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Building Products Digest



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August 2012

 Volume 31  Number 6

Building Products Digest









 Building Products Digest  August 2012

TOTALLY Random By Alan Oakes


Making your mark

who you are or what you do, whether in your private life or business life, impressions matter. It can be near impossible to undo a bad first impression. We all know that, but I wonder how often something goes wrong and by the time we realize it, it’s too late and we can only sit wondering what happened. Hopefully, most of my first impressions with people are generally positive, but there are times I wonder why did I do that, why did I say that, or how could I get it so wrong? And that’s after 35 years of executive experience! The reality is that we have but a few seconds to make an impression count. When we speak with someone new, how we look, sound and act are immediately scrutinized, and opinions are formed and decisions are made. A good impression puts you in good standing to achieve your goal. A bad one closes just about any deal—but, unfortunately, against you. And, sadly, most of the time, we don’t even know why. There have been times when someone made a good impression with me on the phone, but when I invited them for a face-to-face, I knew immediately that they were not right and then had to spend an hour going through the ritual of pretending. The reality is that I have rarely had someone change my mind. And, the fact is that I am no different than most of us. Many of us solidify our impression of someone in the first 30 seconds. Come up to me with a simple smile and the intent of being there for a purpose, and that starts things off right. Looking like you have been on a bender or wearing your casual clothes when we are all in jackets, or vice versa, does not bode well for the future. Find out what is appropriate from others (or even the receptionist) ahead of time. Tripping over your tongue with your first words, arriving late, or not calling someone when you promised adds to the bad impression. Having all of these traits correct except one can still turn good into bad. The problem is that every individual acts differently. For example, one of my main issues is tardiness without a really good reason. I cannot stand being late myself and I expect the same of others. The trouble is no one would know that about me, so again how do you know if you have made a bad impression? Some might try to be someone they are not, especially in an interview situation, but the best is to be yourself. Even if you fool someone the first time, you will be found out. For myself, I know who I am, what I am good at, what I am not, and if I am not right for something, so be it. I am confident in myself, and if I am not right for someone, I take the view that it is best I find that out first and not after wasting tons of time. I hope I am good at putting people at ease. As someone who never holds anything back, I am an open book (possibly one of my faults, too). Projecting a positive attitude that is rational without overdoing it goes a long way in giving confidence to those around you. I find that in the last 10 years, manners have gone by the board. I can say for myself that is something that I watch and observe closely. Being attentive, courteous and polite go a long way in my book. Texting, calling on your cell, looking around the room, looking bored, and being distracted do not make a good impression. Look me in the eyes and tell me the truth; do not waffle around being afraid to give me bad news. Say “no” to me instead of having me make four calls and send five emails. Let me know where I stand. Maybe there is a chance to put something right, but unless you tell me, I most likely will never know. Listen to what someone has to say, do not tune out, and pay heed to the signs that you have switched them off. Impressions do count, more than we know. A mistake of a few seconds may well last a lifetime! T DOES NOT MATTER

Alan Oakes, Publisher


 Building Products Digest  August 2012


Building Products Digest

A publication of Cutler Publishing

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

Publisher Alan Oakes Publisher Emeritus David Cutler Director of Editorial & Production David Koenig Editor Karen Debats Contributing Editors Carla Waldemar, James Olsen, Jay Tompt Advertising Sales Manager Chuck Casey Administration Director/Secretary Marie Oakes Circulation Manager Heather Kelly

How to Advertise

Chuck Casey Phone (949) 852-1990 Fax 949-852-0231 Alan Oakes Phone (949) 852-1990 Fax 949-852-0231

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How to Subscribe

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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,, 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®2012 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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MARGIN Builders By Ryan Mulkeen, Kuiken Brothers Co.

Create new revenue streams in your moulding department

many chapters of the American Society of Interior Designers or the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. Consult your vendors and local custom mills, to understand the differences in quality and authenticity. Ask questions. Focus on the quality, availability and commitment to traditional design. Be sure to ask about consistency of product so you don’t find yourself with profiles that may not be applied seamlessly. Request free catalogs that offer not only products but also education. As your reputation as an architectural moulding expert grows, so will your revenues. Become the source for classical mouldings in your area.


HIGH-STYLE architectural mouldings can generate high margins for dealers.

XPERTS WILL TELL you that one of the most underutilized elements in design today is architectural moulding. The exclusion of this element can become a lost business opportunity. Here are five ways that you can offer your customers some different and beautiful choices as well as improve your bottom line.

1. Become an expert in moulding.

Improve your understanding of the classical styles and their complementary profiles. Books, such as Tradi-


 Building Products Digest  August 2012

tional American Rooms: Celebrating Style, Craftsmanship & Historic Woodwork (by Brent Hull and Christine Franck), Historic Millwork: A Guide to Restoring and Re-creating Doors, Windows & Moldings of the Late Nineteenth through MidTwentieth Centuries (Brent Hull), and Theory of Mouldings: Classical America Series in Art & Architecture (C. Howard Walker) are excellent sources of information. Investigate local resources. There are lectures, workshops and information-gathering events sponsored by

2. Educate your customers

After you feel confident in your knowledge, educate your clients. Are they aware of the variety of styles and profiles? Do they understand the lingo? They won’t buy what they don’t understand. They may be overwhelmed by all of the styles and profiles, and not want to take the time to explore these design options. They may have the perception that using moulding is prohibitively expensive. Make it a point to start conversations about moulding as a potential design option. Create a library of case studies and featured products so you can show them what can be done and what to expect. Use catalogs that group styles by time periods so clients can get an idea of the different effects

they can achieve. Remind them that mouldings can create a feeling of more space and also character in a room or house. If they choose to use mouldings, you may increase your revenues through product markups or by offering them one of the packages mentioned below.

3. Update and enhance your pro-

ject portfolio Think about the projects you’ve supplied that showcase mouldings. Group them in a special section in your portfolio so you can display them easily. This section can help you establish or further your position as an expert. If you haven’t documented these projects, return to the site and photograph all of the profiles and profile combinations. Include a written narrative or bullet points to remind you how you achieve a certain look or feel. You may even want to separate the moulding projects into different style categories. You have the opportunity to create excitement and enthusiasm for a design element your customers may not have ever considered. Be ready to tout your knowledge of this specialty field. Be ready to talk about price and easy access to the products.

4. Create a basic moulding package

deal Think about the elements you can group together and offer as a basic package. The package may include an installer’s services and a keen design

MILLWORK EXPERTS can up-sell to custom moulding packages.

eye, as well as the benefits you bring to your customers as a result of your relationships with quality moulding producers. Be ready to offer solutions to meet your customers’ varying budgets. Use this package as a way to introduce them to a new world of design elements.

5. Create a custom moulding pack-

age deal Up-sell the basic package to a custom package in which you create unique design combinations especially for the customer. Use free, online computer-aided design (CAD) files to

showcase what can be done with a little creativity. Customers will see what happens with a simple click of the mouse. By using CAD, they become invested in the creative process, and you zero in on exactly what he or she envisions. And, the more you become an expert in this field, the higher a premium you can charge.

– Ryan Mulkeen is director of marketing for Kuiken Brothers Co., Midland Park, N.J. Contact him at rmulkeen@

August 2012  Building Products Digest 


FEATURE Story By Rick Kapres, Versatex Trimboard

Synthetics rising in exterior millwork W

to exterior trim and millwork, how much do homeowners care about “authentic” or “natural” products? According to the residential builders we queried at this year’s International Builders Show, what’s most important is getting the right look and eliminating as much maintenance as possible. Even in high-end houses and historical renovation projects, maintenance concerns are starting to outweigh insistence on “authentic” materials. Or, as one builder put it, “Nobody likes to do maintenance.” Another of the builders agreed: “With traditional materials, there’s a traditional solution: maintenance. So when traditional pine rots or fingerjoint glue doesn’t hold, the answers all involve more labor and more materials.” While everyone expressed respect for historical accuracy and aesthetics, most said they often urge their clients to consider modern, manufactured substitutes. A common rule of thumb: If it fits the look and feel of the house—and will require less maintenance—go with the substitute. “For exterior trim, five or 10 years ago there was quite a bit of resistance,” said one builder. “But now, when I show customers how their original trim has rotted out, they want to go with something like PVC. Once they learn that it’s an option, people overall are trending toward not wanting to spend time or money on maintenance.” Coincidentally, regions where tradition runs deep—such as New HEN IT COMES

PVC TRIM products were used to enhance the architectural style of the home, yet require little maintenance. (Photos by Versatex Trimboard)

CUSTOM PROFILES were created for door and window surrounds, railings, and panels that can withstand a full range of weather conditions.

England and the South—have climates that reinforce the argument for synthetic components and materials, the builders said. Brutal winters in the north and hot, humid summers in the south take their toll on features such as exterior trim. “High-end clients start out really

wanting traditional materials because that’s what they see themselves paying for,” said another builder. “Unfortunately, we’re in the Northeast, right on the water. There’s a four or five month window when it’s the greatest place in the world to live. But then you come here in

January and it’s brutal.” Builders also noted that the case for low-maintenance substitutes has gained support in recent years. Today’s homeowners tend to do much more research than earlier generations, and so many of them bring to the project some awareness of material properties. “Luckily, most of our clients are being educated by their architects,” said one builder. “Eventually, they see that we can get a historical effect with materials like PVC trim and bring the level of maintenance a lot closer to zero.” Manmade materials have also become more convincing, as well as more reliable. “I’m not recommending synthetic materials everywhere,” admitted one builder, “but I have to tell my clients that some of the old materials just aren’t working anymore. And some of them never did.”

– Rick Kapres is vice president of sales at Versatex Trimboard, Aliquippa, Pa. A division of Wolfpac Technologies, the company manufactures cellular PVC extrusion products such as trimboards, sheet, bead board, mouldings, and columns. Contact him at (724) 857-1111 or

Custom-Designed or Stock

Mouldings Today’s building projects – residential or commercial – require precision-run, high-quality mouldings. With our modern mill, large kiln-dried inventory of hardwoods and softwoods, Leonard Lumber Company can run stock or custom patterns – coves, crowns, chair rails, bases, flats or any other design needed. When you need mouldings, call us. We have the right shape. • Mouldings matched to customer drawing or wood sample • One-time only runs or repeat runs • Flooring or paneling patterns • Many stock profiles to choose from • High quality finish • Priming available

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August 2012  Building Products Digest 


MARGIN Builders By Steven Stewart, Annandale Millwork Allied Systems

Pass it along

Using structural frame software to help buiders be more successful


IG ZIGLAR, MASTER salesperson and motivational speaker, says: “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” For service businesses such as building material supply and component fabrication, this certainly rings true. Our financial success comes from helping builders get what they want: homes and buildings constructed better, faster and with less waste. The greatest way we can do this, arguably, is by providing services and expertise they don’t necessarily have in house, rather than just by supplying them with products. One way Annandale Millwork Allied Systems does this is by offering builders design and fabrication services for structural framing, which dealers all know is one of the most labor and material intensive parts of home construction. We use a suite of integrated software tools to design and fabricate structural frame components that we pre-cut and label for ready installation at the home site. If you’re interested in expanding your yard’s offerings via such tools, read on. In this article I’ll provide an overview of some of the available software and the benefits that can be achieved. I’ll also provide some tips on getting started.


 Building Products Digest  August 2012

For us, using software technology is a continuation of a spirit of innovation started by our founder, William Frogale, 60 years ago. He was the first LBM professional in the Washington, D.C., metro area to develop and distribute pre-hung door units. By providing an easier way to build homes, and helping improve quality, save time, and reduce costs, he became a valued partner to builder customers. Today, the same types of benefits are possible with structural frames.

Framing Software

Structural frame product manufacturers have developed a host of software tools. As with anything, capabilities vary. We evaluated a number of packages and selected Weyerhaeuser software as the best for our business. Their NextPhase Site Solutions include multiple programs for design, specification, and fabrication. For example, Forte software provides a fast and simple way to size joists, beams and columns. We use Javelin software for designing and specifying home structural frame members top to bottom. Stellar software then converts the design data into instructions for our computer-controlled saw. With these tools we’re able to offer builders precision end trimmed (PET) frame members to within 1/16” tolerances, pre-cut holes in joists for mechanical systems, and members with intersection marks. Each JobPack is delivered to the job site with a set of color-coded sheets corresponding to the pre-cut floor framing system. Builders can thus reduce cycle time, improve site safety, and minimize theft because fewer materials are left on site during down times.

us retaining the business of D.R. Horton in Maryland. Another customer, Advantage Homes, is a smaller builder that wants to be on the forefront of new technologies. For such builders, our software offerings provide them an improved way to build that they in turn can highlight with their homebuyers. In addition to providing direct benefits to builder customers, today’s structural frame software also can help dealers and fabricators enhance their own operations, including processing materials faster and managing inven-

Business Benefits

As it has become increasingly difficult for builders to earn a profit, dealers that provide them with ways to build better, faster, and with less waste have a clear competitive advantage. For example, with PET framing, builders save time by not needing to cut numerous individual pieces to size. Plus, the frame members all fit together precisely, which helps reduce framing errors and costly callbacks. Pre-cut framing also reduces waste and associated disposal fees. Many framers really like PET because it saves them time and money from cutting materials on site, helps reduce their liability since they’re not running saws on the job, and lowers waste and associated disposal fees. Pre-cut framing materials also provide dealers a way to help builders meet new code requirements more easily. For example, as more jurisdictions adopt energy efficiency codes that require HVAC ducts to be located within conditioned spaces, this often means in practice that the mechanicals must run through the floor system. There seems to be a lot of confusion about the new energy code requirements. The solution we provide is to the builder and their trades (specifically the mechanical company). Once they show us how their system is designed, we can collaborate with them to make sure the holes are in acceptable locations, precut them, and provide the framers and mechanical installers with tools that improve the assembly and installation of the structural and mechanical systems. Our customers have been really impressed with the NextPhase system. The range of structural frame materials and services we offer—powered by software—was key to

STRUCTURAL FRAME products manufacturers have developed software tools that help dealers improve service to builders. Pictured are screenshots from Weyerhaeuser’s Forte and Javelin software programs.

(All photos by Weyerhaeuser)

August 2012  Building Products Digest 


tory better—both of which help control costs. For example, the various software programs we use allow us to produce pre-cut framing packages much faster than is possible by hand. Just-in time ordering is a critical part of our business service to builders, and Javelin design software and Stellar fabrication software really help with this. We pride ourselves on fast turn-around—only two weeks from when a builder walks in with a rough sketch of the floor system until we deliver the JobPack of joists and other materials. This includes design of the floor and production of all the components. As a lean manufacturer, software helps us decrease production costs while improving quality. Fabrication software also helps us better keep track of inventory and manage drops. We can now account for every cut, and use leftover pieces for blocking, etc., to optimize materials use and help eliminate costly scrap. The software is substantially more accurate even than our point-of-sale inventory tracking system, and helps us be accurate to within 1% to 2% every week.

Getting Started

Structural frame manufacturers can help you launch a range of design and fabrication software and services. In our case, Weyerhaeuser really helped us get off the ground and trained us to be self-supporting after the launch, and

FLOOR JOISTS that are pre-cut and labeled reduce labor and decrease material waste.

they’ve been responsive to get our saw back up and running as quickly as possible, if any issues arise. • When it comes to picking a software provider, here are some key questions to ask: • What are the specific programs you offer? • What measurable benefits have other dealers achieved using these tools? • What training do you offer in software and fabrication operations? • What do you do to help fabrication crews solve problems themselves without having to rely on you? • What support do you offer to help get framers on board with using PET framing materials? • What types of marketing support do you offer?

Additionally, it’s very helpful to visit other dealers using structural frame software to see how their operations work. This can provide great insights on what’s possible and on how to set up your own operations. As Ziglar says, “It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you use that makes a difference.”

SOFTWARE for design and fabrication enables dealers to pre-cut holes in joists, saving builders' time on the jobsite.


 Building Products Digest  August 2012

– Steven Stewart is the design manager for Annandale Millwork Allied Systems, Winchester, Va. Incorporated in 1952, the company manufactures components systems and trim packages for builders in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Contact him via

MANAGEMENT Tips Bring Energy Efficiency to the Warehouse

How to green your warehouse


N TODAY’S BUSINESS climate, having an environmentally friendly warehouse not only lowers energy costs— it also wins respect from customers who care about green building. Since heating, cooling, and lighting are the largest energy uses for warehouses, first look for savings in these three areas. Even relatively inexpensive upgrades can make a big difference: new weatherstripping for doors and windows, window caulking, new insulation for roof-wall intersections, and sealing all penetrations through the building shell. Each of these measures prevent outside air from getting into the building and conditioned air (air that costs money to heat or cool) from escaping. Strategically placed windows and skylights provide natural light yearround, reducing the need for electricity. Skylights and clerestory windows that open provide natural ventilation by allowing hot air to escape during warmer weather. Lighting controls such dimmers and occupancy sensors save energy, as do fluorescent bulbs that turn on immediately without needing to warm up. Outdoors, install photo-sensors and motion detectors to automatically control lights. Don’t forget routine maintenance: clean and replace bulbs on a fixed schedule. Verify that wall and roof insulation meets guidelines for your climate zone and operating conditions. If not, add insulation when renovating the

interior or the roof—when incremental costs will be lower. Next, remove unused equipment from the roof, cap off the openings, and add insulation. For long-term energy savings, reduce unneeded paving and plant shade trees so the warehouse will be cooler in summer. To improve HVAC efficiency, change filters as needed and install a desiccant wheel to remove moisture from incoming air—an activity that consumes 30% to 50% of all air conditioning energy. Use radiant space heaters in smaller spaces—such as loading docks and offices—and turn off heating and cooling completely

when it’s not needed or spaces are not occupied. When it’s time to buy a new forklift, consider electric vehicles. Diesel and propane-fueled lifts require extra ventilation, which adds to the HVAC load. Just remember to recharge electric-vehicle batteries during off-peak hours, when costs are lower. Finally, make recycling a daily habit in the warehouse—and throughout your business. Provide convenient bins for recycling of packaging materials and encourage their use. The goal is to save money and reduce waste, while making the warehouse a healthier place to work. August 2012  Building Products Digest 


PRODUCT Spotlight Skylights

Green movement energizes skylight sales


AYLIGHTING —using energy-efficient windows and skylights to increase occupant comfort and reduce reliance on artificial lighting—has become an important component of green building design. In fact, the use of skylights in remodeling and replacement projects increased 2% last year and is expected to increase 6% this year, according to a recent study by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and the Window & Door Manufacturers Association. In contrast, demand for windows has decreased, as housing activity remains stagnant. Potential energy savings are one reason that sales of skylights are expected to increase. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program found that optimal use of daylighting in commercial

SUN TUNNELS bring light to areas that windows can’t reach. (Photo provided by American Architectural Manufacturers Association)


 Building Products Digest  August 2012

ACTIVE HOUSE USA, Webster Groves, Mo., will include nine skylights and two sun tunnels, to reduce reliance on artificial lighting and increase occupant comfort. (Photo by Active House USA)

buildings can decrease energy costs up to a third. Although achievable savings in residential construction have not yet been quantified, they should be sizable as well. “We take advantage of the energy provided by daylight and include it in our energy budget,” says green builder Matt Belcher, who owns Verdatek Solutions, Wildwood, Mo., and chairs the green building sub-committee at the National Alliance of Home Builders. “The percentage of daylight provided by skylights is significantly higher than that provided by vertical windows.” Belcher is also project manager for Active House USA, which is being constructed in Webster Groves, a suburb of St. Louis, Mo. This 2,600-sq. ft. home incorporates green building standards developed by the Active House Alliance, which was founded two years ago in Denmark. “These homes take an innovative

approach to energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and interaction with the surrounding environment,” says Mikkel Skott Olsen, chairman of Active House Alliance, who traveled from Denmark to attend the groundbreaking ceremony in Missouri. “They emphasize a holistic approach to sustainability and community-conscious home construction.” To achieve these aims, Alliance House USA will have nine skylights and two sun tunnels. Also known as solar tubes, these fixtures funnel light from a roof-mounted unit to a ceilingmounted fixture via a tube. Perhaps most importantly, sun tunnels bring natural light to places that other skylights—and windows—can’t reach. “Besides the energy-saving benefits, the amount of sunlight will increase the comfort of occupants,” says Belcher. “The primary aim is to improve the performance and the comfort of the home.”

COMPETITIVE Intelligence By Carla Waldemar

“Picture this!” “P


directs Augie Venezio, president of Fairfax Lumber & Hardware in California’s Marin County. He says that a lot—but then, he’s clearly a man of vision. For starters, he proceeds to paint the scene of Fairfax, a town of 7,500—“fairly affluent, very anti-change, and antichains: no Starbucks, no Shell gas station.” And, more to the point, no room for new housing. “If you’re in a hurry, you don’t wanna be here,” he advises (unless you’re pedaling downhill; it’s also the mountain bike capitol of the world, he adds.). Yet Augie himself has been here for over 35 years, experiencing the operation’s evolution into an employee-owned business when, several decades back, its five partners wanted out. One of the very first ESOP yards

in the country, the concept motivated its then-staff of 30 (today 39) to work together to achieve profitability, a benefit to be shared by all. And that meant moving forward with ideas just taking shape on our industry’s horizons. Maybe—talk went, some years back—it was time to dabble in the newly emerging green movement they’d read about in magazines and heard about at trade shows. Why not? “Let’s try it!” the staff-owners agreed. “So we put out feelers with manufacturers, vendors and customers, starting with simple things like windows that open and siting buildings to take advantage of natural light. Then we started in with the garden department,” Augie recalls: things like combating weeds, bugs and fungal problems with non-toxic products that

FAIRFAX LUMBER president Augie Venezio has tried to capitalize on the greening of California.


 Building Products Digest  August 2012

would allow your kids and pets to play in the grass. “It took off like gangbusters!” he proclaims, “so we decided, ‘Okay, let’s try paint.’” Low- or no-VOC paint, sealants and adhesives also proved an easy sell. “Picture this!” he asks again. “A pregnant woman comes in looking for paint for the nursery. ‘Traditional or non-toxic?’ we ask her.” Well, what’s a mother gonna say? Next, Fairfax expanded its green offering to include energy- and watersaving items. Finally, it was time to take the plunge and opt for “green” lumber, too. After hours—weeks—of vigorous debate, the crew decided to go for FSC certification. Winning homeowners over was easy (okay, this is granola land), but what about builders, notoriously resistant to change? Fairfax simply decided those guys didn’t have to. No forcefeeding. The yard simply continued to offer its traditional products as well, so there was always a choice, not a mandate. “We didn’t lose any builders,” Augie can boast. “The year 2006 was the first year everything was in place,” he says— coincidentally, the same year the State Legislature enacted Bill 32—landmark legislation to control greenhouse gas emission. The state also enacted a new, green-friendly building code— “the first in the nation,” Augie states. Manna from Sacramento. “So, here we’re all going, ‘Holy (smokes)! We’re in the right place at the right time,’” fully positioned to take the lead. But, who knew? “We’re a hundredyear-old yard, so we had to get the message out that we had changed,” Augie underscores. Fairfax hired a design firm to create a new logo and website—and that’s all it took.

DESPITE THE BUSINESS being a century old, the employee-owners quickly embraced Fairfax’s eco-conversion.

“With that website, we picked up business all over the country. People Googled key ‘green’ words on the Internet and found us. All of a sudden, our customer base grew from Marin County to all over the place.” And with the new business came new awards, including recognition from the state in 2008 acknowledging Fairfax’s efforts to introduce building science to the building trades. “We encouraged homeowners to start with the lowhanging fruit, like household cleaners without chlorine and energy-saving light bulbs. Then, we might mention indoor air quality. ‘Picture this!’ I’d say. ‘The air in the rooms you spend time in all day is worse than a day in L.A. smog. What’s more important to you than your family’s health?’ If they held back because of cost, I’d remind them of the medical bills involved with asthma or emphysema. We didn’t dictate. Just simple actions like that…. “To entice customers, we started using a lot more advertising to get the word out, both print and electronic. We also began offering homeowners one or two demos a month, leading off with gardening: edible landscaping, composting, food preserving.” Business just kept on building. To sustain growth, however, requires staying ahead of the curve, the folks at Fairfax fully recognized: “What next, what next?” they pondered. “By 2009, we had all our products in line, so we had to think further”—look not simply to cherry-pick a new green line, but to think much bigger and beyond: a whole new concept. The idea they came up with was… recycling. People were invited to donate discarded stuff from their remodeling projects to a collection called The Away Station, which was opened behind the showroom. Successful? “It brought in customers we’d never seen before,” Augie crows. “And, picture this! If someone found an old door with lead paint on it, we’d suggest a non-toxic paint remover. It brought ’em through the store. It went against our industry’s business model at the time, but soon it became commonplace.

And, within the next decade,” he adds, “zero waste will be the law in California. Plus”—an all-important plus—“it positions us as a leader. We’ll be top of mind.” Examining the green horizon once again, Fairfax has partnered with the Community Land Trust of Marin (CLAM) on a housing project for farm laborers, intended to demonstrate that green building is not just for the One Percent. The company remodeled an existing house and built a second one, using Passive House technology. The technique has been a big player in Europe since the 1970s, Augie reports—but here, not so much. The idea is to utilize a near-airtight shell in tandem with a filtered ventilation system to create a living environment that’s comfortable 24/7 for 365 days a year, without—get this!—a furnace or air conditioning. These homes use less than 20% of the energy employed in a standard new home, says Augie—a savings in cash and ecology. “It makes economic sense for low-income housing,” he’s quick to demonstrate. Is it taking off? Well, not so much. Not yet. In these dire economic times, people haven’t the wherewithall to move forward with this scope of remodeling project. But that will change, Augie is convinced. “Picture this! Seventy-two percent of California’s homes were built before 1978—that’s 13 million older homes! The state is starting to offer tax credits and government financing for retrofitting, so this is a huge opportunity. And,” he stresses, “We’re ready! We’re ahead of the curve. It’s more fun for us to be a winner than to be playing catch-up. So it’s great for our staff, too.” Picture that. Carla Waldemar

August 2012  Building Products Digest 


OLSEN On Sales By James Olsen

Courageous closing



for the order. Even fewer close courageously. We must be brave. Selling is not for the faint of heart or spirit. To become master closers, we must embrace the idea of changing someone’s mind. Our prospective customer may: • want to shop our offer • not understand/appreciate our proposal • want to give the order to someone else • want to think it over (None of the above are ever mentioned before the salesperson does their work—weird, huh?) Many salespeople accept the above as “part of the sales gig” and never try to close unless the customer says, “I’ll buy it,” which isn’t closing at all. If we are standing in front of (or on the phone with) a customer, we are probably in the right place. We are not selling something that the person doesn’t want or use. In most cases they have asked us to supply it to them! How can we “hard close” someone who has taken our call and buys what we are selling? (And probably is trying to counter our price, to boot!) More often the case is that the customer “hard shoos away” the salesperson after getting the necessary information. These are our moments of truth as salespeople.

Stand Up For Yourself

Being charming and attentive is important for salespeople. Being able to stand up for ourselves is also important for our emotional, psychological and financial well-being. I’m not talking about blowing up accounts. Some deserve it (and it feels good at the time), but giving customers “a piece of our mind” is bad business in the short and long term. Using humor is one way to change how a call is going: • “Ouch!” • “You sound like my wife/husband.” • “Do you always act like this before you give out P.O. numbers?”

That Doesn’t Work for Me

Being clear with customers when they are trying to make us a quotron is a must for the master closer. We communicate our position with phrases like: • “We don’t really do it that way.” • “The way we normally take it from here is…” • “What my clients really like in this situation is to…” • Or stronger, “That doesn’t work for me.” These kinds of phrases may cool the conversation. The customer in many cases will be taken aback—good.


 Building Products Digest  August 2012

Waking customers out of their “Give me the price and I’ll let you know” reverie is good for us. Even if we don’t get the order this time, we have sent the message that we expect to get the business next time. This point is critical. Especially in ongoing B-to-B selling, how we develop the relationship is more important than the order we get or don’t get today.

The Right-Angle Close

Another way to turn a conversation and close is to use the “right-angle close.” The right-angle close can be used whether the customer agrees with us or not. It’s surprising how often a customer will say something positive about our proposal and how little we use it! Here are three ways to deliver the right-angle close: • “And that’s exactly why you should by this.” • “John, you’re making my argument for me.” • “Exactly, Susan, so we do agree.”

Assumptive Selling

Acting, in everything we say and do, as if we already have the order is the highest level of courageous closing. Many struggling salespeople sound as if they are one of many vying/whining for the business of the all-powerful P.O. holder. Assumptive sellers’ voices are calm and confident. There is respect without servitude or nervousness. Practice this. Most salespeople shamble into a business with body language that screams I am an intruder, and they get treated like one. Assumptive sellers enter a potential customer’s business as if they were an old college roommate. Shoulders back, relaxed smile, conversational—“How are you today? Is the boss around?” They ask for the owner/buyer with a calm confidence that has the help leading them to the decision-maker immediately. Our attitudes, good or bad, infect/affect our customers. If we are tentative and uncomfortable our customer will be also. When we are courageously, comfortably and assumptively bold, our customers will be comfortable also and will follow our lead. James Olsen Reality Sales Training (503) 544-3572

GREEN Retailing By Jay Tompt

Small is beautiful


OR MANY WORKING in the sustainability movement, one book—Small Is Beautiful: Economics as If People Mattered—provided the spark that inspired their careers. Turns out, economics isn’t a dismal science after all, and it’s too important to be left to self-important politicians or obfuscating policy wonks. Instead, this book argues that economics can provide a potent framework for building healthy and sustainable communities. The book is still relevant 40 years after its first publication, and its author, E.F. Schumacher, is revered among academics and professionals working in a range of fields from development economics to green building. Why? It shows that decentralized, community-centric economic development policy improves sustainability and builds local resilience. Sustainability and local resilience are two issues of supreme importance to the home and shelter supply chain: the former, because that’s what’s driving growth, competitiveness, and innovation; the latter, because the long-term health of our industry is directly related to the health of our local and regional economies. But while our industry creeps toward sustainability, it’s heavily reliant on centralized supply chains and international-scale corporations. Scale and centralization have benefited consumers with lower prices, due mostly to offshore manufacturing. But too much of a good thing is, well, not a good thing. Many argue that high energy costs associated with a globalized supply chain make it inherently unsustainable. But the point I want to address is that it also leaves local economies vulnerable, evident today in high unemployment, diminished construction activity, and increasing closures of independent dealers. For independents to remain competitive they need, among other things, access to capital. Given the current


 Building Products Digest  August 2012

credit crunch (and, by the way, a highly centralized banking system is also problematic), smaller dealers and distributors have little opportunity to invest in new innovations or take advantage of growth opportunities when they arise. I’ve often argued that creating strong links with one’s surrounding community is the key success factor for independents. Now, there’s one more reason why that’s the case and it could prove to be a game changer: crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is one of a growing number of alternative financial models enabled by the Internet and filling the gaps not addressed by the existing financial system. The idea behind crowdfunding is that many people can contribute small amounts of money to enable big things to happen. To date, crowdfunding has been limited to grants, product pre-purchases, and micro-loans. But that’s about to change. The JOBS Act, which goes into effect next year, will allow crowdfunding sites to begin selling equity shares in companies, enabling capital to flow directly to smaller firms, bypassing Wall Street altogether. It may be too late for some firms, but this could prove to be a valuable path to survival, growth, and competitiveness for small independent companies whose fate is still undecided—especially for those who can draw on the good will of their communities. Independents interested in this path should start getting ready now. Simply listing your company’s offer on a website isn’t going to be nearly enough. Start building your business case and begin strengthening ties to your future investors: your community. Develop some innovative ideas that will make a difference—a green building training facility, perhaps? Ultimately, whether you want to raise equity investment or contribute to a creative idea, crowdfunding could prove that not only is small beautiful, but it’s a sound financial strategy, too. Jay Tompt Managing Partner William Verde & Associates (415) 321-0848


O’Neal Brothers , Laurel, De., has closed after 57 years. Owner Chris Johnson is continuing to sell from his Laurel home, as

O’Neal & Johnson Hardware & Building Supply , and hopes to open in a new storefront in the fall.

Lowe’s will invest $5 million to repair and enlarge its flatbed distribution center in Thomasville, N.C., that was damaged Nov. 17 by a tornado.

LaValley Building Supply , Middleton, N.H., suffered damage to a dry kiln in a June 20 fire. Westlake Ace Hardware

closed its 16-year-old store in NW Dallas, Tx., July 31 and its 5-year-old unit in St. Charles, Mo., July 1.

Palos Ace Hardware , Palos Heights, Il., owners Dan and Pattie Harris early this fall will add an Ace in a former True Value shop in Lemont, Il.

Southern Hardware , Petersburg, Va., is closing after 65 years.

Northwest True Value Hardware, Roanoke, Va., will build a

$1.5-million, 20,000-sq. ft. store #7 in Ridgeway, Va., by early next year. Jason Yopp will serve as mgr.

Frattallone’s Hardware, Arden Hills, Mn., opened store #18—a 12,000sq. ft. unit in St. Louis Park, Mn. D.W. Moody True Value Hardware, Montgomery, Al., closed

July 14 after 62 years.

Jones’ Ace Hardware, Vermillion, S.D., is expanding to take over the space vacated by a sister grocery store.

Kodiak Building Partners , Denver, Co., acquired the assets of specialty dealer Gulf & Basco , Houston, Tx.

TW Perry added a Design Center in Gaithersburg, Md.

Beacon Roofing Supply , Peabody, Ma., opened branch #200 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Wausau Supply, Schofield, Wi., has acquired 40 acres in Rapid City, S.D., to build a 59,400-sq. ft. DC.

August 2012  Building Products Digest 


MASTERING Leadership By Patrick Sweeney

8 ways leaders can build greater trust


S TRUST ON ITS way to becoming an endangered species? With an everchanging business climate—and uncertainty being the name of the game—it’s no wonder that less than half of employees have trust and confidence in their senior leaders, according to a recent Watson Wyatt survey of 12,000 workers. But while distrust may be understandable, it can be detrimental to success. Without trust, employees are less productive, less dedicated, and less willing to take initiative. And, lacking trust can create a ripple effect that spreads throughout the organization. Here are some ways to build employee confidence and greater trust internally:

1. We’re in this together. Always speak in terms of “us” and “we.” Talk about shared responsibility as well as shared hardships. Express belief, as long as it’s sincere, in everyone’s ability to pull together and meet the challenges that lie ahead. Give people permission to whine briefly about some of the struggles and the crises, but after you have communicated openly, ask them to move on so you can all focus on maximizing efficiency and improving customer service. The leader-employee relationship is one that matters now, more than ever. 2 . Share the plan. Outline the challenges that exist and share the strategy for the how the organization will address them. Employees are looking to management for a plan and guidance. They want to know things have been thought through and real steps are being taken to remain competitive and move forward. Leaders must not become overly focused on what they don’t have. They should focus on their teams and what 24

 Building Products Digest  August 2012

strengths their teams bring. Real leadership wisdom comes from knowing the team—and using that information to create a clear plan.

3. Tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Communicate often. Don’t withhold information or try to sugar-coat the issues. Share what you know for sure. Be honest when you’re uncertain. People may not like what they’re hearing, but when they know they have full disclosure, they needn’t spend energy wondering where things stand, imagining worst-case scenarios, or feeding the rumor mill until an “us vs. them” mentality evolves.

4. Balance hardware with human. Don’t leave everything to email or other electronic communication. Conduct more face-to-face talks and be sure the leadership team is visible. Walk around more; get a handle on the pulse of the organization. The more aware you are of potential trust issues, the quicker you can step in and address them with candor, concern and credibility.

5 . Hold employees accountable. High-trust organizations reward top performers while also holding poor performers accountable through discipline, and even termination. If stellar employees see unproductive co-workers getting away with poor performance with no real consequences, resentment and distrust in leadership can build quickly.

6. Let people talk about their concerns and ideas—and listen. To get honest feedback, conduct attitude surveys. These can help you determine if, and why, trust is low. Use survey results to sit down with employees and delve deeper into why trust is lacking and what could be done to improve it.

Get specific employee input for improving the work climate and make constructive changes with the suggestions you receive.

7. Remind people of goals—and the part they each play in achieving them. Companies with high levels of trust are very effective at communicating the company’s business goals and the part each employee plays in achieving them. When people understand why certain decisions are made and feel that their roles are vital in helping the company achieve success, they take more ownership and pride in what they’re doing.

8. Leadership needs to show they trust employees. Be sure to talk about the strengths of your organization and how it is the combined effort of the employees that has brought everyone this far. Let them know you believe in their abilities and appreciate their loyalty. And avoid creating an environment where employees feel that “Big Brother is watching.” Nothing breeds distrust like distrust.

– Patrick Sweeney is president of international management consulting firm Caliper. Reach him at (609) 524-1200 or

Cedar Creek Extends Mid-Atlantic

This month, Midwest wholesaler Cedar Creek, Oklahoma City, Ok., is expanding to the East Coast, opening its fourteenth branch in Richmond, Va. The property was purchased for $3.85 million from N.B. Goodwyn & Sons Lumber. Bob Rue, ex-BlueLinx, will serve as branch general manager. Cedar Creek has been serving southern and western Virginia since it acquired Epperson Lumber’s Statesville, N.C., facility last year. The Richmond branch will provide better coverage throughout the state and expand service to the Tidewater and Washington, D.C., markets. “This expansion is further evidence of our commitment to growing the footprint of Cedar Creek and opening new markets,” said c.e.o. Bill Adams. “We view this as a great opportunity to increase our presence outside of our traditional mid-South markets and enter what’s forecasted to be one of the best growth areas in the country.”

Short & Paulk Spins Off Truss Unit

Short & Paulk Supply, Tifton, Ga., has spun-off its truss-manufacturing operation as a separate business division named Georgia Structural Components. “The wholesale-only orientation of our new GSC division provides an opportunity for substantial development as we continue to expand this distribution channel,” said c.e.o. Jay Short. “It just makes sense for us to seek new markets for our growing manufacturing capabilities.” GSC will distribute trusses and engineered wood products through Short & Paulk’s four retail locations, as well as its growing network of dealer locations.


L.R. McCoy, Worcester, Ma., is liquidating its inventory and closing this month after 90 years. Rex Lumber Co., Graceville, Fl., suffered an estimated $500,000 in damage from a July 12 fire that engulfed a dry kiln, but spared the mill.

Robbins Lumber, Searsmont, Me., has expanded its warehouse and is installing a new debarker at its sawmill. Alamco Wood Products, Albert Lea, Mn., has taken over the nearby former Master Fit Technologies postand-beam facility and converted it into a laminated utility pole plant. Bart Belshan is now plant mgr. of both Alamco plants.

Richardson Timbers, Dallas, Tx., is now stocking redwood from Redwood Empire, Cloverdale, Ca.

Weyerhaeuser is now distributing WindsorOne trim, specialty boards, and mouldings in Texas. Georgia Structural Components, Tifton, Ga., is now a stocking distributor of Georgia-Pacific EWPs.

Sunset Moulding, Live Oak, Ca., is running a new MDF line at its plant in Idabel, Ok. Advantage Business Computer Systems, Fort Blue-

Worth, Tx., announced a technology integration with Tarp Financial, Charlotte, N.C.

August 2012  Building Products Digest 


MOVERS & Shakers Steve Linsky, National Lumber, Mansfield, Ma., has retired after 47 years in the industry. Lauren Litwin has joined the outside sales team at Russin Lumber, Montgomery, N.Y., serving northern Ma., southeastern N.H., and Me. Chip Adams, ex-84 Lumber is a new dealer sales rep at Dixie Plywood & Lumber, Charlotte, N.C. Mike Duval, ex-Parksite, is now EWP territory mgr. at BlueLinx, Albany, N.Y. Kevin Karas is a new customer sales rep in San Antonio, Tx. Peter Sarris is new to inside sales in Atlanta, Ga. Christopher Sackett was promoted to president of American Cypress & Hardwood, Greensboro, N.C. Carl Amspaugh, ex-84 Lumber, is new to outside sales at Carter Lumber, Lancaster, Oh. Andrea Spillers, ex-Temple-Inland, is a new account mgr. at Weyerhaeuser, Hot Springs, Ar. John Maiuri has been promoted to v.p.-marketing & business development at Spruce Computer Systems, Latham, N.Y.

Mike Lombardi, ex-TimberRoots, has been named area operations mgr. for Edward Hines Lumber, Buffalo Grove, Il. Paul Whatley, ex-Lowe’s, is a new dealer account rep at Broad Building Supply, Columbia, Mo. Michael Harig is a new architectural millwork specialist at Smith Phillips Building Supply, WinstonSalem, N.C. Ron Long, ex-EcoGreen Forest Products, has rejoined Huttig Building Products, in sales to Va., N.C., and S.C. He is based in Millers Creek, N.C. Del Oldland, ex-Lee Lumber, is new to pro commercial sales at ProBuild, Waldorf, Md. Mike Menz is now in sales at MJB Wood Group, Huntersville, N.C. Gus Welter, ex-Universal Forest Products, has been named president of Granite Valley Forest Products, Marathon, Wi. John Ritz is now in outside sales for Robbins Lumber, Searsmont, Me. Tonia Tibbetts and Peter Kinney are new to inside sales.

Bill Myrick has been named c.e.o. of American Builders Supply, Sanford, Fl. Henry Ball is new to outside/installed sales at 84 Lumber, Statesville, N.C. Mike Russell, TECO, Shreveport, La., has been promoted to plywood certification mgr. Michele White, ex-BlueLinx, is a new buyer at Lumbermens Merchandising Corp., Wayne, Pa. Greg Sagorski was named director of technical services for Atlas Roofing Corp., Atlanta, Ga. succeeding Richard Roe, who retired after 15 years with Atlas. Stanley Bastek is now district sales mgr. for Georgia. Tom Kochanski, ex-84 Lumber, has joined Lowe’s, Stroudsburg, Pa., as a commercial sales specialist. Robert Hunter, ex-Rex Lumber, is new to inside sales at PrimeSource Building Products, Waterbury, Ct. Richard Kelly, ex-Bodyguard Wood Products, is now national sales & marketing mgr. for Rockstep and Pro Line stone products at Norse Building Products, Allenton, Wi.

Three Things I’ve Learned: Tips from Seasoned Pros

Anne Crowder, ex-Weyerhaeuser, is now general product line mgr. at Boise Cascade, Greensboro, N.C. Brian Rivers, ex-BASF, is new to sales at Trevdan Building Supply, Chester Springs, Pa. Bill Tucker, ex-Florida Building Material Association, has joined executive recruiter Schaffer Associates, Charlotte, N.C. Robert Murphy has been promoted to store mgr. at McCoy’s Building Supply, Alpine, Tx. Jerry Bell has been named warehouse operations mgr. for Horizon Forest Products, Sterling, Va. Michael Flanagan has been named flooring installation mgr. at Marine Home Center, Nantucket, Ma. David Grace, executive v.p. and chief financial officer, Beacon Roofing Supply, Peabody, Ma., is retiring Jan. 1 after 25 years due to health concerns. Ben Cobb, Home Builders Supply Co., Greenville, N.C., has been promoted to v.p. of finance & operations. Andrew Randle, ex-Stock Building Supply, has joined Rosen Materials, Sunrise, Fl., as director of national accounts.

Kevin Cook has joined the inside sales team at Huttig Building Products, Greer, S.C. Camden Carpenter, ex-Rayonier, is now in sales at Riverside Forest Products, Augusta, Ga. Mike Kudiak is now senior merchandising mgr. for PACOA, Port Washington, N.Y. William Guzik has been named chief financial officer for Ace Hardware Corp., Oak Brook, Il. Kim LaRose now handles customer support for OSB sales at Tolko Industries, Vernon, B.C. Todd Buehl, ex-Hendricks Holding Co., has been named v.p. and chief administrative officer at ABC Supply, Beloit, Wi. Bob Brechlin is new to outside sales in West Haven, Ct. Mark Ouellette, ex-BrockwaySmith, is now Northeast territory mgr. for Intex Millwork Solutions, Millville, N.J. Nick Purdy, ex-Home Depot, is new to sales at Kenseal Construction Products, Long Island, N.Y. Mike Knight, ex-Gorell Windows, is now Eastern regional sales mgr. for Thermal Industries, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Eric Bernstein, ex-Stanley Black & Decker, has been named v.p.-marketing & product development for Ames True Temper, Camp Hill, Pa. Bret Cornett, ex-ProBuild, is the new market operations mgr. for Professional Builders Supply, Morrisville, N.C. Charles VandenBosch is new to Nissan Forklift Corp., Marengo, Il., as senior mgr. of outside sales. Craig Glander has joined American Lumber Underwriters, Duluth, Ga., as v.p.-field executive sales. Mark Woodhull was promoted to v.p.underwriting. President Bob Finck will retire later this year. Paul H. Shipp, principal research associate, USG Corp., Libertyville, Il., received the title of fellow and the Award of Merit from ASTM International for his contributions to Committee E05 on fire standards. Missy Sippy and Lou Ziana have opened a South Central regional sales office for Mungus-Fungus Forest Products, Climax, Nv., according to co-owners Hugh Mungus and Freddy Fungus.


“Look for innovation.” Nathan Steere, JL Schwieters Building Supply Inc. Nathan Steere of JL Schwieters in Hugo, Minnesota, knows that a building supplier can’t rely on yesterday’s technology. So he’s always on the lookout for what’s new. Like pointSIX Durastrand Flooring, with its innovative tapered edge. Learn something new yourself by watching “Three Things I’ve Learned: Tips from Seasoned Pros,” one in a series of short high-value videos from pointSIX and Ainsworth Engineered.


DO IT BEST broke ground for a $30 million, 550,000-sq. ft. retail service center at a new 103-acre technology park in Sikestown, Mo. Scheduled to open in 2014, the new center will replace an older one in Cape Girardeau, Mo., which opened in 1971.

Legal Troubles Strike Empire

A court-appointed receiver has taken over operations of Empire Wholesale Lumber, Akron, Oh., and two affiliated entities. According to court records, the receiver—Tim Collins, Collins & Scanlon LLP, Cleveland, Oh.—will operate Empire until its operations are restructured or stabilized, until a buyer or other source of capital is secured to repay the company’s debt, or until its assets are liquidated to repay its debts. Attorneys for Huntington Bank—which is owed $19.5

million on a $30 million revolving credit loan—filed a lawsuit and pushed for receivership when it became clear that Empire could no longer meet its loan agreements or pay its debts. Of special concern is more than $8 million of inventory that was listed as collateral for the loan, but allegedly was shipped to Boix Le Roux, Weedon, Q.C., which is also in receivership. A related company, Lumber Services, owes Empire $2.1 million of accounts receivable, but allegedly has closed indefinitely. Despite various allegations of fraud, no criminal charges have been filed, but the investigation is continuing. According to Empire, the sole person responsible for communications with Boix Le Roux and Lumber Services recently committed suicide. Vice president John Harvey Graves Jr., 46, son of founder Harvey Graves, died Feb. 24 (see April, p. 43). Founded in 1949, Empire had 11 branch offices, but the one in Portland, Or., has been closed. Still open are offices in Tampa, Fl.; Clarksville, In.; Lansing, Mi.; Bedford, N.H., Raleigh, Statesville, and Taylors, N.C.; Naperville, Il.; Cannan, Ct., and La Prairie, Q.C.

Hartville Opens Nationʼs Largest Independent Hardware Store

Hartville Hardware has rolled three operations into one massive 305,000-sq. ft. store on seven acres of retail space in Hartville, Oh., reportedly creating the largest independently owned hardware store in the country. “Back in the ’80s, my father had a vision for the Hartville Marketplace, Hartville Kitchen, and Hartville Hardware to all be on the same campus,” said Wayne Miller, who operates the company with his brother,

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 Building Products Digest  August 2012

Howard. “We wanted to have a destination hardware store—a unique store that people would come to.” Six years ago, the Millers began traveling around the country to research what would set them apart from the big-boxes. “It’s product selection—we have close to 70,000 items and they have about 40,000,” said Wayne. “We have hard-to-find items and we have the customer service. We have specialists in every department.” The new store has two floors, six different entrances and cash register areas, a three-lane drive-thru lumberyard, and a 1,850-sq. ft. “ideas house.” Still being built are kitchen and bath display areas behind four exteriors facades of different architectural styles common in eastern Ohio.

NEW BOARDWALK in Destin, Fl., used 85,000 bd. ft. of Viance’s Ecolife weather-resistant framing and decking, which was treated and supplied by Cox Industries.

August 2012  Building Products Digest 


FAMILY Business By James Olan Hutcheson

7 secrets of success

in your family business



We hear about globalization, speed, technology, virtual workforces, labor market, outsourcing, belttightening, etc. These and other forces may change the daily challenges of work, but the basic principles of leading a family business effectively remain unchanged. Although everyone likes to talk about leadership (and it is clearly very important), it is not the antidote to all problems. The message of leadership is repackaged, over and over again, with a new twist or a new voice beckoning us to follow. Compare the marketing of leadership to the principle of weight loss—consume fewer calories than you burn. This principle is very simple at its core, but as it is packaged and marketed, its complexity can become dizzying. The problem with many of today’s family business executives is not a lack of knowledge or inspirational leadership, but rather a lack of application of knowledge. In other words, there is frequently a knowing/doing gap. Leading a family business has, in many ways, not changed over the years, and spending time trying to invent new leadership techniques is probably not a good use of time. Assuming that you have a solid understanding of your business and industry, your time and energy is well spent on specific actions and implementation. Consider these well-known “secrets”:

1 . Focus. Identify your market, your competitive advantage, and your firm’s expertise, then stick to it. Staying on course with what you do best is often an operational challenge for entrepreneurs. Maintain your focus by automating, streamlining, or outsourcing functions that are not core to your business. A recent study found that the most profitable companies sold fewer products and had fewer customers and suppliers. Their conclusion, “complexity leads to overhead that results in increased expenses.” Adding complexity generally leads to increased sales with eroding net margins, while 30

 Building Products Digest  August 2012

focused operations are usually more profitable. Identify the most profitable services, plants, products, salespeople, or regions in your business.

2 . Plan for Success. Planning is one of the most well-founded principles of personal and business effectiveness. Although the time horizon is shorter in today’s fast economy, planning at all levels within your company (as well as among the shareholder group) will significantly improve the likelihood of hitting targets. Effective planning should trickle down through the business. Each level of planning inside the business should provide the context for the next level and result in a better organizational alignment. A solid strategic plan is important, but remember, “The devil is in the details!” Companies that are diligent about translating strategies into specific, individual performance objectives tend to operate more effectively and efficiently.

3 . Communicate. Communica-tion sounds intuitive enough, but many families in business simply miss the mark. In spite of numerous efforts by management, lack of communication is predictably the number one complaint resulting from employee opinion surveys. A closer look at the data states that employees really want/need answers to four questions: • Where is the business going? (Strategy) • What are we doing to get there? (Plans) • What can I do to contribute? (Roles) • What’s in it for me? (Rewards) Ensure that these questions are answered before communicating about other topics. Leaders from today’s most successful companies argue that, “Leadership is Communication.” Therefore, to be an effective leader, ensure that communication is a top priority and is honest, consistent, and two-way. 4 . Define Processes. Underdevel-oped infrastructure

(systems, processes, structures) is one of the most common risk factors for family businesses. Are your processes and systems? • Clear • Replicable • Documented • Supported by tools • Easily accessible Although it is always easy to say, “We need a new system,” it is better to streamline the manual systems before changing technical systems. Many companies who reverse this order simply end up automating inefficiencies. As an acid test for how well the processes are defined, documented and consistently used by employees, ask, “How easily could we franchise our business?” Effective processes enable management to work “on” the business rather than “in” the business.

5 . Design your Culture. Culture can be very complex. Pared down, however, it is all about behavior. Simply put, you want to design systems to reinforce behaviors that support your strategy. Cultures are created and reinforced by: • Rules and policies • Goals and measures • Staffing and selection • Training and development • Ceremonies and events • Leadership behavior • Communications • Rewards and recognition • Physical environment • Organizational structure One family management team was experiencing tremendous growth and was concerned that they might lose the autonomous culture of the company. Unfortunately, the incredibly detailed policies they implemented gave the opposite message to most employees. Another company recognized that in order to grow the business they needed to give senior managers more accountability. The c.e.o’s leadership behavior (micromanaging), communication patterns (informal and haphazard), and employee development (minimal) continued. As a result, the management team (family and nonfamily) never jelled. Needless to say, this company’s growth was very turbulent and slow. This latter example is not unusual to see in an entrepreneurial family business. 6 . Select and Train. You can

August 2012  Building Products Digest 


receive the greatest return on investment by simply managing your human capital resources. Selection and training are the two best levers for improving human capital. • Resist the “warm body” syndrome. Hire a good fit for the company and do not compromise. Employee selection is often the least effectively executed management activity. • Train continuously using a broad definition of training (mentoring, developmental assignments, special projects, building external networks, providing well-rounded feedback). • Ensure that all employees understand the business: the cost/revenue driver and how they can contribute to the financial success.

7 . Measure Performance. Measurement and feedback, like planning, are well-founded principles of human behavior. You can do everything correctly, but if you do not measure performance, you limit the company’s ability to adjust. When measuring results, keep these tips in mind: • Measure what matters. • Keep it simple. • Focus on a few key success factors. • Remember, what gets measured, gets done. • Manage what you measure. • Use your performance management system as a strategic tool, not a human resources program. • Err on measuring more frequently and less in depth. • Reward along the way and in little steps. Waiting until the end of a major project is often too great a distance from start to finish. Remember, “What you can measure, you can reward.” Revenue, earnings, margins and management are fundamental to a firm’s value. Intellectual property, brand image, and “eye balls” add value but, independent from the fundamentals, are usually not enough to support a lasting, high value of any firm. Turning these “secrets” into actions will help create sustainable advantages in your family business.

– James Olan Hutcheson is managing partner and founder of ReGeneration Partners, a family business consulting firm headquartered in Dallas, Tx. He can be reached at (800) 406-1112 or

Reprinted with permission of ReGeneration Partners. No portion of this article may be reproduced without its permission.


 Building Products Digest  August 2012

Spokane, Wa.; Boise, Id.; Salt Lake City, Ut., and Albuquerque, N.M., are now doing business as Rugby, while its former distribution center in Chandler, Az., will be consolidated with Rugby’s operation in Phoenix, Az. The acquisition is Rugby’s ninth since 2010, more than doubling its revenue base and enlarging the company to 20 distribution centers from coast to coast.

Vinyl Siding Recycling Grows

Distributor Eikenhout Inc. has

VAMPIRE HUNTERS on HBO’s True Blood will use Blackbat Trueline construction stakes to vanquish the undead in the fictional town of Bon Temps, La. To make them showbiz-ready, the hardwood stakes were stained and polished at the company’s factory in Fort Smith, Ar. “Our brand awareness just went off the Richter scale,” said president Howard Bagby.

Thieves Hit 84 Lumber

The thieves who hit 84 Lumber in Clarksville, Tn., in late June got away with property valued at $65,000, including lumber, shingles, hand tools, a chainsaw, a forklift, and two trucks. “They are pretty bold,” said police officer Jim Knoll. “You figure they take large trucks that have business logos on them. You’d think that would be pretty easy to find.” In fact, police did recover the forklift and one of the trucks 60 miles away from the crime scene. They are still looking for the second truck and other stolen items.

expanded its vinyl recycling program from its corporate headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mi., to all seven of its facilities in Michigan. In partnership with a regional recycler and siding manufacturer CertainTeed Corp., Valley Forge, Pa., the new program offers contractors easy, environmentally friendly options for disposal of vinyl siding. Each location now features a large recycling container. For large construction projects, job-site containers are available upon request at no cost to contractors.

Skylights Warm to Sunny Forecast

Slightly rising demand for residential skylights was one of the few bright spots in a new study of the U.S. market for windows and doors by the Window & Door Manufacturers Association and American Architectural Manufacturers Association. Demand for residential skylights rose 2% from 2010 to 2011. The increase was driven heavily by the continued strength of remodeling and replacement activity, which now represents more than 80% of the residential skylight market. For 2012, the market is expected to grow 6% overall. Forecasts indicate continued growth through 2015. The demand for prime windows, however, continued to remain slow in 2011, following housing activity in general, after falling from peak volumes in 2006. The demand for win-

dows in new housing decreased by 2% in 2011, though remains slightly ahead of 2009 levels. Demand in 2012 is expected to increase further as the housing recovery begins to gain momentum. Meanwhile, remodeling and replacement windows fell by nearly 12% versus 2010. In total, the residential window market decreased 9%. Little change in the segmentation for interior door material types is expected over the next five years. However, significant volume is expected to return to the entry and interior door market as new construction rebounds. Further, nonresidential construction declined slightly in 2011, tempering growth in the nonresidential entry and interior door categories.

Rugby Reaches West Coast

Rugby Architectural Building Products, Concord, N.H., has expanded to the West Coast with its acquisition of bankrupt wholesaler Lumber Products, Tualatin, Or. “The acquisition of Lumber Products supports our strategy to diversify geographically, extending Rugby’s footprint into key western markets,” said David Hughes, Rugby president and c.e.o. “Furthermore, the transaction enhances our product offerings in our core industrial base of products, as well as increases our value-added components and service offerings targeted at the commercial and residential construction sector.” Lumber Products’ locations in Tualatin and Eugene, Or.; Kent and

British Columbia WESTERN RED CEDAR, D Fir, Hemlock FSC /PEFC CERTIFIED Rough, Finished & Engineered Products

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604-541-7600 • August 2012  Building Products Digest 


KAHLE On Sales By Dave Kahle

Biggest time wasters for salespeople


a whole lot better use of your time? for TIME MANAGEMENT MPROVING Or, one of our hands us salespeople hascustomers been an obsession a very for Quote.” of mineinvolved for more“Request than 30 years. In the “Better schedule a half-day at the last decade, I’ve been involved in office,” tens we think. “Need of tosalespeolook up helping of thousands specifications, prices, comple better theircalculate results through more pile literature, etc.” effective use of their time.We become immediately involved with some this task, Over the years, I’ve seen regworking on this project for our cusularly occurring patterns develop— tomer. In retrospect, couldn’t we have tendencies on the part of salespeople given project an inside salesperto do the things thattodetract from their son or customer service rep dofour the effective use of time. Here aretothe leg work? Couldn’t we have just commost common time-wasters I’ve municated See the if guidelines to to someone observed. any apply you or and then reviewed the finished proyour salespeople. posal? 1. Once Allure of the again, weurgent/trivial succumbed to the love to That be busy and lureSalespeople of the present task. preventactive. We have visions of ourselves ed us from making sales calls and as people who can get things done. the No siphoned our energy away from idle dreamers, out there making important to thewe’re seemingly urgent. things happen! I could go on for pages with examA big ouridea. sense of are worth ples, but portion you getofthe We so and our personal identity dependent enamored with being busyisand feeling on beingthat busy. At some in task our needed we often grablevel at any self busy means that we that image, comesbeing our way, regardless of really are important.Each One time of theweworst how unimportant. do, things that can happen to us istotoinvest have we compromise our ability nothing totimes do, nowhere to go, and our selling more effectively. nothing going on. So, we latch onto every taskcomfort that comes our status way, regard2. The of the quo lessAoflot theofimportance. salespeople have evolved For example, one of our customers calls with a back-order problem. “Oh good!” we think. “Something to do! We are needed! We can fix it!” So, we drop everything and spend two hours expediting the backorder. In retrospect, couldn’t someone in purchasing or customer service have done that? And couldn’t they have done it better than you? And didn’t you just allow something that was a little urgent but trivial prevent you from making some sales calls? And wouldn’t those potential sales calls be


 Building Products Digest  August 2012

atowhole lot better usethey of your the point where havetime? a comOr, oneroutine. of our customers hands us a fortable They make enough very involved for Quote.” money and they“Request have established rou“Better half-day at the tines andschedule habits thata are comfortable. office,” we don’t think.want “Need to look the up They really to expend specifications, calculate prices, comenergy it takes to do things in a better pile etc.” more We become immeway,literature, or to become successful or diately involved with this task, workeffective. ingThis on this project for ourSome customer. In can be good. of the retrospect, havewegiven the habits andcouldn’t routineswethat follow project to an salesperson cuswork well forinside us. However, ouror rapidtomer service repworld to do theconstantly leg work? ly changing Couldn’t we have just communicated the guidelines to someone and then reviewed the finished proposal? Once again, we succumbed to the lure of the present task. That prevented us from making sales calls and siphoned our energy away from the important to the seemingly urgent. I could go on for pages with examples, but you get the idea. We are so enamored with being busy and feeling needed that we often grab at any task that comes our way, regardless of how unimportant. Each time we do, we

demands new compromise ourmethods, ability totechniques, invest our habits times and routines. Just because selling more effectively. something has been effective for a 2. thethat status quo fewThe yearscomfort doesn’t of mean it continsalespeople havedevelops evolved uesAtolotbeofso. This problem to the salespeople point whereare they a comwhen so have content with fortable Theythey make enough the way routine. things are, have not money they have established rouchangedand anything in years. tines thatchanged are comfortable. If and you habits haven’t or chalThey to expend the lengedreally somedon’t habitwant or routine in the energy takes chances to do things in aare better last fewityears, are you not way, or to become more be. successful or as effective as you could effective. For example, you could still be This can be messages good. Some habits writing phone down on and litroutines work well for entering us. However, tle slips of paper, when them our changing world constantly intorapidly your contact manager would be demands new methods, techniques, more effective. This is a simple examhabits routines. ple of aand principle thatJust canbecause extend something hasmost been important effective forthings a few towards the years doesn’t mean continues to be that we do. Are weit using the same so. This problem develops when salesroutines for organizing our work people aredetermining so contentwho withtothe week, for callway on, things are, they have notcustomers, changed anyfor understanding our for thing in years. If you haven’t changed collecting information, etc.? There is or a habit routine in the no challenged practical end to theor list. lastContentment few years, chances are status you’requo not with the as effective as you could be. almost always means salespeople who example, could still areFor not as effectiveyou as they could writing phone messages down on little slips of paper, when entering them 3. Lack of trust in other people into your contact manager would be in the organization more effective. This a simpletendenexamSalespeople have isa natural ple of a principle that can extend towards the most important things that we do. Are we using the same routines for organizing our work week, for determining who to call on, for understanding our customers, for collecting information, etc.? There is no practical end to the list. Contentment with the status quo almost always means salespeople who are not as effective as they could be.

3. Lack of trust in other people in the organization

Salespeople have a natural tendency to work alone. After all, we spend most of the day by ourselves. We decide where to go by ourselves, we decide what to do by ourselves, and we are pretty much on our own all day long. It’s no wonder then, that we just naturally want to do everything by ourselves. That’s generally a positive personality trait for a salesperson. Unfortunately, when it extends to those tasks that could be done better by other people in our organization, it turns into a real negative. Instead of soliciting aid from others in the organization, and thereby making much better use of our time, many salespeople insist on doing it themselves, no matter how redundant and time-consuming the task. The world is full of salespeople who don’t trust their own colleagues to write an order, source a product, enter an order in the system, follow up on a back order, deliver some sample or literature, research a quote, deliver a proposal, etc. Again, the list could go on and on. The point is that many of these tasks can be done better or cheaper by someone else in the organization. The salespeople don’t release the tasks to

them because they, the salespeople, don’t trust them to do it. Too bad. It’s a tremendous waste of good selling time and talent.

4. Lack of tough-minded thoughtfulness

Ultimately, time management begins with thoughtfulness. That means a sufficient quantity of good quality thought-energy invested in the process. I like to say that good time management is a result of “thinking about it before you do it.” Good time managers invest sufficiently in this process. They set aside time each year to create annual goals, they invest planning time every quarter and every month to create plans for those times, they plan every week and every sales call. Poor sales time managers don’t dedicate sufficient time to the “thinking about it” phase of their job. Not only do good sales time managers invest a sufficient quantity of time, but they also are disciplined and tough-minded about how they think. They ask themselves good questions, and answer them with as much objectivity as they can muster. “What do I really want to accom-

plish in this account?” “Why aren’t they buying from me?” “Who is the key decision-maker in this account?” “Am I spending too much time in this account, or not enough in that one?” “How can I change what I am doing in order to become more effective?” These are just a few of the tough questions that good sales time managers consider on a regular basis. They don’t allow their emotions or personal comfort zones to dictate their plans. They go where it is smart to go, do what it is smart to do. They do these things because they have spent the quantity and quality of thought-time necessary. Of course, there are hundreds of other time-wasting habits. These four, however, are the most common. Correct them and you’ll be well on your way to dramatically improved results.

– Dave Kahle is a leading sales educator and author of nine books, including his latest, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime. He can be reached at (800) 3311287 or via


August 2012  Building Products Digest 


NEW Products

Premium Pre-Primed Trim

EPEX 30P exterior trim from Bitterroot Valley Forest Products is exclusively distributed east of the Mississippi by BlueLinx. Manufactured of void-free, all-clear, fingerjointed radiata pine, the product is sanded with a smooth face, treated with FrameGuard, and protected with Sherwin-Williams exterior acrylic latex primer.

 BLUELINXCO.COM (888) 502- 2583

Cover Your Can

CanCoverIt insulates can-light fixtures for increased energy efficiency. The flat-fold, pop-open design reportedly is easy to use. The venting model is for retrofitting older fixtures measuring 14”x14”x22”. The non-venting model can be used with modern fixtures measuring 14”x14”x11.25”.

 CANCOVERIT.COM (949) 275-4861

Look of Stone Veneer

A lightweight manufactured stone veneer from Boral contains a minimum of 54% recycled content and is available in more than 100 colors and 20 textures. Cultured Stone can be used in a variety of applications, from interior to exterior and commercial to multi-family.

 CULTUREDSTONE.COM (770) 552-3367


 Building Products Digest  August 2012

Roofing Boards

Atlas Roofing’s ACFoam-HS CoverBoard resists foot traffic and heavy loads during installations of low-slope roofs. A coated glass facer offers microbial mold resistance, and it has approved wind uplift ratings from FM 1-60 to FM 1-210.

 ATLASROOFING.COM (800) 388-6134

Hold in a Hurry

Transforming Stains

Sashco’s new Transformation stains for decks, fences, siding and trim provide UV resistance for exterior wood. Instructional videos and a mobile website help users achieve staining success.

 SASHCO.COM (800) 767-5656

Loctite’s PL Premium Fast Grab adhesive provides a durable bond that can be repositioned for up to 30 minutes, minimizing the need for nailing or bracing. The low-VOC polyurethane is compatible with most building materials, including treated, wet and frozen wood, concrete, brick, metal, marble, mirrors and masonry. It is also suitable for both horizontal and vertical applications.


Eco Floor Adhesive

DriTac Eco-5500 Premium “Green” Pressure Sensitive Flooring Adhesive provides a VOC-free, no-solvent alternative for installing vinyl, carpet and cork underlayment and flooring. Easy to spread and clean up, the adhesive reportedly offers low odor, excellent working time, superior coverage, and is non-flammable. It comes in 1and 4-gallon plastic pails.


(800) 394-9310

August 2012  Building Products Digest 


Structural Wood Screws

Membrane Sticks

Cosella-Dörken’s latest building membrane uses special adhesives to create a watertight yet permeable barrier for both commercial and residential building. Delta-Vent SA features a selfadhesive edge lap, eliminating the need for mechanical fasteners that can compromise energy efficiency.

 COSELLA-DORKEN.COM (888) 433-5824

Curvy Plywood

Radius plywood from Columbia Forest Products is flexible enough for curved contours on columns, arches, cabinetry and furniture. The plywood flexes easily at a minimum radius of 12”, and even smaller when force is applied. It can be installed in either longgrain or cross-grain directions for complex designs. Available sizes include 4’x8’ long-grain and 8’x4’ cross-grain styles, in a variety of thicknesses from 1/8” to 16mm.

Simpson Strong-Tie’s SDWF structural wood screw simplifies floor-tofloor connections. fastener The attaches upper and lower walls together from the top, spanning the floor system and providing an easy-to-install connection with the continuous uplift load path of the structure.

 STRONGTIE.COM (800) 925-5099

 CFPWOOD.COM (800) 637-1609

Versatile Floor Underlayment Measured Tape

Stud-Fast measuring tape has incremental markings that eliminate repeat measuring for a variety of construction projects. A blue “S” every 16” helps locate studs or floor joists, while a red “FT” repeats every 12” to indicate 1’ measurements.

 MEASTAPE.COM (330) 280-2807


 Building Products Digest  August 2012

Distinctive Shingles

Landmark Pro dual-layer shingles from CertainTeed come in 20 distinct colors. Layered construction and dimensional design creates depth, while laminated fiberglass construction makes it virtually impervious to deterioration and leakage.

 CERTAINTEED.COM (800) 233-8990

VersaWalk underlayment from MP Global Products can be floated, nailed or glued under a range of flooring materials. Composed of at least 94% post-industrial/pre-consumer textile fibers, the product is odorless, non-allergic, and zero VOC. It also creates a thermal break to the flooring assembly, keeping floors warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

 QUIETWALK.COM (888) 379-9695

Star Railing

Marquee railing from TAMKO Building Products has the look of handcrafted, hammered metal. The post cap, ring and brackets are available in white, pewter, bronze, black or weathered copper. The 5”x5” post has a classic, bold look, while three different types of brackets accommodate a wide variety of applications.


Stainless Steel Fasteners

Grip-Rite’s PrimeGuard MAX stainless steel fasteners have a lifetime guarantee against rust. The product line includes nails, screws, and collated nails, in a variety of styles and sizes. All are available in 1-lb. and 5-lb. re-closable tubs or buckets and boxes for larger projects.

 PRIMESOURCEBP.COM (800) 676-7777

(800) 841-1925

Framed in Steel

BlazeFrame steel framing products from ClarkDietrich Building Systems are designed for commercial construction. The products offer protection and support of wall framing materials for up to 3” of movement capability, while eliminating the need for caulk, sprays, drywall rips, and contour drywall cuts throughout joint assemblies.

 CLARKDIETRICH.COM (800) 543-7140

Compact Lifts

Compact three-wheel forklifts from Mitsubishi offer enhanced ergonomics and smart technology. The FB16NPT-FB20PNT series have wet-disc brakes for improved performance in difficult environments, electric power steering, and smart technology such as a controlled cornering speed feature.

 MIT-LIFT.COM (888) 648-5438

August 2012  Building Products Digest 


INDUSTRY Trends New SCMA website

Dealers get more tools to sell southern cypress


S MORE WOOD product suppliers are finding out, cypress building products provide beauty and durability on homes and offices across the country. From salty coastal regions to snowy mountain locations, builders and architects are using cypress as a competitively priced alternative to cedar, redwood, pressure treated pine, and manufactured composites. When it comes to recommending a product based on its versatility, durability, and good looks, cypress is hard to beat. To provide a better information source and capitalize on the increased interest in cypress siding, decking, and other

SOUTHERN CYPRESS Manufacturers Association’s revamped website is more attractive, easier to use, and packed with more information than ever before.

products, the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association recently launched a remodeled website at The SCMA’s home on the web provides new resources and tools, an updated photo gallery, and intuitive navigation. “When homeowners, retailers and architects want infor-


 Building Products Digest  August 2012

mation on a product, they turn to the Internet,” says SCMA v.p. Shepard Haggerty, Williams Lumber Co. of North Carolina, Rocky Mount, N.C. “With the recent updates, our website is more informative, more attractive, and easier to use than ever before.” Under the Outdoor Applications and Interior Uses tab, visitors can find information on using cypress to beautify their homes for almost every type of application, from siding and decking to paneling, flooring, roof shingles, and everything in between. There also are other helpful resources, including do-it-yourself articles, installation guides, and application videos, as well as recommendations for finishing cypress with sealer, stain, or paint. “I answer calls on a daily basis from homeowners who want to learn about cleaning or refinishing their decks, and architects looking for recommendations on cypress siding,” notes SCMA president Chuck Harris, Wholesale Wood Products, Dothan, Al., “With the new website at, these answers are easier to find.” There’s also a new Media Center tab, and it isn’t just for reporters. Homeowners, architects and retailers can review a growing online catalog of extraordinary homes and buildings that showcase the natural beauty, durability, and versatility of cypress. They will find interviews with noted architects who explain why they chose cypress and how it has helped add performance and distinction to projects from New England to Wyoming and throughout the Southeast. Visitors also can access dozens of photos that demonstrate cypress’ natural beauty and versatility. For eco-conscious browsers, the Sustainability tab details the positive affects cypress products have on the environment throughout their life cycles—through growth, manufacture, useful life, reuse, and disposal—when they are sourced from healthy, managed forests. Readers also can discover why continuing to harvest and manufacture cypress is increasingly important as the built environment moves towards more energy- and resource-efficient designs. Finally, builders and architects have easy access to critical sourcing and specification information at the site’s Installation & Specifications tab, which includes details about different grades of cypress, span tables, working characteristics, strength and mechanical specifications, and more. To take a tour, please visit the SCMA website at

Ace Launches New Mini Format

Ace Hardware Corp., Oak Brook, Il., has launched an “Express” customized merchandising format designed for stores with 5,000 sq. ft. or less, which will allow the company to grow in markets that can’t accommodate additional full-size retail locations. “At this time, there are nearly 400 successful Ace Hardware retail locations operating with less than 5,000 sq. ft., and the consistent high performance of these stores proved we had an incredible opportunity to create a specialized, smaller-format Ace retail model,” said Mike Berschauer, director of retail development. “Essentially, we’re providing the same top-notch brands and exceptional customer service, but just in a smaller space.” Ace says that the new format is ideal for the following retail situations: Store within a store: integrating a grocery or paint store with Ace Hardware merchandise and services and operating seamlessly as one retail location Annex locations: A current Ace retailer opens a smaller branch store near a main retail location to increase profitability and provide helpful service to more consumers. Rural markets: The owner of a farm or ranch supply store adds a smaller format store to fulfill the home improvement needs of the area. Urban markets: A retailer in a metro area opens a smaller unit that optimizes available space and provides a convenient shopping experience for urban consumers.

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McGee Lumber, Charlotte, N.C., got a taste of Hollywood in late June, when the yard was used as a set for a new Cinemax TV show. “We knew this was going to be a major inconvenience, but this is something you don’t see every day,” said John Davis, owner of McGee Lumber. “This is sort of fun.” Banshee follows a mysterious ex-con with expert martial arts skills who poses as a sheriff in Amish Pennsylvania. McGee was chosen for its old, weathered wood buildings. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said co-owner Paul Davis, who was impressed with the filming. He said that the compensation was worth it, even though the business had to shut down for the day.

TAMKO Building Products, Joplin, Mo., has introduced a Shingles Styles app for iPad. Featured are product, warranty and dealer info, plus highresolution product photos, pop-up references, and helpful data tables.

August 2012  Building Products Digest 


ASSOCIATION Update Eastern Building Material Dealers Association will hold its annual fall conference Oct. 3-4 at Hotel Hershey, Hershey, Pa. The event kicks off with a golf tournament at Hershey Country Club, followed by an awards dinner and guest speakers.

Florida Building Materials Association will host its annual convention, Gulf Atlantic Building Products Expo, and Southern Design Symposium Oct. 2-4 at the Gaylord Palms Resort, Kissimmee, Fl.


Osmose has introduced an

Osmose Treated Wood app for iPhone and Android, providing information and product knowledge for NatureWood and MicroPro treated wood products.

Elbru Distributors , Elmira,

N.Y., suffered a July 17 fire.

Johns Manville has begun production at a new EPDM commercial roofing systems facility in Milan, Oh. ProVia, Zanesville, Oh., has added

water-resistant, recyclable packaging to its Heritage Stone.

Johnson Lumber , Denmark, N.Y., now offers its milled flooring and siding pre-stained and pre-treated.

Habitat for Humanity added a second ReStore discount LBM outlet in Madison, Wi.

ENAP, New Windsor, N.Y., in the months since opening a Southern sales office, has added 11 new members, including Oxford Lumber, Oxford, Jacksonville, Roanoke and Talladega, Al.; Tuttle Lumber, San Marcos and Lockhart, Tx.; Feldman Lumber , Brooklyn, Great Neck and Maspeth, N.Y.; Curry Lumber, Wooster, Oh., and Wehrung’s Lumber & Home Center, Ottsville, Pa. Anniversaries: Long Lewis Hardware, Birmingham, Al., 125th … Dukes Lumber Co., Laurel, De., 50th … Keough’s Paint & Hardware, Ridgefield, Ct., 40th.


 Building Products Digest  August 2012

The event will begin with the Tom Stead Golf Classic at Orange County National Golf Center and an opening reception. Other highlights will be the old timer’s recognition luncheon and a welcome back reception.

Northwestern Lumber Association is hosting a NLA-NLI board meeting Sept. 14-16 in Rochester, Mn. Nebraska directors will hold a board meeting Sept. 26 in conjunction wth the clay shoot in Brainard, Ne., while Iowa trustees and legislative committee members will convene Sept. 27 in conjunction with the fall golf outing in Panora, Ia. Construction Suppliers Association has scheduled its annual meeting for Sept. 13-14 at Hilton Garden Inn, Peachtree City, Ga.

Mid-America Lumbermens Association has pushed its Arkansas fishing trip back a week—to Oct. 4-5.

Northeastern Retail Lumber Association will install Jon Hallgren, Curtis Lumber, Ballston Spa, Me., as its new chairman during its annual meeting Oct. 12-13 at the Saratoga Hilton, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Eastern New York Lumber Dealers Association will hold its own annual meeting on Oct. 12 at the same location, and other affiliates are finalizing the dates for their events. Annual meetings will be held by Vermont Retail Lumber Dealers Association Aug. 22 at Country Club of Barre, Barre, Vt.; New Hampshire Retail Lumber Association and Lumber Dealers Association of Maine Sept. 7-9 at Sheraton Harborside, Portsmouth, N.H.; Long Island Lumber Association Sept. 13 at Villa Lombardi’s, Holbrook, N.Y.; New York & Suburban Lumber Association Oct. 4 at Terrace on the Park, Queens, N.Y.; Massachusetts Retail Lumber Dealers Association Nov. 1; MidHudson Lumber Dealers Association Nov. 2; Lumber Dealers Association of Connecticut Nov. 7 at the Aqua Turf Club, Plantsville, Ct.; Western New York Lumber Dealers Association Nov. 8 at Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, N.Y.; Northern New York Lumber Dealers

Association Nov. 14; Central New York Retail Lumber Dealers Association Nov. 16.

Building Product Retailers Alliance is partnering with Schaffer Associates to help lumber association members recruit employees. Alliance participants include Construction Suppliers Association, Florida Building Material Association, Illinois Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, Kentucky Building Material Association, Northwestern Lumber Association, Southern Building Material Association, and Western Building Material Association.

National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association is holding its 2012 ProDealer Industry Summit Oct. 24-26 in Savannah, Ga. The educational and networking forum will feature seminars, exhibits and golf at the Club at Savannah Harbor, presented in a relaxed, threeday format to encourage networking and personal interaction. Speakers include Dr. George Lucas, co-author of The One Minute Negotiator; Brian Bunt, Word of Mouth Marketing, and Ivy Zelman, c.e.o., Zelman & Associations.

Southern Forest Products Association promoted Cathy Kaake to vice president of technical marketing and Richard Kleiner to senior director of international and treated markets. North American Wholesale Lumber Association will partner with Oregon State University to offer a wood basics course Sept. 10-13 at Hilton Garden Inn, Corvallis, Or. Instruction will begin with a tour of Zip-o-Log Mills and Seneca Sawmill Co. in Eugene and end with a tour of Rosboro in Springfield. Included topics will be manufacturing and grading of dimension lumber, green products and certifications, and engineered wood.

BC Wood is putting the finishing touches on its ninth annual Global Buyers Mission Sept. 6-8 at the Whistler Conference Centre, Whistler, B.C. The invitation-only networking/ educational forum/tradeshow event brings pre-qualified international wood products buyers to meet with Canadian producers of remanufactured products and finished materials.

IN Memoriam

Joe Gardiner, 43, vice president of national sales at 84 Lumber, EightyFour, Pa., died in a July 7 boating accident. He was named to his current position in 2010, after joining the company in 2001 as an area manager and spending 10 years as a district manager with Payless Cashways.

Richard “Red” Norvell, 91, former vice president of Norvell & Wallace Lumber Co., Nashville, Tn., died July 15. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, he served as a captain in the Army Air Force during World War II. He then became v.p. for the family business. He later opened a pressure treating plant, Norvell Wood Products, Nashville. Norvell & Wallace closed in 2010 after 130 years. Robert A. Boyd Jr., 93, retired chairman of Manufacturers Reserve Supply, Irvington, N.J., died July 8 in Aliso Viejo, Ca. Mr. Boyd was the second generation of his family to run the company, which was founded by his father in 1931. In 1982, he was named Lumberman of the Year by the New Jersey Lumber Dealers Association. Ben Enslinger, 83, owner of Enslinger Lumber Co., La Crosse, Ks., died July 14.

He began his career in the lumber industry with four years at Timken Lumber Co., Timken, Ks., before spending 17 years at La Crosse Lumber Co., La Crosse. He owned Enslinger Lumber for the past 40 years.

John Dattilo Jr., 83, former owner and president of Bayway Lumber, Linden, N.J., died June 21 in Clark, N.J. He worked most of his life at the business founded by his father in 1929 and now operated by his three sons.

Gary Lee Freeman, 60, owner and operator of Freeman Lumber, Ripley, Ms., died June 20 in Ripley.

Martha Ann Hixson, 79, cofounder of Hixson Lumber Sales, Pine Bluff, Ar., died July 7 in Pine Bluff. She launched the company in 1959 with her late husband, Robert Hixson Sr.

Frank Aranza Jr., 59, retired senior account specialist at Dow Building Solutions, Houston, Tx., died June 11 in Katy, Tx. Mr. Aranza retired in 2009 after 29 years at Dow, where he earned numerous awards for sales excellence. He also belonged to the Greater Houston Builders Association, Lumbermen’s Association of Texas, and Hoo-Hoo International.

Corliss “Corky” Sherman Estergren, 87, former co-owner and manager of Home & Farm Lumber,

Albert Lea, Mn., died July 4 in Minneapolis, Mn. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he spent the majority of his career in the lumber industry.

William Brunson “Bill” Dodge Sr., 101, longtime owner and operator of Cottrell Lumber Co., Mystic, Ct., died July 12 in Norwich, Ct. Royce Leon Williams, 84, owner of H.L. Williams Lumber Co., Daingerfield, Tx., died July 13 after a month-long battle with pneumonia. After serving with the Army in Korea until 1947, he joined the company his father started in 1919. Clarice M. Hafele, 98, former coowner of Hafele’s Building Supply, Cameron, Wi., died July 16 in Eau Claire, Wi. She owned and operated the business with her late husband, George Hafele.

Harold Monroe Stevens, 79, former manager of Pelletier Lumber, Hardwick, Vt., died July 11 after a 10year struggle with Alzheimer’s. After serving in the Air Force during the Korean War, he joined Pellitier Lumber. After retirement, he started his own trucking business in East Hardwick, Vt., selling sawdust, bark mulch, and compost. David Michael Chipps, 58, lumber inspector for Eastern Hardwoods, Hacker Valley, W.V., died July 8 in Webster Springs, W.V.

August 2012  Building Products Digest 


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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.




Kick-start your 2013 selling season



PATENTED TECHNOLOGY for Fencing, Decking, Posts: We are in search of partner or licensee(s) to bring new encapsulated lumber profiles to market. Technology provides ability to make cost effective, structural wood composites for decking/fencing/post applications. Barry, (508) 776-2647, bcurtis@

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TRI-STATE LUMBER CO. Your Southern Yellow Pine Timber Connection Specializing in 6x6, 6x8, 8x8, 10x10 Tel. (662) 862-2125 • Fax 662-862-4900 email



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


Ensure your ad message reaches EVERY company attending the 2012 NAW LA Tra de rs Ma rke t by advertising in Traders’ Preview, a Special Supplement appearing with both Building Products Digest and The Merchant Magazine. For one low price, you receive: • Full national distribution of your ad, packaged with the October 2012 issues of BPD and The Merchant. • Expanded directory listing for your company. • Distribution at the event. • Free clickable online ad for your company (one month exposure on • Heavily discounted, all-inclusive ad rates.

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 Building Products Digest  August 2012


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

Northern New York Lumber Dealers Assn. – Aug. 15, fishing derby, Clayton, N.Y.; (518) 286-1010;

Central New York Retail Lumber Dealers Assn. – Aug. 16, clambake, Spinning Wheel, Syracuse, N.Y.; (518) 286-1010; Northwestern Lumber Assn. – Aug. 16, Twins baseball game, Target Field, Minneapolis, Mn.; (763) 544-6822;

Ace Hardware Corp. – Aug. 16-18, fall market, McCormick Place South, Chicago, Il.; (630) 990-7662;

Orgill Inc. – Aug. 16-18, dealer market, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nv.; (800) 347-2860; New Jersey Building Materials Dealers Assn. – Aug. 20, golf, Knob Hill Golf Course, Manalapan, N.J.; Aug. 24, fishing trip, Municipal Harbor, Atlantic Highlands, N.J.; (908) 359-1184;

Vermont Retail Lumber Dealers Assn. – Aug. 22, annual meeting, Country Club of Barre, Barre, Vt.; (518) 286-1010;

International Woodworking Fair – Aug. 22-25, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Ga.; (404) 693-8333;

Northeastern Young Lumber Execs – Aug. 23, Red Sox game, Fenway Park, Boston, Ma.; (518) 286-1010;

Southern Pressure Treaters’ Assn. – Aug. 23-25, summer meeting, Grove Park Inn, Asheville, N.C.; (318) 619-8589; Northwestern Lumber Association – Aug. 23, golf, Hickory Grove Golf Course, Fennimore, Wi.; Aug. 27, Royal St. Patrick Course, Wrightstown, Wi.; (763) 544-6822; BC Wood – Sept. 6-8, global buyers mission, Whistler Conference Center, Whistler, B.C.; (877) 422-9663;

Western Red Cedar Lumber Association – Sept. 6-8, annual meeting, Whistler, B.C.; (604) 684-0266;

HDW Inc. – Sept. 7-9, dealer market, Shreveport Convention Center, Shreveport, La.; (800) 256-8527;

New Hampshire Retail Lumber Assn. – Sept 7-9, annual meeting with Retail Lumber Dealers Association of Maine, Sheraton Harborside, Portsmouth, N.H.; (518) 286-1010;

North American Wholesale Lumber Assn. – Sept. 10-13, wood basics course, Corvallis, Or.; (800) 527-8258; National Hardwood Lumber Assn. – Sept. 12-15, annual convention, Sheraton, Chicago, Il.; (800) 933-0318; Long Island Lumber Dealers Assn. – Sept. 13, annual meeting, Villa Lombardi’s, Holbrook, N.Y.; (518) 286-1010;

Construction Suppliers Assn. – Sept. 13-14, annual meeting, Hilton Garden Inn, Peachtree City, Ga.; (678) 674-1860; Florida Building Material Association – Sept. 13-15, golf tournament, meeting & expo, Gaylord Palms Hotel, Kissimmee, Fl.; (352) 383-0366; True Value Co. – Sept. 18-23, fall market, Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Ut.;

Building Component Manufacturers Conference – Sept. 19-21, Denver, Co.; (608) 310-6722; Northeastern Young Lumber Execs – Sept. 19-21, Maine lumber tour; (518) 286-1010;

Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association – Sept. 20-21, board meeting & golf outing, York Harbor Inn, York, Me.; (207) 829-6901; Blish-Mize Co. – Sept. 21-22, fall market, Overland Park Convention Center, Overland Park, Ks.; (800) 995-0525;

Northwestern Lumber Assn. – Sept. 26, shooting event, Oak Creek Sporting Club, Brainard, Ne.; Sept. 27, golf, Lake Panorama National Golf Course, Panora, Ia.; (763) 544-6822;

An Unfair Fight, How Winners Sell and Sellers Win is a must for salespeople, sales managers and company owners who want to grow their sales in hypercompetitive markets. Inspired by 55 of the best “Olsen on Sales” columns from Building Products Digest, the chapters range from specific sales techniques to how to hire and manage a sales force. James Olsen is a 30-year lumber industry sales veteran—20 years as a broker, 20 as sales consultant. As principal of Reality Sales Training, his clients boast an average +55% year-over-year sales growth over the last 20 years. His loyal following of lumber industry sales professionals look forward to his monthly column. Mr. Olsen is passionate about sales; he lives and knows what he is writing about. The writing is clear, interesting and specific. The articles will challenge your thoughts on sales and will also make sales An Unfair Fight for you, your team, and your company.

Get your copy today from August 2012  Building Products Digest 



“Help a family in need beat the heat” was the motto of a recent fan promotion at Westlake Hardware’s two stores in Hutchison, Ks. To get things going, Westlake offered a 15% discount on all fans and encouraged customers to buy one or more for the local Salvation Army chapter. The charity usually buys 40 to 50 box fans at Westlake Hardware, but needed more this year because of the poor economy. “We’re all guilty of saying, ‘I’ll help’ and then sitting at home,” says assistant store manager Steve Barnum, who thought that community members would like to help. To get the word out, Barnum used radio ads, instore flyers, word of mouth, and his wife’s Facebook page. An article about the sale, published in the local newspaper, brought quite a few customers—some new—into the store. Although customers could also buy discounted fans for their own use, most purchased fans for the Salvation Army. “The heat hit us early this year, so most people already had their own fans,” says Barnum. “I was pleased with the response: about 140 fans were purchased for donation, including 60 that were paid for by a local company.” At the end of the one-week sale, Barnum delivered the donated fans to delighted officials at Salvation Army—which has suffered a serious decline in donations, but a big increase in need. And what about next year? “We’ll definitely run the promotion again,” he says. “It may go companywide, too—Westlake has 89 stores—because our corporate headquarters is now interested.” Sending Out the Fans

Latest Breaking Industry News for Dealers, Wholesalers & Manufacturers— Updated Daily Check out the redesigned 46

 Building Products Digest  August 2012

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

Advantage Trim & Lumber []..........32

AERT []......................................................Cover II Ainsworth [] ................................................26-27 Anthony Forest Products [] .................32

BC Shake & Shingle Association [] ...........17

Biewer Lumber [].......................................3 Boise Cascade [] .....................................Cover III

BW Creative Wood [] ........................28 Cedar Creek Wholesale Inc. [] ..............9, 43

Crawford Creek Lumber [].......33 Crumpler Plastic Pipe [] ................................41

Distribution Management Systems Inc. []..........29

Dricon FRTW [] ..........................................Cover I Enduris [] ............................................................7

EraWood []...............Cover I JEC Composites Americas []..............25

Leonard Lumber [] ...............................11

Overseas Hardwood Co. [] ........................................5 Pacific MDF Products Inc. [] ..........................35 Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance [] .....23

Reality Sales Training [] ..............45

Screw Products [] ..............................41 Siskiyou Forest Products []...........31

Smith Millwork []...................................37

Southern Shutter Co. [].....................44

Sunbelt [] ...................................................4 Swanson Group Sales Co. [].........21

TLC Mouldings []..........................Cover IV

Wolmanized Wood []...............Cover I

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Š 2012 Boise Cascade Wood Products, L.L.C. BOISE CASCADE, the TREE-IN-A-CIRCLE symbol, BC CONNECT and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Great products are only the beginningâ&#x20AC;? are trademarks of Boise Cascade, L.L.C. or its affiliates.


Building Products Digest

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Building Products Digest - August 2012  

August 2012 issue of monthly trade magazine for LBM dealers and distributors.

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