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Building Products Digest



Special Features

May 2013

Building Products Digest

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 Volume 32  Number 3





Make your dream project a reality! Redwood from The California Redwood Company is now distributed by:

Feldman Wood Products Garden City Park, NY



Building Products Digest

May 2013

TOTALLY Random By Alan Oakes


Building Products Digest

Flip-flops aren’t just for politicians


T WAS JUST announced that the c.e.o. of J.C. Penney is out. Nothing unusual perhaps, except that it highlights how wrong decisions can cause the downfall of the best managers. It also shows that if you must flip-flop, do it and do it fast! First, some background: I haven’t been in a J.C. Penney for some time, mostly because the stores have seemed 20 years out of date compared to Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and others. In my rare visit, the merchandise mix seemed unfashionable and the stores were unappealing. They lacked any real identity. After years of mismanagement, a new hot-shot c.e.o. was brought in from Apple and, as is usual when new managers come in, radical surgery took place. The problem was what may work in an Apple Store may not work in a JCP. And in the wantit-now environment of Wall Street and instantaneous performance, even if the new plan could work, it almost certainly is not likely to be given the time to succeed. The problem is, when I heard of the new plan about 16 months ago, my first inclination was that it was never going to work. The turnaround strategy of moving to new and perhaps younger brands to attract younger shoppers, while making some sense (indeed, some results suggested it was slowly working), was too slated towards shoppers who do not go to JCP and instead alienated current shoppers, leading to massive losses and a large drop in revenue. Wholesale shifts are always risky and, in this case, wrong. But that was only part of the change. The largest shift in strategy was to get rid of sales events and move to everyday low prices. A horrible decision! If you train your customers to expect end-of-week sales each and every week and they continue to see advertising from every other competitor while you cut your ad budget substantially, then over time you get what you deserve. If you read that at Macy’s that shirt you need has been discounted from $49.95 to $24.95 (and additional discounts will bring it down to $16.95), then you are not going to check out what JCP has, even though JCP may price the shirt every day at $19.95. We are trained to go to the store advertising the big sale price. Out of sight, out of mind! We all want a “sale” and to announce them, we all need to advertise them. Experience is making mistakes and learning from them. If you manage the numbers, it soon becomes clear what is working and what is not. I do not care who it is (including myself), we have all made wrong business decisions (which is why there are so many corporate management changes). The real failure is not to admit a wrong decision and make a change. If you need to flip-flop, do it! Don’t make a mistake that everyone knows is a mistake and stick with it because of pride or to avoid looking weak. In fact, I would argue that it makes you weak to not adjust as target numbers and dates come and go and results are not happening. The worst mistake you can make is to alienate your regular customers. Yet we often don’t look two or three steps ahead to see how our decisions affect others. Fortunately, the public can be somewhat forgiving. Coca-Cola’s turnaround following its disastrous formula change about 25 years ago provides a great lesson about flip-flops for business schools today. Possibly the biggest marketing fiasco of all time (turning a beloved product into one current customers hated) was defused after long and loud mea culpas from executive management, aggressive advertising, and a PR campaign that boosted the stock price 70% in six months. So the moral is, when you are wrong, admit it and make changes fast. Lastly, as we hit the second quarter, the year has started well by all accounts, but supply has its issues and it will be interesting to see how the industry handles this challenge and the higher prices that will result.

Alan Oakes, Publisher


Building Products Digest

May 2013

A publication of Cutler Publishing

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

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INDUSTRY Trends By David Elenbaum

LBM industry pursues “truth in decking”



composite lumber—specifically decking—has undergone a terrific number of ups and downs. There have been failures from a structural standpoint, mold and mildew, grammar mishaps (such as calling the products “maintenance free”), and more. The class action arena has been lucrative for lawyers, to say the least. But why? I like to think that some of the problems were because some clown made a poor product, some were because there was no regulation on what was being produced, and some of it is from good people making a good product that was sold as a perfect product, which doesn’t exist. After 20-plus years, the product group has certainly transformed to overcome these “growing pains,” as I like to call them. That’s good news. The surviving brands have gotten better at spreading the word of the incredible quality of their products. But what about disclosing their limitations? How does one even know the limitations of a piece of plastic that is a mixture of so many chemicals, polymer compounds, organic and non-organic fillers, and other “proprietary mixtures”? Can we take the salesman’s word for it? Perhaps we can read the MSDS sheet, do some online research, or maybe look for ICC or CCRR approval. I, for one, being a reasonably educated member of the industry, do in fact look for all three. Salespeople know their products, which are likely made by a reputable company and have the appropriate code approval (or it’s pending). But what if you are a homeowner, or a contractor who just can’t focus the time and energy on learning if the one board your client picked out is a piece of gold or the opposite? You sure can’t believe what you read on the Internet, despite what they say on TV. So, a couple of years ago, a few of us at the North American Deck & Railing Association (NADRA) got together and decided that some kind of “truth in decking” disclosure would be kind of neat. It could establish standardized testing protocols for the industry, so the scores from the tests could be evaluated on a level playing field, and then the results could be published along with

code required performance data on a label of sorts so Mr. and Mrs. Jones could make an informed decision about their decking purchase. The NADRA Consumer Product Awareness Charter (CPAC) was formed to create the consumer guide for the deck and rail industry. Goal one is to gather information about what all of the leading manufacturers are using to test products and try to establish standard equipment and calibration. Goal two is to identify five areas of consumer concern and develop tests for those areas, such as the solar heat gain co-efficient on the board surface. Finally, this data would be published, along with the ICC or equivalent code approval on a label that should accompany an information packet, so consumers can quickly determine how products compare to each other. Similar programs include the NFRC window label or the familiar energy guide found on refrigerators and other appliances. This program will benefit everyone in the supply chain, from the manufacturer down. The best part is the comparative value it brings to the in-home sale process. NADRA contractors can be educated on the system and how to share the program with their prospects, giving them advantage over contractors who do not. The same applies for dealers and distributors alike. The future of the decking business is going to be based on statistics of performance and quality of products. Streamlining the delivery of stats will help propel deck and rail upward in the LBM industry. With the CPAC program in the development stage of establishing standards, now is the time for manufacturers, dealers and contractors alike to get involved and steer the industry in the right direction. For more information, contact – For over 12 years, David Elenbaum has worked in the LBM industry in the retail, wholesale and contractor fields. He owns Specialty LBM Holdings of S.C., LLC, a company engaged in contracting, retail and liquidation of building materials. Reach him at

May 2013

Building Products Digest


FEATURE Story By Edie Kello Wilson, Fiberon

Composite decking isn’t only for decks O

trends in outdoor remodeling is the creative use of traditional composite decking. More and more people, professionals and consumers alike, are finding surprising, entirely new applications for composite decking materials. With a little creative flair, composite decking provides an alternative to wood with the added benefits of more durability and lower maintenance requirements. Whether it is a contractor or a d-iyer, people are discovering that composite decking isn’t limited to decks any longer—it’s a building material. It’s a highly adaptable building material that’s being used almost anywhere you would traditionally find wood, with the exception of structural uses for which composite materials are not designed. A few of the items we’ve seen built with composite decking materials include beautiful benches, near-impervious planters, picture-perfect pergolas, fabulous fencing and outstanding outdoor kitchen cabinets. With today’s composites emulating exotic hardwoods, expanding the use of composite materials beyond the deck surface can create a beautiful aesthetic in outdoor living areas that

All photos courtesy Fiberon



keeps its good looks. Wood-like, contemporary appearances and a variety of colors in modern composite decking products deliver artistic flexibility in outdoor living areas, relaxation spaces, hardscapes and landscapes. There are even instances in Europe where it’s used as siding on houses, boardwalks by the sea, privacy fencing and office cubicles! Custom deck builders are in an ideal position to explore new ways to utilize composite materials. This is especially true as, according to a recent Freedonia Group study, U.S. demand for decking is expected to rise 2.4% annually through 2016 to 3.3 billion lineal ft., worth $5.7 billion. The versatility of composite decking makes it the perfect medium to satisfy the creative imaginings of artisan deck builders and their customers. And, custom decks buyers are generally willing to pay a premium price for a deck designed with their style and needs in mind. Professional deck builders can use composite decking to differentiate themselves by creating beautiful as well as practical outdoor living spaces that have all the benefits of composite decking: durability, lower-maintenance, and stain, mold and termite resistance. When it comes to intricate structures such as pergolas, benches or fencing, where periodic staining is required, composite decking is a welcome relief to time-consuming, backbreaking labor. D-i-yers can show off their building expertise by creating works of art that far exceed boxy decks. The simple addition of a few benches, some latticework for privacy, or sturdy yet elegant planters can elevate a deck to nearly professional quality. Other popular projects include replacing stair treads, building a sandbox, or creating a raised herbal bed. The value, ease of installation, and low-maintenance requirements for composite decking make it ideal for projects such as these. Whether your customer is a professional deck builder or an ambitious di-yer, opening their eyes to the possibilities of designing with composite decking will inspire them to create unique outdoor living spaces that will be enjoyed for years to come.



– Edie Kello Wilson is director of marketing communications for compositedecking manufacturer Fiberon, New London, N.C. She can be reached at (704) 463-2971 or


Building Products Digest


MARGIN Builders By Jacqueline Palazzolo, Weyehaeuser Distribution

Best practices for storing and handling decking


ECKING PRODUCTS are made to withstand the rigors of the outdoors. But no matter the material, it’s still important to handle decking planks with care—from the lumberyard to the delivery truck to the jobsite. Follow these storage and handling strategies to ensure decking planks look their best when it comes time to

install: • Follow guidelines. As with any product, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s specific recommendations for proper storage and handling of your decking materials. Especially when it comes to composites and other non-wood products, requirements may vary from brand to brand.

• Keep it covered. All decking will fade over time with exposure to the sun. Keep planks covered in the yard and on the jobsite to avoid premature fading or, worse, uneven weathering across multiple planks. For example, when TAMKO ships its planks, the pieces are stacked face down, except for the bottom piece, says Bill Koll, TAMKO’s territory manager in Portland, Or. This way, if the stack loses its protective bonnet, the underside is the side exposed. • Keep it clean. Decking that’s dry and debris-free will stay looking newer, longer. When storing, keep planks covered and off the ground so that they stay clean and free of moisture. • Don’t abuse it. Exterior product or no, decking is still a finished product and should be treated as such, Koll notes. In other words, don’t drag the top side along the driveway or run the forklift into it. Like any other building material, mishandling can lead to chips, gouges or damage if impacted hard enough. • Support long planks. To avoid flexing, particularly when the weather is warm, decking stored on racks needs to be supported. Check with the manufacturer for recommendations.

KEEP DECKING covered during storage, and follow manufacturer recommendations for supports to ensure planks don’t flex.


Building Products Digest

May 2013

• Practice good forklift techniques. Avoid carrying materials against the very back of the lift; a few

inches off of the back should help prevent damage. Use caution when maneuvering around stacks to avoid striking the material. • Monitor temperature. Like most building materials, composite decking will expand and contract with temperature fluctuations. If your company does installed sales, make sure your contractors are keeping an eye on temperature. They should measure the temperature where the planks are being stored and then consult installation instructions for the proper gap to ensure there is room for movement. • Handle with help. Long boards are heavy and may flex more in warmer temperatures, so carrying planks should be a two-person job. When planning your inventory, be sure to add on complementary products such as coordinating accessories, matching railings, matching face fasteners, and the manufacturer’s approved hidden fastening system. This will ensure products are compatible and coordinated and that they can be installed per manufacturer recommendations. Overall, common sense prevails— decking doesn’t require you to tiptoe, but just be conscious not to abuse it. And, as with any product, always follow manufacturer instructions and guidelines from storage to handling to installation to ensure optimal performance and intact warranties. – Jacqueline Palazzolo is dealer sales representative for Weyerhaeuser, based in Eugene, Or. For more decking how-to articles, download Weyerhaeuser’s Decking Sales Kit at decktools.

New Deck Safety Video

After seven years of promoting May as Deck Safety Month, the North American Deck & Railing Association has produced a video that it hopes will reach more of those involved with deck building and maintenance. The video can be found on NADRA’s website at, on the association’s YouTube channel, and various social media networks. It was produced using images and text about the association’s 10point checklist and its Check Your Deck evaluation forms.

May 2013

Building Products Digest


PRODUCT Spotlight Composite Decking

Composite decking benefits from Euro breakthroughs


in materials and manufacturing featured at the 2013 European Coatings Show & Congress are finding their way to the latest composite decking materials, according to Dr. Shae Brown, senior chemist at NyloBoard, Covington, Ga., who recently attended the show in Nuremburg, Germany. Many European product and manufacturing advancements have been borne out of a need to innovate in the midst of stringent environmental regulations, coupled with a desire to achieve greater sustainability. Brown said this setting offers excellent opportunities for U.S. companies to proactively address product development in the context of increasing concerns over similar issues domestically. Brown recounts top trends and insights from the show, LOBAL ADVANCEMENTS

along with their potential impact for NyloDeck:

1. Shared knowledge is helping manufacturers address production holistically to identify individual opportunities for greater sustainability. “By learning from other companies’ and industries’ best practices, we’re looking at how a single step in our production line can either be removed or combined, without sacrificing any quality. That one change can add up to significant energy efficiency, which contributes to improved sustainability.” 2. Coatings, which are considered more environmentally friendly, are becoming increasingly prevalent for building materials, without compromising durability. “We currently use an advanced flexible, yet incredibly durable coating, which provides superior UV protection that enables us to offer a 25-year fade and stain warranty on top of our 25-year limited residential warranty. However, we continue to work with our coating partners to identify the latest proven technologies that are both environmentally friendly and highly effective against UV exposure.” 3. IR (infrared reflective) coatings have the potential to enhance the properties of decking materials. “IR reflective coatings can create cooler surface temperatures by efficiently reflecting near-infrared rays of sunlight. This is an exciting advancement not only in the coatings industry, but in the decking industry as well, because this may lead to decks that stay cooler to the touch, even in the heat of the summer.”

U.S.-PRODUCED composite decking products, such as NyloDeck, are becoming more durable, weather resistant, better performing, and more sustainable, thanks to new technology from Europe. Photo by NyloBoard


Building Products Digest

May 2013

4. Advancements in weather testing equipment are delivering even higher levels of confidence in product performance. “By using the most sophisticated weathering testing and equipment, both internally and with third-party labs, we are able to accelerate weathering conditions faster and with more quality control than ever before.”

COMPETITIVE Intelligence By Carla Waldemar

Preserve the past, build the future “A

LUMBERYARD IS A STAPLE of a community and cannot disappear.” That’s Lori Stangler talking. So when the outdated, decaying, 128-year-old yard in their hometown of Lonsdale, Mn. (pop. 5,000), finally called it quits—well, what’s a person gonna do? You buy it, right? Maybe not, if you’ve got all your faculties and have yet to win the lottery. Yet, that’s what Lori and her husband, Randy, aimed to do. Never mind they had not one iota of retail expertise between them. After month following month putting together a business plan and scouring for

TAKING OVER the century-old H.E. Westerman Lumber Co. (top), Generation Home & Building Center needed to appeal to the next generation of home improvement shoppers.


Building Products Digest

May 2013

money, they took over the yard that had stood vacant for close to two years. After all, declares Lori, “Lonsdale is the best place in the world to live, so we wanted to add to what this wonderful small town already has—add a lumberyard to the mix: One more place to stop,” she preaches. Okay, they’re dreamers, but they’re not dumb. For decades the Stanglers have operated R&L Woodworking Co., three miles away, fabricating cabinets and commercial showcases for retail operations such as luggage, shoe and jewelry stores, and, since the 1990s, concentrating almost exclusively on supplying Olive Garden restaurants nationwide. “We’re their go-to vendors,” Lori explains. “Except for their tables and chairs, if it’s wood, we supply it,” aided by a staff of 31. R&L is doing well—and by doing well, it’s helped supply the cash flow for doing good (and soon enough, doing well) at the new building center, too. “When that lumberyard went out of business, we could see the town feel the pinch. It took time, but we got our ducks in a row” and signed the papers. The new building center’s name, Generation Home & Building Center, doubles as a mission statement. Its tagline, says Randy, is “‘to preserve the past and build the future.’ To transcend time.” But the first hurdle was to transcend the outdated building. “It’s totally different now from what it used to be,” the couple explains. “We’ve increased the size of the store and doubled the retail.” And while the former operation primarily served contractors, the new outfit favors d-i-yers, because, the owners figure, “the town is growing; more people are looking to live here” in the bedroom community half an hour south of the Twin Cities and neighboring Northfield, home of two elite college campuses, Carleton and St. Olaf. “When people would walk into the old place, they’d feel like strangers. We wanted it to be customerfriendly.” And ultra-friendly to what their research indicated was now a building center’s best customer: women. “They’re doing more and more of the purchasing, so we made it light and bright. The whole layout is very accommodating. We added a home décor section and hired an interior designer, who’s doing really, really well for us. She offers a lot of

EVEN WITH a spiffy remodel, lumber remained the yard’s main focus, receiving covered storage and an infusion of high-grade inventory.

expertise in everything from paint colors to kitchen layout,” or what Randy ticks off, with a smile on his face, as “technical things only another woman can do.” She’s but one of the store’s rookie staff of 14, including four part-timers, only one of whom was involved in the previous operation. “We hired for attitude rather than experience,” attests Lori—“something you can’t teach.” And vendors step in to amp up the product knowledge. Altogether, the Stanglers agree, “We’ve established a good base, with good service, good product knowledge, and quality merchandise.” Contractors, having formed alternative relationships while the store stood vacant, are starting to trickle back. Generation last year supplied a couple of new custom homes and remodeling projects, such as roof replacements. To lure these pros (and the weekend warriors stand to profit, too), the store now boasts a new rental center, saving folks a 20-mile hike on the highway. “In town, there was nothing but a rug shampooer. We’ve added construction equipment, like an air compressor and Bobcat.” Quite an investment, then? Allows Randy, with a long intake of breath, “Ohhhhhhh… yes!” Above all, however, “lumber is my main focus,” he maintains. “Previously it stood outside, under the snow. Now, it’s under a roof. No more warped boards. I also opt for the highest-quality lumber, thinking, ‘If you’re investing in a house, it’s worth just a little bit more.” That’s Lori’s view, too: “Sell the dream, not the product,” she emphasizes. “Inspire customers to make their home a place to be proud of. Introduce them to the possibilities, so they won’t just settle for the cheapest.” And the route to their purse strings? Voila, the Internet. Research also schooled them that the Web is where women, in particular, do their major shopping, so the Stanglers lassoed their tech-wizard daughter into designing and maintaining their website, which is educational and informative, but not in the ho-hum way that usually follows those boring adjectives. “You’ve got to make it entertaining,” Lori knows—“like those [legendary] Peterman

Company ads.” Thus, the zippy site offers everything from tips on tree pruning and info on lumber stamps (“What do they mean?”) to a motivational call to “Caulk the tub! Just do it!” with step-by-step photos, on to an “organizing spree,” providing tips to gain the “minimalist mentality.” Take a look yourself at Facebook and Twitter, too. All of those technologies also promote the rental center, prodding “You can do it!” rather than have it done. (Of course, for those jobs just too daunting for a homeowner, Generation hands out the business cards of its trusted contractor customers rather than install, in order to build loyalties and refrain from becoming competition.) The website boosts another innovative customer lure: the children’s Carpentry Club. The win-win promotion works like this: Generation sponsors a birdfeeder-making contest, requiring purchase of a kit (however, all completed entries receive a refund in the guise of a $10 gift certificate). The motive, Randy spells out, is to get kids involved and interested in the trades, growing future customers, while at the same moment, “letting parents know we’re here.” Plus, as their research indicates, offer that $10 gift certificate and when they’re back in the store with it, they’ll spend twice as much. To promote the contest, Generation has distributed flyers to area schools and posted info via Twitter and Facebook (of course). Staff—those newbies—get lots of vendor training, including trips to Marvin’s Northern Minnesota manufacturing plant so they can walk the talk. But they’re also schooled in add-on and suggestive-sell techniques to augment the bottom line and alert customers to the one-stopshopping savings of time and stress that Generation offers (especially to those who exclaim, “We didn’t even know you were here!”) Still, it’s not a walk in the park. As first-timers, the learning curve has had its steep moments. “Being in retail is totally different,” Randy says upfront, “especially bookkeeping. And I’ve adjusted my product mix, location and displays based on what I hear customers telling me, especially in the rental center.” Competition is a way of life, primarily from boxes stationed along the Interstate commute. There’s also a hardware store in town, but Randy makes it a point of honor not to infringe on its turf. “I don’t want to hurt anybody, or duplicate, so we won’t carry any lawnmowers or small appliances. I send customers his way. I don’t want to drive anyone out of business,” says his neighbor. “Besides, it’s building critical mass [in shoppers’ eyes]. The Stanglers look to break even in two years. In the meantime, cash flow from the couple’s other business helps smooth the bumps. (“We’re our own best customers,” they laugh.) They’re in it for the long haul and they love the journey, actively working to burnish their credo. If Lori’s right and “Lonsdale is the best place in the world to live,” it’s in part because of Generation and its commitment to small-town life and values. Carla Waldemar May 2013

Building Products Digest


OLSEN On Sales By James Olsen

The Sales Q’s


HAT’S IT TAKE to be a great salesperson? Am I smart enough? Can I deal with people in a profitable way? Am I tough enough? Many factors/traits make up the successful salesperson. There is no classic model. The greats come in all shapes, sizes, colors, intelligence and likeability levels. Toughness is the underlying factor for success in sales. What do you do when someone kicks you in the shins—or somewhere more sensitive? How long can you hang in there? My friend Jim Dermody says, “Sales is a mental toughness game.” I agree. So many intelligent, charismatic salespeople fail. Just as common is the hard-working salesperson who can’t sell a stick. It takes an amalgam of attributes and skills to make a great salesperson. Here are three—The Sales Q’s.

tion to I.Q. is that raw intelligence is important, but only so much. How to navigate the emotional world we live in is more important to success and happiness. Goleman’s E.Q. core competencies: • Self-awareness – How do others perceive me? Am I aware of my motivations? • Self-regulation – Can I control my reactions/emotions? • Social skill – How do I relate to others? Can I move them to action? • Empathy – Do I understand how others feel? At all times? • Motivation – Can I stay motivated? Emotional Intelligence and How to Win Friends and Influence People (Carnegie) reach the same conclusion: Being smart is fine, but getting along with people is the most important factor in our success— especially in sales!

I.Q. Intelligenz-Quotient, introduced by German psychologist William Stern (1871-1933), has become the most common test in the U.S. for measuring intelligence. Ninety percent of us have an I.Q. that falls between 70 and 130. Most smart people overvalue intelligence. Smart people should listen more. Research shows that a certain amount of intelligence is necessary, but after that, the advantage of intelligence is negligible. Mistakes smart sellers make: Overvalue product or market knowledge. Especially in B2B sales, your competitors and customers know as much as you do. Just because you can talk product and market does not mean you will get the order. Intelligent sellers must use their intelligence to understand their customer as well as their product. Intelligent sales strategy is more important than product knowledge. Pontificate. Use your smarts to make the customer look smart, not to make yourself look smart. Do not instruct your customer. Ask them questions that lead them. Listen. Listen. Listen. Underestimate others’ intelligence. Perilous and costly. Intelligence directed at creative problem solving, margin creation, or solutions creates lifelong customers. But what if you’re not that smart? Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are. Align yourself with intelligent leaders/sellers you trust.

A.Q. What do we do when they say no? What do we do when we have a bad year? Month? Day? Call? Each of these are a test of our Adversity Quotient, originated by Dr. Paul Stoltz. How hard and how many times can we take a hit and keep on coming? Adversity Quotient is the defining measurement. Are there certain personality types that are better for sales? There are master sellers of all personalities. What they have in common is resiliency (A.Q.) and a will to win/succeed/be the best/prove something to themselves and the world. All master sellers reinvent themselves several times in their career. It feels like turning yourself inside out and shedding skin at the same time. It is necessary, but it hurts. The difference between the journeyman and the master seller is how they react when they: • Lose an order • Lose a contract • Lose a customer The master seller’s lifetime challenge is to work on our personal mix of I.Q./E.Q./A.Q.

1985. E.Q. (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) measures our ability to relate to others. The main argument made in rela-

James Olsen Reality Sales Training (503) 544-3572

E.Q. Daniel Goleman wrote Emotional Intelligence in


Building Products Digest

May 2013

thick skin. strong core. any environment. Hard capstock shell protects your deckboard on all 4 sides. 100% Cellular core with no voids adds strength.

Endeck—where beauty and strength come together. Isn’t that what customers are really looking for—a gorgeous deck that can endure the punishment of time? Endeck capped cellular PVC decking is slip-resistant, impervious to stains and scratches, plus it stands up to the daily torture from pets, kids, and guests who drag heavy deck furniture from one end to the other. Endeck is covered by a Limited Warranty and comes in six colors—three monochromatic and three variegated—with fascia to match or contrast. You’ll need railing, of course—and Enrail® is the perfect complement to Endeck.



Lampert’s Buys Iowa Lumberyard

DEALER Briefs Kuiken Brothers Co. , Fair Lawn, N.J., closed its Ogdensburg, N.J., facility May 1, consolidating operations at locations in Wantage and Sucasunna, N.J., and leaving the chain with eight yards. Spring Valley True Value, Spring Valley, Mn., opens May 4, replacing a slightly smaller store destroyed by fire two years ago (Todd Jones, owner). Donegan’s Do it Best Hardware, Mount Morris, Il.,

closed March 30 after 20 years.

US LBM Holdings has acquired 7-unit Shelly Enterprises, Telford, Pa.

Bill and Greg Shelly, co-owners of the 90-year-old chain, are staying on “for the forseeable future.”

Plainfield Lumber & Hardware, Grand Rapids, Mi.,

abruptly closed April 5, after 67 years.

Century-old Pinckney True Value Hardware , Pinckney, Mi., closed March 1, after a proposed sale to management fell through (see Jan., p. 23).

Ace Hardware franchisee Russ Theuring opens a new 9,000-sq. ft. store May 17 in Loveland, Oh. Theuring and wife Susan also hold Aces in Dillonvale, Oh., and northern Kentucky. Aitkin True Value, Aitkin, Mn., has closed. Menards opened new stores April 9 in St. Peters, Mo. (Ryan Gawinski, general mgr.), and O'Fallon, Il. The units are the chain’s first in the St. Louis market, where it had initially hoped to open at least six stores. Five days later, it unveiled new locations in Evergreen Park, Il., and Three Rivers, Mi. (Matt Wright, general mgr.). The chain also demolished its home center in Comstock Township, Mi., but has put plans for a replacement store on hold.


Building Products Digest

May 2013

Kooyman Lumber, Pella, Ia., has been acquired by 32unit Lampert Lumber, St. Paul, Mn. The yard will continue to operate under the Kooyman Lumber name, with existing staff. Former owner Doug Kooyman will serve as manager of the operation, as a division of Lampert’s. Lamperts’ three existing stores in Door County, Ia., are not affected.

HD Supply Files for IPO

HD Supply, Atlanta, Ga., has filed for a $1 billion initial public offering. The company, which operates more than 600 locations in the U.S. and Canada, was sold six years ago by Home Depot for $8.5 billion to a group of private-equity firms that includes Carlyle Group, Bain Capital, and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

Two Firms Sprout from Closed Yard

The owner of King Lumber Co., Logan, Oh., may have retired and closed his 77-year-old company—but the community is left with two businesses in its place. Owner B.J. King will now devote his time to his bedand-breakfast and has spun off the lumberyard’s kitchen and bath department into King Kitchen & Bath, owned by his son, Scott, and continuing at its present location. “There won’t be any interruption in our business like there is with the lumberyard,” Scott King said. “We’ll be here, but the lumberyard won’t.” King has already contacted customers and suppliers to direct them to the new lumberyard in town, Mike’s Lumber Co. LLC, opened by 32-year King Lumber employee Mike Flowers. Flowers never intended to open his own business, until he learned King Lumber was going to close and the town might be left without a lumberyard. “I’m excited,” Flowers said, “mixed with apprehension.” Employees include Flowers’ daughter, Kalia Thomas, in sales and Phil MacRostie, handling deliveries.

Landmark Store Flees Flood Plain

SUPPLIER Briefs ABC Supply has acquired 4-unit roofing/siding/window distributor Lee Wholesale Supply , Livonia, Macomb, New Hudson, and Port Huron, Mi. Former owner John Wrobleski and the rest of the Lee team have joined ABC Supply. Medlock Forest Products, Charleston, Ar., hopes to rebuild following an April 9 electrical fire that destroyed its main assembly building. Jordan Forest Products, Mount Gilead, N.C., will invest $1.4 million to expand its mill in Biscoe, N.C., to produce wooden pallet components. PlyGem subsidiary Kroy Building Products will invest $15.5 million over three years expanding its vinyl products plant in Fair Bluff, N.C., and adding 145 jobs. Thruway Hardwood & Plywood, Cheektowaga, N.Y., has merged with D&M Plywood, Buffalo, N.Y. Johns Manville Corp. , Denver, Co., will open a 125,000-sq. ft. DC in Grand Prairie, Tx. Boston Cedar, Mansfield, Ma., is now distributing RDI Metal Works’ new Excalibur Railing. Truss Tech, Melfa, Va., now offers Weyerhaeuser TrusJoist engineered wood products.


Building Products Digest

May 2013

After being hit by several floods, Gay’s True Value Hardware, Tunkhannock, Pa., has sold its location near the Susquehanna River and is relocating to drier ground. Its historic, century-old home—a creaking mill building—will be torn down and a drug store built in its place, after the lot is raised up. Co-owner Dan Gay, who with brother Rick is taking over the hardware store from his father Doug, hopes to retain some of the antique furnishings and design their new space as authentic as possible to keep the old-time feeling. He expects to move by June 1.

CN Relocates Lumber Reload

Canadian National has relocated its forest products transload operation to North America Stevedoring Co.’s operation at the Port of Chicago, Il., to improve supply chain efficiencies for lumber customers. The new facility, located 13 miles south of downtown Chicago, receives direct rail service from CN’s nearby Kirk Yard in Gary, In. With more than 200,000 sq. ft. of indoor storage and ample outdoor storage, the transload is larger than the one it replaces and closer to CN’s Kirk Yard, which is finishing up a $141-million renovation. “With the integration of the major portion of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway into CN, we have a unique opportunity to avoid Chicago rail congestion by relocating our forest products reload facility to a site near Kirk Yard,” said CN executive v.p. Jean-Jacques Ruest. “Served daily by CN, the new transload operation is closer to both western Canadian lumber mills, as well as Chicago-area markets receiving lumber via CN. This improves transit times and inventory management for our customers.”

DEALER Briefs Wellsboro Building Supply, Wellsboro, Pa., has been opened by Russell Gile. Seiffert Lumber, Davenport, Ia., added a new millwork showroom. Professional Builders Supply, Morrisville, N.C., is adding a location in Wake Forest, N.C.

Martin Hardware , Nappanee, In., is closing after 55 years, so owner Dennis Martin can retire. True Value Hardware franchisees Scott and Linda Kuenning opened store #3, in Wapakoneta, Oh. Cashman Tool & Hardware, Clinton, Ct., may close after nine years, due to a tussle with town officials. Retzlaff’s Ace, New Ulm, Mn., was honored for its 100 years in the Midwest Hardware Association. Kuiken Brothers , Fair Lawn, N.J., won the Millard Fuller Award for its contributions to Habitat for Humanity.


Building Products Digest

Maine Chain Buys 4th Yard

they needed to sell to a larger company,” said Chris Costello, Timberline’s owner. “We’re a good fit for them. As companies, we’re very similar. We’re individually owned, with the same kind of family values.” Bruce Gove will continue with the company, as will most of his 10 employees. Timberline, which began in 1979 and was bought by Costello in 2008, employs about 60. Costello’s first move will be to immediately bring the level of inventory “way back up again.”

Massachusetts Chain Buys Venerable Competitor

Illinois Distributor to Expand

S.W. Collins Co., Caribou, Me., has purchased the retail operation of Haskell Lumber, Lincoln, Me., as its fourth Do it Best location. Collins will operate out of Haskell’s building until it can construct a 43,000-sq. ft. warehouse, storefront and storage area on a nearby lot it acquired late last year. Haskell Lumber’s Mike McFalls will continue to own and operate its adjacent sawmill, but will concentrate on wood shavings for animal bedding.

Gove Lumber, Beverly, Ma., one of the city’s longest-running family businesses, closed in mid-April after 103 years of operation and was purchased by Timberline, Gloucester, Ma., for $1.3 million. “It is with a heavy heart that I announce the closing of the Gove Lumber Co. due to economic factors beyond our control,” president Bruce Gove said. Four generations of Goves have managed the firm, most recently brothers Bruce, Sandy and Barry. “In order for the business to continue, they were in a position where

May 2013

Lumberyard Suppliers, East Peoria, Il., will receive sales and property tax incentives that allow the distributor to expand in the city. The deal gives the supplier 2% back on city sales taxes on all revenue above its 2011 level for two years and 1% back on the next 15 years. Because the property is in an enterprise zone, it will also get a break on its property taxes for five years. In exchange, Lumberyard Suppliers will build a new facility by 2015, where it will consolidate all of its central Illlinois operations, after closing facilities in Bartonville and Morton.


A Anthony Forest Products Pr Company

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Ace Expands Site for Store Sellers

Ace Hardware, Oak Brook, Il., has expanded to sell equipment, in addition to the stores themselves. Newly added is a Marketplace section that offers fixtures, signage and equipment. Items can be listed for 60 days for a listing fee of $9.95. The site launched in February to help owners list and view stores for sale.


Berry Bros. Lumber Co., Adams, N.Y., suffered at least $100,000 in damage in an April 7 fire. Overseas Hardwoods Co. installed a new 7.5-ton bridge crane at its Stockton, Al., manufacturing facility, to handle trailer-length flooring. The plant’s material handling overhaul “enable us to reduce our dependence on forklifts, greatly improve in-process and finished goods storage, and offer direct truck loading capability,” said Gregory Robinson, v.p.-operations. Eastern Metal Supply is now distributing Enduris’ Endeck cellular PVC decking and Enrail PVC railings from its DCs in Lake Worth and Lakeland, Fl.; Charlotte, N.C.; Newark, De.; Birmingham, Al.; Houston, Tx., and St. Charles, Mo. Decks & Docks Lumber Co . is now distributing Fortress Pilings’ composite piles in Florida. Southend Building Products, Charlotte, N.C., has Reclaimed, to highlight its

been renamed Southend emphasis on antique wood.

CertainTeed’s Norwood, Ma., roofing plant received

ISO 9001 certification.

AERT, Springdale, Ar. (, and Berger Building Products, Feasterville, Pa. (,

have redesigned their websites.

PPG Industries completed its $1.05-billion acquisition of the North American architectural coatings business of Akzo Nobel, including Glidden, Flood and Liquid Nails brands. Alside this month opens a 28,000-sq. ft. DC in Falconer, N.Y.—its third in the Buffalo area. Eastman Chemical, Kingsport, Tn., earned green product certification for its Perennial Wood decking from Home Innovation Research Labs (formerly NAHB Research Center). Inteplast, Livingston, N.J., added new variegated colors (burnished maple and harbor gray) to its TUFboard Porch line.

– Corrections –

In our 2013 Top Treaters list (April, p. 13-19), Universal Forest Products’ 18th plant should have been White Bear Lake, Mn., not Gordon, Pa. (which has ceased treating). In addition, the list inadvertently omitted Central Nebraska Wood Preservers, Sutton, Ne., and sister company Iowa Wood Preservers, Oskaloosa, Ia. Central Nebraska ( treats with CA-C (soluble), Ecolife, and CCA. Iowa Wood Preservers ( uses CA-C and CCA.


Building Products Digest

May 2013

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G-P Expanding Lumber, Plywood Output Georgia-Pacific is investing $400 million to expand its lumber and plywood capacity by 20%. “The markets for our products are currently improving at a steady pace. These proposed investments would position Georgia-Pacific to provide our current and potential customers

G-P Finally Starts Up 6-Year-Old OSB Mill

Sawmill Hit by Chemical Fire

Georgia-Pacific has begun production at the OSB plant in Clarendon, S.C., that it acquired three years ago from Grant Forest Products. Grant completed construction of new plants in Clarendon and Allendale, S.C., in 2007—just as the housing market crashed, so it never started operations. In 2010, G-P paid $400 million for the two facilities, plus a third in Englehart, Ont. G-P has since spent $30 million upgrading the Clarendon plant, boosting annual capacity to 850 million sq. ft.


Building Products Digest

with the products they need to grow with a long–term recovery in housing,” said executive v.p. Mark Luetters. The expansion will come over the next three years, with plant enlargements and upgrades likely in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas.

Shetler Lumber Co., Mill Village, Pa., lost the pole building that contained its grading and trim lines, equipment and inventory in an April 8 fire. The sawmill was spared. The blaze started after a forklift driver accidentally hit two 5-gallon containers in a storage area, knocking the lid off one and spilling some of its contents and sparking the fire. One employee was sent to the hospital and others were evacuated, but no serious injuries were reported.

Chinese Hardwood Producer Expands in U.S.

Chinese-owned hardwood producer Tides & Times Group USA is

May 2013

expanding its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., adding 30 jobs. Over the past four years, the firm has created about 200 jobs, as it acquired, renovated and restarted seven sawmills and dry kilns in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Tides & Times primarily supplies oak flooring to the U.S. and exports hardwood lumber to China and Vietnam.

CertainTeed Selects Site for New Midwest Roofing Plant

CertainTeed Corp. will build a $100-million asphalt roofing shingle manufacturing and distribution facility in Jonesboro, Mo. With construction slated to begin this summer, the project will include a 60,000-sq. ft. factory to manufacture Landmark roofing shingles and a 150,000-sq. ft. warehouse to distribute all of the company’s roofing products throughout the Midwest. Valley Forge, Pa.-based CertainTeed operates 10 asphalt shingle plants, one low-slope commercial roofing facility, and three stand-alone granule plants in the U.S.

A major factor in DSI’s growth has been its increasing footprint into twostep wholesale markets, with the addition of several new distributors.

New Owner Reviving Coastal’s Weldon Complex

DIGGER SPECIALTIES is adding a Gema OptiCenter powder management system to meet rising demand for powder-coated aluminum millwork.

Railing Manufacturer Expands Digger Specialties Inc., Bremen, In., is expanding to meet the growing demand for its aluminum railings, columns and fencing. The nearly 30-year-old family owned business, headed by Loren “Digger” Graber, is adding state-of-

the-art powder coating equipment, expected to be fully operational this month. By adding a second powder coating line, capable of producing multiple colors, DSI will have the ability to ensure quick turnaround and lead time for its customers.

Turning Good

Coastal Lumber Co.’s sawmill in Weldon, N.C.—shuttered since August 2011—is being renovated by new owner Meherrin River Forest Products, Alberta, Va. Meherrin River will invest more than $1.8 million over the next three years upgrading the sawmill and building itself a new headquarters. Initially the operation will mill primarily hardwoods, with drying operations to begin “in the not too distant future,” according to president Don Bright, who founded Meherrin River in 2011 with Union Level Land & Timber and C.A. Wright Logging.

Yard Suffers Hazardous Spill

A 27-year-old employee of Hulbert Lumber, Newark, N.J., was taken to the hospital April 12 when he became dizzy and passed out trying to clean up the spill of an unknown substance. The fire department temporarily evacuated the company.





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Building Products Digest

May 2013

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IN Memoriam Richard England, 93, former president of Hechinger Co., Landover, Md., died April 1 in Washington, D.C. After graduating from Harvard in 1942, he served in World War II in North Africa, Normandy, and the Battle of Guadalcanal. After the war, he married a daughter of store founder Sidney Hechinger and joined the business. At its height, with Mr. England as president, the company had 115 home improvement stores. It was sold in 1997, merged with Builders Square, and went out of business two years later. Thomas R. “Tom” Black, 71, former head of Black Lumber Co., Bloomington, In., died March 2 after a brief illness. He joined the family business in 1963 after graduating from Indiana University, retiring as c.e.o. and president. He was a charter member of the Indiana Lumber & Builders’ Supply Association’s Young Lumbermen’s Club and served on its board.

Waverly Sherwood Carter, 83, co-owner of Carter Lumber Co., Richmond, Va., died April 1. He operated the business for years with his brother, A. Barnes Carter Jr. Gary Bruce Rainwater, 64, owner and operator of Rainwater Lumber Co., Paris, Ar., died March 20 in Paris. Gerald “Gary” Blattert, 71, owner and president of Earl Carter Lumber Co., Lincoln, Ne., died April 16. After working for the yard for many years, he and his son, Dean, purchased the company from the founder in 1993. They took on new partners Derek Blaser and Matthew Vincent, to expand to a larger location in 2008. Donald F. “Don” Foster, 76, retired plywood operations manager for Georgia-Pacific, Atlanta, Ga., died April 12 in St. Augustine, Fl. He enjoyed a long lumber career before retiring in the mid-1990s.

John Dewey Richardson Jr., 87, former co-owner of Richardson Brothers’ Lumber Co., Northport, Al., died April 12 in Northport. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II on the destroyer USS Brown, he and his brother, Wayne, owned and operated their lumber company for over 40 years. Donald E. Harrington, 83, former owner of Harrington Lumber, West Greenwich, Ct., died March 9. A U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, he operated Harrington Lumber from the early 1960s until the early 2000s. Joseph “Joe’’ Berger, 93, owner of Pearl Brothers True Value Hardware, Joplin, Mo., died April 12. He earned four Bronze stars for heroism during World War II, participating in the invasion of Germany under General Patton. In 1949, he and his father, Jake, purchased the hardware store opened by Gus and Dave Pearl in 1905.

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Building Products Digest

May 2013

Application: TIMBERTECH DECK GUIDE Produced by: TimberTech Price: Free Platforms: iPad A new app allows dealers, contractors and homeowners to design photorealistic decks using various TimberTech styles and color combinations. Designed as a decking sales tool, the app permits customers’ selections to be saved and tagged with keywords, allowing projects to be easily retrieved, emailed and shared via social media. A color visualizer feature allows users to alter photo-realistic images of three different decking lines (Traditions, Earthwood Evolutions, XLM) and four railing options (Evolutions Rail Contemporary and Builder styles, RadianceRail, RadianceRail Express). Download from iTunes App Store

MOVERS & Shakers Huck DeVenzio, mgr.-marketing communications, Lonza/Arch Wood Protection, Smyrna, Ga., retired April 12 after 40 years promoting Wolmanized wood products. Linda Priddy, Great Southern Wood Preserving, Glenwood, Ar., retired after 43 years in the industry. Adrian M. Blocker has joined Weyerhaeuser Co., Federal Way, Wa., as v.p. of lumber, succeeding Robert Taylor, who is retiring this month. Daniel Daum, ex-84 Lumber, has joined Carter Lumber, Kent, Oh., as window & door buyer. Jim Futter has been promoted to senior v.p.-purchasing and David Gaudreau to senior v.p.-sales at Sherwood Lumber, Islandia, N.Y. Kyle Little is now v.p.-purchasing, based in Pittsburgh, Pa. Brad Marko, ex-Consolidated Lumber, has joined H&H Lumber, Superior, Wi., as branch mgr. Jason Camire, ex-Rufus Deering Lumber, is new to outside sales at Eldredge Lumber & Hardware, Portland, Me. Jeff Younger has joined Kemper System, West Seneca, N.Y., as account executive for the Southeast region, serving N.C., S.C., and Ga. He is based in Murrells Inlet, S.C. Andrew Gavin, ex-Tague Lumber, is now in outside sales for Woodland Building Supply, Philadelphia, Pa. Todd Toerper is new to Wolf, York, Pa., as v.p.-sales development. Jim Barreira has been named president of Harvey Building Products, Waltham, Ma. Dave Lorady, ex-Alpine Building Supply, is a new contractor sales rep for 84 Lumber, Lebanon, Pa. Jack Eck has joined the sales team at Wheeler Lumber, Newton, Ks. Scott Sago, ex-Lowe’s, has been named general mgr. at Brookville Lumber Co., Brookville, Pa. Butch Miller, Weyerhaeuser, Carrollton, Tx., has retired after a 41year career in sales. Bob Powell has opened a sales office in Alice, Tx., for Matheus Lumber. John Hartmann has been appointed president and c.e.o. of True Value Co., Chicago, Il., to succeed Lyle Heidemann, who is retiring at the end of the month.


Building Products Digest

Andrew Piccinin, ex-ProBuild, is a new account mgr. at Arling Lumber, Cincinnati, Oh. Dennis Lentz is now general mgr. of Weekes Forest Products’ sales office and distribution center in Milwaukee, Wi. Jason Cerone is new to sales & commercial estimating at Chicago Lumber Co., Omaha, Ne. Sean O’Laughlin has joined the outside sales team at ProBuild, Winona, Mn. Josh Groves, ex-Babcock Lumber, is now assistant mgr. at NILCO, Amma, W.V. Charles Shacklette has been named sales mgr. for Great Northern Building Products, Louisville, Ky. Marc Perez, ex-Temple-Inland, is now with Huber Engineered Wood, as regional sales mgr. for San Antonio, Tx. Tommy Shimek, ex-ProBuild, is new to millwork sales at Automated Building Components, Chanhassen, Mn. Lee Freeman is new to James W. Sewall Co., Old Town, Me., as v.p. for global development. Andy VanDam, ex-Great Southern Wood, is now with Anthony Timberlands, Arkadelphia, Ar. Jeff Bramblet has been named chief financial officer for Potomac Supply, Kinsale, Va. Matthew Cornaro is now in inside sales at Harvey Building Products, Waltham, Ma. Chris McCoy is new to Woodgrain Millwork, Norcross, Ga., as corporate brand mgr. Joseph Grandbois has joined LP Building Products as market development mgr. for Minnesota. Len Severson, ex-Western Building Products, is a new Oshkosh, Wi.based commercial sales rep for Marvin Windows & Doors. Sean Kayea, ex-Lowe’s, is now in inside sales at McCabe Lumber, Loveland, Oh. Robert Eaton has been promoted to store mgr. at Townsend Building Supply, Enterprise, Al. Sean Morris, ex-Benchmark Supply, is a new account mgr. at Professional Builders Supply, Charlotte, N.C. David Isaacs has been named v.p. of sales at Kass Building Supply, Bronx, N.Y. May 2013

John Schincariol, ex-Central Michigan Hardwoods, has joined the hardwood lumber division of Besse Forest Products, Gladstone, Mi., as director of lumber sales & marketing. Hunter Shanks is new as director of hardwood sales for the western U.S. and Asia. Todd Spivey has joined Jeld-Wen, as regional builder development mgr. for Tx., Ok., La., N.M., and Co. J. Mark Kemerling is now a product mgr. at Chicago Metallic, Chicago, Il. Jerry Miller, ex-Hilti, is now with Simpson Strong-Tie, Tulsa, Ok., as dealer sales rep for Ok., Ks., and Tx. Jeff Rodino has been promoted to chief operating officer at Patrick Industries, Elkhart, In. Chris Wiggs, ex-Truss-Rite, is now in multi-family sales at Panel Truss of Texas, Henderson, Tx. Michael Grecz, White Cap Construction Supply, Pompano Beach, Fl., has been promoted to district mgr. for southeast Florida. Steve Shultz is now Lake Geneva, Wi.-based territory sales mgr. for Boral’s TruExterior Trim line, covering Wi. and Mn. Brian Goans is a new Southeast sales rep for Thermal Industries, Pittsburgh, Pa., serving N.C., S.C., Ga., and eastern Tn. Richard Hardie was promoted to regional operations mgr. Dave Cima, ex-Mapei, has been named mid-Atlantic regional sales mgr. for DriTac Flooring Products, Clifton, N.J. Brian Leung has joined Western Forest Products, Vancouver, B.C., as a specialty cedar remanufacturing coordinator. William “Skip” Leonard, Henry Co., was presented the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association’s Industry Statesman Award. John K. Smith, president and c.e.o., Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Co., Philadelphia, Pa., was inducted as an honorary chief in the Union Fire Co.—the volunteer fire company formed by Benjamin Franklin and colleagues in 1736, which would serve as a model for other brigades throughout the nation. Dan D. Lyons now heads the garden center at Mungus-Fungus Forest Products, Climax, Nv., report coowners Hugh Mungus and Freddy Fungus.

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NAWLA 2013 NAWLA Traders Market 2013

Traders Market again rolling into Las Vegas


MARKET will once again be returning to Las Vegas, Nv., for the second show in that city. The 2013 Traders Market will be held Oct. 23-25 at the Mirage Resort & Casino. Since 1996, Traders Market has held a unique position among lumber and building material trade shows since it is the only one that is focused almost exclusively on the lumber supply chain. Unlike other shows, the exhibitors are almost always manufacturers of lumber and lumber-related products, not machinery or other equipment providers. This focus on supply chain partners has fostered an unrivaled atmosphere for networking. In today’s global marketplace, Traders Market provides a chance to meet current and prospective clients face to face. In an industry where million dollar deals are still made with a handshake, that personal networking is invaluable. RADERS


Building Products Digest

During a time when many trade shows have struggled, Traders Market continues to grow. Overall attendance in 2012 was 1,325, an increase of 16% since the 2009 show. The attendee profile continues to be almost evenly split between wholesalers and manufacturers.

May 2013

“Traders Market has solidified its place as the one trade show you can’t afford to miss,” said Gary Vitale, NAWLA c.e.o. and president. “As the lumber industry continues its recovery, companies that participate in Traders Market have an advantage on positioning themselves for success.” The 2013 show will follow the successful and popular format from the last couple of years. The floor show will be open on Thursday and Friday, allowing attendees to enjoy Las Vegas over the weekend or return home. Other recent additions, such as the Product Showcase, will also return. “Traders Market remains the best value in the lumber industry,” said Vitale. “By attending a single trade show, a company has the chance to meet with many of its current clients and network with dozens of potential new customers.” The Traders Market website——has complete information on the schedule, fees, floor layout, hotel reservations, and sponsorships. Registration has already opened and is exclusively online.

Osmose has long been a leader in the research and development of new products and services in all areas of lumber preservation technology. We provide innovative wood preservative products, advanced engineering services and customized marketing services to our valued customers. Established in 1934, Osmose, Inc. is recognized as a world premier supplier of lumber preservative technologies. Osmose has a long history of successful development and diversification into specialized areas of wood preservation. MicroPro pressure treated wood products are treated with Micronized Copper Quaternary Compounds or Micronized Copper Azole. NatureWood pressure treated wood products are treated with Alkaline Copper Quaternary Compounds or Copper Azole. CCA pressure treated wood products are treated with Chromated Copper Arsenate. MicroPro, NatureWood, Advance Guard, FirePro and CCA treated wood products are produced by independently owned and operated wood treating facilities. MicroPro®, NatureWood®, Advance Guard®, FirePro®, and Osmose® are registered trademarks of Osmose, Inc. Colors shown in photo images may differ from actual product samples. © 4/2013

NAWLA 2013 By Ken Schultz, Blue Book Information Services

Capitalize on the industry turnaround with a well-defined credit policy


appears to have weathered the Great Recession. Lumber demand, prices and output are all increasing. As the pendulum finally swings toward industry growth, lumber sellers should remain disciplined in the area of credit management, or risk hampering the opportunity to grow profits with uncollected receivables. Companies that remain vigilant in their credit policies and procedures will be well positioned to capitalize on the industry’s recovery. When extending credit to a customer there are two key considerations a credit professional must consider: the buyer’s financial position and trading practices. The buyer’s financial figures will provide credit extenders with an indication of the company’s overall financial strength, through a review of its overall debt structure, working capital, and equity position. Trading methods will reveal how the company conducts itself within the business community. The due diligence put forth to investigate a prospective customer before making a credit decision can go a long way in determining how much credit to extend while also protecting your bottom line. A customer should not be granted credit without a reasonable degree of certainty regarding its ability and intention to honor the terms of the sale. Unfortunately, no standard formula exists to determine the creditworthiness of a company. Although some have tried developing software for “scoring” companies, according to HE LUMBER INDUSTRY


Building Products Digest

Phillip Lattanzio, president and chief operating officer of the Rolling Meadows, Il.-based National Association of Credit Managers, it always comes back to the need for a “human element” in making the final decision. The process begins by determining a company’s creditworthiness or ability to repay debts. While some companies have a formal policy with strictly adhered to rules, many maintain an informal process. Even with more informal policies, it helps to at least have some procedures in place to deal with customer evaluations, setting credit limits, terms, and conditions, and late payments. For example, say a lumber company is approached by a firm it has done business with for a number of years, asking for a substantial increase in its credit limit. If the lumber company has no procedures and/or checkpoints in place, the absence of these determining factors may result in an approval delay, pushing the customer May 2013

to go elsewhere for its purchase. This results in not only a lost sale for the lumber company, but a lost opportunity for future business. Investigating a potential customer’s creditworthiness can be both an art and a science. Credit professionals agree that securing financial figures is optimal to determining if the company has documented profits and steady growth. Liquidity and the ability to generate cash are key indicators in its ability to pay. Furthermore, it is a good idea to check not only the most recent yearend financial breakdown but also prior statements to identify a financial trend. Additionally, comparing the position of a company during its “peak” or interim periods will demonstrate the current year’s performance versus the company’s historical strengths or weaknesses. Equally important in evaluating a customer’s ability to pay are the trade responses of suppliers who have a history of dealing with the company. Lattanzio says credit professionals should gather as much information as they can from as many sources as possible. “A credit professional is like an investigator. It is not wise to make decisions based on one piece of information, whether it be a credit report, financial statement, or credit group report,” he says. When dealing with a new customer, as opposed to one the company has done business with in the past, many credit professionals agree that a trial period—limiting and closely monitoring credit limits and payments—is a

good idea. A longtime Blue Book Member explains, “Trial periods are used whenever we determine that a new customer’s integrity or credit worth is questionable. Depending on the seriousness, we may decide to reduce payment terms to one week or even go on a load-by-load basis (meaning payment for an outstanding load must be received before we ship the next load). There is no hard and fast rule as to how long the trial period lasts, but certainly the customer’s cooperation and timely payments will speed things up. Once the customer demonstrates an ability and willingness to make payments promptly, he/she will be given the same terms as our more well-established customers.” In the case of a new company, there are other considerations to take into account. According to one credit professional interviewed, “You may be faced with a new company made up of principals from a previous organization you were doing business with. Or the company you may be considering does not have a credit rating yet. If our salesperson had a previous relationship with this firm, we will extend credit cautiously and then build it up gradually. It happens all the time.” In many cases, a firm’s strategic, financial, and operational plans directly impact its credit policy. According to Lattanzio, credit policies should mirror the company’s philosophy. “If the powers-that-be want to ship anything and worry about collecting money later, that’s one philosophy,” he says. But the credit policy should not only start at the top—in the executive suite—but be compatible with the company’s long-term goals and philosophy. As lumber demand grows, sellers will see an uptick in new credit inquiries and requests for limit increases. To avoid the sting of uncollected receivables, wise credit professionals will not only have an established credit policy in place, but maintain highly disciplined credit approval procedures. – Ken Schultz is vice president of rating services at Blue Book Services, the leading credit and marketing information agency for the lumber industry. He has over 20 years experience with Blue Book Services and is a certified credit executive. Contact him at (630) 668-3500 or

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Building Products Digest


NAWLA 2013 By Dennis Connelly

7 trade show tactics

to ensure your return on investment


WALKED INTO A large trade show booth recently. It looked like they spent a small fortune on the space and the construction. The exhibitor was selling a system that keeps water from seeping through a sliding door at the bottom. I wondered if they would get a return on that investment. I walked in to see five company representatives talking with each other and  was greeted by one of  two young women who didn’t work for the company, but launched into a recently memorized product features seminar. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t in the market for such a product. She never asked. The company staff never stopped their own discussion to find out if I was a prospect. After a few questions, the woman confessed that she was hired the previous day and given a briefing on the product. It showed. Rather than bore you with what needed to be different in that booth, let’s examine what was happening and why.  Often, in the absence of clear objectives, companies default to what they have done in the past—whether or not

it has proven to be successful. Their strategy looked like the following: (1) Make a showing (2) Demonstrate your industry commitment (3) Attract attention (4) Get the product out there, so you’re seen as a player (5) Collect a bunch of business cards (6) Have a good time in Vegas (or wherever) Does this sound familiar? Have you ever seen it lead to tremendous amounts of new business? I mentioned in a previous article that Frank Belzer, author of the new book Sales Shift, calls this the “Denial = Visibility Model.” Companies who adopt this strategy are accepting the low standard of visibility and denying that there is another way that might even reap multiples of their investment. So let’s unpack the scenario above a bit further. The five company employees missed at least 100 people who walked by in 10 minutes. It’s likely that this is how sales works in their office as well: “Let someone else attract leads. Call us when you’re ready for a proposal.” And what about using this “attraction-distraction” method, as I like to call it, in a trade show booth? That the hired booth personnel know very little about the product is not even the real issue. It’s that they have no idea how to sell. Instead of the strategy outlined above, maybe it’s time to update our view of trade shows and what they can produce for our companies. Here are a few tactics that compose a strategy that you might find more helpful:

1. Have preset goals on the number of prospects that the booth must generate to be worth the investment. This is fairly simple math, and it’s based on your critical sales ratios and margins. Email me if you need help with this.

2. Only real salespeople should greet prospects. A good salesperson knows how to lower resistance sufficiently to allow for a more in-depth product discussion. This is the art of sales. More on that in another article. ARE YOUR trade show personnel like sleeping lions?


Building Products Digest

May 2013

3. Visitors should be  asked questions to find out if they fit the customer profile, so that time is not wasted on tire kickers while real prospects walk by. You spent too

much money in a short period of time to veer away from your trade show goals.

4. At large shows, booth personnel should stand in the aisle to ask questions filtering the thousands of people passing by, rather than waiting for someone to wander in. This is an obvious point, but it takes leadership to get it done. Elect or appoint a team captain for the booth each day. 5.

The sales process should be

updated, reviewed and executed. It should follow time-tested methods of consultation, discovery, needs-assessment, urgency and qualification. The sales conversation must leverage the many potential customers walking by your extremely short-term store front.

6. Salespeople who stand out from their competitors know how to have a business discussion that can lead to how their product or service  can genuinely help a prospect. This is the most consistently effective way to be

seen as different, and is an especially critical sales tool in commodities or when differences are otherwise subtle. In non-commodities, the right kind of discussion can even eliminate competition from the mix altogether. If you want to understand how that works, send me an email.

7. All salespeople should be committed to their share of the total prospects needed for that show,  by relentlessly pursuing attendees and maybe even competing with each other to make it fun.

Applying good selling skills to a trade show environment, setting clear goals for sales outcomes, and keeping everyone energized and engaged in the effort is the key to an effective show strategy, especially when so much time and money is invested. There are many articles written on the subject of trade show etiquette and best practices, and they are helpful (e.g., don’t talk on the cell phone in the booth). I believe that the problem is even more fundamental and ties directly to the basics of sales effectiveness. After drawing data from over 600,000 empirically assessed salespeople in thousands of companies across hundreds of industries, we know that 74% of all salespeople do not have the skill sets and sales “DNA” to be effective. Where could your organization make a sales shift to match the changing market dynamics? How is management impacting salespeople and their effectiveness at meeting company goals? Do you have the right people, systems, processes and metrics to meet the expanding marketplace challenges? Even if business is on the rise, is your boat rising faster than the others? How can you ensure that will be true a year from now? Improving the entire sales function in your company will carry over to the trade show floor.  In this dynamic and shifting business climate, with ever-increasing time constraints, it’s no place for amateurs, no matter how good looking. – Dennis Connelly is a sales growth expert at Kurlan & Associates and  author of the Living Sales Excellence blog. He can be reached at


Building Products Digest

May 2013

NAWLA 2013 By John Whyte, Brown & Joseph

Managing receivables in today’s economy


LL BUSINESSES LOSE clients during a receding (or recovering) business climate. The revenues from these clients must be replaced in order to maintain profits and growth. Yet, there is risk in working with new clients. Of 10 new clients, six will pay on time, two will pay in 60 days, and two will become a receivable problem. The risk must be managed carefully to assure business growth that is profitable. The profiles of those new clients that can become a receivable problem include:

• New business – 20% of all new businesses fail within 18 months of startup. • Existing clients can experience a contraction in their own business. Will they contract further, or rebound and prosper? Current statistics are frightening. During the past three years, there were over 4 million bankruptcies filed in the U.S. Over 150,000 were commercial filings. Assuming the 2013 business climate improves only slightly, the number of bankruptcies will be enormous and can have a definite

May 2013

Building Products Digest


2013 20 13


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impact on your bottom line. At the same time, a post-recession (or depression) business environment offers a unique opportunity. By offering timely services to those businesses undergoing change, you may gain customer loyalty forever.

Survival Comes with Cash Flow

Most commercial businesses can delay payment of their accounts payable, thereby assisting in the financing of their receivables. Other services of financing for your receivables are available, but, there is an associated cost. Timely pursuit of your receivables reduces both your costs of financing and the likelihood of incurring bad debt. In today’s economy and highly regulated business environment, cash is king. And, accounts receivable is the next best thing to cash. Minimal credit losses are crucial for survival regardless of the industry.

Minimizing Your Credit Losses

A review of how you extend credit is essential to minimize losses. Credit applications are a valuable tool to

reduce exposure. A credit application offers protection against significant losses. Credit applications should include, at a minimum, the customer’s legal composition, address, the officers’ names and references from other firms (including other temporary firms) with which your customer has been doing business. Check with at least three companies to determine how much credit has been extended and their payment history. Additionally, a good credit application will outline credit terms, collection procedures, and liabilities in the event the invoice is not paid timely. Often, a credit application includes a personal guarantee clause, or a separate personal guarantee document. This can offer additional protection as the financial obligation is guaranteed to be paid by an individual if the business fails to pay. In addition to a credit application, a credit report should be run, especially when your exposure justifies this additional cost. Any judgments or tax liens should raise a red flag.

Timely Collection of Receivables


Building Products Digest

May 2013

Whether the economy is in recession, recovery or growing, solid billing and collection procedures are a must in order to maximize cash flow. Internal collection procedures should be timely and offer a systematic method of

follow-up at regular intervals (10, 30, 45 days past due). Reminders, statements, past due notices, and telephone calls are several critical methods available. The contacts should be made to the person that can authorize the payment. Contacts should be kept short and professional. Appeal to the pride and honesty of the customer. Be personable and firm. Problems or disputes should surface if there is a cash flow issue. Handle everything accurately and quickly, and put all arrangements, payment schedules, and interest charges in writing, including late fees, if applicable. Follow up on every account to the point where communication, or lack thereof, indicates that an alternative action should be taken. You must utilize third-party professionals to enforce payment once communications break down. Time is absolutely critical. To delay could affect the ultimate collectability of that account.

Aggressively Using Professionals

Major benefits of utilizing an outside collection service include: • Procedures, contacts and followup from a third party commands attention from the debtor. • Most collection services offer a contingency fee program. That is, fees are only earned by the collection service if it successfully recovers money. Motivated to collect the account, a collection service offers a strong psychological advantage. • The use of the collection service allows your credit department more time to grant credit, review accounts, and follow-up on current invoices rather than be involved in the repeated pursuit of past-due delinquent customers. When selecting an outside collection firm, use the same criteria as you would in selecting any business service: firm reputation, compatibility and performance. The company you choose should be fully licensed and bonded for your protection. A quality, professional collection service is a very cost-effective tool, whereby a client has at their

May 2013

disposal, an entire professional staff providing one of the most needed, important business services.

Getting Motivated

There is only so much time in a day. Time usually does not permit that all items on the to-do list get done each day. A good collection service will, in a timely manner, consult with a client at no cost and provide the motivation for change. It is essentially time well spent. The management of accounts receivable is a constant ongoing business function. A professional and aggressive approach coupled with solid, systematic procedures will allow you to not merely survive in a recovering economy, but prosper. Reduce tomorrow’s losses—improve your procedures and processes today. – A sales executive in the accounts receivable management industry for more than 30 years, John Whyte is v.p. of business development for credit and collections firm Brown & Joseph. Reach him at or (888) 829-9997, ext. 207.

Building Products Digest


NAWLA 2013 By Dave Kahle

Closing the sale

A realistic perspective


HERE IS NOT A salesperson in existence who hasn’t repeatedly heard of the need to “close the sale.” Every new sales manager must view the process of encouraging his/her sales force to close the sale as an initiation into the profession. If you’re going to be a sales manager, you, therefore, must improve everyone’s ability to close. Doesn’t it come with the job? The sales training literature is awash with advice. Some


Building Products Digest

May 2013

of it is tedious and trivial: “If he says this, you say that.” Other advice is grandiose: “35 new sure-fire closing techniques.” Still other is harmful: “Overcome that objection,” as if selling in the B2B world was a contest between you and the customer, with one of you winning (overcoming) and the other losing (being overcome). That’s an attitude that won’t get you far. All of this advice shares one common element. It’s incredibly overdone. There is no one aspect of sales (at least in the B2B world) that undeservedly receives more disproportionate time and talk than the subject of closing the sale. Not that there is no need to close. Every project must come to a conclusion, every offer be resolved one way or the other. It’s just that, in my experience, closing has never been the result of verbal gymnastics on my part. It’s not my clever refrains, my slick tactics, my memorized “objection over-comers” nor my manipulative perseverance that has brought me business. Instead, it was the suitability of my offer to the needs/desires/values of the customer. On those occasions where my offer precisely met the customer’s combination of desires, values and preferences, I got the business. Where my offer was off, and some competitor’s offer was a closer match, I didn't get the business. I don’t mean to imply that every sales opportunity is that black and white. Clearly there is a lot of grey area in the process. But, from my perspective, the grey area tipping point was most often the personal factors of rapport, relationship and trust, and almost never the tactical manipulations of the salespeople involved. I learned early on in my sales career that it was far more important and profitable to open the sale precisely than it was to close strongly. If I spend a lot of time, energy and mental acuity on learning the precise dimensions of the customer’s needs, and if I crafted an offer that matched those precisely, there was very little need for concern about closing. I realize that I am tramping all over the hallowed ground of a vast number of sales managers, sales trainers, and sales consultants. I am, however, reflecting

ly on my 30-plus years of selling all kinds of things, and my 18-plus years of training and developing salespeople. I believe that most thoughtful salespeople will line up on my side of the issue. All that said, there some principles and simple rules that can give us direction on this issue. Let’s start with our language. Instead of “closing the sale,” let’s first call it “resolving the next step.” Not only should the project in general have a resolution, but also every sales interaction (a conversation with a prospect or customer), should have as its goal the identification of a next step in the sales process and the natural and logical commitment to that step. So, for example, when you are seeing a prospect for the first time, the ideal next step is to get a commitment from the prospect for a second meeting. Without that, you have no hope of getting the ultimate purchase order. To walk away from the sales call without resolving “what happens next” is to leave the sales call incomplete and relatively worthless. The ideal next step for a meeting when you are collecting information about the customer’s needs is the

customer’s commitment to view your presentation of your solution. The ideal next step following a sales call in which you present your solution is for the customer to identify the next step in his/her buying process, and commit to that. On and on we go. Every sales call should end in some resolution of the next step in the process, even if the resolution is “no next step with you.” Notice that in each of these occasions, the definition of the “next step” is a commitment on the part of the prospect or customer to do something that moves the project forward. Acquiring that commitment, in each and every sales interaction, is one of the habits of the most successful salespeople. It’s what I term “resolving the next step.” If the goal is to successfully arrive at the ultimate resolution, the perceptive salesperson understands that the means to that is a step-by-step process. Every sales call is an investment of time and energy on the part of the customer. And every investment of time and energy should result in some kind of an action step. Unless you are so entertaining that the customer looks at his/her time invested with you as a substitute for the movies this weekend, he/she probably doesn’t want to squander his time with you. He probably wants to accomplish something as a result of his investment of time with


Building Products Digest

May 2013

you. The something will take the shape of a “next step” in his process. So, the thoughtful and effective salesperson recognizes that, and merely asks the customer to identify the next step. When he does, it’s nailed down with a deadline. The project moves forward, the sales process continues, and you know exactly where you and the customer stand. All of that brings us to one the most powerful “resolution” strategies. I call it “alternate next steps.” An alternate next step is an offer made to the customer following the stated or implied rejection of a previous offer. It always involves a smaller risk on the part of the customer, like plan B. If the customer agrees to the alternate offer, it always keeps you in the game and the project moving forward. For example, you are offering a one-year contract on a product which the customer uses every month. The customer indicates that he’s not ready to sign that. Instead of confronting the issue, you resolve it. You offer plan B, an alternate next step. You suggest, instead, that the customer buy two months worth of the product to see how it works out, and then you and he will get together to assess the benefits of continuing. Instead of a 12-month contract, your offer is a two-month trial. Does that offer represent less risk to the customer? Of course. If the customer agrees to that step, are you still in the game? Is the project still going forward? Yes to both. You see, the reason the customer didn’t say yes to your original offer has to do with his concerns—perhaps issues that have nothing to do with you or your product. By offering an alternate next step, you reduce his risk, and provide a mutually acceptable way to resolve the next step. The reason he didn’t offer a positive solution to your original offer has more to do with you missing something in the customer, than it did with your lack of verbal dexterity. Let’s summarize: 1. Forget “closing the sale.”

Instead think “resolving the next step.” 2. Remember that effective “opening” is the best single tactic for closing. 3. Create a habit of always asking for action as a way to resolve every sales interaction. 4. Develop the habit of offering “alternate next steps.” If you can execute these four things with ever-growing excellence, you’ll enjoy your customers’ respect,

maintain positive relationships, become far more important to them, and far outsell the manipulative “closers” surrounding you. – One of the distribution industry’s leading sales educators, Dave Kahle has presented in 47 states and eight countries, produces a free weekly ezine, and has written nine books, including How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime. Reach him at (800) 331-1287 or via


Building Products Digest

May 2013

Building Products Digest


NAWLA 2013 NAWLA Education Foundation

Education Foundation trains students for internships and careers


HE N ORTH A MERICAN Wholesale Lumber Association formed the NAWLA Education Foundation to introduce today’s students to career opportunities in the forest products industry. The primary objective of the not-for-profit foundation is to seed growth in all sectors of the industry by


Building Products Digest

May 2013

attracting a new generation of leaders and equipping them for success in building and managing sustainable businesses in the new green economy. Recently, NEF completed its third career exploration workshop at a joint session between Mississippi State University and St. Peter’s University students. Students who complete the NEF course are eligible for internships within the lumber distribution and manufacturing industry. The course included both classroom lectures and field work. Students had a chance to learn about important industry topics such as supply chain management, forest certification, green building, and carbon markets. These classroom presentations were supplemented by field visits to lumber mills, working forests, and residential building sites. Students receive college credit for the course. Gary Vitale, NAWLA c.e.o. and president, believes bringing in young talent can benefit the entire industry. “Today’s students are not familiar with our industry, and what they do know is often out-dated. The industry has gone through tremendous technological advancements of late, and environmental stewardship has become an even bigger focus in companies. In a recovery that struggles to create jobs, the forest products industry creates billions of dollars in trades and many new career opportunities. We want tomorrow’s leaders to consider the industry as a career.” When creating NEF, NAWLA researched its members’ internship programs and found few companies that had a formal program. Since many of today’s college students need internships for graduation, the forest products industry has been missing out on recruiting new talent and exposing them to a career in the industry. “The industry needs more than just forestry and industrial distribution majors,” said Vitale. “We need talent in accounting and finance, marketing and sales, engineering and operations. Many NEF students come from these majors and take the workshop for the internship

ties. Unfortunately, we have more students than internships so far.” Setting up an internship program from scratch can be hard, but the results can be very rewarding. Companies get the chance to “test drive” potential new employees, while also educating future leaders on the value of the forest products industry. If done right, an internship can also benefit a company by bringing in a fresh perspective to an age old industry. “We are looking for companies to step up and invest in the future of the industry. It can be through a valuable internship or a contribution to NEF,” said Vitale. “Regenerating quality entry-level employees should be a priority of each forest products company who wants to remain viable and successful in this changing world.” “I urge every company who is interested to visit to learn how to invest in the future of this great industry,” said Vitale.

NAWLA Education Foundation’s third career exploration workshop included field visits to sawmills, timberlands and construction sites.

MID-STATE LUMBER CORP. Family Owned. Family Run. Family Inspired

Serving the Mid-Atlantic & New England Markets


May 2013

Building Products Digest


FAMILY Business By Wayne Rivers

What will your legacy be?


FEW WEEKS ago my wife sent me a troubling text. It read, “I have some bad news. Call me right away.” I assumed the bad news was something innocuous like a bounced check or fleas on our dogs. When I called, she was in tears. Her cousin Mike, age 42 and an enterprising young businessman, had died in his sleep. Mike had a history of heart issues, but there was no noticeable warning. He simply didn’t wake up. Mike left behind a grieving widow, three young children, and a small family business. Mike’s death has had a strange effect on my thinking. At first, I must admit I was relieved that the family tragedy was a bit removed. When I heard my wife crying into the phone, I was terrified that something had happened to one of our children or our aging parents. I was thankful that the bad news wasn’t even worse. But, as time has gone on, I think about Mike almost every day, and I see and feel more of the tragedy of this young man’s passing. His oldest child is 10 years old. One wonders what memories of his father the youngster will retain. And what about the younger kids? They will probably have even fuzzier memories of their dad. Their retail business, still reeling from the lingering effects of The Great Recession, is left in the hands


Building Products Digest

May 2013

of Mike’s wife. They had divided the duties so that Wendy was the creative, marketing, and merchandising genius, while Mike handled all the financial and administrative duties. Now Wendy finds all of the business responsibilities on her shoulders, and she must chart a new future direction without her life and business partner. Mike’s passing also started me thinking about family businesses in general. He didn’t have the time or luxury to think about his legacy. He was only 42 years old and he was

working too hard. But, for our family business readers who are older, how important is it to think about what exactly your legacy will be? If your name were called next week, what would your legacy be with respect to your family business? Would your children and grandchildren commend you for having been a great steward of family and business resources? Would they remember someone who carefully monitored finances and cash flow and understood the proper sources and uses of money? Could they recall a terrific mentor? Would they remember a good teacher of life’s and business’s important lessons? Would they warmly think about a leader who hired excellent people and trusted them to do their jobs while holding them accountable for executing big picture plans? Would they remember a cheerful optimist who had confidence that the family business could withstand any challenge if everyone rallied and pulled together? Or, looking at the other side of the family business coin, would they remember a demanding boss so overwhelmed by hundreds of daily details that he barely had time to eat? Would they lament a workaholic who expected everyone else to work super-human hours too? Would they retain frustrated memories of a manager rather than a leader—someone who could only think of the next day or the next week and not five or 10 years down the road? Would they harbor resentment over someone who didn’t have time to strategically plan for management succession and consequently left behind no one who knew what to do without his daily direction and supervision? Would they be dismayed by the recollection of someone who didn’t have the time or inclination to plan for ownership succession and who left the family with vexing, potentially divisive decisions about how family assets and company shares should be divided? Or would they remember a pessimist who always saw the glass as half empty and their performance as somehow lacking? Life is fragile and uncertain. Accidents and tragedies are real, and it isn’t always “the other guy.” We

don’t know when our names will be called. Don’t we owe it to our families, our employees, our customers, and our communities to be good stewards and to devote time, attention, energy, and money to planning for the day when our efforts must cease? I bet Mike would say we do. The reality is that we can choose to be the masters of our own time and the architects of our own destiny. Leaving the tasks and strategies of succession to chance, or dumping them into the hands of others, is planning to fail via failing to plan. And how might that stain an otherwise successful entrepreneur’s legacy? – Wayne Rivers is the president of The Family Business Institute Inc., Raleigh, N.C. Reach him at or (877) 326-2493. Reprinted with permission of Key Resources LLC. No portion of this article may be reproduced without its permission.

New National Wholesaler Opens with Longer Terms

A new wholesale lumber firm has been launched that specializes in 60-day terms for retailers. “Cash flow is tight in the construction supply industry,” said Joe Johnson, president of National Lumber & Building Products, Casper, Wy. “Sixty-day terms are not real common for smaller independent lumber retailers. This gives them the same purchasing power as the large chains, with no membership fees or having to join any club. They are simply approved for a line of credit.” Johnson, former purchasing agent with Builders Choice, Vermillion, S.D., said National Lumber ( will shop for the best price and have the building materials shipped direct to retailers, by pallet or truckload, from a large local vendor. Initially, the majority of sales are expected to be commodity lumber, but he said the company expects to expand into categories dictated by retailers’ demands, “whatever the customer wants,” Johnson said. “If a customer specifically wants, say, James Hardie fiber cement, we’ll shop it for him.”

May 2013

Building Products Digest


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Building Products Digest

May 2013

Wrap Those Windows

MFM Building Products’ WindowWrap waterproof tape can be used around windows, doors, building seams, and in general construction. The tape features PowerBond asphalt adhesive to ensure a tight bond, even in low temperatures. It selfseals around common fasteners, for protection against water, air, insect and noise penetration. The 100’ rolls are 25 mils thick, in widths of 4’, 6’, 9’ and 12’.

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May 2013

Building Products Digest


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Duckback’s P-3 primer stabilizes peeling paint and stops most rust and tannin bleeding. The 100% acrylic elastomeric primer can be used on wood, concrete, stucco and metal surfaces. Environmentally friendly and low-VOC, clean-up is easy with just soap and water.

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Stanley Tools is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the PowerLock tape measure with special designs. Each device measures up to 25 ft. and features a sliding lock, a durable Mylar protective coating, and a Tru-Zero endhook for accurate measurements.

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Building Products Digest

May 2013

Lantern Repels Pests

A new portable lantern from ThermaCELL is 98% effective at warding off biting insects outdoors. The dark bronze lantern has a cylinder-shaped globe and three LED lights. It operates on a single butane cartridge, which heats a repellant mat that releases allethrin—a synthetic copy of a natural insecticide found in chrysanthemum flowers—to create a 15’x15’ comfort zone.

 THERMACELL.COM (866) 753-3837

Metal Balusters

Connecting Decks and Fences

Metal balusters from Azek Building Products can be attached directly to railing. An extruded channel allows direct screw attachment. It also eliminates plastic connectors, for a clean, uncluttered look. Balusters come in four lengths (29”, 31”, 35” and 37”), with stair balusters in two lengths (31” and 37”), in both round and square styles.

RailLok from Screw Products connects railing and fence sections to posts. The fasteners are available in 316 stainless steel, white and black powder-coated finishes, as well as custom colors. DeckLok brackets create stronger deck connections at the floor joist, to meet or exceed IRC 2006 requirements.



(800) 275-2935

(877) 844-8880


May 2013

Building Products Digest



NORTHEASTERN LUMBER Manufacturers Association celebrated its 80th anniversary during its annual convention April 4-5 at Marriott Long Wharf Hotel, Boston, Ma. [1] Peter Crowell, Rob Hoffman, Erik Olsen, Alden Robbins. [2] Chris Fitzgerald, Jim Dermody, Eric McCoy. [3] Joe Robertie, Gil Adams, Vince Micale. [4] Jeff Hardy, Bob Pope. [5] Tonia Tibbetts, Bill Briskey. [6] Steve & Julia Teixeira, Dave Zappone. [7] Dan Paige, Trina Francesconi. [8] Donna King, Doug & Katharine Britton. [9]


Building Products Digest

May 2013

Kim Smith, Brian Belander, Judy & Rod Irish. [10] Scott & Jess Brown. [11] Jim Robbins, Jethro Poulin. [12] Win Smith, Jason Brochu, Charlie Lumbert. [13] Ryan Satterfield, Brian Kirwan. [14] John Smith, Sheila Michaud. [15] Rose LeBaron, Peter Buckley, Matt Pomeroy. [16] Verna & Skip Hammond, Ron Smith, B. Manning. (More photos on next page)


NeLMA recently held its annual convention in Boston (continued from previous page). On hand were [1] Don Hammond, Alan Orcutt. [2] Wayne O’Donnell, Matt Demers. [3] Brett Anderson, Susan Coulombe. [4] Hilda & Michael Record. [5] Prisco & Phyllis DiPrizio. [6] Jeff Easterling, Bob Bratton. [7] Arkon & Penny Horne. [8] Jeff Ward, Doug Chiasson. [9] Terry Walters, Kim & Anne Moore, Chuck Gaede.

The answers for a long lasting, more beautiful deck.

May 2013

Building Products Digest



LUMBERMEN’S ASSOCIATION of Texas & Louisiana held its 127th annual convention April 18-20 at Westin La Cantera Resort, San Antonio, Tx. [1] Terry Hooper, Donald Galley. [2] Bryan Ables, Joe Ritchie. [3] Michael Mastandrea, Don Ohmer. [4] Herman Sanchez. [5] Bruce Agness, Barbara Douglas. [6] John L. Jones, James Drennan. [7] Eddie Stafford, John Misslin. [8] Lynne & Matt Mullin. [9] James & Deborah Drennan, Pat Miller, Brenda & Mike Aaron. [10] Joe Burlison, Tony Rocha. [11] Reagan Lochridge, Tim Lack. [12] Mike Martinez, Kevin O’Connor. [13] Nate Mathis. [14] Henry Delgadillo, Steve Harris. [15] Mark Stevenson, Jason Williams. [16] John Niedzweicki, Matt Campbell. [17] Neal Bavousett, Bob Carson. [18] Chris Agness, Tricia Kilrain. [19] Jason Greer, Scott Lasseigne, Leann Leone, James Coghlan. (More photos on next two pages)


Building Products Digest

May 2013


MORE LAT CONVENTION (continued from previous page): [1] Red Owens, Al Cron, Bart Graves. [2] Steve Culbertson, Cary Williams. [3] Robert Edwards, Chuck Pool. [4] Chris Abel, Jane Smith, Aaron Kluger, Chad Kracht, Jason Hunt. [5] Kenny Beauvais, Billy Stapleton. [6] Tricia Kilrain, Cheryl Binns. [7] Jon Nesbit, Doug Garrett, Karin Restrepo, Trevor Ehresmann. [8] Patti & Dave Bartholomew. [9] Tricia Hall, Chris Agness. [10] Richard Jones, Megan McCoy Jones, John L. & Lisa Jones, Wetonnah & Brian McCoy. [11] Kyle Williams, JoAnn Gillebaard. [12] David Cusey, Charlie Sullins. (More photos on next page)

Distributed in the Northeast by: Feldman Wood Products, Garden City Park, NY

800-645-6010 • May 2013

Building Products Digest



EVEN MORE LAT (continued from previous two pages): [1] Max White, Rich Messenger, Robert Cole. [2] Gerald Gonzales, Cody Dick, Casandra Fields. [3] Chris McCollum, Jason Sanders, Cheryl Sparks, Chris Roberson, Trent Leon. [4] Mike & Dani Knigge. [5] Bobby Crowley, Mark Thorn, Buddy Haille, Tom Heard, George Pendleton, Scott Jarrett, Gary Young. [6] Linda & Bobby Crowley, Gay & Steve Herren. [7] Bill Washerlesky, Bill Dohm, Steve Rowell, Mike Wanek. [8] Stephani Bisignano, David Wishert.


Building Products Digest

May 2013

ASSOCIATION Update Lumbermen’s Association of Texas & Louisiana honored Chuck Pool, Main Street Lumber, Denison, Tx., as Lumberman of the Year during its recent annual convention in San Antonio (see photos on three previous pages). Matt Mullin, Alamo Lumber, San Antonio, was installed as new president, succeeding John Jones, Cassity Jones Lumber, Longview. Mid South Building Material Dealers Association installed new president Tommy Chauvin, Chauvin Bros., Chauvin, La., during its recent convention and show in Biloxi, Ms. President-elect is Doug Boykin, Rex Lumber Co., Brookhaven, Ms.; v.p. D.J. Ashy III, Doug Ashy Building Materials, Lafayette, La.; treasurer Ken Hernbloom, Barnett Phillips Lumber Co., Canton, Ms., and board members Bo Elliott, Elliott Lumber Co.; Kirk Stewart, Pakmix Concrete Products; Jimmy Fann, Industrial Products; Kim Kimbrough, Kiper Lumber; Bob White, Great Southern Wood Preserving, and John Spencer, Huttig Building Products.

Massachusetts Retail Lumber Dealer Association kicks off its family fun day June 15 in Plymouth. Golf outings are planned by Lumber Dealers Association of Connecticut June 5 at Tunxis Plantation Country Club, Farmington; New Hampshire Retail Lumber Association June 6 at Lake Sunapee Country Club, New London; Eastern New York Lumber Dealers Association June 7 at Saratoga National Golf Course, Saratoga Springs; Long Island Lumber Association June 12 at Timber Point Golf Course, Sayville; Retail Lumber Dealers Association of Maine June 18 at Belgrade Lakes Golf Club, Belgrade Lakes; Northern New York Lumber Dealers Association June 26 at St. Lawrence Golf Course, Canton; Mid-Hudson Lumber Dealers Association July 22 at Otterkill Golf & Country Club, Campbell Hall, N.Y.,

and Central New York Retail Lumber Dealers Association June 20 at Walden Oakes Country Club, Cortland. Central New York then spends the day at Oswego Speedway, Oswego, on June 29. Rhode Island Lumber & Building Materials Dealers Association will host its annual golf outing and clambake July 10, location TBD. Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association convenes for its annual conference July 31-Aug. 4 at Grand Hotel Marriott, Point Clear, Al. Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Association will hold its annual summer meeting July 27-30 at the Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, W.V. Missouri Forest Products Association has scheduled its annual meeting for July 26-27 at Chateau on the Lake, Branson, Mo.

Northwestern Lumber Association will start the summer with a June 6 golf outing at Crooked Creek Golf Course, Lincoln, Ne. A second golf outing is planned for July 24 at the Golf Club at Cedar Creek, Onalaska, Wi. July 26 will be the all-states Future Lumber Leaders conference at Bayer Built Woodworks, Belgrade, Wi. Southern Building Material Association will host its annual summer meeting July 25-28 at Wyndham Resort, Virginia Beach, Ca. Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association elected new president Shepard Haggerty, Williams Lumber Co. of N.C., Rocky Mount, N.C., during its recent annual meeting in Charleston, S.C. Hal Mitchell, Atlanta Hardwood Corp., Mableton, Ga., is now v.p. Northeastern Retail Lumber Association’s affiliates have planned lots of activities to start the summer. Western New York Lumber Dealers Association hosts a fishing derby May 31 at Buffalo Harbor, Buffalo.

HOCKEY GAME between mills (in red) and wholesalers (in blue) was a highlight of Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association’s recent annual convention in Boston, Ma. The wholesalers retained the winning cup. (See more convention photos on pages 58-59) May 2013

Building Products Digest


Remodeling Pace Builds

Spending on remodeling projects will continue to increase, according to a report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. “House prices are increasing in most markets across the country,” said managing director Eric S. Belsky. “This has increased the home equity levels for most homeowners, encouraging them to reinvest in their homes.” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, remodeling activity increased almost 10% last year. Together with Harvard’s projections, this is good news for the housing industry—if enough skilled labor can be found to complete the projects. “The strong growth that we’ve seen recently is putting pressure on the current capacity of the home improvement industry,” said director Kermit Baker. “Contractors and subcontractors are having more difficulty finding skilled labor, and building materials costs are unusually volatile for this stage of a recovery.”

Rise in U.S. Lumber Demand Catches World’s Attention

North American lumber production began to pick up in 2012, with U.S. output rising 8% and Canadian production up 5% over the previous year, reports Wood Resources International. The U.S. housing market is continuing to improve, with higher house

prices, lower inventories, and limited sales of foreclosure homes, which were increasingly converted into rental properties. U.S. lumber prices have risen by over 60% from late 2011 to March 2013—drawing the attention of sawmills far from North America. With much higher prices and a predicted increase in lumber demand in 2013, many foreign companies hope to increase shipments of lumber to U.S. shores in the coming year. The strong lumber market has similarly pushed sawlog prices upward throughout North America into first

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quarter 2013. Log prices have also inched up in coastal British Columbia and eastern Canada as a result of tighter log supply. Pine sawlog prices in the U.S. South have been surprisingly stable since 2010 and, in fourth quarter 2012, were close to their lowest level in almost 15 years. However, with the improved housing market in the U.S. and higher lumber prices, it can be expected that sawmills will increase the consumption of logs and that the Southern states will follow the rest of North America with upward trending log prices during 2013.

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Building Products Digest

May 2013


Listings are often submitted months in advance. Always verify dates and locations with sponsor before making plans to attend. National Hardware Show – May 7-9, Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nv.; (888) 425-9377; North American Retail Hardware Association – May 7-9, convention, Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nv.; (800) 772-4424; Wood Markets – May 8, global softwood log & lumber conference, Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel, Vancouver, B.C.; (604) 801-5996; PwC Global Forest & Paper Industry Conference – May 9, Sheraton Wall Centre, Vancouver, B.C.; Peak Auctioneering – May 11, LBM auction, Howard County Fairgrounds, Baltimore, Md.; (800) 245-9690; Wallace Hardware – May 14-16, spring market, Gatlinburg Convention Center, Gatlinburg, Tn.; (800) 776-0976; Ohio Construction Suppliers Assn. – May 15-17, management roundtable, Peoria, Il.; (614) 267-7817; Northwestern Lumber Association – May 16, Iowa Lumber Association board meeting, Rhodes, Ia.; spring golf outing, River Valley Golf Course, Adel, Ia.; (763) 544-6822; Northeastern Loggers Association – May 17-18, equipment expo, Bass Park Complex, Bangor, Me.; (800) 318-7561; Peak Auctioneering – May 18, LBM auction, Metrolina Tradeshow Expo, Charlotte, N.C.; (800) 245-9690; Do it Best Corp. – May 18-20, spring market, Indianapolis Convention Center, Indianapolis, In.; (260) 748-5300; Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Assn. – May 19-21, annual convention, Meritage Hotel, Napa, Ca.; (703) 435-2900;

Forest Products Society – June 9-11, convention, AT&T Conference Center, Austin, Tx.; (608) 231-1361; American Architectural Manufacturers Association – June 9-12, national summer conference, Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Rosemont, Il.; (847) 303-5664; National Lawn & Garden Show –June 11-13, Crowne Plaza O’Hare, Rosemont, Il.; (888) 316-0226; Long Island Lumber Association – June 12, golf outing, Timber Point Golf Course, Sayville, N.Y.; (800) 292-6752; National Retail Federation – June 12-14, loss prevention conference & expo, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, Ca.; (800) 673-4692; Mid-America Lumbermens Association – June 14, Sunflower Shootout golf tournament, Highlands Golf & Country Club, Hutchison, Ks.; (800) 747-6529; Massachusetts Retail Lumber Dealer Association – June 15, family fun day, Plymouth, Ma.; (800) 292-6752; Retail Lumber Dealers Association of Maine – June 18, golf outing, Belgrade Lakes Golf Club, Belgrade Lakes, Me.; (800) 2926752; House-Hasson Hardware – June 20-22, market, Sevierville Events Center, Sevierville, Tn.; (800) 333-0520; Central New York Retail Lumber Dealers Association – June 20, golf outing, Walden Oakes Country Club, Cortland, N.Y.; June 29, day at the races, Oswego Speedway, Oswego, N.Y.; (800) 292-6752; Northern New York Lumber Dealers Association – June 26, golf outing, St. Lawrence Golf Course, Canton, N.Y.; (800) 292-6752; Southeast Building Conference – July 11-13, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fl.; (800) 261-9447; www.sebc-

Northeastern Retail Lumber Association – May 21-22, spring leadership meeting, NRLA Hq., Rensselaer, N.Y.; (800) 2926752; Oklahoma Lumbermen’s Assn. – May 30-31, summer fling, Big Cedar Lodge, Branson, Mo.; (800) 444-1771; Western New York Lumber Dealeres Assn. – May 31, fishing trip, Buffalo, N.Y.; (800) 292-6752; Southern Forest Products Association – June 4-5, annual meeting, Atlanta, Ga.; (504) 443-4464; Lumber Dealers Association of Connecticut – June 5, golf outing, Tunxis Plantation Country Club, Farmington, Ct.; (800) 292-6752; New Hampshire Retail Lumber Association – June 6, golf outing, Lake Sunapee Country Club, New London, N.H.; (800) 292-6752; Northwestern Lumber Association – June 6, Nebraska Lumber Dealers Association board meeting, Columbus, Ne.; spring golf outing, Crooked Creek Golf Course, Lincoln, Ne.; (763) 5446822; Southern Forest Products Association – June 6-7, machinery & equipment expo, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Ga.; (504) 443-4464; Eastern New York Lumber Dealers Association – June 7, golf outing, Saratoga National Golf Course, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. ; (800) 292-6752; Mid-America Lumbermens Association – June 7, Kansas Sunflower Shootout, Hutchison, Ks.; (800) 747-6529; Peak Auctioneering – June 8, LBM auction, Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, Il.; (800) 245-9690; www.peakauction. com.

May 2013

Building Products Digest



IDEA File Putting a Finger on Profits

A hardware store outside Philadelphia, Pa., is

surviving against larger competitors by offering more than the usual services. “I’m more of a convenience store; more like a 7Eleven to a supermarket,” says Bob Wipplinger, who has owned 80-year-old Penndel Hardware, Penndel, Pa., for the past 15 years. “We depend on people who want to support a local store.” The 3,000-sq. ft. location offers standard hardware merchandise and a number of extra items, like greeting cards and toys. It also offers the usual services—such as cutting of glass and mirrors, plus screen and lamp repair—but has branched out with several that are less commonly offered at hardware stores. “We install watch batteries, too. It’s another little niche,” he says. “We have to be flexible.” But it’s the store’s newest service—taking fingerprints for locals applying for a government position or a job with direct contact with children, as an authorized Cogent Fingerprinting facility—that has become the most profitable. A good customer suggested that the store should offer the service so nearby residents wouldn’t have to drive 15 miles to get fingerprinted. “We’ve done 9,000 prints in two years and we get $3 per print,” says Wipplinger, who’s pleased with the arrangement since no costs were involved and training was simple. He also makes money by renting the upstairs of the building, which he owns, to tenants. “That’s really how we survive. Otherwise it’s game over,” says Wipplinger, who also is a real estate agent. “I knew I couldn’t make a decent living just selling nuts and bolts.” Even though he’s had to branch out to survive in a difficult marketplace, Wipplinger is happy to be in the hardware business. He started working in his father’s hardware store at age 16, and has been in the business ever since—and doesn’t plan to quit anytime soon. “I like the freedom of being self-employed, of helping customers, of fixing things,” he says.

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Building Products Digest

May 2013

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

Advantage Trim & Lumber []..........54 AERT [].................................................................5 Anthony Forest Products [] ...........25, 27 Azek [] ....................................................................29 Blue Book Services [] ......................50 BuilderLink [] .........................28 BW Creative Wood [] ........................30 Cabot []..................................Cover II Chicago Suburban Lumber [] ....56 Crumpler Plastic Pipe [] ................................65 DeckWise [] ...................................................26 Digger Specialties []........................45 Distribution Management Systems Inc. []..........43 Endeck [] ...........................................................19 Everwood Treatment Co. [].........33 Fasco America []....................................31 Feldman Lumber []..........................4, 61 Fiberon [] .............................................35 Great Southern Wood Preserving []....16A-B Hoover Treated Wood Products []........................57 Idaho Forest Group [] .....................41 Integrity Composites [] ......................21 Jaaco Corp. [].......................................................20 Kleer Lumber []...........................................3 KOMA Trimboards []..............Cover IV Master Mark Plastics []................................22 MetsaWood US []..........................................48 Mid-State Lumber [] ...........................51 NewTech Wood []....................................7 Nordic Engineered Wood Products [].......42 North American Wholesale Lumber Assn. [] .....44 Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Assn. []...62 NyloBoard [].......................................Cover III Osmose [].........................................................37 Pau Lope Co., The [] .......................................32 Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance [] .....39 Redwood Empire [] ........................Cover I Roseburg Forest Products [] ..............................13 Simpson Strong-Tie []...................................23 Smith Millwork []...................................55 Sunbelt [] .................................................49 Sure Drive USA []..........................................59 Swanson Group Sales Co. [].........47 TAMKO Building Products []..................8 TigerDeck [] ...................................................36 U.S. Metal Works [] ...............................59 Wahoo Decks [] .......................................24 Warren Trask Co. [] ...........................................15 Weaber Lumber [].................................48 Western Red Cedar Lumber Association []...52-53


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Building Products Digest

Change Service Requested

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that’s easy-to-maintain, and that won’t rot, split, or swell – even in the harshest of conditions. Pre-sanded and ready to install in popular gray or cedar, KOMA Plantation™ Porch Flooring is also paintable. Call 1-800-330-2239 or visit to take our Challenge! You’ll receive a prize. And you’ll be able to purchase KOMA Celuka for the price of free foam – so low you’ll feel like you’re walking all over us.


*KOMA Plantation™ Porch Flooring is typically 5-10% less costly than mahogany hardwoods; and up to 25% less expensive than other PVC products. March 2013.

The Hard Choice A Division of Kommerling USA

BPD May 2013  
BPD May 2013  

May 2013 edition of Building Products Digest, monthly trade magazine for lumber & building material dealers & distributors.