition rate in 2006-2009 was 0.01% of the housing stock, which compares to a rate of 0.3% per year in previous years. The table also contains the housing stock estimated by holding the demolition rate at 0.3% for the entire period, the observed average in 2000-2005. Using this demolition assumption, the housing stock at the end of 2009 would be fully 1.70 million units fewer than reported by the U.S. Census. The analysis gets even more interesting because there are reports of increased intentional demolition (i.e., Detroit and some of the central valley homes in southern California). If you boost the demolition rate to just 0.5% in 2008 and 2009, the difference between the inventory level Building-Products.com


calculated here and the one reported by the Census increases to 2.39 million homes. Meanwhile, rough calculations of vacancy using the U.S. Census Bureau’s data on vacant for sale and for rent data puts the “excess” vacancy at around 1.75 million units. This is arrived at by calculating the average share of housing stock that is vacant for sale and for rent prior to the run-up in the last decade (about 3.6% of housing stock) and subtracting this from the actual in the last available quarter (4.9%) and applying the difference to the total housing stock. This estimate of excess inventory of houses falls within the adjusted range of homes that may have been lost to demolition (1.70-2.39 million). And then there is the “economic” housing inventory, which is near impossible to estimate. In areas of the country where the population and economy are contracting, much of the excess housing stock will never be filled. Hence the logic behind razing empty homes in Detroit. On a recent trip through the northern-most port towns of Maine, close to the New Brunswick border, the number of “for sale” signs in each town was spooky. (Very unscientific estimate at speeds of 25 to 35 mph

from the seat of a motorcycle put the portion of homes for sale at a minimum of 30%). The local economy has been in decline for years, in conjunction with deteriorating commercial fishing and forest industries. Yet it is clear that the housing stock in the waterfront port towns had been maintained (“quaint”). These towns are hard to get to from major metropolitan areas, but the drive to secure second homes on the ocean at a reasonable price was most likely the primary cause for the apparent investment in the housing stock in these communities. Consequently, these vacant housing units are not economically viable stock in the current market. Similarly, developments in the central valley of California that are hours from major economic centers will not be economically viable for many years. It is near impossible to estimate what share of the housing stock at this point in time is not economically viable. Most likely, the economically unviable share of the housing stock is higher than “normal,” which adds to the apparent vacancy rate. So what is the real vacancy number? To get a more certain count, we will have to wait until the results of the 2010 census are published (proba-

bly in late 2011/early 2012). In the meantime, we continue to use current Census data to develop our housing forecast, but we are skeptical about the accuracy of the analyses of excess housing inventory and we are keeping a weather eye on housing developments that could lead to a faster and stronger recovery in housing than bearish assessments of inventory would allow. Regarding the economically viable stock, only when housing production turns up significantly will we know when we have hit the limits of the economical housing stock. This will most likely be sooner than when vacancy rates reach their “normal” pace. In combination, these factors provide a glimmer of hope that housing will recover sooner and stronger than our basic analysis indicates. Nevertheless, prudence requires the wood products industry to plan conservatively, but to hope for a betterthan-consensus outcome.

– Bob Berg, is principal economist for North American lumber at RISI, a leading information provider for the global forest products industry. RISI works with clients in the wood products, timber, pulp and paper, tissue and nonwovens industries to help them make better decisions. Visit RISI at www.risi.com.

U.S. Housing Stock Estimates (thousands)

26

 Building Products Digest  August 2010

Building-Products.com


[NAWLA 2010]

T

The value of a wholesaler

for lumber and building materials can be long and complex, with many variables. Think about it. The production process alone includes timber, lumber production, transportation, secondary manufacturing, distribution, retail, and installation. That doesn’t even include the supporting services such as credit, inventory, taxes, regulatory compliance, and marketing. Making sure a product finds a market can be HE SUPPLY CHAIN

28

 Building Products Digest  August 2010

daunting. Wholesale lumber distributors play a vital role providing suppliers and users the value everyone needs to succeed. As the central link of the supply chain, wholesale distributors have a part in supply meeting demand. In today’s fast-moving economy, wholesalers can help lower procurement costs, broaden product selection, and add value to products. The last few decades have seen a

significant shift to just-in-time delivery of products becoming the industry standard. Each company has to run lean to even consider making a profit. Wholesale distributors offer this ability in quantities ranging from multiple rail cars down to individual pieces. By working with a wholesaler, a buyer can have faster inventory turnover to lower costs and free up much needed cash for further investment.

Building-Products.com


A major benefit of wholesale distribution is the wide product selection that a buyer would otherwise have to receive from multiple sources. Instead, it can be done with one-stop shopping. Because wholesalers are buying from many different producers, buyers can tailor their products and species to the needs of their clients at a much lower cost. In addition to offering a wide range of products, wholesalers can also provide unique value-added services, such as packaging, remanufacturing, and treatments. Buyers can often receive innovative product training and services to help sell products. Wholesalers don’t just bring value to the buyer; they also can help a producer succeed. Manufacturers often have to spend years establishing new distribution networks or adapting existing ones. Wholesalers have a long history of knowing buyers and the markets. By working with a wholesale distributor, a producer can focus on its core business model. As niche markets increase in importance and profitability, producers and suppliers need expertise and experience to create customization, branding, and marketing for products. Wholesalers can often remanufacture a product in response to market changes and also have experience in creating promotional campaigns. Wholesalers function as a crucial link between the manufacturer and the retailer, adding value along the supply chain. They can help ensure that the right product meets the right market at the right time.

Building-Products.com

August 2010  Building Products Digest 

29


[NAWLA 2010]

Technology helps LBM businesses weather economic storm

B

business leaders have been forced to make some tough decisions in the current recession. Although a natural instinct is to cut spending across all departUILDING MATERIAL

By Jim Hassenstab, DMSi

ments, it’s not always the best one. Technology investments can actually help your business weather through the current economic storm.

LUMBER WHOLESALERS are cutting costs by employing the latest logistics technology, such as Appian Logistics’ Direct Route, which creates the most economical delivery routes given layover times, multiple day time-windows, DOT drive time regulations, and other factors.

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 Building Products Digest  August 2010

Increase productivity while reducing costs

Information systems streamline business operations and help you do more with less. By investing in new technologies and automating business processes, you can run your business more efficiently. It may even be a good time to consider moving your systems “into the clouds.” Cloud computing, also known as Software as a Service (SaaS), is the future of technology. It’s a viable option for many companies to reduce costs and eliminate many of the issues that can accompany traditional software models. With a minimal investment, customers can access software over the Internet and never have to worry about investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. “I first saw software hosted through the Internet at a NAWLA tradeshow and its potential was obvious to me,” says David Zappone, general manager of Timber Trading Group, Worcester,

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Ma. “The SaaS program allows everyone in our office to be more mobile, more productive, and offer customers realtime answers when out of the office.”

Gain competitive advantage and customer loyalty

With both businesses and consumers strictly evaluating their budgets and spending, it is more important than ever to differentiate yourself from the competition. While your competitors are cutting their technology budgets, you have the opportunity to expand market share. By leveraging technology, you can create innovative products and services or implement a new business approach to increase customer loyalty. Optimizing the transportation process is one of the most impactful ways to reduce overhead. A centralized dispatch solution can significantly cut transportation costs and maximize profitability of sales. In addition, these solutions improve customer service by reducing wait time and eliminating backorders. “We feel that our ODT (order delivery tracking) software gives us the real-time information we need to make sound financial and customer service decisions that are so critical to our business, especially in the current economic environment,” says Alan Harwood, c.f.o. of Epperson Specialty Woods, Statesville, N.C. “ODT has become a critical component within our daily operation, as well as a contributor to the long-term profitability of our business.”

Know your business

In the modern business world, knowledge is the single most important factor that can make or break a company. A good business intelligence system will help monitor various data, such as sales, profits, amounts lost in small transaction fees, and amounts paid originally. By pinpointing exactly where costs need to be cut or new systems put in place, your company is poised to increase profitability. Viewing and interacting with data is now easier than ever before when using business intelligence applications. Information that used to take hours to compile is now just a few clicks away, allowing business owners to make key decisions quickly. Business intelligence applications allow users to interactively zero in on answers to business performance questions, instantly detect trends, and respond to the ever-changing events occurring in distribution. “Before, if someone called asking for information, I ran to the cabinet to pull their file,” says Mike Finn, vice president of SEEMAC Inc., Carmel, In. “A report was only upto-date the day it was printed. Today, I tap into the computer to retrieve real-time information. If everyone is doing their job, the information is always current.”

Invest in the future

The economy will rebound eventually, and you need to be ready to hit the ground running when it does. While business has slowed and workloads have decreased, it is a perfect time to plan and implement IT infrastructure improvements. This way, when business does pick up, you will be better prepared and able to respond to growth. In business, as in nature, the strong survive. Rather than trying to coast through the down economy, building material companies should consider ways to strengthen, improve, and grow business. This will better your chances of “survival” and enhance the future of your company.

– Jim Hassenstab is c.e.o. of Distribution Management Systems Inc., Omaha, Ne. He can be reached at (800) 347-6720 or jhassenstab@dmsi.com. Building-Products.com

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[NAWLA 2010]

Stop the bleeding!

T

Why an uneducated sales force is the biggest single drain on corporate profits

plays over and over again in every one of your sales territories every day. And it costs you hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. I was working with one of my client’s salespeople. The client was an HVAC commercial contractor. The salesman had an appointment with a prospect who had called and requested a visit. As we introduced ourselves, the prospect said, “We added on office space to our building a couple years ago, but we never expanded the air conditioning capacity. We’d like to get an idea of what it would cost to do so now.” The salesman asked to see the space. There, he took out a tape measure and note pad, dutifully measured the space, and outlined it in the notebook. Then he asked to see the existing unit. The prospect took us up into the attic and pointed out the unit, resting on a platform off to one corner. HE FOLLOWING SCENARIO

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 Building Products Digest  August 2010

By Dave Kahle, DaCo Corp.

The salesman gingerly worked his way over to it, inspected it carefully, took some more notes, and slowly worked his way back to where we stood. “I have everything I need,” he said. “Can I fax you a detailed quote in the next 24 hours?” “Sure,” said the prospect. The salesperson prepared to leave, intent on going back to the office, working out the detailed quote, and then faxing it to the prospect. I felt the need to intervene. “Can I ask a question?” “Sure,” said the prospect. “If you like the quote, what is the prospect of you placing an order in the next few weeks?” “Oh, none at all,” he said. “The boss just wants to get an estimate. If it’s within reason, he’ll put it on the budget and do it sometime next year.” “So,” I said, “you really don’t need a detailed proposal at this point, do you?”

“Not really. I just need a ballpark to give to the boss.” I turned to the salesman. “What’s a ballpark price?” “$3,500,” he said. The prospect thanked us, and we were on our way. Let’s consider what happened. The salesperson had never been trained in the basic sales competencies of asking good questions and qualifying the opportunity. Instead, he considered himself to be “a problem solver.” He

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looked for a problem and intended to solve it by creating a detailed quote. Of course, the prospect didn’t want or need that quote. If I had not intervened, the salesperson would have gone back to the office and spent several hours preparing the quote. He would have faxed it to the customer and considered himself to have done a fine job. At the end of the day, he would have thought of himself as a competent salesperson, having put in a good day’s effort. His manager would have seen the quote, added it to the list of potential business, and also considered it to be a good job, well done. The truth was, of course, that the salesperson didn’t have a clue. While he thought he was doing a good job, he totally misread and mishandled the situation. He didn’t even know what he didn’t know. His view of his competency was based on a standard that was irrelevant. The unvarnished truth is that particular salesperson would have cost the company hundreds of dollars that day in time misapplied—a couple of hours spent in the office preparing a quote for an opportunity that didn’t really exist. Not only would there be direct costs of the salesperson’s time misapplied, but also the opportunity costs of other real opportunities that could not be generated by the salesperson wasting his time in the office. But those costs were invisible, hidden not only from his eyes, but also from his company’s management and executives. They saw a quote uncovered and delivered, instead of a sales opportunity misinterpreted and mishandled. In this example, the salesperson had never been trained to qualify the opportunity. That’s just one example of the lack of appropriate training. Similar costs are routinely incurred in almost every sales call by untrained salespeople. Consider the cold calls on prospective customers that are mishandled. Or the opportunities with current customers that are never fully understood. On and on it goes. This is the greatest single cost to your profitability. Multiply that one invisible mishandled sales call times the number of calls each salesperson makes a day, times the number of salespeople in your organization, times the number of days in the year, and you begin to get a picture of the enormity of the cost. And it’s not just time misapplied, as in this example. Imagine the costs of deals that should have been gained and were not due to a lack of sales competencies. Multiply that times the same variables as above and see what kind of number that brings you. Clearly, uneducated, untrained salespeople are bleeding the profits from your business. It’s not their fault. In this case, for example, the salesperson learned his job by trial and error, and he naturally defaulted to a role with which he was comfortable. Since he was a technical person by nature, he chose to see every sales situation as a technical problem to solve. Naturally. He just didn’t know any better. And the reason he didn’t know any better is that no one taught him. Far too many companies hope their salespeople will somehow figure out how to do their jobs effectively on their own. Unfortunately that hope is misplaced, serving as a rationale to justify a lack of investment in their salespeople or ignorance about how to do so. If that describes you, stop the bleeding before it’s too late. Educate your sales force in basic sales competencies.

– A presenter at the upcoming NAWLA Traders Market, Dave Kahle is an author, consultant and trainer who helps his clients improve their sales productivity. Reach him at the DaCo Corp., Comstock Park, Mi., (800) 331-1287, www.davekahle.com. Building-Products.com

August 2010  Building Products Digest 

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[NAWLA 2010]

T

NAWLA Traders Market plans show #15

RADER’S

MARKET DIFFERENTIATES itself by having a business-only focus, which companies often look for during tough economic times. Networking opportunities remain the focus, as does the production and distribution part of the supply chain, but companies will see some changes at the 2010 show Nov. 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency, Chicago, Il. “Traders Market has been very

REVAMPED NAWLA Traders Market makes a return engagement this fall at Chicago’s famed Hyatt Regency.

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 Building Products Digest  August 2010

fax (214) 358-2383 Since 1949

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successful, but we continue to increase the value of it,” says NAWLA president Gary Vitale. “This year, we have added the New Product Showcase area, and the Spotlight on Exhibitors will return in an improved format. We are also planning an outreach campaign to attract a broader attendee base and to increase the program for global trade.” Traders Market started in 1996 with 100 exhibitors. Since then, the industry has evolved and so has Traders Market. The 2010 tradeshow portion will be held on Thursday and Friday. To save companies money on travel costs and allow more networking time, NAWLA has decided to decrease the number of education seminars presented in the days preceding the show and instead offer just one—an eight-hour sales training seminar by David Kahle. NAWLA also wanted the 2010 show to have programming for more of the supply chain and had discussed having an AIA-approved continuing education course at the show for local architects. The topic of the course will be the environmental benefit of using wood in construction. Another addition to the show is a New Product Showcase. This area will be located in the middle of the tradeshow floor and will give companies the opportunity to showcase new or rebranded products to buyers and distributors. Openings are limited to companies that are also exhibitors. NAWLA also will launch its revamped Magellan Network at the annual breakfast during Traders Market. The Magellan Network will be a special program within the membership of NAWLA, focusing on global trade issues for both exporters and importers. The final program of speakers for the panel had not been released before this issue was printed. This year’s speaker luncheon year will feature a well-known keynoter— Jim Morris, the real life inspiration

for the Disney movie The Rookie. Many people may remember the story of a 30-something high school coach whose players urge him to try out for Major League Baseball. Jim did just that, and he made it to The Show. He will talk about overcoming enormous odds to succeed, something far too many lumber companies have had to do the last few years. “Sometimes the word ‘inspirational’ is overused, but Jim personifies the importance of having a dream and the desire to reach it,” says Vitale. “Making the majors at any time is nearly impossible. Jim did it

while also juggling the responsibilities of a family and a career.” The Traders Market show continues to be a supply and distribution show with a business focus, but NAWLA is evolving the show to meet the changing needs of its members and the industry. This year, they have opened full online registration for the first time, giving companies the chance to have an all-in-one shopping experience with the ability to pay by credit card. – Complete information can be found at www.nawlatradersmarket.com

15th annual NAWLA Traders Market Nov. 3-5 Hyatt Regency, Chicago, Il.

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August 2010  Building Products Digest 

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ASSOCIATION Update

Florida Building Material Association will honor Linton Tibbets and Charlie Stottlemeyer at the Old-Timer Recognition Luncheon held during its Sept. 22-24 annual convention and show at Walt Disney World’s Dolphin Convention Center, Lake Buena Vista, Fl.

Wisconsin Retail Lumber Association named Kevin Denson, Dalton Lumber & Supply, Dalton, its Outstanding Lumber Person of the Year. Denson recently was elected president of a Vertack Group buying co-op, which consists of nine independently owned lumberyards in Wisconsin.

Kentucky Building Materials Association has scheduled its annual Congleton Cup golf tournament for Sept. 23 at Oldham County Country Club, La Grange. A reception follows the event, which benefits the education foundation.

Illinois Lumber & Material Dealers Association gathers Sept. 23 for its annual Cahokia Golf Outing at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course, Alton.

Southern Building Material Association will offer a webinar on maintaining a safe, clean workplace Sept. 14 and Sept. 30.

Northeastern Retail Lumber Association is closing out the summer with a variety of business and recreational activities. Northeastern Young Lumber Execs have planned an Aug. 19 summer outing to watch the Red Soxs vs. Angels at Fenway Park, Boston, Ma. The group then sets out on a

DEALER Briefs

Menards applied to construct a truss plant in Terre Haute, In., and is building an additional warehouse at its Sioux City, Id., home center.

Lowe’s closed its 13-year-old store in Lilburn, Ga., July 12 and had its proposal for a 145,000-sq. ft. store in Brighton, Ma., rejected by local planning officials for the second time in two years.

Habitat for Humanity opened an 18,000-sq. ft. ReStore discount LBM outlet early this month in Oshkosh, Wi., and closed its ReStore in Greenwood, S.C., due to insufficient donations.

ABC Supply Co. is now distributing LifeTime Lumber composite decking in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, SE Missouri and Wisconsin.

Ward Lumber Co., Jay, N.Y., recognized Emery Waterhouse, Portland, Me., as its Vendor of the Year.

Anniversaries: Swartz True Value, Newton, Ma., 120th … Keim Lumber, Charm, Oh., 100th … Mead Lumber, Columbus, Ne., 100th … Hundman Lumber, Bloomington, Il., 60th … Oscar’s Hardware, Schnitzelburg, Ky., 60th … Collins Supply, Athens, Al., 50th.

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 Building Products Digest  August 2010

timber tour Sept. 22-24 in Adirondack Park. Long Island Lumber Association has a board meeting Sept. 14 at Villa Lombardi’s Restaurant, Holbrook, N.Y. Mid-Hudson Lumber Dealers Association’s annual golf outing is Sept. 27 at Powelton Club, Newburgh, N.Y. Eastern New York Lumber Dealers Association hosts its annual meeting Oct. 23 at Gideon Putnam Resort, Saratoga, N.Y. New York & Suburban Lumber Association kicks off its 120th annual meeting Oct. 1 at Terrace on the Park, Flushing Meadow Park, Queens, N.Y. Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association will host a golf outing Sept. 17 at Wentworth Golf Club, Jackson Village, N.H. Southern Forest Products Association is holding its annual meeting Oct. 24-26 at the Mansion on Forsyth Park, Savannah, Ga.

Kentucky Forest Industries Association has planned a golf & fishing outing Aug. 26 at Barren River State Park.

Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association will hold its “Fun Shoot” event Oct. 9 at Triple H Gun Club, Linton.

National Hardwood Lumber Association has signed Sarah Palin as the keynote speaker at its Oct. 13-16 annual convention and exhibit showcase at the Hyatt Regency, Vancouver, B.C. NHLA established a new “partner” membership category that recognizes businesses not headquartered in North America that are engaged in the manufacture, custom kiln drying, wholesaling or distribution of hardwood lumber, veneer, plywood, and related products. The new category furthers the association’s global perspective of “Strong Roots. Global Reach,” which was adopted two years ago. Hoo-Hoo International will hold its international convention Sept. 10-14, hosted by the Sioux Valley Club #118 at Sioux Falls-City Center Holiday Inn, Sioux Falls, S.D.

North American Deck & Railing Association will host its annual Deck Expo, in conjunction with the Remodeling Show Sept. 15-17 in Baltimore, Md.

Blaze Destroys Kentucky Kilns

A June 23 fire at Forest Products Inc., Gray, Ky., destroyed three of its nine dry kilns and about a quarter of a million ft. of lumber. Losses are estimated between $1 million and $2 million. The blaze started from a spark when repairmen were welding a steam pipe, and spread quickly. About 60 firefighters were on the scene for five hours in sweltering temperatures. Inside the kiln building, temperatures rose to 1,000˚, said fire chief Darryl Baker. “It was pretty hot and pretty intense and (the lumber) is perfectly stacked to burn,” he said. “We had one firefighter that, it got so hot that it melted the bottom of his boot and the sole came off of his boot.” All 115 employees were back to work the next day, and Forest Products plans to rebuild to full capacity. Building-Products.com


MOVERS & Shakers

Mike Delaney, ex-New England Building Supply, has opened Northeast Lumber Supply, Brockton, Ma. Dennis Melczarcyk has rejoined Biewer Lumber, in sales for its new DC in Lansing, Mi. Tim Kunkle, ex-Jamieson Fence Supply, is now a marketing specialist for Capital Lumber, Dallas, Tx. Dan Powell is a new account mgr. Matt Strader, ex-Decor Corp., has joined the inside sales team at Horizon Forest Products/Long Floor. Charleston, S.C. Tom Wood has joined Buck Lumber & Building Supply, Charleston, S.C., and Charleston Wood Industries as v.p. of contractor sales. Mark Cappo, ex-Home Depot, has joined Snavely Forest Products, Baltimore, Md., in customer support and product sales development. Bill Byrd, ex-National Nail, and Johnny Rodriguez are new to outside sales in Houston, Tx. Henry Herrera is the new store mgr. of McCoy’s Building Supply, Del Rio, Tx.

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Bill Parrilla was named director of international trade & development at International Forest Products, Foxboro, Ma. Carter Zierdan, ex-Richmond International, now specializes in softwood boards and millwork products at Diorio Forest Products, Ashland, Va. Ray Barbee, ex-Roseburg Forest Products, has been named senior v.p. and general mgr. of RISI’s wood products, timber and biomass business areas. Jonathan D. Mize has been named president and chief operating officer of Blish-Mize, Atchison, Ks., succeeding John H. Mize, who continues as c.e.o. and chairman of the board. Steve Wilson, ex-HD Supply, has joined Stock Building Supply, Raleigh, N.C., as director of its Coleman Floor business unit. Henry Spelter, ex-Forest Products Laboratory, will open Wood Futures Insights, McFarland, Wi., to offer market studies, forecasts, and analyzes.

Rita Kahle, executive v.p., Ace Hardware Corp., Oak Brook, Il., has retired after 23 years with the co-op. Corey Hiebert has joined Sawarne Lumber, Richmond, B.C., handling North American sales. Bruce Duncan, Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mi., has been named national account mgr.-construction services of Dow Roofing Systems. Ray Sgro has been promoted to mgr. of the casement window department at Gorell Windows & Doors, Indiana, Pa. Ron Faught, exPolyVision, now oversees the glass department. Kevin O’Meara, chairman, Atrium Cos., Dallas, Tx., has added the title of c.e.o. He replaces Gregory Faherty, who has retired. Matthew J. “Matt” Espe was named c.e.o. and president of Armstrong World Industries, Lancaster, Pa. Myra Lee is the new director of marketing communications for Lenox, East Longmeadow, Ma. Wright M. Off is the new depreciation analyst at Mungus-Fungus Forest Products, Climax, Nv., according to co-owners Hugh Mungus and Freddy Fungus.

August 2010  Building Products Digest 

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GREEN Retailing By Jay Tompt

Oil dependency and the LBM supply chain T

the Gulf of Mexico is a huge environmental calamity, but it should serve as a wake-up call for the LBM supply chain for another reason. Why? The spill will certainly have an impact on local economies and local LBM dealers. But the spill is emblematic of much a bigger issue—the end of cheap oil. And that will shape the future of this industry, bringing tough challenges and green opportunities. Many analysts are pointing out that most, or all, of the world’s easy oil has been extracted and what’s left is vastly more challenging, energy intensive, and expensive to obtain—pumping oil from 5,000 ft. deep on the floor of the Gulf is but one example. Meanwhile, according to a U.S. THE OIL SPILL IN

YOU CAN’T STOP THE RAIN. YOU CAN, HOWEVER, OUT-ENGINEER IT.

Cost more? No. Work better? Yes. End of story.


Department of Energy report, new oil discoveries are lagging consumption. Some analysts have pointed out that the point of peak oil production may have been reached, or may be reached soon. Peak oil, as the phenomenon is known, is based on the work of Shell Oil geologist M. King Hubbert, who showed that just as an oil well reaches a peak in production long before the oil deposit runs dry, so too, does an oil producing region have a peak in its production curve. Once the peak is reached, production volumes flatten out, then decline. Add the fact that worldwide demand for oil is growing (car sales in China and India are going through the roof!), and if we are at or near a peak oil situation, then oil prices will surely rise and perhaps very rapidly. The LBM supply chain is predicated on cheap transportation costs. When fuel prices rose dramatically during the summer of 2008, many distributors and dealers took hits to their already small margins. While that price spike was due, at least in part, to Wall Street speculators, it provided a taste of what an expensive oil future will bring— higher transport and commodity costs, and marginal businesses going bust. So, how can you prepare and create resiliency within your organization? First, start shifting your own product mix. Identify those products most vulnerable to rising oil prices and find better alternatives such as local and green products. This will also help you meet the rising demand for such products. Look especially at those solutions that help your customers (or their customers) become more sustainable or self-reliant. Also, find opportunities to supply a greater range of need within your community or operating area. If gas

prices rise dramatically, your customers will be looking for one-stop shopping. Dealers and distributors should also be actively seeking ways to reduce gasoline or diesel use within their own operations. Electric vehicles or diesel trucks that run on locally sourced, recycled cooking oil might be viable options. Increasing drop ships, from manufacturer to dealer or from distributor to end-user, will help, too, but only marginally. Finally, get involved in community efforts to create local resiliency to oil energy shocks. Transition U.S. (www.transitionus.org) is a new and growing network of groups throughout the country—69 at last count—aiming to find ways within their own communities to reduce their dependence on oil. Groups like these are gaining influence with local policy makers, and their efforts naturally support green building and like-minded local businesses. Your involvement will help you identify emerging opportunities, make important connections within your community, and get support for reducing your own oil dependency. Jay Tompt Managing Partner Wm. Verde & Associates (415) 321-0848 info@williamverde.com

Weather happens. Wet wood swells. Such are the facts. The good news is, at last there’s a solution engineered to address the challenge head on. PointSIX™ Flooring and pointSIX Durastrand Flooring feature a patented taperededge technology that offsets the effects of moisture, eliminating the need for sanding.

Rain? We say, bring it on. Download your free white paper:

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MANAGEMENT Tips

Stop “slack-off summer” syndrome

A

Six ways to keep your company focused H , SUMMER … THAT WONDERFUL

time of year when everything slows down—including your business. Your clients, employees and vendors are on a seemingly constant rotation of vacation time. No one’s ever in when you need them. The easiest thing to do, then, is just accept this state of affairs. After all, there is a gentlemen’s agreement in the business world that operations are supposed to slow down a little in the summer, and since your competition has slowed down, it’s fine if you put on the brakes for a while, too. Right? Wrong, says business strategy expert Tom Hall. In fact, summer is the best possible time to really get focused on what makes your company tick—in large part precisely because your competition is taking it easy during these lazy, hazy, crazy days. “It makes perfect sense,” says Hall, co-author of Ruthless Focus: How to Use Key Core Strategies to Grow Your Business. “If everyone else is slowing down and losing their focus during the summer months and you do the opposite, then you will be way ahead of the competition when fall rolls around. Plus, losing your collective grip on what you’re supposed to

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 Building Products Digest  August 2010

be doing—and why—for three months is just bad for business.” The ability to focus—ruthlessly—is what separates the companies that grow steadily and successfully from the ones that get distracted, trot down the wrong side path, and find themselves lost in the forest, says Hall. “Focus requires complete concentration, which can be difficult to achieve when the joys of summer are distracting you and your employees at every turn,” he says. “It’s difficult but not impossible. Take the right steps and you can end the summer in a much better position than when it began.” Step 1. Vow to make this the Summer of Strategy. This summer, strive to make your core strategy (the main strategy that drives your business) the focus of everything: meetings, new projects, old projects, communications with clients and prospects—everything. You should be able to describe your core strategy in a couple of crisp sentences. And it should answer two key questions: (1) How are we going to beat the competition? and (2) How are we going to make money? “Every action, every day, moves

you and the business forward, especially in the summer,” Hall says. “A clear strategy will help you stay focused and help you stay on track. If you get off track, use that same clear strategy to help you identify what happened and what needs to change. Keep the two key questions in the forefront of everything you do.” One great way to maintain focus during the summer and beyond is to create a stick-to-the-strategy group. Hall explains: “The group should include people from every department. Their main objective should be to make sure the organization as a whole isn’t losing sight of the core strategy. They’ll bring you and the rest of your employees suggestions on how to push forward and get back on track whenever necessary.” Step 2. Plan the work and work the plan. Sometimes the best way to stay focused during the summer is to put everything you have to do right there in front of you. Create a to-do work list and encourage your employees to do so as well. Carefully manage the master list so that you are regularly updating it with new tasks and crossing off those that you have already completed. Make sure your employees do the same with their individual lists. The constant focus on these work lists will keep people from slacking off just because it’s summertime. “You’ll be surprised how gratifying it can feel to check a task off of your to-do list,” says Hall. “When you do, it provides you with the encouragement you need to move on to the next task. Making a to-do list might seem like a simple idea, but, trust me, it will have a big payoff. The list will help you see the big picture, and having everything in front of you will be a great way to continuously remind yourself that there is a lot to accomplish this summer.” Step 3. Don’t let people use their vacation as a get-out-of-work-free card. Speaking of to-do lists, anyone getting ready to go on vacation should be Building-Products.com


paying close attention to his or hers. A pending vacation should not be an excuse for not getting work done. Rather, it should be a red flag that urges you to be mindful of deadlines, rearrange more flexible projects, and ask for help if you need it. This is the message leaders should be sending to employees: If you are going to be on vacation, know what your deliverables are—and then deliver! “Have a meeting with employees a couple of weeks in advance of their vacations in order to go over their lists,” suggests Hall. “Point out those tasks that absolutely must get done before they go. Obviously, it’s important for everyone to get a break during the summer, but no one—not your employees, not you—should take three months off just because it’s summer. Not only will getting your work done make for a more enjoyable vacation for you, but it will make things a lot easier on coworkers and employees while you are out. And it will make your return a lot easier, as well.” Step 4. Update clients once a week. During the summer, you and your employees aren’t the only ones who are traveling or just MIA. Clients likely will be, too. Knowing they aren’t as available as usual, you might allow yourself to slip into less frequent communication with them. Don’t. “Make yourself provide your clients with an update on what’s going on with their accounts at least once a week,” says Hall. “Doing so is a great way to stay ruthlessly focused on providing them the best service and making sure you are on track to meet your clients’ goals. Providing updates will push you to pay close attention to each of your clients. It forces you to keep the ball moving, constantly thinking about what step should come next, what goal should be reached next, and what you can do to improve your overall service.” Step 5. Leverage the freedom of summer to generate fresh ideas. Summertime is just more fun than any other time of the year. It brings out people’s “inner child” and sparks creative ideas. That’s why summer is a great time to focus on developing fresh ideas at your organization. One way to get people’s creative juices flowing is to hold an organizationwide contest. “Ask everyone to submit their bright idea for the company and a plan for implementation,” he advises. “To Building-Products.com

motivate them to give you their best effort, offer the winner an extra day of vacation or a Friday off. Another way to inspire is to hold a brainstorming lunch with your staff once a month or so. Ask them to each bring at least one idea, whether it be a way to help a client, a way to save money, or a way to improve the business as a whole. “Finally, get outdoors from time to time,” he adds. “Take everyone to the local park one day. Encourage them to use the time outside the office to brainstorm ways to improve the business or tackle a problem that has been giving them trouble. Not only will people get to spend some fun time together enjoying the weather, they’ll have a chance to clear their heads and do some great brainstorming.” Step 6. Look for ways to keep people refreshed. Staying focused shouldn’t be about drudgery. People need a bit of fun and

levity to prevent boredom and burnout. That’s why Hall suggests you look for ways to infuse the spirit of summer into your organization. Let your employees enjoy the things that make summer great without ever leaving the office. Provide fresh flowers for everyone’s desks. Serve up a pitcher of ice-cold lemonade. Relax the dress code (at least one day a week). Pipe beach music throughout the office. The possibilities are endless. “Do whatever you can to make work more summer-y,” says Hall. “It will create a nice escape from the status quo that will refresh you and your employees and help everyone refocus on the work at hand while still getting to enjoy the spirit of summer." “It may sound like a great idea to check out for the summer and just pick things back up in September,” he says. “But in doing so, you leave a lot of great opportunities on the table.”

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LARGE TIMBERS, SPECIALTY PRODUCTS, & REMANUFACTURING

• Redwood • Western Red Cedar • Southern Cypress • Douglas Fir • Ipé

877.533.7695 August 2010  Building Products Digest 

41


NEW Products

Whey Better Finish

Rustic Beauties Under Foot

Quieter Compound

 ARMSTRONG.COM

 GREENGLUECOMPANY. COM (866) 435-8893

Armstrong’s Rustics Premium line now includes New England Long Plank laminate flooring. The floorboards are more than 7 ft. long, with the look of handscraped, oil-finished hardwood. Available in five colors, the tongue-and-groove boards can be locked in place. (717) 397-0611

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 Building Products Digest  August 2010

Green Glue noise-proofing compound reportedly can be used between layers of drywall or other building materials to decrease sound transmission by up to 90%. The products are water based, non-toxic, low-VOC, and exceed LEED building standards.

PolyWhey from Vermont Natural Coatings is a waterborne polyurethane finish for exterior wood that cleans up with soap and water. The environmentally friendly finish includes whey proteins—a byproduct of cheesemaking— that reportedly create a natural bond with wood. It may be used on new, pressure treated, and weathered wood for a quick-drying finish. Choose from Caspian clear, acorn brown, or autumn red, in quarts or gallons.

 VERMONTNATURALCOATINGS.COM (888) 639-9439

Building-Products.com


Better Gutter Covers

Leaf Relief gutter covers from Ply Gem reportedly can drain more than 29” of rainfall an hour. Built of solid aluminum, the covers lay flat and prevent overflowing by keeping debris out of gutters.

 PLYGEM.COM (800) 587-1339

Plug the Deck

Starborn’s Smart-Bit Pro Plug System includes everything needed to install a deck with invisible fasteners. Included are the Pro Plug tool for pre-drilling and counter-boring, stainless or hardened steel fasteners, replacement drill bits, a Titebond glue nozzle, and wood plugs to match a variety of wood species.

 STARBORNINDUSTRIES. COM (800) 596-7747

TRIM

FASCIA

SIDING

NATURE’S DESIGN TECHNOLOGY’S A SSURANCE www.lifespanoutdoor.com

Based in Annapolis, MD, Fletcher Wood Solutions® is the largest manufacturer of defect-free, appearance grade radiata pine products in New Zealand. Distributing our clear boards, mouldings, LIFESPAN®

Exterior Wood Protection

Sansin’s 2-Coat DEC stain uses modified natural oils and a water-borne formulation to protect exterior wood. The product reportedly allows wood to breathe, allowing it to adjust to natural moisture levels. Available in 79 colors, it can be used on old or new wood to repel water and provide protection from UV exposure

 SANSIN.COM

(877) 726-7461

Building-Products.com

treated wood, and lumber to the North American market through our proven and completely integrated supply chain, Fletcher Wood Solutions® maintains direct access to one of the largest FSC certified® pine plantation forests in the world.

1.866.FSC .WO O D August 2010  Building Products Digest 

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Composite Gate Kit

A new composite gate kit from TimberTech complements the company’s decking, railing, and fencing products. A lock, latch, and mounting hardware are included. The kits reportedly are code-compliant for use with swimming pools and second-story decks, and available in a selection of complementary colors.

 TIMBERTECH.COM (800) 307-7780

Ainsworth. Surround yourself with engineered quality.

Taped Solution

Peal & Seal PowerBond White 250 can be used to tape seams on roof and gutter repair, window flashing, and as a general-purpose waterproofing product. An asphalt adhesive and UV-stable outer film forms a long-lasting protective barrier. The 50’ rolls come in both 4” and 6” widths, in white only.

 SOLUTIONS.MFMBP.COM (800) 882-7663

1 W" 0.8E Durastrand® OSL Code-approved for short-span headers.

PointSIX™ Durastrand Flooring Webstock Ainsworth OSB is used in more wood I-joists than any other brand.

www.ainsworthengineered.com

An engineered subfloor solution, with patented tapered-edge technology, designed to offset the effects of moisture exposure.


Plantation Plywood Panels

Lumin plywood from Weyerhaeuser is manufactured from plantation-grown eucalyptus and pine. The all-eucalyptus panel is available in seven grades, including four proprietary grades. The combi-panel is available in three standard grades, pairing the strength of eucalyptus-core veneers with the traditional visual appeal of a pine-face layer. Both are produced in a mill with FSC chain-of-custody and controlled wood certification.

 LUMIN.COM

(877) 668-0155

Easy Underlayment

Elastilon underlayment allows stick-and-peel installation of 5/16” to 1” hardwood flooring. The self-adhesive membrane can be used on concrete, both below and above grade, eliminating the need for subfloor construction or glue and nails.

 ELASTILONUSA.COM (877) 526-9663

For confidence underfoot – and overhead – builders trust Ainsworth Engineered. For flooring systems that lay flat and true.

SteadiTred®

For stairs that won’t cup, sag or squeak.

Bull-nosed, span-rated stair treads are code approved and ready-to-install. Engineered for the job, they save time, money and waste.

For cost-competitive, sustainably sourced products, reliably supplied, choose quality. Choose Ainsworth. 1 W" 0.8E Durastrand® OSL Code-approved for stair stringers.

Rim Board Availiable in various dimensions: 1" and 1 B/i" Rim Board 1 B/i", 1 W" and 1 V" Rim Board Plus E-rated 1 W" 0.8 OSL Rimboard


SOUTHERN MANUFACTURERS Photos by BPD

SOUTHEASTERN LUMBER Manufacturers Association held its annual conference July 14-16 in Naples, Fl. [1] Sandy & Jeff Miller. [2] Rich & Judith Williams. [3] Beverly Hankins, J.D. Hankins. [4] Alex Seabolt, Sandie Sparks, Ardis & Pat Almond. [5] Bill Scott, Melissa Scott, Barry Black. [6] Ethel & Tom Rice. [7] Hank & Kimberli Scott, Andy Pollard. [8] Wade, Margaret & Leslie Camp, Alicia & Fred Stimpson. [9] Stuart, Steven, & Vicki O’Neill. [10] Daniel & Rachel Dickert. [11] Sue Jordan,

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 Building Products Digest  August 2010

Melissa Harris, Bob Jordan, Christy Jordan. [12] Keri & Ryan Hilsinger. [13] Robert Harris, Theresa & Bailey Bailey. [14] John & Deborah Ball. [15] Katie, Hunter, & Gina McShan. [16] Connie & Jeff Wilson. [17] Buddy & Ann Klumb. [18] Bob Tweedy, Debbie Burns, David Richbourg. [19] Jason Houck, Mike Pastore. [20] Digges Morgan, William Almond. [21] Jack Jordan, Joe Patton. (More photos on next page) Building-Products.com


IN Memoriam

Charles Cornelius “Chuck” Veenstra, 85, founder of Big Buck Building Centers and Custom Component Co., Racine, Wi., died July 10 in Racine. He was a captain in the U.S. Marines, serving in World War II and Korea. He took over the family’s Veenstra Lumber in the early 1960s, helping it grow to three locations. He opened his first Big Buck in Waukesha, Wi., eventually renaming the other yards Big Buck. He also launched ProMillwork, a millwork fabrication division. When he retired in 1985, his two children took over. ProBuild bought the business in 1998 and closed it last summer.

Donald A. Butterfield, 83, cofounder of A&B Lumber, Pembroke, N.H., died July 3 in Loudon, N.H. He served in the military during WWII and the Korean War. He helped launch A&B in 1977 and for the past 16 years had worked with Loudon Building Supply, Loudon.

Joseph Meyer Hymerling, 89, former owner and operator of Fort Meade Lumber Co., Fort Meade, Fl., died June 9 in Fort Meade. He served with the U.S. Army Air Corps and Air Force in WWII. He managed Nicholson Supply Co., Fort Meade, before starting his own business in 1975.

Donald E. Doppler, 87, president and c.e.o. of Johnson-Doppler Lumber Co., Cincinnati, Oh., died June 5 in Cincinnati. He joined the family business in 1949 and assumed the top post in 1957.

He was actively leading the company at the time of his death.

Andrew “Andy” Orlet, 79, retired president and c.e.o. of O’Neil Lumber Co., E. St. Louis, Il., died July 6 in Belleville, Il. He joined O’Neill Lumber in 1960. Five years later, he and two partners bought the firm. He retired in 1992. He was a past president of the Illinois Lumber Dealers Association. Alton C. “Jake” Mercer, 102, retired co-owner of Sellersburg Lumber & Supply, Sellersburg, In., died July 7 in Madison, In. He worked at Graham Lumber Co., Scottsburg, In., and Russ & Russ Lumber, Jeffersonville, In., before becoming co-owner and manager of Sellersburg in 1950. He sold the yard and retired in 1974.

George F. Dean, 89, retired owner of Northshore Ace Hardware, N. Muskegon, Mi., died from heart complications on June 30. He served with the U.S. Army during WWII, then became a pro hockey player. He opened the store in 1955 and passed it to his sons in 1986, but still came into the store every day during his retirement.

Kevin E. Perry, 65, longtime Indiana hardware store manager, died June 28 in Muncie, In. Before retiring in 2002, he worked for Yorktown Hardware, Hi-Way 3 Hardware, True Value, Lowe’s, and Ace.

John Thomas Munro, 78, retired owner of Munro Builders Supply/True Value Hardware, Rolla, N.D., died June

21 in Lake Upsilon, S.D. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, he served with the U.S. Army in Korea. He also operated Munro Contractors, Rolla.

Pete Windiate Jr., 54, co-owner of Perkins Builders Supply, Perkins, Ok., died June 2 in Stillwater, Ok. He and partner Larry Wilson opened the business in 1988. Greg Ziegler, 89, former head of Ziegler’s Ace Hardware, Elgin, Il., died June 22 in Barrington, Il. During WWII, he served with the Marines in the Pacific. After the war, he graduated from Kalamazoo College then joined the family business. The 10-location chain is now run by the third generation of Zieglers. He also served as director and vice chairman of Ace Hardware Corp.’s board of directors, and received the Illinois Retail Merchants Association Retailer of the Year award in 1983. Paul E. Drone, 62, co-owner of Carmi Lumber, Carmi, Il., died June 20 after the experimental aircraft he was flying crashed at the local airport. He joined his brother, Don, at the business in 1973, and they later purchased it.

Harper C. Chambers, 78, owner of Harper Chambers Lumber, Tuscaloosa, Al., died June 18 in Tuscaloosa. After serving in the U.S. Army, he established the business in 1967. He also served on the board of Hardware Wholesalers Inc. and was named Associate Member of the Year by the Tuscaloosa Home Builders Association. Robert Junior Rose, 76, retired employee of Rose Lumber Co., Tazewell, Va., died June 21 in N. Tazewell. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army. Frank Caillouet Gauthier, 76, retired owner of Frank’s Couvillion Lumber, Cottonport, La., died May 29 in Cottonport. He retired from the lumber business after 28 years, following six years in the U.S. Army.

SLMA attendees (continued from previous page): [22] Jack Curtis, Shiela McAlhany, Mark Palmer. [23] Nash Elliott, Mark Tucker. [24] Larry Blackmon, Don Bright, John Smith, Stephanie Thomas. Building-Products.com

Armond Kirk Carlin, 85, former owner of Carlin Lumber Co., Monett, Mo., died May 29 in Monett. He served with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during World War II. From 1961 to 1969, he managed Meek Lumber locations in Lockwood and Springfield, Mo. He owned and operated Carlin Lumber from 1969 to 1983. In 1986, he helped open Meek’s new store in Monett, Mo., staying on until his retirement in 1998.

August 2010  Building Products Digest 

47


New Hampshire Dealer Promotes Recycling

ZERO WASTE recycling bin for Portsmouth, N.H., was constructed by Middleton Building Supply, which donated time, building materials, and equipment for the project.

CLASSIFIED Marketplace Rates: $1.20 per word (25 word min.). Phone number counts as 1 word, address as 6. Centered copy or headline, $9 per line. Border, $9. Private box, $15. Column inch rate: $55 if art furnished “camera-ready” (advertiser sets the type), $65 if we set the type. Send ad to Fax 949-852-0231 or dkoenig@ building-products.com. For more info, call (949) 852-1990. Make checks payable to Cutler Publishing. Deadline: 18th of previous month. To reply to ads with private box numbers, send correspondence to box number shown, c/o BPD. Names of advertisers using a box number cannot be released.

HELP WANTED

LUMBER TRADER We are a wholesale lumber company looking for an experienced trader. Any species. No restrictions on mills or customers. No relocation. 60% split for trader. Call John at Lakeside Lumber at (623) 566-7100 or email lakesidelumber@cox.net.

WANTED TO BUY

WE BUY AND SELL PANEL STRIPS

Plywood, OSB, particleboard and MDF by the truckloads. Lumber Source, Phone (800) 8741953, Fax 888-576-8723, email LumberSource@hotmail.com.

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 Building Products Digest  August 2010

FOR SALE

CARPENTER PENCILS 3,000 at at 16 19¢¢ each 7,000 each NAIL APRONS 1,000 89¢ each each 1,000 at at 95¢

PRINTED WITH YOUR LOGO

L.I.INDUSTRIES

800-526-6465

FAX 718-793-4316 apronaz@aol.com www.apronsupply.com

Middleton Building Supply’s stores in Hampton and Dover, N.H., have partnered with a local environmental group to create colorful recycling bins for the nearby city of Portsmouth. “We are really working to offer more green options in our stores,” said Andy Carberry, who manages the store in Hampton. “Collaborating on a very visible project such as this one was a perfect fit.” Middleton donated a variety of building materials for the project, as well as the manpower, trucks, cranes, and forklifts needed to construct and carry the 500 to 600 lb. bins. The company also solicited donations from vendors such as MoistureShield, which supplied exterior trim. The bins’ sides feature colorful tiles decorated by local schoolchildren. Tiles on the top identify Middleton, MoistureShield, and other donors. The group installed the first bin in midJuly, and hopes to build and install 16 more bins over the summer.

Remodeling to Pick Up in ʼ11

Remodeling spending is expected to increase on an annual basis by the end of the year. Harvard’s latest Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity points to growth accelerating to double-digits in first quarter 2011. “Absent a reversal of recent economic progress, there should be a healthy upturn in home improvement activity by year-end and into next year,” says Harvard’s Eric S. Belsky.

IWPA Revises Veneer Standard

International Wood Products Association has approved a new voluntary IWPA Grade “Product Standard for Imported Rotary Cut Wood Veneer & Platforms.” The previous standard was released 10 years ago. “It was time to do an overhaul,” said IWPA veneer committee chair Bronson Newburger, Clarke Veneers & Plywood. “Taking into account that veneer faces continue to be thinner and thinner, we realized that adjustments to the standard had to be made.” The new specs establish minimum requirements for each grade, and reflect the current trend in the way veneers are being produced and used in veneer and plywood markets. “It’s a better explanation of what mills need to know in order to satisfy customers’ demand, and what users can expect from suppliers,” added Newburger. Building-Products.com


DATE Book

Listings are often submitted months in advance. Always verify dates and locations with sponsor before making plans to attend.

Moulding & Millwork Producers Assn. – Aug. 10-15, summer meeting, Asheville, N.C.; (530) 661-95914; www.wmmpa.com. New York & Suburban Lumber Association – Aug. 11, baseball, Citi Field, Queens, N.Y.; (518) 286-1010; www.nrla.org.

Northern New York Lumber Dealers Association – Aug. 11, fishing derby, Clayton, N.Y.; (518) 286-1010; www.nrla.org.

Southern Forest Products Association – Aug. 11-12, machinery expo, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Ga.; (504) 4434464; www.sfpa.org.

Handy Hardware Wholesale – Aug. 12-14, dealer market, Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center, San Antonio, Tx.; (713) 644-1495.

Orgill Inc. – Aug. 12-14, fall market, McCormick Place, Chicago, Il.; (901) 754-8850; www.orgill.com.

Peak Auctioneering – Aug. 14, LBM auction, Kansas City, Mo.; (800) 245-9690; www.peakauction.com.

Central New York Lumber Assn. – Aug. 19, clambake, Hinerwadles Groves, Syracuse, N.Y.; (518) 286-1010; www.nrla.org. Northeastern Young Lumber Execs – Aug. 19, baseball, Fenway Park, Boston, Ma.; (518) 286-1010; www.nrla.org. International Woodworking Fair – Aug. 25-28, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Ga.; (770) 246-0608; www.iwfatlanta.com. Kentucky Forest Industries Assn. – Aug. 26, golf & fishing outing, Barren River State Park, Ky.; (502) 695-3979; www.kfia.org.

Peak Auctioneering – Aug. 28-29, LBM auction, Baltimore, Md.; (800) 245-9690; www.peakauction.com.

Northeastern Retail Lumber Association – Aug. 31-Sept. 2, roundtable, Unionville, Ct.; (518) 286-1010; www.nrla.org.

Building-Products.com

Twin Cities Hoo-Hoo Club – Sept. 7, annual election meeting & luncheon, Nye’s, Minneapolis, Mn.; (612) 490-8583.

Virginia Tech – Sept. 10, energy reduction workshop, South Boston, Va.; www.woodscience.vt.edu.

Hoo-Hoo International – Sept. 10-12, annual convention, Holiday Inn Center, Sioux Falls, S.D.; (800) 979-9950. HDW Inc. – Sept. 11-12, fall dealer market, Shreveport Convention Center, Shreveport, La.; (318) 686-8527.

True Value Co. – Sept. 13-15, fall market, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nv.; (773) 695-5000. DeckExpo – Sept. 15-17, Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Md.; (866) 475-6495.

Remodeling Show – Sept. 15-17, Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Md.; (866) 475-6495. Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association – Sept. 17, golf outing, Wentworth Golf Club, Jackson Village, N.H.; (207) 8296901; www.nelma.org.

Twin Cities Hoo-Hoo Club – Sept. 17, annual LBM auction for education, Scott County Fairgrounds, Jordan, Mn.; (612) 490-8583.

Peak Auctioneering – Sept. 18, LBM auction, Detroit, Mi.; (800) 245-9690; www.peakauction.com.

Door & Hardware Institute – Sept. 22-23, annual conference & expo, Navy Pier, Chicago, Il.; (703) 222-2010.

Florida Building Material Association – Sept. 22-24, meeting & expo, Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort Resort & Convention Center, Lake Buena Vista, Fl.; (352) 383-0366.

Northeastern Young Lumber Execs – Sept. 22-24, timber tour, Adirondack Park, N.Y.; (518) 286-1010; www.nrla.org.

Kentucky Building Materials Association – Sept. 23, golf tournament, Oldham County Country Club, La Grange, Ky.; (800) 8441774; www.kbma.net.

August 2010  Building Products Digest 

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IDEA File

Thinking local has allowed a 50-year-old The Anti-Big Box

yard in Vero Beach, Fl., to succeed despite competition from big boxes. “We are a niche business that specializes in stuff that’s different,” said Jack Sturgis Jr., who co-owns Sturgis Lumber & Plywood with his brother Charlie. “The big boxes carry 80% of the things people need. We carry the other 20%.” That means everything a homeowner or business needs, including glass cutting and hard-to-find hardware and lumber, is available—or the Sturgis brothers will find it for you. Founded in 1954 by Jack Sturgis Sr., the business sits on six acres and includes a True Value Hardware store, a lumberyard, and lumber-storage buildings. The family also owns and manages timber hardwood land in Alabama, where the brothers’ great-grandfather worked in the lumber business in the 1830s. “We’re an old-style lumberyard,” said Jack. “We’re heavily into materials for docks and dune crossovers.” Pressure-treated timbers that can survive a Category 5 hurricane are a specialty, as are stainless steel fasteners, nails, screws, and drill parts that can stand up to corrosive sea air. In addition to standard plywood grades, the yard also carries hardwood plywood in teak, cherry, maple, and African mahogany. Other local favorites are 18”x18” beams and decorative pecky cypress boards. “If somebody can’t find something, we’ll hunt it down,” said Jack Sturgis. “I like being able to find things.”

Service Rates Industry Websites

The Construction Marketing Association has rolled out the Construction Brand Internet Index, a comprehensive rating of the Internet presence of top construction brands based on over 50 variables. The rating identifies how effective a specific website domain is relative to other websites. The ratings are based on key search engine data, website meta structure, traffic, social media integration (use of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.), inbound links, indexed pages, and more. “Overall, the top construction brands rate high due to high volume website traffic and large quantities of links; however, a number of missed opportunities were identified with highly rated websites,” said CMA chairman Neil Brown. “Certainly, the low-scoring websites lacked social media integration, and in one case, even basic meta data. As we evaluate the top construction brands, it is apparent that we (construction) lag other sectors in Internet best practices. Fortunately, the association addresses these opportunities with programs and training.” Top rated industry sites were www.ridgid.com and www.andersenwindows.com. CMA’s rating service is free to qualified construction brand websites.

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 Building Products Digest  August 2010

ADVERTISERS Index For more information on advertisers, call them directly or visit their websites [in brackets].

Advantage Trim & Lumber [www.advantagelumber.com]..........13

AERT [www.aertinc.com].................................................................5

Ainsworth [www.ainsworth.ca].....................................38-39, 44-45

Anthony Forest Products [www.anthonyforest.com] .................23

Arch Wood Protection [www.wolmanizedwood.com].........Cover I Cedar Creek Wholesale Inc. [www.cedarcreek.com] ............30, 42

Crumpler Plastic Pipe [www.cpp-pipe.com] ................................18

Dixie Plywood & Lumber Co. [www.dixieply.com] ......................21

Fiberon LLC [www.fiberondecking.com] ............................Cover II Fletcher Wood Solutions [www.tenonusa.com] ..........................43

Forest2Market [www.forest2market.com] ....................................33

Krauter Solutions [www.krauter-storage.com]............................31 Landry Lumber Co..........................................................................17

Lee Roy Jordan Lumber Co. [www.jordanredwood.com]...........41

Mary’s River Lumber [www.marysriverlumber.com] ..................28

Mill2Market [www.forest2market.com] .........................................33

New South [www.gator-guard.com] ...................................Cover III North American Wholesale Lumber Assn. [www.lumber.org] ...22

Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Assn. [www.nelma.org]...40 Peak Auctioneering [www.peakauction.com]..............................35

Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance [plmins.com] .....37 Richardson Timbers [www.timbersonline.com] ..........................34

RISI [www.risiinfo.com/crows] ......................................................32

RoyOMartin [www.royomartin.com] .............................................27

Simpson Strong-Tie [www.strongtie.com].....................................3

Siskiyou Forest Products [www.siskiyouforestproducts.com] ..29

Smith Millwork [www.smithmillwork.com]...................................49

Sunbelt [www.sunbeltracks.com] .................................................15

TLC Mouldings [www.tlcmouldings.com]..........................Cover IV U.S. Lumber Group [www.uslumber.com] ...................................25

Viance [www.treatedwood.com] .....................................................7 Western Red Cedar Lumber Association [www.wrcla.org] ..........9

Building-Products.com


GatorGuard™ treated lumber always delivers. Canfor operates two treating plants in Camden and Conway, South Carolina. Both are equipped with new state-of-the-art control systems to ensure consistent quality.

%\KDYLQJFRQWURORYHURXU¿EHU resources and lumber treatment, plus delivery by Canfor trucks, we guard the entire process.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL 1-800-346-8675 OR VISIT WWW.GATOR-GUARD.COM New South Lumber Companies, Inc. 3700 Clay Pond Road, Myrtle Beach, SC 29579-7330

TOUGH... RESILIENT... EXPERIENCED!


BPD

Building Products Digest

4500 Campus Dr. No. 480 Newport Beach, Ca. 92660-1872

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Building Products Digest - August 2010