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Building Products Digest

MARCH 2010















 Building Products Digest  March 2010

Building Products Digest


March 2010

Volume 29  Number 1






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®2010 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.

TOTALLY Random By Alan Oakes


Building Products Digest

Help Wanted? We’re here to help.


I receive are those from people who have been let go from their jobs in the industry. In many cases, they have become good friends, and I know they were dedicated to their jobs and the companies they served. Of course, I always try to steer them to companies I know might be hiring—but, of late, that’s been an increasingly short list. If you have been let go from your job, in most cases it is not easy to deal with—for you or your family. With our industry in depression and a no-hiring mode in place, the wait to get a new job can be excruciatingly long and painful. And when that happens, it can go from bad to worse with not being able to meet debts, going into default with mortgage lenders, etc. Over a long career it is inevitable you will lose your job at some time. But unlike a few years back when you could change jobs like you changed socks, today few find themselves in a new job the following week. It used to be said that you needed one month of job search for every $10,000 you earned. The official average wait for a new job is now 211 days. And when you get to that sixth or seventh month, you really start to doubt yourself and may be tempted to just give up. If you are looking for a new job, your first task should be to take stock of what you have done in your career and determine what your skills are. Understand your talents, strengths and weaknesses to help you determine and re-evaluate what you really want to do next. It is an ideal time to decide if you would like to try your hand at something completely new, such as creating or buying a business and running it yourself. That’s what I did 10 years ago. I decided I no longer wanted to be working for someone else, so I quit my high-paying job. At first, I thought I would be happier swimming on Siesta Key in Florida, then realized that I needed to be doing something different to recharge my worn-down batteries. The decision I made then was the best I have ever made—and one of the riskiest, so be forewarned. It’s not for everyone. But now is a great time to re-assess what you want to do or what would make you happy. Rarely in life are we allowed to do what we do best, but having no paycheck may give us the courage to start afresh. Make a list of all the things you enjoy doing, and ask yourself if there are other options. You do not have to stay in one industry all your life, but you need to be honest about what you are good at. Receiving feedback from those around might be more telling of your strengths and weaknesses, provided you can handle the truth. My searches were lonely times. Friends I thought I could count on often disappeared. So find one or two people in the same situation as you, someone who knows exactly what you are going through, someone you can bounce ideas off of. Someone who in their own search might see some opportunities for you, but who also can feel the joys and sorrows of an often difficult and demoralizing process. Lastly, create new network opportunities. In looking back, most of my c.e.o. jobs resulted from people who worked with or competed with me. But while good networks can open up new opportunities, they can grow stale after a few months of unemployment. So take the opportunity to not only reach out to people you have met in the past, but go the extra mile to meet new people, whether it be joining an association, attending seminars, joining a health club, etc. I find myself talking to lots of people when I am out and about, and you never know when such acquaintances might become useful. I wish those without a job much success in their search, and I urge anyone in a job to give help and advice wherever possible. You never know when you may need that same help, and usually what goes around, comes around. MONG THE MOST UPSETTING CALLS

I would like to make an offer to the thousands of companies who read our publications. We want to help. If your company has jobs available, we will give you up to a $50 credit for a Help Wanted ad in next month’s April issue, which is one of our most-read issues of the year. Ads up to 40 words are absolutely free. Send us your text for BPD by March 20. Fax 949-852-0231 or email There are a lot of good people looking for a new opportunity. Together, let’s try to get them back to work as soon as possible. A publication of Cutler Publishing

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

Publisher Alan Oakes Publisher Emeritus David Cutler Editor David Koenig Associate 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 SOUTH, MIDWEST & WEST Chuck Casey Phone (949) 852-1990 Fax 949-852-0231 NORTHEAST Paul Mummolo 404 Princeton Ave., Brick, N.J. 08724 Phone (732) 899-8102 Fax 732-899-2758 ONLINE Alan Oakes Phone (949) 852-1990 Fax 949-852-0231 CLASSIFIED MARKETPLACE David Koenig Phone (949) 852-1990 Fax 949-852-0231

How to Subscribe SUBSCRIPTIONS Heather Kelly Phone (949) 852-1990 Fax 949-852-0231 or send a check to 4500 Campus Dr., Ste. 480, Newport Beach, CA 92660 U.S.A.: One year (12 issues), $24 Two years, $39 Three years, $54 FOREIGN (Per year, paid in advance in US funds): Surface-Canada or Mexico, $49 Other countries, $65 Air rates also available. SINGLE COPIES $4 + shipping BACK ISSUES $5 + shipping

Alan Oakes, Publisher


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

INDUSTRY Trends Certified Wood Products

LEED changes open up market for green products H


for dealers that supply green-building pros: After three years of study, the U.S. Green Building Council is close to changing how it awards LEED credits for certified wood. Since its start in 2001, the LEED Green Building Program has awarded points for the use of environmentally responsible wood products—as long as they were certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Many questioned USGBC’s decision, especially when the limited supply of FSC-certified wood made it more difficult to earn credits for using wood. USGBC began the process of reexamining its wood certification system by soliciting opinions from its stakeholders, commissioning a study by Yale’s Program on Forest Policy and Governance, and talking to the experts at Sylvatica, a life-cycle assessment consulting firm and research group with offices in the U.S. and Canada. According to USGBC officials, the focus of the proposed credit changes is transparency. Additional wood certification programs would be evaluated according to a measurable benchmark that includes: • Governance • Technical/standards substance • Accreditation and auditing • Chain of custody and labeling After “a thorough and objective analysis,” programs judged compliant with the benchmark would be recognized by LEED. Programs that don’t make the cut would have what USGBC officials call “a clear and transparent understanding of what modifications are necessary to receive recognition under LEED.” Two of the largest certification groups in North America—American Tree Farm System (ATFS) and

Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)— recently adopted revised standards of their own. Members of both groups will have one year to make sure their woodlands measure up. “Although our certification program is the oldest in America, operating since 1941, we are constantly working to improve our standards to make them fit new conservation forestry practices and consumer expectations,” said Bob Simpson, senior v.p. for forestry programs at the American Forest Foundation, which runs ATFS. “The changes go further in protecting woodlands of high conservation value, and they streamline the process for woodland owners.” Wood products derived from the 24 million acres certified by the Arlington, Va.-based group are distributed throughout the world with labels from SFI and the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC). Headquartered in Arlington, Va., SFI was founded by the American Forest & Paper Association in 1995— the same year FSC opened an office in Washington, D.C. However, SFI became an independent nonprofit in 2007. The association has now certified more than 170 million acres across North America. According to Kathy Abusow, the group’s president and c.e.o., SFI’s new standard “was enriched by the views and expertise of many people, and offers a solid foundation as we build new partnerships and look for more ways to promote sustainable forest practices” (see sidebar). FSC was created in 1993, to “change the dialogue about and the practice of sustainable forestry worldwide” by developing and enforcing “principles, criteria, and standards that span economic, social, and environ-

mental concerns.” Although it is based in Bonn, Germany, the international organization has offices in more than 46 countries and is endorsed by such major groups as the U.S. Green Building Council and the Rainforest Alliance. As the interest in green building continues to grow—even in a down economy—so will the demand for certified wood. Making it easier to earn LEED points for certified wood will benefit everyone.

SFI Standard Gets Stricter

Following an extensive 18-month review, Sustainable Forestry Initiative has released a new, more comprehensive standard for the next five years. The SFI 2010-2014 Standard has 20 objectives, 39 performance measures, and 114 indicators—up from 13 objectives, 34 performance measures, and 102 indicators.To be certified, forest operations must be third-party audited to meet all requirements by independent, objective and accredited certification bodies. Changes, which went into effect Jan. 1, include: • Improve conservation of biodiversity in North America and offshore, and address emerging issues such as climate change and bioenergy. • Strengthen unique SFI fiber sourcing requirements, which broaden the practice of sustainable forestry in North America and avoid unwanted offshore sources. • Complement SFI activities aimed at avoiding controversial or illegal offshore fiber sources, and embrace Lacey Act amendments to prevent illegal logging. • Expand requirements for logger training and support for trained loggers and certified logger programs.


Redwood resonates with green consumers Education turns “obstacle” into asset


“buy green” often need a little help sorting through hype in efforts to truly lower their carbon footprint. Increasingly, retailers are becoming the source of answers. “Customers want to go green but don’t always know what that means,” says Clyde Jennings, president of J&W Lumber, Escondido, Ca. “We’ve established relationships with cus-

tomers so they trust us, and we’ve put ourselves in the position to provide detailed information so customers can feel good about the products they’re buying.” When it comes to selling redwood decking, a little education can go a long way. “Many consumers are surprised to find that building with redwood is entirely consistent with green living,”

Photos by California Redwood Association


REDWOOD’S GREEN “CRED” should be one of its most effective sales points.


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

says Bob Mion, marketing director for the California Redwood Association. “But once they learn about the unsurpassed environmental standards in redwood forests and how redwood products can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the green attributes add to the redwood experience and consumers come away happier than ever about choosing redwood.” Redwood’s green benefits are as natural as the wood itself. Trees, by their nature, are a renewable resource. Plus, as they grow, trees absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the air through photosynthesis. Trees release oxygen and store the carbon in wood fibers that ultimately become decking and fencing materials. While there is in-depth science that details multiple levels of redwood’s green performance, many retailers have found that customers respond to a relatively simple one-two punch of arguments. “The renewable-resource aspect of the green story is important,” says Jennings. “We hear so much about saving trees that consumers tend to forget that redwood lumber comes from sustainably managed forests. Knowing redwood forests are being conserved, with old trees preserved and harvested lands replanted, helps consumers connect with the redwood mystique. The redwood in their backyard is part of the natural cycle that goes back thousands of years and will endure thousands more.” While California boasts the toughest environmental regulations in the world and all redwood products come from California, most redwood

ducers have taken the additional step of independently certifying their forestlands. Nearly 90% of lumberproducing redwood forests are certified to be well-managed and sustainable under the world’s two largest independent certification programs, the Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative. “Renewability and sustainability are easy to demonstrate,” says Mion. “The redwood region has done more to advance sustainable forestry than any other region of the world.” The second critical aspect to understanding redwood’s green value centers on greenhouse gas emissions. Efforts are underway across the globe to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with carbon being the gas in the spotlight, and using redwood is a natural choice for combating climate change. “There’s a serious push to reduce carbon emissions,” says Mion. “When people talk about reducing their carbon footprint, they’re talking about how much carbon it takes to produce, ship and use a product over the course of its life. Science has shown that since the energy to produce redwood comes from the sun, not burning fossil fuels, and because redwood lumber is about 50% carbon by weight, using redwood can actually reduce carbon emissions.” Redwood’s emission-reducing advantages can be more difficult to articulate, but can carry significant weight with consumers. Redwood’s full carbon benefit comes from a combination of rapid growth, harvest and replanting efficiency, and energy consumption. Rather than engage in an indepth discussion of the carbon cycle, however, many retailers prefer to offer shorter explanations that focus on bottom-line impacts. “The typical redwood deck stores more than a half-ton of carbon and it looks great doing it,” says Jennings. “If customers are truly interested in reducing their carbon footprint, building a redwood deck can give them a carbon footprint they can stand on.” The CRA understands the importance of selling green and is changing their website accordingly. “The betterequipped retailers are to tell redwood’s green story, the better they will be able to ride green momentum to higher redwood sales,” Mion says. “We are enhancing our website to become a better resource to retailers and consumers on green building issues.”

EXPAND redwood sales beyond decks to include complementary benches, planters, chairs and swings by tying into the CRA’s new contest.

Win with Redwood: Contest rewards dealers, d-i-yers The California Redwood Association will give away a free picnic table to the do-it-yourselfer who builds the finest redwood chair, swing or planter, and present $1,000 to the lumber retailer who sells the winning redwood. The winner’s creation also will be featured on the CRA website. “We want retailers to know that we are enhancing our site to help make their customers successful with redwood,” says Bob Mion, marketing director for the CRA. “We have these wonderful project plans that make it easy to build beautiful, long-lasting redwood furniture, decks and shade structures. The plans are free to retailers, and displaying them in-store can give consumers the confidence to choose redwood for upcoming outdoor enhancement projects.” The CRA has 14 different project plans available for in-store display or free download from its website and is building its how-to video library. The project plans

include precise measurements, step-by-step instructions, and illustrations demonstrating key steps in the construction process. The website also includes tips for refinishing and restoring redwood decks, fences and furniture. To order free project plans to display in your store, email D-i-yers can enter photos of their Adirondack chair, Adirondack swing or Petaluma planters online. The contest winner will receive a new picnic table to add to their redwood furniture collection, while the retailer that supplied the wood will receive a $1,000 bonus. The CRA has made flyers promoting the contest available to retailers from www.calredwood. org. All entries must be submitted online at the site. Questions regarding the promotion can be directed to or Bob Mion at (916) 444-6592.

Dealers Can Win $1,000! March 2010  Building Products Digest 


COMPANY Focus The California Redwood Company

Redwood company rebuilds, rebrands T

C ALIFORNIA R EDWOOD Company has invested in technology upgrades throughout its mill and is reinventing itself with innovative new product lines and in-depth supplychannel support. On March 1, the history-rich lumber producer unveiled a new logo and details of its aggressive marketing initiative. “These investments are aimed directly at bringing higher-quality redwood products to consumers and unprecedented services to our partners in the supply chain,” says Carl Schoenhofer, v.p. and general managHE

CONSUMERS have ready access to redwood promotional materials thanks to CRC’s new 5ft.-high Redwood Information Center.


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

er for The California Redwood Company, Eureka, Ca. “We’re building on 120 years of family ownership, forest stewardship, and innovation to bring consumers green products and new ways to enjoy the affordable luxury of redwood.” The company’s new product lines include 2-inch and 5/4-inch decking options available in styles designed to accommodate consumer preferences. The California Series, a qualityenhanced version of the California Redwood Collection, includes traditional 2x4 to 2x12 decking and 4x4 and 4x6 post options. The Heritage Collection, a super-premium line, includes surface treatments that shed water more effectively and tightened radial edges for a cleaner appearance. Both product lines accept hidden fastener systems and are available with limited knots as well as uniformcolor or blended-tones looks. Names within the lines have been changed to align with aesthetic traits and wood styles popular with consumers. “We’ve rebuilt the planer and made changes throughout the mill to improve consistency and give each board a clean, high-quality finish,” says Chris Brown, sales and marketing manager for The California Redwood Company. “We’ve raised quality standards 20%, and consumers will see the difference. We’re launching a new marketing effort to go with the higherquality product offerings, so our partners in the retail chain will see a difference, too. We’re taking supply chain relationships to another level with programs we intend to grow.” The company is working with a select distribution chain to promote The California Redwood Company brand at all consumer touch points.

RICH NEW LOGO is just one component of a broad marketing initiative.

The new channel-support program includes in-store interactive kiosks, full-scale merchandising opportunities, on-site training, mini-sample decks for display, and contractorreferral services. The company’s website ( has also changed dramatically to support the campaign. “We like the changes The California Redwood Company has made and the decking products we’re now able to offer our customers,” says Chris Freeman, specialty forest products manager, Ganahl Lumber, Anaheim, Ca. “Specialty-milled redwood products have an undeniable appeal to people who want to combine elegant outdoor living with a commitment to going green. These are beautiful, natural products that provide great value, backed by a company demonstrating its commitment to sustainability and offering us new levels of support.” “We’re a re-made company, more tuned-in to our markets and better positioned to set the new standard for quality than ever before,” Schoenhofer says. “We’re getting closer to our customers and distribution partners, and we’re a better company because of it.”

PRODUCT Spotlight Southern Cypress

Showcase cypress in “green remodels” D

southern cypress may specialize in a species known for providing warmth and elegance since Biblical times, yet their latest sales tool is strictly modern day: highlighting cypress as part of a “green remodel.” A prime example is the envirofriendly makeover of a 1970s ranchstyle house located adjacent to Florida’s Ocala National Forest. Named Terra Nova, the 3,000-sq. ft. structure was transformed into an energy-efficient and ecologically friendly home—with help from the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association and other sponsors. “The cypress entranceway gives the project its ‘wow’ factor,” said Dr. Anna Marie, owner of the home and host of a syndicated TV show on healthy living. Both the front and rear gables are clad in locally sourced cypress, due to its durability and natural resistance to rot and decay. The “Greenovation of Terra Verde” project demonstrates a full range of

CYPRESS GABLES bring long-lasting beauty and superior durability to recent green remodel.

Photos by Terra Verde Team


GREEN RENOVATION shows off cypress gables and other enviro-friendly building products.

green building products and technologies that are readily available and affordable for remodeling an existing house. More details are available at “The goal of this renovation is to educate homeowners that you don’t have to build a brand new home in order for it to be green,” said Dr. Anna Marie. “From updating the bathroom and kitchen, to new paint, updated fixtures, and landscaping, we show how and why it should be done.” Besides providing long-lasting beauty, cypress can also help reduce a project’s carbon footprint. Like all woods, cypress naturally sequesters carbon throughout its lifetime. In addition, cypress has a naturally occurring preservative that protects the wood from insects, decay, and other natural threats. It’s an ideal choice for interior

applications such as flooring, moulding and millwork, or exterior applications, including siding, fencing, shutters, and shingles. Additional information is included in SCMA’s latest report: Cypress: American, Sustainable, CarbonNeutral. “Our goal is to spread the word on one of America’s most beautiful and sustainable resources,” said Nancy Tuck, SCMA’s president and v.p. of finance at Gates Custom Milling, Gatesville, N.C. “We read headlines regarding carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases contributing to global climate change, and others concerning sustainability issues with wood,” she said. “This report provides architects and homeowners with information about cypress’ durability and versatility that they may not know.”

PRODUCT Spotlight Western Red Cedar

Cedar lives the green life B


of architects and consumers, are demanding materials that stand up to construction and environmental scrutiny. They want materials with a green reputation as solid as wood is durable. Turns out wood meets both criteria. Wood products, desired for their beauty and durability yet sometimes dismissed as a green choice, are also the most environmentally friendly. A recent life cycle assessment (LCA) comparing western red cedar to non-wood decking and siding alternatives found that natural wood creates lower greenhouse gas emissions and allows for recycling and energy recovery opportunities that cut methane gas emissions in landfills. “As green building regulations become the standard in

Photo by Martin Tessler, courtesy of Battersby Howat

WESTERN RED CEDAR siding performed best when compared against non-wood alternatives like vinyl, fiber cement, and brick in a third-party, cradle-to-grave assessment of environmental impact.

building, consumers who previously favored more ‘maintenance-free’ materials as their siding and decking products of choice will need to consider alternatives such as western red cedar to help lessen their environmental footprint,” said green consultant John Wagner. Although green qualities have not yet become the deciding factor, environmental impact matters more and more. Consumers want to live beautifully, but are also weighing environmental sensitivity alongside durability and beauty in the building materials they choose. Options that combine all three qualities provide the most value to consumers—as well as to architects, who are trying to balance sometimes competing interests, and builders, who are concerned about product performance. However, getting the whole picture about a product’s environmental impact and figuring out which are the most environmentally friendly can be challenging. Comparisons are often based on limited information or only a narrow set of criteria. Truly sustainable building efforts consider a product’s manufacturing-to-disposal environmental footprint. Careful life cycle examination provides a fuller environmental appraisal. A recent LCA by FPInnovations-Forintek, Canada’s leading forestry research laboratory, took a cradle-to-grave look at environmental impacts of various building materials. It compared residential decking and siding applications such as composite decking, brick, fiber cement, vinyl and western red cedar. Complex analysis considered such factors as resource use, water use, energy use, transportation and waste created. Cedar substantially outperformed in every decking category and fared best overall as a siding choice. The assessment ranked western red cedar as the “most sustainable building material.” Alternative building materials, often lauded for durability, create more environmental life-cycle burden than wood, according to a third-party study commissioned by the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association. As an example, a western red cedar deck could be built twice—or more— over its service life and still outperform composite decking alternatives. “Knowing that the LCA proved alternative building materials create more environmental burden and consume more non-renewable fossil fuel during their life cycles helps me feel confident in recommending western red cedar as the most sustainable building tool for my clients and consumers everywhere,” Wagner said.

PRODUCT Spotlight Hidden Deck Fasteners

Out of the shadows More hidden deck fasteners surface


of premium decking materials during the last decade powered a similar rise in the use of hidden deck fasteners. If builders and homeowners are going to pay extra for high-end hardwood, PVC or composite boards, they want their decks to look and perform their best, free from fasteners that might corrode or allow moisture penetration. Yet the market for hidden deck fasteners is still on the upswing. New and upgraded products are constantly introduced. HE TREMENDOUS GROWTH

More Materials Among the latest is the Extreme4 “all-in-one” deck fastener from Ipe Clip Fastener Co. The connector is said to require less labor and fewer fasteners, and can be used in both covered and outdoor applications, enhancing the performance of air-

WITH ITS SQUARE shape and stainless steel insert, the Extreme4 from Ipe Clip Fastener Co. fits perfectly into custom-routed biscuit grooves and pregrooved decking, prolonging the life of hardwoods, PVC and composites.

dried and kiln-dried hardwoods, plus PVC and composite decking. “We’ve designed the Extreme4 to work seamlessly with every kind of decking,” said Daniel Schiefer, international sales manager. “We had customers call us asking to create a product that they could use for any kind of application. When we sent samples to deck builders, we received so many positive comments that we knew we had created a unique product with universal appeal.” Virtually unbreakable, the fastener offers maximum resistance to corrosion, tighter gap spacing, and does not require expensive and heavy equipment to install.

More Solutions Most composite decking manufacturers now market companion fastening systems with their own decking. On the heels of Fiberon and Trex introducing new hidden deck fasteners (see Feb., p. 10-11), fellow composite producer TimberTech has expanded its CONCEALoc hidden fastening system to include the L-brackets, router bits, replacement screws, and gun pail. The stainless steel CONCEALoc LBracket is a multi-functional securing tool that eliminates unsightly face screws on starter boards and doubles as a butt-seam clip to prevent the need for sister joists. The C ONCEA Loc Router Bit permits hidden fastening on non-grooved planks. To save installers from buying extra screws in bulk, TimberTech

TIMBERTECH’S has expanded its CONCEALoc hidden deck fastener line to include L-brackets, router bit, replacement screws, and gun pail.

now offers a retail bag containing an additional driver bit and 50 stainless steel screws for use with CONCEALoc. And, CONCEALoc Gun Pail offers enough clips and screws to cover 500 sq. ft.

More Accessories

Deck fastener pioneer Tiger Claw is unveiling two new tools for installing hidden deck fasteners—the Tiger Claw Semi-Automatic Hidden Deck Fastener Installation Gun for Trex and the Tiger Jaw tool, designed to eliminate the need for a sledge hammer and muscle power when installing hidden deck fasteners and surface boards.

March 2010  Building Products Digest 


COMPETITIVE Intelligence By Carla Waldemar

Time to renew


OWEGO, A TINY TOWN in upstate New York, county building permits plummeted to 20 last year. This year, they’ve shriveled down to three as Lockheed, the biggest employer, laid off 700 high-ticket workers. Yet Home Central, a family business since 1973, proceeded to plow a huge chunk of change into a vast renovation project. Wait, wait. Cancel the call to the loony bin: It’s working. That’s the verdict of owner Aaron Gowan, who admits he wasn’t 100% convinced this was a good idea. “Yet, after 35 years in the business, and 15 in our current location, it was time,” he allows. But still…. “I was kind of ready to hold back, but I remembered my [founder] dad’s philosophy that evolution is necessary, and you do it during down times, when you’re not super-busy. This was the time to move forward, to be ready for the rebound,” Aaron states. His daughter Kate Whittemore, who returned after college to join the N


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

business in 2004, curtailed a maternity leave to mother the new project. “I pushed and prodded to go ahead,” she declares. “We designed it to attract more women”—the decision-makers in this day and age—“so, with the help of True Value’s plans, we created a new exterior, opened up the floor to make for more convenient and efficient shopping, added new lighting and displays, and re-evaluated all our SKUs,” adding breadth to existing lines while clearing out the dogs. (This project follows close on the heels of a new, 20,000-sq. ft. warehouse built on the property in 2005, replacing an existing warehouse clear across town. Again, more efficiencies.) “We’d always been very big on plumbing and electric,” says Kate. Now, those arenas are even stronger, augmented by an expansion of the former kitchen & bath showroom to accommodate home appliances. “A mom-and-pop store in town went out of business, so we talked around and

decided there was a need,” she explains. The new product niche also plays into existing strong lines of housewares, hardware, tools, paint, automotive needs, decking, roofing, and lawn and garden supplies, along with all that lumber under cover in the new warehouse. (In fact, it’s easier to ask what they don’t sell—so I did. Flooring and wallpaper were all that sprang to mind.) Clearly, Home Central earns its name as the go-to for one-stop homeimprovement shopping, where it attracts a 50-50 customer mix of contractors, both residential and commercial, and handy homeowners—the very group driving the surge in remodeling that’s currently keeping bread on the table. D-i-yers got the message about the recent grand reopening via radio and TV advance notices, plus on-the-spot coverage on ribbon-cutting day, which also benefited the town’s nonprofit community. Little Leaguers kept the receipts from hot dog and hamburger sales, and the kids also sold gallon buckets, donated by Home Central, for $1 to customers who were offered a 20% discount on all purchases they could squeeze into them, as well as chances to win the Weber grill and Poulin mower that served as doorprize draws. “Once they come in, it’s easy to get them to come back,” says Aaron about customer retention. “They become very loyal. They like the personal touch; they know all the employees, many of whom have been here 20-plus years and have a rapport with the community. People feel comfortable here, knowing who’s waiting on them, and you won’t find that in the boxes.” What you won’t find at Home Central is outside salesmen. “We’ve never believed in it: no pounding on doors, chasing people down,” he says. “Instead, more than anything else, what draws the pros in is service: knowing we can take care of them, treat them with respect, have a product when they need it, and get it delivered fast”— courtesy of a dump truck for residential driveways and a boom truck for the contractors who need it. “They don’t have to worry whether we have a 10x24,” Aaron continues. “They can find it here, plus all those small electrical parts or a paint brush. And that’s how we draw new business, too. The fact is, we have materials, while somebody else is out. Even

RIBBON CUTTING marked New York business’ grand reopening. On hand were (left to right) founder’s widow Bayonne Gowan, co-owner/treasurer Kate Whittemore holding future lumberman Will Whittemore, general manager Ray Reeves, owner/president Aaron Gowan, purchasing manager Ed Smith, clerks Jess Cady and Ben Reeves, Owego town supervisor Carol Sweeney, and manager Jake Reeves.

pro customers who can take advantage of 24/7 access to their accounts. “It’s a great service for them; they can get online and look at their invoices,” she explains. “Plus, it’s a lot less paperwork for us. Sure, they complained at first, but we’re moving them in that direction, and pretty soon, they understand and begin to value it. It’s especially necessary for commercial accounts, so we’re encouraging them to use it.” “We sell to commercial accounts, like schools, the county, and local industries,” adds her father, “but we don’t court them. It takes a whole different inventory, like metal studs, which the general builder doesn’t need. But if we don’t carry things like that, we don’t get the job.” And get the job, they do. There have been no layoffs—in fact, says Aaron, “we just hired a new guy.” Full staff is needed, Kate agrees, “to keep up with the remodel: more help on the floor, to keep the store neat and not revert to the old-building mentality, with dust on everything.” “We know business will get better,” Aaron declares. “We expect things to pick up in spring. And,” he can boast, “we’re ready!”

Lowe’s sends customers over….” Sure, Home Central offers the traditional contractor dinners during the course of a year, but with a difference: These folks vet the vendors involved. “Not just anyone,” Aaron emphasizes. “We’re kind of selective.” “We recently had a Weyerhaeuser rep describing truss Ijoists, LVLs,” adds Kate. “Small contractors are not always aware of lots of the new technology out there and won’t need it every day, but when the time comes, now they’ll understand it.” Home Central today is central to the family business of 35 employees, with stores acquired earlier in Vestal, 12 miles down the road, and Candor, a rural community eight miles distant. Trucks troll between all three locations on a daily basis, helping each store out with inventory needs and just-in-time delivery—always a savings, but particularly so in a stressful economic climate. “The new renovation also is helping us through it,” Kate attests. “We’re pleased with the results.” She’s also the webmeister who updates Home Central’s Internet presence (www.homecentralowego. com), which includes not only info on services, locations, vendor partners, and company history, but a couple of cool videos. The Internet is also a boon for Carla Waldemar

March 2010  Building Products Digest 


OLSEN On Sales By James Olsen

What’s too pushy? I

WORK WITH SALESPEOPLE EVERY DAY who have bad tapes playing in their heads. They think they are too pushy (or too something), so at the moment of truth (really many moments of truth over and over…) they hold back, or say they’ll call back, or wait for the call back, or etc. While these salespeople are waiting for the call back, another, bolder salesperson swoops in and takes the business.

How Much Is Too Much? Some customers can be pushed harder than others. Some customers want to be pushed. Some customers want to negotiate. Some customers just want to use us for a number and buy from the other guy. (It sure is funny how they don’t call us pushy when they want us to help them find something or work up a proposal for them.) I teach that we have to ask for the order five times in closing situations. Most salespeople don’t even ask once. Setting up the moment of close and when and how to close are important also, but more important is the will to close. Our timing will improve if we work at it, but nothing about closing will become easier or better if we don’t ask for the order enough. Five times may seem like a lot to the uninitiated, but if we are indeed in a closing situation, five times is appropriate. How we ask for the order five times is the “art” part of what we do. Our art will become better the more we practice it.

Salespeople Are… I have many of the groups I work with do this exercise. Split a page into two columns. On the left-hand side write down all the negatives about salespeople—pushy, liars, talk too much, etc. When we are done with the negatives—it doesn’t take long—on the right give a positive connotation to each of words in the negative column. Not the opposite, but a positive connotation. This usually takes longer.



Pushy Liar Greedy Talks too much Self-centered Wholesaler You’re shorting the market

Persistent Creative, visionary Provider Informational Self-reliant Supplier, partner I’m taking the risk out of the market for you.

“Liar” always causes much discussion. Are we encouraging salespeople to lie? Absolutely not. But we are asking them to be creative. If someone hands us a bag of feces, we can call it fertilizer. My point is that so many sellers are saying, “Nope, sorry, can’t do that.” Which is the truth, but it’s a lazy truth. They should be saying, “We can’t do it exactly the way you are asking, but our solution has worked for many in your situation, let’s put this together.”


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

More harmful than the prejudiced ideas of our customers are our own prejudices about selling and salespeople. Ninety-nine percent of the salespeople I have known are hard-working, honest people. So many sellers are ashamed of what they do for living. How can we ask for the order if we are ashamed? How can we push through tough negotiations if we think we are taking advantage? We can’t. Customers say to me (usually when they’re trying to get me to do something for less), “Oh, James, you’re such a salesman.” I say, “Yes, I am and proud of it.” Or they’ll tell me I am “selling” them when I am merely giving them my opinion. I reply, “If, when I give you my opinion, it’s selling, then when you give me your opinion it’s also selling. We are both selling each other.” Some customers try to get mad, but as they realize it’s true, it changes the negotiation. Words matter. If we let others define us with their prejudices, then they control our income. If every time we ask for the order our customer says, “Wow, you sure are pushy” and we back off, we give that customer a button to control us. If instead we respond, “Bob, I’m not pushy, I just really believe in this deal, and I really believe it will work for you.” As leadership sellers we define ourselves and then deliver on that definition. James Olsen Reality Sales Training (503) 544-3572 james@

GREEN Retailing By Jay Tompt

Is G-I-Y the new D-I-Y?



that best sums up the ongoing shift in household economic behavior is this: less is more. For anyone who pays attention to the history of this industry, it’s a familiar story that comes about with every recession. Folks are tackling more projects on their own, so the trades are suffering. But this time around, the return to d-i-y may be different in some important ways that just might stick. There are many good reasons for dealers to pay attention. Most people I know aren’t simply doing without: They are discovering new ways to create the lifestyle they want, spending less money, and doing more themselves. More households are growing their own food, taking steps to “decarbonize” their homes, and generally looking for simpler, healthier “green it yourself” projects they can take on inexpensively. The terms “green it yourself” or


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

“g-i-y” are catching on, describing everything from caulking windows with a solvent-free sealant to rigging your own greywater system. In some neighborhoods, if you want to keep up with the Joneses, it’s not the size and expense of your solar panels, but how little you spent building your own wind generator from an alternator salvaged from old Buick, spare bicycle parts, and a plastic milk jug. The permaculture movement is on the leading edge of this resurgence of self-reliance. In short, permaculture is a holistic approach to creating household and community-scale sustainability based on modeling and enhancing natural systems. It’s deeply green and aimed at creating abundance with fewer inputs—in other

words, doing more with less. Typical permaculture projects include intensive food gardens, rainwater harvesting, greywater systems, passive solar, natural building, and lots of creative re-use of salvaged resources. There are a growing number of nonprofit permaculture-based groups making interesting changes in the fabric of life, especially in urban neighborhoods. Many of these groups are getting serious funding and are participating in local retrofit programs. Becoming knowledgeable about the kinds of projects being undertaken in your area will likely inspire new thinking around merchandise and promotion. For example, in areas where greywater systems are now legal, stocking non-PVC pipes and fittings might be a good idea. Building close relationships with local nonprofit permaculture groups and practitioners is a good idea, perhaps with some cross promotion that will bolster your company’s green reputation. And if g-i-y and permaculture can really help your community become greener and more resilient, you might find that this new kind of di-y is good for you, too.

Jay Tompt Managing Partner, Wm. Verde & Associates (415) 321-0848

DEALER Briefs 84 Lumber closed its 6-year-old store in Franklin, Tn., and placed the site up for sale. Half of the roof at 84’s storm-trodden Charlottesville, Va., yard collapsed under the weight of accumulated snow Feb. 5. The warehouse was closed at the time. Tri Lumber, West Union, Ia., was acquired by 25-unit Spahn & Rose Lumber , Dubuque, Ia., from Phil Solheim and Ken Popenhagen, who will continue to work at the business. White’s Lumber & Building Supplies, Pulaski, N.Y., will rebuild

after a Feb. 11 fire destroyed its retail store and two warehouses.

Garfield Lumber, St. Joseph, Mo., is liquidating after 74 years, with the retirement of Ed and Pat Burton, owners since 1980. Koltes Lumber, Waunakee, Wi.,

closed Jan. 28 after 129 years. Sister store Koltes Do It Best, Lodi, Wi., continues operating.


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

US LBM Buying Hines Lumber Edward Hines Lumber, Chicago, Il., and its subsidiary Hall & House have agreed to be acquired by US LBM Holdings LLC, Green Bay, Wi., making it the 10th largest LBM distributor in the U.S. “We are excited to have Hines Lumber and Hall & House as part of our expanding line-up of building supply businesses,” said L.T. Gibson, president and c.e.o. of US LBM. “Hines Lumber is synonymous with residential building in the Chicago area. The company is part of the business fabric of Chicago and the surrounding communities.” Until the sale is complete, US LBM will fund the daily operations of both companies, including employee wages and payments to vendors and suppliers. Founded in 1892, Hines Lumber operates five lumberyards and specialty centers. In 2008, the company expanded by acquiring Hall & House, Westfield, In.

Buyers Scour North Pacific North Pacific Group, Tigard, Or., is seeking court approval to sell a portion of its assets for $20-25 million to Atlas Holdings LLC, a private equity

firm based in Greenwich, Ct. Under the deal, Atlas Trading would acquire North Pacific’s food and agriculture and utility and construction units, the Portland-based portions of its hardwood and industrial products unit, and the company’s Portland Trading Platform. North Pacific, once the third-largest private company in Oregon, was forced into receivership on Jan. 20, after its lenders filed a lawsuit claiming the company and its subsidiaries had defaulted on $42 million in loans. That figure has since been reduced to $30 million, according to Edward Hostmann Inc., the crisis management firm that now controls North Pacific. Hostmann is completing negotiations on a final agreement to sell another North Pacific division that “would substantially reduce the debt” to lenders and “plans to move for its approval as soon as possible.” Still up for grabs are North Pacific’s building products division, its Southern Trading Unit, and its hardwood lumber and flooring manufacturing operations in Arkansas and Missouri. A manufacturing plant in Raymondville, Mo., was shut down in late January.

DEALER Briefs Dealer’s Lumber is closing its yards in Sunbury and Columbus, Oh., after 90 years. Artistic Builders Supply ,

Lawrenceville, Ga., was destroyed by an early morning fire Feb. 10.

Lacillade Lumber closed its 73year-old Williamstown, Vt., lumberyard at the end of February and placed the 36-acre site up for sale. Operations continue at its branch in Williston, Vt., which specializes in windows, doors, cabinets and countertops. The owners of Stewart Bros. Hardware, Midtown and Bartlett, Tn., opened a third, 12,000-sq. ft. Ace Hardware store Feb. 10 in Cordova, Tn. Store #4, at 10,000 sq. ft., will open next month in White Station (E. Memphis), Tn.

Rylee’s Ace Hardware opens a larger, 31,000-sq. ft. replacement store March 22 in Grand Rapids, Mi. Vergas Hardware, Vergas, Mn., converted from Ace Hardware to a Hardware Hank franchise. Owner Paul Pinke installed new signage and a new computer system.

Roper Sells Taylor Bros. Yard The Lester Group, Martinsville, Va., has acquired and reopened Taylor Brothers Lumber Co., Lynchburg, Va., from bankrupt Roper Brothers Lumber Co., Petersburg, Va. In December, Roper filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and shut down its six yards, including 58year-old Taylor Bros. (see Jan., p. 23). Lester operates pro yards in Martinsville and Fredericksburg, Va., and four Fortress Wood Products treating plants in North Carolina.

Coastal Lumber Downsizes Coastal Lumber Co., Charlottesville, Va., is closing its dry kiln and concentration yards in Goldsboro, N.C., and Buckhannon, W.V., and its sawmill in Spartansburg, Pa., as it negotiates with potential buyers to keep the facilities open. “This closing is a result of Coastal Lumber right-sizing the company to reflect current market conditions, and is not a reflection of the dedicated, hard working employees at this plant,” said c.e.o. Victor C. Barringer II of the closure in Buckhannon. “We are presently negotiating with two separate parties who are interested in oper-

ating it as an ongoing concern.” Founded in 1938, Coastal is one of the country’s largest exporters of forest products, with 13 sawmills and four concentration yards.

Roof Collapse Traps Worker Snow caused the peaked roof to collapse over the finishing mill at Ritenour Lumber, Melcroft, Pa., briefly trapping one person inside. At the time of the collapse, Ken Ritenour and Ron Ritenour were working in the mill. “One made it out before the roof collapsed. He heard it coming,” said fire chief Max Gales of Ken Ritenour’s escape. Ron Ritenour “dove beside the high lift and that saved all the debris from coming clear down on him,” said Gales. Although he appeared to have rib and head injuries, he was alert when an ambulance took him to a nearby hospital. “Definitely, the Lord was watching out for him because it could have been a lot worse,” said Paul Ritenour, company president since 1993. Inside the mill, the floor was littered with roof trusses, nearly $30,000 in completed orders, and up to 4 ft. of snow. The owners plan to rebuild.

Lowe’s opened new stores Feb. 19 in Lowell, Ma., and Feb. 5 in Abingdon, Va. (Chris Bare, store mgr.), and Jan. 29 in Hudson, Ma. Home Depot is liquidating its home centers in Wilson, N.C., and Waveland, Ms., as well as a clearance center in Atlanta, Ga., by March 31. Metro Builders Supply, Tulsa, Ok., has been renamed Metro Appliances & More and is building location #10, in Jonesboro, Ar. Habitat for Humanity this month is opening a 19,000-sq. ft. ReStore discount LBM outlet in Savannah, Ga.; a 10,000-sq. ft. unit in New Richmond, Wi., as well as a store in Pittsfield, Ma. Habitat held a Feb. 13 grand opening for a 40,000-sq. ft. replacement ReStore in Oxford, N.C., and is considering moving its Ravenna Township, Oh., location to the former Kent Hardware building in downtown Kent, Oh.

March 2010  Building Products Digest 


SUPPLIER Briefs Wolf , York, Pa., has added a

101,000-sq. ft. distribution center in Lexington, N.C., expanding its reach into the Carolinas, northern Georgia, eastern Alabama, and Tennessee. The cross-dock facility distributes cabinetry, decking, railing, trim and other LBM products.

Bradco Supply, Avenel, N.J., has acquired commercial roofing distributor Insulation Systems Inc., Greensboro, N.C. Its three branches, including Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C., will continue to operate under the ISI name, and former owner Dewey Haizlip will remain on to ensure a smooth transition. M.C. Dixon Lumber Co ., Eufala, Al., secured a community grant to help restart its sawmill, down since 2008. CMI, Chicago, Il., has agreed to acquire the assets of 66-year-old Illinois Flush Door Co ., Plainfield, Il.


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

Northeast EWP Distributor Gets Double Certified Eastern Engineered Wood Products, Bethlehem, Pa., which distributes structural building products in the Northeast, recently earned chain of custody certification from Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative. “Achieving both certifications provides the opportunity to supply a wider offering of certified products, giving our customers and their builders more product options,” said president Todd Lindsey. EEWP’s certification was the first completed by the North American unit of SGS, an inspection, verification, testing, and certification company headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Green Product Group Forms The Green Roundtable/NEXUS has launched a new international Green Product Association, the “first inclusive platform to represent the entire life-cycle of products from construction through operations.” GPA’s mission is to lead an industry-wide market transformation so that building products meet a continu-

ously increasing level of sustainability throughout their life cycle. GPA hopes that in time all building products will be green, and that their performance criteria and metrics will be visible to all. Founding participants include Bostik, CBC Flooring, and UL Environment.

Hardwood Decking Specialist Launches Online Store Advantage Trim & Lumber Co. has launched an online hardwood decking store, initially specializing in standard, pre-grooved, and T&G ipé. Accessing www.advantagelumber. com, customers can select their desired species and profile with sizes up to 23 ft. for most dimensions. Orders are processed immediately, including calculation of UPS or direct freight costs. In time, the site will offer every species of lumber, flooring, and decking stocked by Advantage. All international wholesale orders are handled from Advantage’s administrative offices in Sarasota, Fl. Orders are shipped around the world from milling facilities in Grover, N.C., and Buffalo, N.Y.

IN Memoriam

Ace Offers Mobile Access

Charles Montgomery, 56, branch manager of ProBuild, Hattiesburg, Ms., died Feb. 4 in New Orleans, La. He began his career in 1974 as a warehouse manager with Lowe’s, Hattiesburg, also managing stores in El Dorado, Ar., and Lake Charles, La., before returning to the Hattiesburg store in 1984. He became manager of the local Lowe’s Contractor Yard in 1997, staying on after it became ProBuild in 2006.

Joel David Schine, 82, president of City Lumber, Bridgeport, Ct., died Feb. 14 in Bridgeport. He was president of Yale’s class of 1948 and served in the Navy.

Howard Conklin Jr., 72, former president and chairman of Conklin & Strong Inc., Warwick, N.Y., died Jan. 12 in Goshen, N.Y. He served with the Navy in Guam during World War II. He entered the family business, initially in Goshen, N.Y., after earning a degree in forestry at Michigan State University.

Charles Dewitt Arbuthnot, 80, retired part-owner of Central Building Supply, Jonesville, La., Jena Lumber Yard, Jena, La., died Jan. 29 in Jena. After Pearl Harbor, he served with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific.

Stephen Clifton Phillips, 57, owner of Phillips Lumber, Cedar Hill, Tx., died Feb. 2 of damage to his heart that was caused by a virus. After serving in the Air National Guard, he joined the family business. Robert “Bob” Henry Krueger, 67, retired outside salesperson for Wickes Lumber, Green Bay, Wi., died Feb. 9 of a heart attack in Green Bay. He worked at Wickes for 46 years before retiring in 2007. Henry Wilburn Culp Jr., president of W.W. Culp Lumber, New London, N.C., died on his 88th birthday, Feb. 14, in Durham, N.C. He graduated with a business degree from Duke University in 1942, then served in the Air Force from 1943 to 1946. He took over the family business when his father died in 1950 and remained in charge until his passing. Dennis G. Wilker, 62, former coowner of Rochester Lumber Co., Oronco, Mn., died of cancer Feb. 6, 2010 in Byron, Mn. After serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, he worked for Fullerton Lumber, Minneapolis, Mn., from 1969 to 1989. In 1990, he became part owner of Rochester Lumber, retiring in December 2003. Thomas C. Rutzky, 71, salesman for the old Tri-W Lumber, Leetonia Oh., died Feb. 14 in Columbiana, Oh.

Ace Hardware Corp., Oak Brook, Il., has made it easier for customers to access its website from their mobile phones. Customers can now use their mobile phones to search for the nearest Ace store using Google maps and access store info such as hours of operation, services provided, maps, and brands sold. A Local Weekly Ads section lets customers browse local Ace ads and view sale items and product details near their location. The mobile site also offers links to Ace’s Facebook page, YouTube and Twitter, giving users the opportunity to stay current on all Ace-related news and videos on di-y home repair. “Over the past year, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of traffic coming to from mobile devices,” explained e-commerce marketing supervisor Mark Lowe. “The mobile phone has become a communication hub for many consumers, so it’s critical that Ace provide a mobile-optimized solution for them. “Users visiting [our site] from their mobile phone will automatically be served up the mobile version of the site, so it will be seamless for them. To build on that base of traffic, we will be spreading the word with messaging on, our circular ads, and through email campaigns.”

James Clifford “J.C.” Wilson, 84, founder of Wilson Lumber Co., Harold, Fl., died after a lengthy illness Feb. 3 in Harold. A veteran of the U. S. Navy, he opened his own sawmill in 1973.

Kermit C. Rudolph, 76, retired owner of Rudolph Lumber, Maumee, Oh., died of a rare disease named progressive supranuclear palsy Feb. 2 in Toledo, Ohio. He served in Japan with the U.S. Army. Upon his discharge, he owned Pemberville Lumber, Pemberville, Oh., adding the Rudolph yard in the 1960s and operating it until 2000. Joe N. Carraway, 88, former coowner of Myers Lumber, Selma, In., died Jan. 23 in Selma. After serving in the Navy during WW II, he co-owned Myers Lumber, then worked as assistant manager at McCarty Wholesale Lumber, Muncie, In., for 23 years until retiring in 1974.

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March 2010  Building Products Digest 


MOVERS & Shakers Bob Anderson, Scotch Gulf Lumber, Mobile, Al., retired after 40 years in the industry, the last 10 years as sales mgr. with Gulf Lumber. James Thompson has joined Fasco America, Muscle Shoals, Al., as regional sales mgr. for the Southwestern U.S. Pat Heffernan, ex-North Pacific, has joined Distribution Management Systems Inc., Omaha, Ne., leading its continued expansion into the dealer market. Kevin O’Conner is new to DMSi in San Antonio, Tx., as the primary sales rep for dealers. Scott Garber, ex-Mid-Ark Lumber, has opened a Greenville, S.C., office for Professional Panel, Inc., a division of Pruett Forest Products, Tuscaloosa, Al. Bob Kubinec, founder, Kubinec Strapping Solutions, Howell, Mi., has retired after 35 years in the industry and sold his business to Chris Pagett. John W. Weaver, former head of AbitiBowater Inc., was elected to the board of directors at LouisianaPacific Corp., Nashville, Tn.


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

Sarah Haenel has been promoted to sales mgr. of Boise’s building material division in Chicago, Il. Dale Rodekuhr has retired after 36 years in the business, the last 32 as a trader at Tampa International Forest Products, Tampa, Fl. Jim Dermody was named president of Seaboard International Forest Products, Nashua, N.H., replacing founder Lorin Rydstrom, who moves to parent company Forest City Trading Group, Portland, Or. Sheldon Grigg is store mgr. of the new Lowe’s Home Improvement Center in Clemson, S.C. Casey Huber has been named director for the new Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Bond Hill, Oh. Wendy Burnett, director of communications & public relations, Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association, has resigned after 10 years, to join the Georgia Forestry Commission as director of public relations. Chuck Hall has been promoted to v.p. of sales for DriTac Flooring Products, Clifton, N.J.

Phil Griese is new to Southwood Forest Products, Fairfield, Al. Ronald Kaplan, president and c.e.o., Trex, Winchester, Va., adds the title of chairman May 5. He succeeds retiring Andrew Ferrari, who helped found Trex in 1996. Jay Gratz will become lead independent director. Bill O’Brien has joined Vinyl Window Technologies, Paducah, Ky., as director of operations. Julie Jozwik joined K NIPEX -Tools, Arlington Heights, Il., as marketing mgr. Randy Booth, ex-Minerallac Fastening Systems, is new as sales mgr. for distribution sales in the Eastern U.S. and Puerto Rico. Melissa Cooke has been named controller for Sto Corp., Atlanta, Ga. Monique Bauer, ex-North Pacific, has joined boutique marketing agency Cira Creative, Portland, Or., as v.p. of client services. Jason Plummer, v.p.-corporate development, R.P. Lumber, Edwardsville, Il., is the state’s Republican nominee for lieutenant governor. Ima Lusa has been relieved of her sales accounts at Mungus-Fungus Forest Products, Climax, Nv., report co-owners Hugh Mungus and Freddy Fungus.

SUPPLIER Briefs Taylor Lumber , McDermott, Oh., had its sawdust silo damaged in a Feb. 10 fire. Shuqualak Lumber is adding a wood shaving operation at its Shuqualak, Ms., milling complex. Parksite, Batavia, Il., acquired the DuPont Surfaces distribution assets of L.E. Smith Co ., Bryan, Oh., expanding its distribution of DuPont Corian and Zodiaq to 13 states. In addition, Parksite is now distributing AERIX roof ventilation products from bpEnnovations. BlueLinx’s DCs in Springfield, Mo., and Tulsa, Ok., are now distributing PureWood thermally modified wood decking. Boston Cedar, Holbrook, Ma., is now exclusive Northeast distributor of Abaco tropical hardwood decking and railing. Timber Holdings International, Milwaukee, Wi., is now distrib-

uting the complete line of Cambia thermally modified wood products from Northland Forest Products , Manassas, Va.

Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork , Wausau, Wi., merged its Inspiration, Foundation, and Resolution vinyl windows and doors into its new Latitude Series. AZEK Building Products , Scranton, Pa., added two new colors to its Deck Terra composite deck collection: Sedona and Tahoe. CertainTeed’s Bufftech Chesterfield vinyl fencing is now available in three new blended colors: Arctic, Weathered, and Arbor. Georgia-Pacific has doubled the weather exposure limited warranty for DensArmor Plus fiberglass mat gypsum panels from six to 12 months. Ultra Aluminum Mfg., Howell, Mi., updated its website ( to include all its fencing, gates, and porch and decking rails. Anniversaries: Boston Cedar, Holbrook, Ma., 25th … Forest2Market, Charlotte, N.C., 10th …

March 2010  Building Products Digest 


FIRST Person By Loren Krebs

The Accidental Lumberman I

KNEW A LOT OF LITTLE KIDS who wanted to be firemen, policemen, doctors, lawyers or cowboys, but I never knew any who said they wanted to be in the lumber business. Clearly, this created some opportunity for those of us who entered the workplace with a willingness to work hard and no real idea where our career paths would lead us. And so it was, in December 1968 after discharging from the U.S. Army, I found myself in need of employment. My older brother managed a lumberyard and suggested I apply at a plumbing and heating company that was located next to his lumberyard, as they were looking for a ditch digger. I could dig ditches, I thought. I certainly had had worse jobs. Catching chickens in a dusty barn came to mind. This was done in the dead of night and required one to wade into a seething sea of chickens, catching four in each hand and carrying them to a truck that would take them to slaughter. This, of course, did not please the chickens, and they flapped their wings furiously in their attempt to escape. The wing flapping stirred up a storm of manure-laced dust that permeated one’s nasal passages, causing the stench to stay with

you a week or more. Surely, digging ditches could be no worse.


e was a big man. His name was Tex Jones, and he looked like he had invented the name Tex. “Can you dig a ditch, son?” he asked, as if he had his doubts. “I dug ditches in the Army,” I replied, trying to look bigger than I was. “Well, I can’t tell you if it’s permanent,” he said, “but if you don’t mind using a shovel and you don’t mind working in the mud, you can start next week.” I walked next door to the lumberyard to find my brother and thank him for the tip. The smell of sawdust and fresh-cut lumber filled the cool winter air. A forklift carrying a unit of plywood sped by, and the driver stopped behind a beat-up pickup and slid the panels into the back of the truck. A circular saw was running beside a storage shed, and it whined and screeched each time the sawyer pulled the blade into a piece of lumber. I had never been in a lumberyard before. “How much does a ditch digger get paid these days?” my brother asked from behind a sales counter covered with product samples, order pads, adding machines, and an old cash register. “Well,” I answered, “Tex said he would start me at $3 per hour.” My brother thought for a moment. “I’ll give you $3.25 per hour and you can start tomorrow. I’m going to need another yardman.” Little did I know I was an accidental lumberman and my career in the lumber business had just begun.


erms of the Trade describes a lumberman as follows: “A generic


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

term describing any person involved in the manufacturing or marketing of lumber, plywood, or other wood products.” By this definition, I qualified, but after a week at the lumberyard I realized I was no lumberman, accidental or otherwise. I didn’t know a board from a piece of dimension lumber. I didn’t know a joist from a beam. I didn’t know a galvanized box nail from a box of rocks. In other words, I didn’t know jack! It was clear to me that being a lumberman required knowledge and experience I didn’t have. I found myself relying heavily on the old veterans, and most were more than willing to share their experience with me. I began sweeping warehouse floors, something I could do with little instruction. Soon, I was filling storage bins with lumber, plywood and other building products and began to learn about grades and develop product knowledge. When contractors backed up at the sales counter, the store manager would come out and tell me to grab a customer and help out. Mike and Jim, two old counter pros, taught me lumber math, formulas, shortcuts, and, most importantly, how to service a customer. They showed me there was a difference between selling and taking orders, and taught me the importance of actually being a salesman. In time, I learned to operate a forklift and drive a truck. A forklift driver named Ivan showed me how to move 24-ft. lumber through a 20-ft. door and reminded me often not to carry the loads too high or I would run into the warehouse rafters. He was correct on that point. A truck driver named Gus taught me to double clutch, tie some pretty fancy knots, and drop a load of lumber off the back of a truck softly,

exactly where it was intended to go. Greg, a younger driver, showed me how to carry underlayment up a 2”x12” plank without falling off. I packed a lot of particleboard in the early years of my career. Butch, a yardman who had once been a logger, took me into the woods and shared with me his appreciation for nature and the beauty of Oregon’s forests. He taught me that the best place in the world to drink a can of cold beer was next to a logging road, high above a fresh clear-cut with a view of a newly uncovered valley. He explained to me the concept of clearcutting Douglas fir and showed me the beauty of a regenerating forest. Clarence, another yardman, taught me about the structure and beauty of many species of lumber. He seemed to know everything there was to know about redwood, cedar, hemlock, Douglas fir, and pine. He was a walking encyclopedia of lumber and loved wood more than anybody I ever knew. He called my attention to a wonderful paragraph found in the West Coast Lumber grading rules: “At no time, in whatever grade, should the inherent and wonderful properties of wood be forgotten.” I always liked that paragraph and, to this day, it reminds me of my lessons from Clarence. Eventually, I moved from the retail lumberyard to wholesale distribution and continued learning about the lumber business. I am ever mindful and appreciative of those who helped me along the way. Much of my success can be attributed to the insight, wisdom and knowledge of those who came before me. In turn, I have tried to pass my knowledge on to others, and I would encourage all of you to do the same. We have a whole new generation of accidental lumbermen beginning their careers, and the industry will be well served by teaching them how important basic lumber skills are and how to be good lumbermen. And, of course, your customers will appreciate it, too. – Loren Krebs began his career in the lumber business in 1969 and recently retired as purchasing department manager after 25 years with Disdero Lumber, Clackamas, Or. He can be reached by email at krebs@ oregoncoast.

March 2010  Building Products Digest 


MANAGEMENT Tips By Rhonda Savage

Clear financial policies keep customers coming back


T ’ S T RUE :

people who owe you money do not like you! They feel guilty if they’re late with a payment and burdened that they’ve procrastinated. They know it’s not your fault, but they feel pressured and unhappy. Your customer can be extremely upset if he or she receives a financial surprise. It is wise to remember that a surprised customer will first be an embarrassed client, and then will become an angry customer! If you want to avoid all this stress and anger, take the following steps to clearly outline your company’s financial policies. Clear financial policies are a very real part of customer service, especially when presented by a warm, empathetic, knowledgeable


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

staff. In addition, for a policy to be effective, it must be well understood by staff and backed up by the owner and manager.

Determine the health of your A/R: As a basic guideline, your accounts receivable (A/R) balance should not exceed one half to one month of production. • Run a “clean” A/R report that does not include credit balances and analyze the 60-day-and-over column, as well as the 90-day-and-over column. In general, the 60-day-and-over column should not be more than 4-6% of what your clients owe you. The 90and-over column should not be more than 2-4% of your A/R.

• Make certain also to run a past due report. Any accounts 30 days past due require a follow up call from the team member responsible for this department. • The owner’s role is to hire, train and provide oversight for your financial health. Even with the finest office manager, the owner should still be involved and should be the leader in the business. • The owner should review the A/R on a monthly basis, or more often if this area of your business needs additional attention. Many offices have a policy that “everyone does everything.” With a more systematic approach, the owner can oversee those accountable for particular areas. And, your team members will know who to ask for what, such as which staff member should speak with a particular client. Designated office responsibilities with clearly defined goals and expectations decrease stress and increase professionalism. If your A/R balance is less than one half of your monthly production, your financial policies may be too firm and staff may be unintentionally running clients off. On the other hand, for your

established customers of record, you might consider flexibility in payment if the client has demonstrated a good history. If you do offer financial options, however, do not extend them for more than three months and have a re-bill policy, or inform the client of interest due after or during the threemonth period. Also, verify the credit history of the client prior to advancing credit. • Check with your state law regarding interest regulations and present a written policy to the customer. • Do you have old accounts on your A/R that have been turned over for collection? Adjust these off so you have a true A/R that is collectable. Enter the adjusted amount into the client’s record and keep a separate ledger file for this activity. Check with your accountant and clean up your Accounts Receivable report.

the efforts of your office team. If an old friend asks for a courtesy, let him know that your staff will handle all the financials for the two of you. If the owner shoots down the financial coordinator, she may not want to enforce the policy again! Owners who make arrangements contrary to office policy create stress for their staff and ultimately can create spoiled clients who will continue to go around the staff. Spoiled clients are created by nice, caring owners who want to bend over backwards for their clients, especially early in the relationship. These clients become quite demanding and are often

rude to the office team, dictating when they’ll come in, when they’ll pay, and how much they’ll pay!

Criteria for financial options: The client is prepared in advance regarding their responsibilities with payment. • The front office team’s responsibility is to say, “Will that be cash, check or bank card?” • If the work or service is extensive, consider breaking the client’s portion into three segments, with one-third (Please turn to page 46)

Develop your financial guidelines: Sit down with your team and write out your office financial guidelines. The collection of money owed is the responsibility of the entire team. Once the entire team creates the guidelines, the owner needs to approve and stand behind them. Have you ever noticed that the client will try to go around the staff person and ask for a discount? Or ask if they can pay “over time” instead of paying as the service is completed? As an owner or manager, you will undermine the client’s trust and respect of your staff if you allow even one customer to do this. One kindhearted business owner said, “There’s no ‘end run’ involved! I just plow right through my front office team and give the discount up front to the customer, and I know I’m the problem!” Discuss the philosophy of your business with your team. Each office is different. If you feel compelled to give a courtesy, consider a limited discount amount rather than a discounted percentage. • It is advisable to craft a “change of policy letter” regarding your position on cash courtesies or changes in your office’s financial policy. The worst thing you can do is surprise the customer! Remember that a surprised customer is an angry customer. Do allow the prior courtesy level and let the client know, in a friendly, warm manner, why you’ve had a change in policy. And then the new courtesy level would apply for all future procedures or services. • Owners or managers: Reinforce

March 2010  Building Products Digest 


FAMILY Business By Christopher Eckrich

Family perks: Benefit or boondoggle? E


perks can be a sensitive issue, raising the eyebrows of employees who feel equally committed to the success of the business. In challenging economic times, and in an era of cost-cutting and employee reductions, perks can create great bitterness among employees who see family members as abusing their positions within the business. Clearly, a healthy dialogue among family owners and/or managers can help the family think through the impact of these perks and determine if their current policy needs a revamp. Examples of normal perks include cars for family employees, club mem-


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

berships, and use of company credit cards. Most families are quiet about perks not afforded to non-family employees. In the current economic environment, when hardworking employees see family employees using corporate dollars for what appear to be personal expenses, they often feel a sense of injustice. A thoughtful client recently stated that when thinking about perks, the primary question should be, “How will this impact the business?” So often, families are focused internally on the subject of perks, exploring whether perks are distributed fairly throughout the family. In light of the challenges involved with motivating

an employee workforce during a time of cutbacks, families would do well to consider not only the broader impact that their perks have on the organization, but also the trust level between employees and the owning family. While there are many instances in which certain perks are legal, families are cautioned from letting feelings of entitlement blur their sensitivity to the detrimental effects on employees’ morale and their trust in family management if those practices are seen as abusive and unfair.

Examining the Perks Policy Here are signals to the family that the perks policy may need attention:

• There is tension between family members over the business perks given to family employees who work in the business. Frequently, those who do not work in the business will be sensitive to a lack of fairness, particularly when a family member in the business receives a perk that is not given to other employees. This implies that the perk is based only on the person’s family status. If it is determined that family status is the primary motivator, then it is a clear message to those family members not in the business that they are not of the same status, and this causes tension for the family. When this issue surfaces, it is a good time to review the purposes and motivations behind the perks. • Non-family employees are verbalizing frustration about certain family perks that may be taken. In our experience, this discontent is frequently voiced about a specific person who may not be performing well within the business. Rather than disregard the concern as being an inappropriate statement on the part of the employee, care should be taken to make sure there is a sound basis for the perk being taken.

• A family perk is justified because of the low compensation paid to family members working in the business. Nothing stirs up more distress than family employees being paid at a discount rate because they are family. Our experience shows that paying market rates is generally seen as the most fair and appropriate compensation practice, and doing so often makes it unnecessary for certain perks to be used as a balancing mechanism. • You have not checked to make sure that the perk is legally solid, according to your CPA. Many families take perks as an ownership or management benefit without an awareness of the legal implications of the practice. Ask your CPA if there are any concerns about the perks that family members receive. If the answer is yes, the matter should be addressed immediately.

Keeping a Healthy Dialogue Perks are tricky issues, and the family business unit needs to consider many scenarios. Is it appropriate to have company employees, vendors or suppliers do work on a shareholder’s personal home? What are the expectations for payment for those services?

Is there a discount? Is it free? Credit cards and gas cards for family employees are common perks. Does the person’s position require that he or she hold a credit card or a gas card in order to perform their job, and does the business have a clear policy on whether personal expenses need to be reimbursed? It is important to give care and attention to these and other situations that might exist within your perks policy. Perks are a source of conflict and tension, not only among family groups but also between different stakeholders in the business. A healthy dialogue among owners about appropriate perks and the policies that govern them can help reduce and avoid conflict in the family enterprise. It might also motivate your employees to a greater sense of commitment knowing that you care about the health of the business as much as they do. – Christopher Eckrich is a principal of the Family Business Consulting Group, Marietta, Ga.; (800) 551-0633. He can be reached at Reprinted with permission from The Family Business Advisor, a copyrighted publication of Family Enterprise Publishers. No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of Family Enterprise Publishers.

March 2010  Building Products Digest 


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 Building Products Digest  March 2010

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March 2010  Building Products Digest 


Stronger Screws Easy Cedar Shingles White cedar shingles from SBC feature an embossed nail line for easy installation. Each factory-stained shingle is graded on both sides and has a minimum width of 3-1/6”.

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Protect Your Hands Wells Lamont has introduced three new work gloves. The Ultimate work glove is made of washable leather and has OverWrap fingertip construction to reduce seam feel and wear. The Blistor Armor glove is made of synthetic leather, with a Liquicell liquid-filled membrane on the top of the palm and thumb to reduce friction, hot spots, and hand fatigue. The Sweat Ban glove with DRI20 is made from a special fabric that wicks sweat and moisture away from the hands.

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 Building Products Digest  March 2010

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Drier Deck Joists DryJoistEZ deck drainage system from Wahoo Decks provides a sustainable alternative to traditional wood deck joists, while adding a waterproof ceiling for areas under the deck. The two-component, marine-grade aluminum planks can span 6’ post to post on a single span and 8’ post to post on a multi-span—eliminating the need for 12” or 16” on center wood joists.

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Sealed Forever Seal-Once from New Image Coatings waterproofs wood and composite decking without solvents, petroleum distillates, or other harmful chemicals. UV-stable, the coating protects against mold, mildew, cracking, splitting and warping.

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Green Lubricant A professional-grade, vegetable-based lubricant from LubriMatic offers quadruple the lubricating qualities of conventional petroleum-based products. LubriMagic reduces heat, friction, and wear.

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March 2010  Building Products Digest 



NORTHEASTERN RETAIL Lumber Association returned to Boston, Ma., Feb. 3-5, for its annual LBM Expo. [1] Mike Karpinski, Michael Babcock. [2] Bob Porter, Gearoid Hogan. [3] Tony LoPiccolo, Dennis Rossi, Henry Croteau. [4] Randy Haas, Ned Lawrence. [5] Justin Gregory, Dave Kenworthy, Joe Marchionni. [6] Heather Hand, Michael Waldner, Lauren O’Keefe. [7] April Choquette, Tom Jones. [8] Bob Cini. [9] Mark Ritz, Jerry Ritz. [10] Rob Enders, Steve Hudson. [11] Bob Flute, Leon


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

Desrocher. [12] John Maiuri, John LaFave. [13] Stuart Seavey, Debbie Busick, Chris John son. [14] Kevin O’Connor, Pat Hefferman, Jerry McNamara. [15] Nick Georgelis, Jim Robbins. [16] Terry Davies. [17] Bill Blanchette, Mike Mussen, Vinnie Colonna. [18] Matt Gilchrist, Brett Kelley, Matt Gieseking, Jonathan LaPointe. [19] Beth Howder, Eric Churchill. [20] Kevin Slozak, Dan Kukol, Russ Howe. [21] Alden Robbins, Tonia Tibbetts. [22] Louise Hudon, Francois D’Amours, Julie Boucher. (More photos on next page.)


BOSTON’S Seaport World Trade Center was the site of the recent NRLA Expo (continued from previous page). [1] Bill Christou, Vincent Micale, Mark Hildebrand. [2] Robert Sanford, Clint Darnell. [3] John Bumby, Bruce Faut. [4] Jeff Easterling, Mason Shives. [5] Bill Cooke, Ryan Gagne, Bob Burnham, Scott Clifford. [6] Tom Alves, Scott Martel. [7] Gene Cormier, Rob Mitchell. [8] George Hewitt, Rick Mullen, Bob Maurer. [9] Prisco DiPrizio, David Hicks, Peter Horne. [10] Don Collins,

Paul Tarca. [11] Doug Helmacy, Ed O’Neill, Joe Peluso, Josh Barney. [12] Larry Bodge, Paul “Lou” Murphy. [13] John Smith, Craig Myers. [14] Tom Payne, Bill O’Berry, Tom Coxe. [15] John Prizio, Kris Hanson, Rich Severance. [16] David Dally, Rick Bickford. [17] Walter Hodor, Nell Flowers, Scott Dewsbury. [18] Sylvio Clermont, Francois Germain. [19] Joshua Kaye, Michael Mellor. [20] Gil Adams, Scott Lewis.

March 2010  Building Products Digest 



SOUTHERN BUILDING Material Association’s annual building products show was Feb. 3-4 in High Point, N.C. [1] David Beck, Freddy Siewers, Richie Siewers, Jim Enter. [2] Houston Crumpler, Mac & Patty Lawton. [3] Bruce Palmer, Ben Reeves. [4] Steve Garza, Gordon Blanchard, Andrew Ward. [5] Robin Morales, Cheyney Nicholson, Edward Nicholson. [6] Craig Young, Jim Schmidt. [7] Dave Cappellari, Ryan Cappellari, Bruce Shelton, Kate Weissmann. [8] Joe Sellers, John Morgan, Steve Dawson, Jeff Jones. [9] Jon Stier, Greg Gregory, Darrin


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

Mahan. [10] Rob Taylor, Rudy Viverette, Jim King. [11] Mary Beth Foltz, Jim Brueggemann, Jan Russell. [12] Tony Winstead, Mark Holloman, Pete Petrochuk, Eric Cashen, Brock Farmer, Mark Ryhanyeh. [13] Norwood Morrison, Norma Jean & Bruce Edwards, David Brandenburg. [14] Don Emery, Eddie Cox. [15] Chris Moon, Dennis Sullivan. [16] Tim Brown, Marty Twiford. [17] Stephanie Hogg, Kathy Wooley. [18] Yvonna Carter, Joe Allen. (More photos on next two pages)


SBMA EVENT brought members to High Point, N.C. (continued from previous page). [1] Stan Pittman, Don Hunter, Bill Davies. [2] John Ramsey, Everette & Ginny Greene. [3] June Hrubik, Bryan Strickland, James Hobbs. [4] Alan Thompson, Tony Combs, Buford Arning. [5] Tim Crawford, Neal Grubbs, Jim Kilpatrick. [6] Ray Grice, Larry Williams. [7] Drew Sehasny, Bryan Kirit, Rick Renshaw, Bob Allen. [8] Tommy Mayhew, Wayne Neass. [9] David Moore, David Calloway. [10] Don

English, Jim Epperson. [11] Harold Rush, Geoff Crandlemire, Bob Dando, Joel Davis. [12] Dan Wagoner, Joel Falkner. [13] Michael Gunderson, Scott Chiccarello, Don Ruddy, Missy Schram, Ron Miller, Marty Pritchett. [14] Mike Gower, Michael Sullivan. [15] Shayne Johnson, Joel Adamson, Mark Hobart, Tony Ledford, Gary McDougal. [16] Ken Panitt, Leland O’Brien. [17] Reed Hill, Wayne Brackett. (More photos on next page) March 2010  Building Products Digest 



 Building Products Digest  March 2010

Doehner, Brad Treece. [10] Mary & Lou Hutchings, Craig Doehner. [11] Ken Sexton, Scott Delapp, Billy Haire. [12] Kurt Bergland, Gary Franklin. [13] Bo Sink, Curtis Smith, Gary Bunn, Robin Parker, Dwight Strickland. [14] Ron Talley, Phil McCaul, Alex Hicks. [15] Danny Langston, Bruce Ayres. [16] Ashley Huneycutt, Frank Hyatt. [17] Zac Thick, Michael Bowers. [18] Larry Adams, Craig Webb.

Download images from this convention, plus dozens of other industry events at

Photos by BPD

SBMA buying show (continued from previous pages). [1] Patricia Jones, Rick Kinney. [2] Ronnie Simpson, Sean Samples, David Nelson, Mark Fisher. [3] Scott Griffin, Jeff Womack. [4] Phil Osborne, Ted Smith, Mike Trantham, Ron White, Stan Simmons, Dennis Ramey. [5] Ross Lampe, Sam Murray. [6] Charlie Trible, Joanne Wheeler. [7] Steve Smith, John Morrison, Philip Dooly, Hugh Morrison. [8] Sid Greene, Josh Heubaum. [9] Craig

ASSOCIATION Update Illinois Lumber & Material Dealers Association presented anniversary awards at last month’s annual convention—50 years for EB Buildings, Princeville, and Schaaf Window Co., Tinley Park; 70 years, Effingham Builders Supply, Effingham; 75 years, Crafty Beaver Home Centers, Skokie; 90 years, Sublette Farmers Elevator, Sublette; 100 years, Brownstown Lumber, Brownstown; 105 years, Spahn & Rose Lumber, Stockton, Pearl City and Warren, and 140 years, Doug White Lumber, Marissa. The convention was overseen by ILMDA’s new officers, including president Terry Holm, Holm Financial, Chicago; v.p. Arthur Mize, Associated Lumber Industries, Carbondale; secretary Tom Hodgson, Alexander Lumber, Aurora, and treasurer Kurt Kirchner, Kirchner Building Centers, Kansas, Il. May 6 is Legislative Day at the Capitol in Springfield. The Foundation golf outing is May 19 at Edgewood Golf Course, Auburn. Lumbermen’s Association of Texas & Louisiana will “Nurture the Roots” at its 124th annual convention April 8-10 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Tx. Speakers include consultant Chris Rader, NLBMDA chairman Dan Fesler, building science advisor Kathy Howard, and financial analyst Danielle DiMartino. Florida Building Material Association will celebrate its 90th anniversary during its annual convention and trade show in late September. Poker and golf tournaments are scheduled April 1-2 at Golden Hills Golf & Turf Club, Ocala, and May 1314 at Deer Creek Golf & Country Club, Deerfield Beach. April 22 is a regional networking meeting at Jeld-Wen, Tampa. National Hardwood Lumber Association will offer three-day lumber grading courses March 29-April 1 in Sidney, Mi., and May 3-5 in Warren, Pa. A four-day grading course is April 12-15 in Connellsville, Pa. A two-part leadership, management, and development program offered every three years will be April 11-14 in Memphis, Tn., and May 1013 in Washington, D.C.

Mid South Building Material Dealers Association installed new president David Huntington, Huntington Lumber, Hazlehurst, Ms., at its recent annual convention. New 1st v.p. is Jim Smith, Home Hardware Centers, Natchez, Ms.; 2nd v.p. Tommy Chauvin, Chauvin Lumber, Chauvin, La.; treasurer Douglas Boykin, Rex Lumber, Doswell, Va., and ladies auxillary president Susan Hernbloom. Lifetime memberships were awarded to Lamar Buffington and Sonny Magee.

SOUTHERN Building Material Association recognized Smith-Phillips’ Mickey Boles (left photo) as Dealer of the Year and ECMD’s Matt Black and Don Wilson as Supplier of the Year during its recent show. (More SBMA photos on preceding three pages).

N.C., Dealer of the Year; Boone Lumber/Hardin Creek Timber, Boone, N.C., most original booth display; Snavely Forest Products, Liberty, N.C., most professional display; Clark Hall Doors, Charlotte, N.C., most dramatic presentation; Epperson Specialty Woods, Statesville, N.C., best new product; Sun Windows, Owensboro, Ky., best green product presentation, and Turnkey Programming, Arden, N.C., best single booth display.

Kentucky Building Material Association holds its 105th annual convention April 21-23 at Hilton Lexington Downtown, Lexington, Ky. University of Kentucky head coaches Joseph “Joker” Phillips Jr. and John Calipari will speak. Mississippi Lumber Manufacturers Association recently installed Pat Thomasson, Thomasson Lumber, Philadelphia, Ms., as its new president. Her father, Hugh Thomasson, served as MLMA president in 1969.

Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association won a court victory on behalf of IPPC ISPM 15-certified wood packaging facilities. The association’s stamp certifications were jeopardized by a non-authorized New York facility that knowingly violated federal rules by creating and implementing counterfeit NELMA stamps and other false designations.

Southern Building Material Dealers Association handed out awards to exhibitors at its annual building show in High Point, N.C. ECMD, Wilkesboro, N.C., won as Supplier of the Year; Smith-Phillips Building Supply, Winston-Salem,

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March 2010  Building Products Digest 


CLASSIFIED Marketplace

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


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Are you interested in success and growth? Boise Cascade’s Building Materials Distribution (BMD) may be the place for you. While our company, like everyone in our industry, has been affected by the downturn in the housing market, we’ve stuck with our basic strategy; remained committed to our customers, suppliers, and employees, and continued to invest in our growth and success. Our future is solid and bright. Our strategy is to grow in existing markets and expand to new markets. In order to accomplish these objectives, we are looking to strengthen our team. We will do this in two ways: First, we will continue to provide resources and opportunities so existing employees can grow and be successful; and second, we are interested in attracting and hiring new people to help us grow in all aspects of our operations in sales, management, operations, purchasing, etc. If you are interested in joining our team, visit our website at to learn more about our company and current job openings. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us by faxing or emailing your interest to 208331-5886 or We’d like to hear from you! LUMBER TRADER We are a wholesale lumber company looking for an experienced trader. Any species. No restrictions on mills or customers. No relocation. 60% split for trader. Call John at Lakeside Lumber at (623) 566-7100 or email

Let’s Get Our Industry Back to Work! Free Help Wanted Ads in the April 2010 Issue of BPD Our goal is to connect as many industry job hunters with industry jobs as possible. If your company has an open position, we will give you up to a $50 credit for a Help Wanted ad in next month’s April issue, which is one of our most-read issues of the year. Since the regular rate is $1.20 per word, ads up to 40 words are absolutely free. Deadline: We must receive your text no later than March 20. Fax 949-852-0231 or email There are a lot of good people looking for a new opportunity. Together, let’s try to get them back to work as soon as possible.


Building Products Digest Phone (949) 852-1990 Fax 949-852-0231


 Building Products Digest  March 2010


National Paint & Coatings Association – April 13-15, annual meeting & technical conference, Charlotte, N.C.; (202) 462-6272.

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

Northeast Window & Door Association – April 14, spring education meeting, Washington, D.C.; (609) 799-4900;

Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association – March 10, annual meeting, Renaissance Hotel, Tampa, Fl.; (412) 323-9320;

Northeastern Young Lumber Execs – April 14, board meeting; April 15, spring conference, Mashantucket, Ct.; (518) 286-1010;

Northwestern Lumber Association – March 10-11, Nebraska lumber dealers convention, Embassy Suites, La Vista, Nb.; (763) 544-6822;

National Kitchen & Bath Assn. – April 16-18, annual show, McCormick Place, Chicago, Il.; (800) 843-6522;

Hardwood Manufacturers Association – March 10-12, national conference & expo, Renaissance Hotel, Tampa, Fl.; (412) 8290770; ENAP Inc. – March 11-12, annual meeting & show, Marriott Downtown, Louisville, Ky.; (845) 564-4900; National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association – March 15-17, legislative conference & green building forum, Marriott, Washington, D.C.; (800) 634-8645; Window & Door Manufacturers Assn. – March 15-18, legislative conference, Washington, D.C.; (800) 223-2301; Capitol Industrial Woodworking Expo – March 18-19, Fredricksburg, Va.; (828) 459-9894; Blish-Mize Co. – March 19-20, market, Overland Park Convention Center, Overland Park, Ks.; (800) 995-0525; True Value Co. – March 19-21, spring market, McCormick Place, Chicago, Il.; (773) 695-5000; National Wood Flooring Association – March 22-25, conference & wood flooring expo, Gaylord National, Washington, D.C.; (800) 422-4556. American Architectural Manufacturers Association – March 2324, Southeast region spring meeting, Hyatt Regency Riverwalk, San Antonio, Tx.; (847) 303-5664.

American Hardware Manufacturers Association – April 18-21, hardlines technology forum, Renaissance Hotel, Schaumburg, Il.; (847) 605-1025; Transload Distribution Assn. – April 19-20, conference, DoubleTree, San Antonio, Tx.; (503) 656-4282; Structural Insulated Panel Assn. –April 19-22, annual conference, Hilton Indian Lakes, Chicago, Il.; (253) 858-7472; Forest Products Society – April 20-22, Smallwood conference, Hot Springs, Ar.; (608) 231-1361; Kentucky Building Materials Association – April 21-23, convention & expo, Lexington Hilton Downtown, Lexington, Ky.; (800) 844-1774; Woodworking Machinery Industry Assn. – April 21-24, conference, Monterey, Ca.; (410) 931-8100; Material Handling Industry of America – April 26-29, annual expo, I-X Center, Cleveland, Oh.; (704) 676-1190; Twin Cities Hoo-Hoo Club – April 27, dinner & meeting, Grumpy’s, Roseville, Mn.; (612) 490-8583. International Wood Products Association – April 28-30, annual convention, Eden Roc Hotel, Miami Beach, Fl.; (703) 820-6696;

Moulding & Millwork Producers Assn. – March 23-27, annual meeting, Monterey, Ca.; (800) 550-7889; Kentucky Forest Industries Assn. – March 24-26, annual meeting, Bowling Green, Ky.; (800) 203-9217; North American Wholesale Lumber Association – March 24-26, spring conference, Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans, La.; (800) 527-8258; JLC Live Show – March 24-27, Rhode Island Conference Center, Providence, R.I.; (800) 261-7769; Ace Hardware Corp. – March 25-28, spring market, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, La.; (630) 990-7662; Amarillo Hardware – March 26-27, dealer market, Amarillo Civic Center, Amarillo, Tx.; (800) 949-4722; International Wood Composites Symposium & Technical Workshop – March 29-31, Seattle, Wa.; (509) 335-2262. National Hardwood Lumber Association – March 29-April 1, lumber grading course, Sidney, Mi.; (901) 377-1818; Florida Building Material Association – April 1-2, Texas Hold-Em & Golf Tournament, Golden Hills Golf & Turf Club, Ocala, Fl.; (352) 383-0366; Northeastern Retail Lumber Association – April 5-7, dealer roundtables, Rochester, N.Y.; (518) 286-1010; Vermont Retail Lumber Dealers Assn. – April 6, Lobby Day, Capitol Plaza, Montpelier, Vt.; (518) 286-1010; Lumbermen’s Association of Texas – April 8-10, annual convention, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Tx.; (800) 749-5862; National Hardwood Lumber Association – April 11-14, leadership program, Memphis, Tn.; April 12-15, lumber grading course, Connellsville, Pa.; (901) 377-1818;

March 2010  Building Products Digest 


IDEA File Diving into a Store-within-a-Store

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

Advantage Trim & Lumber []..........23

With swimming pools aplenty in its desert surroundings, Ace Hardware, Maricopa, Az., has always stocked cleaning and maintenance supplies. Yet the dealer is really hoping to make a splash when it opens a full service, seven-day-a-week pool supply store within its existing hardware store. “We have had a pool section for years now, but it seems each year the section just continued to grow,” says co-owner Tom Bechtel. Now, “we are going to have repair parts, water testing chemicals, toys and outdoor living items. This is a store within a store.” He hopes that the shop’s higher visibility and convenience will increase business in the main store, as well. “Our whole slogan is ‘Get In, Get Out, And Get On With Your Day,’” Bechtel elaborates. “This store just further supports that statement.” To help operate the new store, Bechtel recruited two professionals from the pool industry and has started to crosstrain other workers from the hardware store. “The people running this store are experts in their craft,” he says. Services to be offered include water testing, supply sales, and equipment repair. “Typical pool stores have relatively short hours and are not open on Sundays,” Bechtel notes. “Our pool store will be open seven days a week, the same hours as the Ace Hardware store.” Although an official grand opening is set for this month, the pool store hosted a “soft opening” during February, utilizing its own check-out counter.

Anthony Forest Products [] ...................8 Biewer Lumber [].......................................5 Capital []................................................36 Chicago Suburban Lumber Sales .................................................25 Coastal Lumber Co. [] ............................2 Crumpler Plastic Pipe [] ................................45 Fasco America []....................................26 Fiberon LLC [] .....................................21 Fletcher Wood Solutions [] ..........................31 GRK Fasteners [].....................................22 Haida Forest Products []...........................27 Hankins Inc. [] ............................................17 HIDfast []...........................................................19 Hood Distribution []..........................19 Mary’s River Lumber [] ..................30 McQuesten Group ..........................................................................19 Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Co. [] ....................................................................24

Defining Clear Financial Policies (Continued from page 31)

due at the beginning of the service, one-third halfway through the project, and the balance at delivery. If the work is done in two procedures, then either the entire amount is due to begin, or split into two payments. For well-established clients with a great track record, consider half down and the balance in 90 days. During financial arrangements, present the client with a written estimate, have the customer sign one copy, and keep one copy in the business record. These are some of the guidelines you will need to define with your team. There is much more to consider: verbal skills, past due accounts receivables, and how to connect with the client, to express warmth, empathy and concern. Firm, consistent financial policies are just one layer of the customer service that your clients deserve and expect. Your challenge is to have an open, honest, productive team meeting and look at your financial policies. How healthy is your business? – Dr. Rhonda Savage is an internationally acclaimed speaker and c.e.o. Contact her at


 Building Products Digest  March 2010

Redwood Empire [] .......................CoverIV Richard Landry Lumber Sales Inc. ...............................................43 RoyOMartin [] .......................................33, 35 Simpson Strong-Tie []...............................3, 32 Tank Fab []........................................................37 U.S. Lumber Group [] ...........................Cover I Versatex [].............................................Cover III Viance [] .....................................................7 Western Red Cedar Lumber Association [] ........29 Wilson Lumber Co. []................................34


Building Products Digest

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Building Products Digest - March 2010  

March 2010 issue of BPD, leading trade magazine for the lumber & building materials industry.

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