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January 2010

Volume 88  Number 7




CHANGE OF ADDRESS Send address label from recent issue if possible, new address and 9-digit zip to address below. POSTMASTER Send address changes to The Merchant Magazine, 4500 Campus Dr., Ste. 480, Newport Beach, Ca. 92660-1872. The Merchant Magazine (USPS 796-560) is published monthly at 4500 Campus Dr., Ste. 480, Newport Beach, Ca. 926601872 by Cutler Publishing, Inc. Periodicals Postage paid at Newport Beach, Ca., and additional post offices. It is an independently-owned publication for the retail, wholesale and distribution levels of the lumber and building products markets in 13 western states. Copyright®2009 by Cutler Publishing, Inc. Cover and entire contents are fully protected and must not be reproduced in any manner without written permission. All Rights Reserved. It reserves the right to accept or reject any editorial or advertising matter, and assumes no liability for materials furnished to it.

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 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

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By Alan Oakes

Nothing in life is free IRST, A BELATED

HAPPY NEW YEAR. I hope that you had time to enjoy the holidays with your families and are ready for the challenges of a new year. In my native England we have a custom of opening the front and back door to let the old air out and the new air in. As of midnight December 31, that door should be open for a long, long time! There doesn’t seem to be any industry that has not had challenging business results in 2009, but I have been encouraged in the last few weeks at the small signs of optimism in our industry. The truth is, without optimism and belief, what are we left with? A negative environment only breeds further negativity. The challenge this country faces is that the negative barometer is set too high! We must find a way to turn the switch that will start us all getting back to how it was—or at least somewhere in the middle of then and now. We often debate in our office what we can do better or more of to help our readers and advertisers. I am sure that is a debate held in every company at some time or another. One of the comments that invariably comes up—mostly from the sales force—is let’s offer free this and free that. Now, nothing gets me more excited than trying to benefit our customers, but I have learned over many years that giving something for nothing is just not a good idea. In fact, it’s the worst business decision you can make. It is tempting when times are tough, but once you start down that road, you can never get anyone to pay for today’s freebies in the future. Yes, we all see our competitors do stupid things (I hear from you on desperate pricing all the time), but I have yet to see a company succeed with such a strategy in the long term. I remember being trained that you can always go up, but you can’t come down. When you offer something today, it will be remembered and you will negotiate it every time. The salespeople who suggest giving something away don’t get hit in the pocket, so for them it’s an easy suggestion to make. What does gets hit are your margins. And they never recover! To me, there are three issues that you need to deal with. First, teach your sales team to sell. There are too many people in this industry out there selling who have not been adequately trained to sell. The goal of sales is to get the order—not at all costs, but to make sure both parties are happy signing on the dotted line and will be happy to do business together in the future. Nothing comes or should come easy. So buyers need to be sold, objections overcome. You can talk all you want about your last golf game or vacation, but unless you walk out with an order or have moved the potential sale further up the funnel, you have failed. I just sense that the current economic mess gives power to negativity, to accept that it’s okay not to have the order. Following every customer contact, salespeople must be self-critical, strategically analyzing what they did or did not do and holding themselves accountable. Don’t be content with a no! We can blame our troubles on the economy or our stupid competitors or…, but how about we blame ourselves? Second, years ago I heard the saying that when you offer something for nothing you entice cheap customers. And we all know what they are like, right? They are the ones that nitpick on everything, negotiate every cent, and are never happy. A free lunch isn’t free; it just cuts your profits and makes you negotiate every order. Third, think through your unique selling advantages. And if you don’t have any, you have a much bigger problem than this column can solve. Differentiate, differentiate, differentiate! If you already possess distinct advantages, let your customers know what they are—or do you assume they know already? Don’t take anything for granted. Value-add your products. Offer services that no one else offers. But don’t give them away. Just remember: charging more requires a higher level of sales and marketing skills, and, frankly, you might not have the right people in place today to do this. I have spent my time in every business I have run breaking down numbers and understanding how every line on my P & L has been derived. But at the end of the day, the top line, the gross profit line, and the bottom line will tell you all you want to know. When the comparative percentages change for the worse, you know you have issues. This year will again be challenging, but I think we are at the start of the long road up. Make sure your company is prepared for the turnaround and get back to doing business the right way! Alan Oakes Publisher


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010




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 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010


Going, going, gone…

Lumberyard auctions dispose of inventory, properties


UCTIONS OF SHUTTERED FACILITIES and surplus inventory have become a sure sign of the economy’s effect on lumber and building material dealers and distributors. “This is a buying opportunity and very indicative of a major trend in the market today,” said Joshua Olshin, president of auctioneer Tranzon Integrated Property Group. “Banks are not the only ones selling properties in what might be referred to as the current buyer’s market.” In mid-December, Tranzon started auctioning off the first of 25 surplus properties in 14 states as part of the postbankruptcy liquidation plan for Stock Building Supply. “On behalf of our client, we have chosen the auctionprocess as the most efficient method to market and sell a large portfolio of properties in order to maximize proceeds in a timely manner,” said Ken Zakin, senior managing director of Newmark Knight Frank, an international real estate advisory firm. “Tranzon is a leading auctioneer and we expect these auctions to allow our client an acceptable exit given a difficult climate.” The Gores Group, a private equity firm based in Los Angeles, Ca., bought 51% of Stock, while parent Wolseley kept a 49% interest in the company. Of the chain’s more than 200 locations, only 100 in 19 markets were kept open. The Stock auctions consist of shuttered facilities, as well as several lots that were acquired for expansion but never used. The first set of auctions, held Dec. 15 and 16, included properties in Salisbury, Md.; Acworth, Ga.; Sanford, Durham and Hendersonville, N.C., and Timmonsville, S.C.

The next round of Stock auctions will be held the middle of this month, disposing of properties in Bakersfield and Hidden Valley Lake, Ca.; Boise, Pocatello, and Preston, Id.; Orem, Ut.; Kemmer, Wy., as well as in Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Also this month, on Jan. 12, lumber and equipment from Simmen Wholesale Lumber, Sacramento, Ca., will be offered by Murphy Auctions. Gary Simmen started the business in 1974 as a brokerage and wholesale operation, but added a distribution yard and remanufacturing facility in 1980. Last month saw a flurry of LBM auctions. On Dec. 22, Rosen Systems conducted an online auction of the inventory of United Building Products’ final location in Dallas, Tx. The roofing products firm started 20 years ago and was based in Albuquerque, N.M. In the preceding weeks, Monticello Lumber, Monticello, In., auctioned off its building and property; King City Lumber, King City, In., auctioned off excess inventory and equipment from two locations, and Newmeyer Lumber, Rahway, N.J., auctioned off its inventory, yard and office equipment and warehouse supplies.

OUT OF STOCK: Downsized Stock Building Supply is going the auction route to find quick buyers for 25 closed or excess properties in 14 states, including (upper left) a 50,000-sq. ft. facility in N. Durham, N.C., and (above) a 210,000-sq. ft. warehouse/manufacturing plant in Acworth, Ga. January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 


INDUSTRY Trends By Loren Krebs

The last 25 years



The biggest changes to how we do business

S WE SLOG OUR WAY through the recession of 2008-2009, hoping for an end some time in 2010, there’s no question that the downturn has changed the way most of us do business. We have reduced inventories to the bone, cut staff to bare minimums, squeezed efficiencies from thin air, and worked harder than most of us are accustomed to. Staying profitable has taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears. The truth is, though, the lumber business has gone through many changes in the last 25 years and we have been forced to adapt or fail. Lions are always waiting to thin the herd by taking down the slow and the weak. Our industry is littered with the carcasses of producers, distributors and retail suppliers who failed to react to change. Some change is positive and helps us do business more efficiently. Some change is threatening and forces us to question how we do business. And some change is benign—you can watch it and react appropriately when the time is right. Identifying change after the fact is usually pretty easy. Recognizing and reacting to change early in the process is more difficult. The following list of changes have taken place in the past 25 years and each has changed the way we do business.


The Spotted Owl. When the recession of the early 1980s finally burned itself out, we enjoyed a decade


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

of favorable conditions in the lumber business. New construction and remodeling had rebounded nicely and the material pipeline remained full. In the late ’80s, we began to see newspaper accounts about the plight of the spotted owl—a plight that was increasingly being played up by environmental activists. In 1991, District Court Judge William Dwyer cancelled 75% of Forest Service timber sales, a move that would constrain or eliminate much of the timber supply our industry was dependant upon. Many mills were forced to find new sources of raw material and those that could not closed their doors. We continue to feel the repercussions some 20 years later.

The first commercially viable fax machines began to dribble into the market in the early ’80s. They were big, slow and noisy, and they smelled like a small electrical fire as they laboriously cranked out text-covered pages that came mysteriously through the wires. The print quality was horrible, but even a bunch of lumber guys could recognize this new machine as gamechanging technology. Our industry, to its credit, was an early adopter of fax machines and the efficiencies they brought to communication.

2. The Fax Machine.

Lowe’s and Home Depot began to rapidly expand in the 1980s and can

3. Big Box Stores.

now be found in nearly every market. The one-stop-shopping model for the do-it-yourselfer was embraced by many customers and it wasn’t clear how this would affect the traditional lumberyard. Many retailers were forced to find ways to compete, and those that could not are no longer in business. Wholesale suppliers, too, had to learn how to deal with a new breed of hard-nosed buying and supplier policies they were unfamiliar with. Many wholesalers were forced to make a decision: do business with the big boxes or do business around them? Companies came up with a variety of strategies to survive and thrive in the big box era. Like the fax machine, we lumbermen embraced the cell phone as soon as it was small enough to slip comfortably into a pocket. Many of us remember the days of circling the block and looking for a parking spot near a phone booth in order to call the office. Today, if four lumbermen are traveling together in a car, it is not unusual for all four to be on their phones. We often buy material we have never seen and we often sell it to someone we have never met. Our business is truly a business of communication and the

4. Cell Phones.

cell phone has allowed us to communicate better.

Most of us use email today and recognize it as another communication tool that has changed the way we do business. (I do, however, know of some curmudgeonly holdouts who prefer to communicate on the phone.) For many things, though, email is the best tool available. Suppose you have a truckload of very expensive clear cedar arrive in your yard and you discover that the side of one unit has been raked and pillaged by an errant forklift driver. You can take a digital picture and immediately send it to your supplier with a note that says, “What’s up with this?”

5. Email.

Generally speaking, other than a few cutting edge, spike-haired, tattoocovered geeks, we lumbermen have been slow to adopt the Internet as a way to put deals together. One reason for this is there are a lot of moving parts in most lumber transactions. Putting together a good deal for buyer and seller works better when both parties are fully engaged. It’s pretty hard to add a truckload of lum-

6. The Internet.

ber to your “shopping cart.” However, most of us have company websites, and this is another great way to communicate and share information.

One of the biggest changes affecting the way we do business is the continuing shrinkage of our producer base. As mills grapple with environmental constraints, lack of harvestable timber, and the current lackluster economy, many have been forced to curtail or close indefinitely. Traditional supply chains have been disrupted, and many suppliers are gone forever. This change is ongoing, and we all need to navigate through this minefield.

7. Shrinking Producer Base.

For many years we had few young people coming into our industry, but this trend has changed. You need only attend a show such as the N A W L A Traders Market to see the change. Some of us older guys are slowing down or calling it a day, and we have a new generation of lumbermen joining our fraternity. This group is bright, ambitious, aggressive, technologically savvy, and not afraid to work. They have changed—and will continue to

8. Young People.

change—our business.

Although no group has escaped entirely, retailers and contractors have been hit especially hard during the recent downturn. Companies have closed their doors in record numbers, and many of the survivors have circled the wagons, hoping for a 2010 recovery. There will tremendous opportunity for the survivors. So, get ready for the next 25 years. You can look forward to changing technology, changing supplier bases, changing customer bases, and a constantly changing economy. You’ll see competitors go out of business and new companies take their place. New products will come. Old products will go. Personnel changes— your own as well as those of your customers and suppliers—will affect your business. Don’t be caught like a deer in the headlights. When change happens, make decisions.

9. The 2008-2009 Recession.

– Loren Krebs began his career in the lumber business in 1969 and recently retired as purchasing department manager after 25 years wtih Disdero Lumber, Clackamas, Or. He can be reached at

Superior Service, Products & Support 100% of the Time

Distributed By

P.O. Box 1802, Medford, OR 97501 • Fax 541-535-3288

(541) 535-3465 •

January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 


MANAGEMENT Tips By Patricia Fripp

Hold your next meeting over the Internet


but travel budgets shrinking, more companies are turning to the Internet to stage their customer and employee presentations, meetings and seminars. Yet running a successful webinar has different requirements than delivering an in-person presentation. Here are tips to catch and keep a webinar audience: ITH TECHNOLOGY RISING

BEFORE YOU START, USE LOOPING SLIDES Once your audience tunes in, how do you make sure they are entertained and feel involved even before the event starts? The best way is with a series of looping slides. Looping slides are a great way to convey important information and to keep attendees entertained while waiting for your presentation to begin.

These slides need to communicate: • when the session will begin, • the conference dial-in number, • a photo, name and title of the presenter, • what the audience is going to learn, and • what to do in case of problems. You may also have quotes about the content they will be learning.

BE MORE VISUAL Be creative. Think Hollywood! Tell stories and give examples as you go through your program, the same way you would in person. However, your webinar needs more visuals to help engage the audience. Use more slides than with an in-person presentation. Add bullet points one at a time as you “build.” Don’t present a list of all your points before you discuss them. Keep

REGIONAL associations have been at the forefront of the lumber industry’s entry into webinars, hosting sessions on topics such as OSHA regulations, forklift safety, customer service, sales, collections and certification. Northeastern Retail Lumber Association even maintains an online archive of past webinars.


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

it simple, keep it moving, and interact often.

PLAN YOUR STRUCTURE Outline your presentation on paper or flip chart and then build the PowerPoint. You have to get “messy” before you get tidy! It is better to have fewer points and illustrate them well. Be sure you: • Introduce your objective. • Sell the benefits. • Explain the agenda and timing of your session. • Add any logistics and how they will interact with you.

OPEN WITH A GRABBER After a “grabber” slide, it’s up to you to engage your audience immediately with a powerful, relevant opening that includes the word “you.” Your grabber opening might be: • A catchy fact: “It may interest you to know Ferraris hold their value more than polo ponies! I first learned this lesson when…” • A startling statistic: “Did you know that if you had spent $1 million a day, every day since Jesus was born, you would not have spent a trillion dollars? Please keep that in mind as we strategize how to increase sales by only 5%…” • An intriguing challenge: “Ten years ago we were the market leaders. This year we are 13th. You are now in an exciting position to turn that around…” Grabber openings get the attention of your audience. Then it is up to you to keep it. Never start by saying, “Good morning.” Instead, say something like, “Welcome! You are in for a treat! You are about to learn how to…” As you introduce the session, sell the listeners on how they are going to benefit. Keep them glued. Remember, they can’t see you, so it is all too easy for them to answer their

email or go get a cup of coffee.

INTRODUCE YOURSELF Once you have sold the session, you can introduce yourself if someone else is not doing it. Do not do it first. Just as with an in-person session, say something the listeners care about, and then they care about who you are.

FORGE A CONNECTION The most powerful communication combines both intellectual and emotional connections. Intellectual means appealing to educated self-interest with data and reasoned arguments. Emotion comes from engaging the listeners' imaginations, involving them in your illustrative stories by frequent use of the word “you” and from answering their unspoken question, “What’s in this for me?” Use a high you/I ratio. For example, don’t say, “I’m going to talk to you about webinars.” Instead, say something like, “In the next 56 minutes, you will learn the six secrets of making a webinar work, the four benefits of using webinars as part of your client interaction, and the three mistakes your competitors are making when they use them.”

BUILD IN INTERACTION Depending on the technology you are using, make sure you interact whenever logical. For example, stop and ask, “Based on what you have heard so far, what are your questions?”

USE MEMORABLE STORIES People rarely remember your exact words. Instead, they remember the mental images that your words inspire. Support your key points with vivid, relevant stories. Help them “make the movie” in their heads by using memorable characters, exciting situations, dialogue, and humor. With a combination of your examples and visuals, it will be a memorable presentation.

USE EFFECTIVE PAUSES Good music and good communication both contain changes of pace, pauses, and full rests. This is where your listeners think about what they have just heard. If you rush on at full speed to crowd in as much information as possible, chances are you’ve left your listeners back at the station. It’s okay to talk quickly, but whenever you say something profound or proactive or ask a rhetorical question, pause.

What’s a webinar?

A webinar, or “Web-based seminar,” is an interactive conference, meeting or presentation that is conducted on the Internet.

How can webinars be used in the LBM industry? • Sales meetings • Product knowledge classes • Employee training • Virtual roundtable discussions • New product/promotion announcements • Sales pitches • Association board/member meetings • Association-sponsored seminars

AVOID NON-WORDS Hmm—ah—er—you know what I mean—. On a webinar, this habit will only be emphasized. Are you doing it? Why not have a run-through and record yourself. As with in-person presentations, as Michael Caine says, “Rehearsal is the work, performance is the relaxation.”

REVIEW As with an in-person presentation, always review your key ideas. Then say, “Before my closing remarks, what are your questions?”

STRESS THEIR NEXT STEPS Be clear what their next logical steps should be. Send them off energized and focused.

CLOSE ON A HIGH Your last words linger. Make sure they are yours (don’t quote anyone else) and make sure they are powerful.

HAVE BACKUP COMPUTERS! Here is a practical suggestion that will pay off for you. Have two computers tuned in to the webinar. This way, if one computer freezes, you can quickly get your second computer to the place where the first had frozen. It will already be tuned in to the webinar, so it only takes a few moments to get on with the show. With technology, you never know!

– Patricia Fripp is an executive speech coach, sales presentation trainer, and author of Get What You Want! Reach her at (415) 753-6556 or January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 


COMPETITIVE Intelligence By Carla Waldemar

After five generations, it’s time to grow



a little history lesson can help. “A hundred-year-old company [like ours] has seen downturns before—the Great Depression and two world wars,” says David Marling, millwork manager of Wisconsin-based Marling Lumber. The business was launched by his great-great-grandfather in 1904 and his father, Kurt, now serves as c.e.o. David calls himself “a rookie”—a young, 10-year employee in the firm he grew up in—a company that’s seen it all and survived. No, scratch that: Make it “grown and prospered.” And this round is no different. “We’re getting ready for the rebound—we’re building for that. Good times,” he’s sure, “are coming back. “We’re different! No way are we hunkered down. We’re looking to the future.” Not just a pretty metaphor, Marling has seized the opportunity to expand. It recently completed a $2-million, 17,000-sq.-ft. HomeWorks showroom in Janesville, Wi., and relocated company headquarters to the site.

FOURTH & FIFTH GENERATIONS: Marling Lumber is led by (left to right) David Marling, millwork & Janesville operations manager; Tom Marling, purchasing manager & Madison operations manager; Kurt Marling, c.e.o., and Brandon Marling, commercial manager.


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

“Our former headquarters in Madison,” half-an-hour distant, he notes, “was an 80-year-old building: worn out, inefficient. We’d run out of room. The new location gives us opportunity for growth, plus the ability to consolidate our operations under one roof—manufacturing, human resources, managers and such.” Marling also has operated a lumberyard in Janesville (and a second one in Madison) and a door plant in nearby Edgerton in addition to the original Madison HomeWorks, launched in 1996, and satellite HomeWorks showrooms opened in February in Waukesha and Green Bay, Wi. The manufacturing plant, which was the first in the region to produce hollow metal doors, turns out wall panels and more to add to the company’s offerings—and profits. But HomeWorks—a showroom we’ll visit in more detail in just a minute—was the big motivator in looking for a longterm anchor as Marling planned ahead, a habit it’s fostered for five generations and counting. “We decided that home improvement was the wave of the future, the way the market is going,” affirms David. “The traditional lumberyard of 50 years ago is a thing of the past. You’ve got to diversify to stay ahead, and [all-inclusive, one-stop-shopping] showrooms are the way to go. People—especially women, the decision-makers—have done research on the Internet. Now, they want to touch and feel the products.” Furthermore, he predicts, “the current recession will result in a rearrangement: a sorting-out of manufacturers and suppliers. Some will drop out. So you’ve got to anticipate that in planning your showroom.” Thus, among its 100-plus Janesville

employees, Marling has hired certified designers who can turn out complete home blueprints; others who can assist with kitchen, bath, and decking remodeling projects; and several who are uniquely schooled in demands likely to mushroom in the near future: handicap-access and aging-in-place specialists, who can advise commercial and home builders alike in matters from elevators and stairlifts to wheelchair-width aisles, knobs and grab bars. “You’ve got to diversify,” David seconds his own motion. And that can mean finding new partners. Marling’s new building adjoins a grain elevator, so to expand into lawn and garden products, the new site displays gondolas, gazebos and barbecues, while their neighbor handles plants and landscaping materials. “We’ve also partnered with a local flooring company,” David adds. “We choose partners that are like us—family-owned, three or four generations. And it’s been very successful for everybody involved,” he testifies. Marling also partners with its contractor customers, whom it refers to homeowners seeking installation. Monitoring consumer trends is vital, David maintains. So, picking up on the growing popularity of staycations, HomeWorks has pumped up its patio and deck capabilities, as well as indoor amenities such as fancy fireplaces. That’s in line with what Marling has decided is most important for future viability, and that’s dealing directly with homeowners. “In the past, our business was almost 100% pro, and we still offer contractors special staff, services, pricing and credit terms,” he adds. But the new showroom was expressly designed to entice homeowners directly with elaborate displays, including a functioning

Remanufacturing and Wholesale Distribution of High Quality North American Softwoods

SHOWROOM DISPLAY features windows in a spinner, each trimmed out with different profiles and different species, including purpleheart (center) and zebrawood (far right).

kitchen, closet, bath and office cabinets, and energy-efficient products— another huge growth area. Marling has also fingered the pulse of the region’s demographic, and it’s—duh!—growing older. So the company has become a leader in new services, such as those handicapaccess and aging-in-place features. To get the word to consumers that they’re welcome here, the company buys “all sorts of advertising, from print to TV.” But maybe the best ad was the new building itself, whose progress people noted daily as they passed it on the busy highway. Thinking ahead once again, Marling is wooing the younger, tech-savvy audience of today and tomorrow with use of Facebook and Twitter. Right now, while others falter, remodeling has kept the company solidly in the black. “Looking ahead, it’s been our focus for the past few years; today, it’s 80% of our business,” David says. When the company undertook its new building, it expressly added a seminar room to conduct classes—not only for its own employees, but also for its customers. Contractors can gain education credits in classes like coding changes and the stimulus package. Then these same pros are tapped as instructors in seminars for homeowners in everything from decking to energy-efficiency, which goes beyond window replacement to features they may not have considered, like re-insulation. “We’re out to inform them, not

just sell the product,” David underscores. Competitors? Sure. Menards and Depot reside just down the road— “and they have their purpose,” David allows. “But our prices are the same and sometimes even cheaper, because, with our various locations, we have buying power. Even more important is our knowledgeable customer service. Many of our employees are contractors who’ve hung up their hats, or former city inspectors. We’ll not only sell you something, but tell you how to install it, maintain it, and clean it. And if ever there’s a problem, we don’t hide. We say, ‘Come back to us.’” Marling treats those employees like family, giving them their say in decision-making. “We ask for their input because they’re the ones who deal with things, hands on. Many have been here 20, 30 years.” That’s David’s life plan, too. “My mom and dad never said I had to go into the business; I’m here because I love it. I’m a nostalgia guy, very sentimental. I like being part of history. Very few businesses can boast a fifth generation. That’s neat to be a part of it.” And the story doesn’t end here… Carla Waldemar cwaldemar@



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January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 


PRODUCT Spotlight Low-Slope Roofing by Dan Thomas, GenTite

Repair or replace?


HE WINTER MONTHS BRING cold temperatures, freeze/thaw cycles, and wind. These conditions can damage more than our morale. They can do quite a number on roofs, too. As we begin to look forward to spring, it’s not too early to start preparing for those spring roof repairs. Even though steep-slope roofs are most common in residential architecture, many homes have flat sections over porches, dormers, carports or garages. There are distinct differences in how to address low-slope (flat) roof issues and extend the life and performance of a homeowner’s investment. Help contractors and homeowners care for their flat roofs by asking three basic questions: 1. Should the roof be repaired or replaced? A primary factor is the age of the roof. The lifespan of a low-slope roof varies significantly based on the components of the roof assembly. A wellinstalled roof should perform as stated by the manufacturer, so refer to the warranty for the best indication of how long it should last. Most warranties are good for 10 years, but some products offer no warranty, while some new commercial-grade products come with a lifetime warranty. Along with the age of the roof, con-


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

sider the recurrence of the problem and ask if other solutions have been tried. The key to a successful repair is using similar materials to those already on the roof. Using a product that is drastically different from the existing material won’t provide a permanent fix, as the solvents and chemical makeup of the products will work against each other. A mineral surface roll or torch down roof should be repaired with asphalt-based products. Roofs with single-ply membranes such as TPO or EPDM require thermoplastic or rubber products, respectively, for repairs. If the homeowner has attempted to repair the roof several times, in the appropriate way, and still has a problem, it may be necessary to reroof. The common options are: • EPDM is a rubber-based singleply membrane roofing material. It’s available in a commercial grade and is easy to install. • TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) is a single-ply product ideal for warmer climates, as the white surface reflects the sun to reduce energy costs. • Asphalt-based torch down roofing can create a weather-tight roof surface. Safety precautions are critical, as installation involves open flame. • A mineral surface roll is a low-

slope alternative. The lifespan is shorter, but the price point is significantly lower.

2. Is the roof subject to a significant amount of foot traffic? Most roofs are not expected to have heavy foot traffic. If the roof will have a lot of traffic, there are two options: installing a thicker membrane or placing a deck over the roof. A thicker membrane better resists punctures, the most common cause of roof leaks. Commercial-grade EPDM and TPO membranes are available in thicknesses of 45 or 60 mil for the best resistance to punctures. A better option is to install a deck over the roof. The roofing material itself will protect against freezing, thawing and the sun, while the deck will protect the roofing material. 3. Has the homeowner established a maintenance routine? Proper maintenance is critical to getting the longest life from the roof. Always reference the manufacturer’s recommendations and warranty information for specific maintenance guidelines. Following them will keep the roof’s warranty intact. Every year, the homeowner should visually inspect the roof for black or discolored streaks, which indicate mold, algae or fungus. Spots should be cleaned with a household cleaner to stop them from spreading and to prevent roof damage. Inspect all membrane seams, paying particular attention to flashings around curbs and penetrations. Finally, trim overhanging limbs to prevent branches from sweeping against the roof, gutter, soffit and/or flashing. This will minimize leaf debris and increase the roof’s ability to withstand severe weather.

– Dan Thomas, business development manager for GenTite Residential Roofing Systems. Reach him via

Add-On Sales to Roof Inspectors

• Safety Barrier or harness to prevent falling • Safety Boots to deter slipping and prevent foot injury from dropped items • Gloves to protect skin from chemicals and sharp objects • Knee Pads • Safety Glasses

Foxworth-Galbraith Pulls Back in Arizona, Colorado

Foxworth-Galbraith Lumber Co. is pulling out of the Tucson, Az., market, closing its local Arizona Sash & Door unit by the end of the month. On Dec. 3, FoxGal shut down lumberyards in Payson and Lakeside, Az., and Pueblo, Co. The Pueblo store’s inventory was transferred to other locations, as the chain considers whether to lease or sell the site, which it acquired in 1999 from Brookhart’s Building Centers.

Weyerhaeuser Converting to Real Estate Investment Trust

Weyerhaeuser, Federal Way, Wa., announced it will convert to a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the near future, to increase profitability. “This conversion will position us to be more competitive in our timberlands business,” said president and c.e.o. Dan Fulton. Although a date has not been set, chairman Chuck Williamson predicted “the most likely date would be 2010.” Factors under consideration include the state of the economic recovery, the distribution of earnings and profits required under tax laws for REIT election, and changes in tax policy, including shareholder tax rates. Conversion to a REIT would result in a special dividend of undistributed profits, most of it in the form of stock. By the beginning of 2010, the company expects earnings and profits to total slightly less than $6 billion.

Murphy Adding Plywood Mill

Murphy Co., Eugene, Or., has agreed to acquire Panel Products’ idled plywood mill in Rogue River, Or.—hours before it was supposed to be auctioned off. The $3.6-million deal, made with a

court-appointed receiver, requires approval by the judge. In the meantime, if another bidder makes a higher offer, Murphy would receive a kill fee. Murphy reportedly plans to restart the mill this month. Panel Products, Milwaukie, Or., purchased the 164,000-sq. ft. plant on 51 acres from Louisiana-Pacific at the end of 2003, then spent millions converting the veneer drying operation into a plywood plant. The high-quality equipment made the facility particularly attractive to competitors, after it fell into receivership in May. Panel Products’ other facility, a veneer plant in White City, Or., was sold in November to Bob Jonas and Daniel Lavenbarg for $522,500.

Weyerhaeuser Selling Oregon Mill to Hampton

Weyerhaeuser Co., Federal Way, Wa., has agreed to sell its Warrenton, Or., sawmill to Hampton Affiliates, Portland, Or. The deal, expected to close later this month, includes both the facility and land. Hampton plans to idle the mill for nine to 12 months for extensive machinery upgrades. The facility currently employs 94, after 46 were laid off indefinitely last March.

Southland Yard Battles Blaze

The outdoor supply yard of Artesia Building Supplies, Artesia, Ca., was consumed by fire Dec. 10. Flammable materials such as wood and propane tanks were stored in the yard. Authorities suspect that trespassers may have started the fire. The owners of the 50-year-old business say people have jumped the fence at night in the past to steal building materials. No one was injured in the blaze, and the business will remain open.


Friedman’s Home Improvement is targeting an August 1, 2011 opening for a proposed 80,000-sq. ft. store with drive-thru lumberyard and 20,000-sq. ft. garden center in Petaluma, Ca.

Orland Ace Hardware, Orland, Ca., opened Jan. 2 at 21,8000 sq. ft.— nearly twice the size of the previous building destroyed by fire in Oct. 2008. Owner Ben Pforsich said the larger size accommodates more merchandise and new departments, including lumber and building materials.

Healdsburg Lumber Co ., Healdsburg, Ca., has acquired door/ window retailer The Window Warehouse , Corte Madera, Ca., from Steve Campodonico. Campodonico will stay on to become sales mgr. for Healdsburg.

Home Depot broke ground on a 465,000-sq. ft. distribution center in Salem, Or., for a spring 2011 opening. The company has discontinued Ralph Lauren paint and now stocks paint, cleaning products, and closet organization products from Martha Stewart Living.

The chain also presented Makita USA with the Marketing Innovation Award at its annual supplier partner meeting in Atlanta, Ga.

Lowe’s opened a new home center Dec. 4 in central San Jose, Ca.; received planning commission approval to buld a 111,348-sq. ft. store on the site of a former Home Depot in Covina, Ca., and is seeking approval to build in Carlsbad and Santa Rosa, Ca.

January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 


OLSEN On Sales By James Olsen

So you’re telling me there’s a chance…


N THE MOVIE Dumb and Dumber, Jim Carrey plays Lloyd, a kind-hearted yet obtuse limo driver who falls instantly, madly in love with a passenger he drops off at the airport. Lloyd drives across country to reunite with Mary. She is confused by his attention and behavior, and wants to let him down easily, but—really—there’s no way.

Lloyd: I like you, Mary. I like you a lot. I want to ask you a question, straight out, flat out, and I want you to give me an honest answer. What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me, ending up together?

Mary: Well, Lloyd, that’s difficult to say, I… we really don’t…

Lloyd: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight. I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances? Mary: Not good.

Lloyd: You mean like not good like one out of a hundred? Mary: I’d say more like one in a million.

Lloyd: (Pause) So you’re telling me there’s a chance. (Pause) Yeah! (Pause, giving Mary a conspiratorial look) I read ya.

When we talk with customers there will be objections. We must maintain Lloyd’s innocence and sense of the possible; too many of us are so tied to our perceived reality that we get in our own way. When I traded lumber, we would sometimes get offers that seemed ridiculous. Buyers would often say, “I can’t take that to my mill. They won’t take that number.” Our response was, “Don’t say no for the sawmill.” More often than not, the deal was made. Similar negative conversations can play out in our heads as salespeople: “This guy hates me.”


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

“He only buys from…” “He always buys from the other guy.” “They’re always too cheap.” “I never sell this guy.” “They’ll hang up if I say that.” “He’ll never pay that price.” We don’t live in reality as salespeople, we create it. We cannot let our own negative attitudes or those of others affect how we sell. We are always positive, even in the face of what can seem to be insurmountable odds. When I traded at Forest City, we had Silver and Gold Circle traders. I remember like yesterday the first year I made Silver. Ray Haroldson, my boss, called me into his office. I was expecting a pat on the back and warm congratulations. Instead, Ray said, “You know, James, if you had put a couple more bucks a thousand (+$2/MBF) on everything you sold this year you would have gone Gold instead of Silver.” I left Ray’s office feeling he was the most unappreciative SOB I had ever met in my life. I was mad at him for weeks. My thought was, “You have no idea how hard I work just to get the prices I am getting!” I started thinking about what he had told me. I started to add a couple bucks over our list price to everything I promoted. And surprise of surprises, I started to get higher prices! (Unappreciative? Ray was just a great motivator!) My reality was tied to Cascade Empire’s list price (reality), when I should have made my own list price (reality). Is selling tough? Yes. Thank goodness! If it weren’t tough, we wouldn’t get paid great money to do it. It would also be deathly boring. Can selling make us crazy? If the great salespeople I know are any indication, yes. Embrace the insanity! We’ve already got enough reality. It’s even on TV now—ugh! What we need is more imagination, innocence and perseverance. Like our friend Lloyd. So the next time someone (especially us!) begins to fill our heads with (supposed and negative) reality, let’s shout the battle cry of great salespeople: So you’re telling me there’s a chance! James Olsen Reality Sales Training (503) 544-3572 james@

Colorado Lumberyardʼs Fundraiser Feeds Locals

The fifth annual Bread ‘n’ Boards fundraiser at Sears Trostel Lumber & Millwork took place Dec. 5 at the company’s location in Riverside, Co., and raised more than $17,000 for a local food bank. “This year, there was some real gravity to doing it and doing it well,” said store manager Matt Chavez. Due to the bad economy, the food bank expected to distribute 7.5 million lbs. of food in 2009—up from 6 million lbs. in 2008. More than 500 cutting boards in four different shapes were auctioned off during the event. Each one came with a bottle of finishing oil, plus a coupon for a free loaf of bread from a local bakery. Top price was $200, for a “signature” board made by a craftsman who’s also a customer of the store. “We wanted to involve more people and wanted to add more variety to the signature boards,” said Chavez


Weyerhaeuser Co. will close its iLevel DC in W. Sacramento, Ca., by

mid-February and expand its Stockton, Ca., DC to serve the added territory.

MJ Forest Products, Linden, Ca., a wholesale trading office with lumber and plywood remanufacturing, was started by Max Jones, Janne Jones, and Mike Mackin. Steve Seley, owner of mothballed

EMPLOYEES and volunteers create boards during the fundraising event.

Pacific Log & Lumber, Ketchi-

kan, Ak., is seeking federal assistance to convert to young-growth and fuel wood. USDA will decide on his proposal by spring.

Burton Saw & Supply , Eugene, Or., agreed to buy the assets of fellow mill equipment manufacturer Sequoia Saw & Supply, Eureka, Ca. The deal is set to close Feb. 1. Simpson Door Co., McCleary, Wa., extended the warranty on its interior wood doors to 10 years.

Norman Distribution , MedAins-

EVENT raised $17,000+ for a local food bank.

TOP BOARD at fundraiser fetched $200.

of the boards created by local craftspeople. Every board sold at the event was made from hardwood scraps collected at the company’s millwork facility and glued into blanks. These were then routed and shaped by employees and customer-volunteers at the Riverside location—half before the event and half during, so attendees could witness the process.

ford, Or., is now distributing worth’s Durastrand.

Snavely Forest Products is now stocking Georgia-Pacific’s Broadspan I-joist, LVL and Rim Board engineered wood products. CertainTeed’s Decoustics Quadrillo, Solo and Solo M ceiling products were FSC certified by Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program.

Simpson Strong-Tie’s Steel Strong-Wall structural shearwall is now code listed for use in two-story constructions applications.

January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 


GREEN Retailing

Taking stock of your green stock By Jay Tompt


HERE ’ S AN OLD BIT OF BUSINESS WISDOM that goes something like,

“You can’t improve what you don’t measure.” It seems appropriate to spend a little time thinking about that. For one thing, it’s January, a natural time to assess where we are, resolve to make improvements, and chart a course for the rest of the year. For another, it’s a fundamental principle underlying every serious sustainable business initiative. It’s a simple formula: identify the right things to measure, create benchmarks, set goals for improvement, monitor performance, and adjust as necessary. Whether the economy in 2010 comes roaring back or stays about the same, it’s clear that there are revenue-boosting and cost-saving benefits for companies that get serious about sustainability. For dealers, the core business is all about the product mix, with basic met-

rics tracking sales, velocity, inventory, etc. Assuming staff is trained and products are merchandised well, these metrics can be useful for identifying the poorest performing SKUs to eliminate and which categories to strengthen. But to address the needs and desires of the growing number of “green” customers, these metrics fall short. How many of your products would contribute to LEED credits? What percentage is Energy Star-rated or would qualify for rebates? Which products are heavy energy consumers or contain the most toxic chemicals? And where are they manufactured: locally or the other side of the planet? Some “big box” retailers and major mainstream product manufacturers have benchmarking programs in place and are mobilizing their marketing teams around them. For example, WalMart introduced its Supplier Scorecard a couple of years ago and last year announced its Sustainability Index Consortium, an effort to define standards for a variety of product categories. They’ve also announced goals to reduce packaging and increase the number of green products on shelves.

The Home Depot rolled out its EcoOptions program in 2007 with 3,000 products and announced a goal of increasing that number to 6,000 by 2009. Their website claims to have sold over one billion such products since the program’s inception. Proctor & Gamble also announced an initiative to benchmark chemicals used in their products with a goal of reducing toxics. All of these efforts have garnered positive press and “greened” their respective reputations. The basis of these kinds of goals and marketing claims are the assessments, but these kinds of programs, and their benefits, are not exclusive to big companies. My firm recently helped a group of much smaller companies create green product criteria against which we characterized about 250,000 individual SKUs. The result is a starting point from which these companies can create meaningful business goals, merchandising programs, and marketing campaigns. More importantly, they now have a new set of metrics that will help them measure performance and progress toward their goals. Imagine a dealer or distributor who wants to become the energy efficiency leader in their market, but they have no idea how many Energy Star or other energy-saving products they already sell. They’re literally in the dark with a meaningless, maybe even dubious, goal unless and until they know their starting point. Only after assessing their product mix, can this imaginary dealer resolve to double the number of Energy Star products, properly train and incentivize staff, and begin to make the marketing claims that would lead them to their goal. For real-world dealers and distributors, the benefits of such benchmarking could lead to greater sales, deeper organizational knowledge, and competitive advantages. By any measure, that’s not a bad way to approach the new year. Jay Tompt Managing Partner Wm. Verde & Associates (415) 321-0848


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

BMHC Okayed To Emerge

BMC West parent Building Materials Holding Corp., Boise, Id., received bankruptcy court approval to complete financial restructuring in hopes of emerging from Chapter 11 on Jan. 4. “As a result of this process, we will be in a much stronger financial position, having reduced our outstanding indebtedness to $135 million upon emergence,” said chairman and c.e.o. Robert Mellor, who under the plan would step down. “We have streamlined our cost structure significantly and have secured exit financing of $90 million to support our ongoing operations and future growth.”

keep it afloat in a bad economy. After the Andersons returned home from Utah, Vicky Andersen had to take a break because of stress and high blood pressure. Her husband believes the stress caused her health problems. “A legitimate profitable business can’t do business because of the screw-ups of the banks,” he said.

Bloch Put on Auction Block

All assets of Bloch Lumber, a 50year-old distributor based in Chicago, Il., were seized by its primary lender and set to be auctioned off Dec. 29. The Chicago, Il.-based wholesaler operated 26 facilities in 17 states, including sales offices in Portland, Or., and Denver, Co.

Colorado Ace Owner Stricken

A series of business setbacks may have contributed to the brain aneurysm that put an Ace Hardware owner in Colorado into intensive care. Vicky Anderson, who co-owns the store in Wellington with her husband Doug, was stricken on Oct. 28—just days after the couple tried to renegotiate their business loans with a Utah bank. The loans had been sold to the bank after the FDIC took over their original bank, First National of Arizona, just one week before the store opened. “I have hit the perfect storm,” said Doug Anderson. “Our survival is based on the ability to be as resourceful as we possibly can in an economy that has flat-lined.” Even though the couple traveled to Utah to meet with bank officials, no new loans were offered. As a result, the Andersons had to invest nearly a million of their own money to launch the store, plus another $220,000 to

DOMESTIC SALES: Jerry Long, Michael Parrella, Janet Pimentel, Pete Ulloa, George Parden, Vince Galloway, Steve Batick, Chris Hexburg, Matt Wright, Brad Applegate, Scott Crutchfield. INTERNATIONAL SALES: Nestor Pimentel.

PORTLAND WHOLESALE Lumber Association honored Bill Hallstrom (right, with son Karl Hallstrom), Zip-O-Log Mills, Eugene, Or., as Lumberman of the Year at its recent holiday luncheon. (See next month for more photos of the event.)

January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 


MOVERS & Shakers Dixie Tibbets has retired after 26 years in the industry, the last 13 with Swanson Group Sales, Glendale, Or. Justin Norman has been promoted to v.p.-sales & marketing at Woodfold Mfg., Forest Grove, Or. Tom Czlapinski, ex-TimberTech, is new to outside sales at California Redwood Co., Arcata, Ca., covering So. Ca., Az., Ut., N.M., and Tx., from his office in Temecula,

Ca. Chad Griffith, ex-Lumber Products, is now handling outside sales in Wa., Or., Id., Mt., Wy., Co., and Ok., from his base in Spokane, Wa. Bob Lackey, veneer sales, Idaho Veneer, Post Falls, Id., added the title of sales mgr.-lumber products. John Parr, ex-Certified Forest Products, has been promoted to president of McKillican American, Inc. He will be based in Orinda, Ca.

Old World Craftsmanship In Today’s Designs

Tru-Dry Timbers Geo. M. Huff Lumber Company has teamed up with Forest Grove Lumber to become the exclusive Southern California stocking distributor of Tru-Dry Timbers. All FGL Tru-Dry timbers are dried in “HeatWave USA’s RFV” kilns, which use clean, renewable energy and have zero emissions. Tru-Dry timbers are dried completely and evenly throughout so you won’t experience the sticky problems often encountered with beams that are not dried to the core. Combine our selection of Douglas fir timbers along with our skilled milling staff and you’ve got one of the best resources in Southern California.




 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

Rick Palmiter, ex-Idaho Veneer, has joined Idaho Forest Group LLC, Coeur d’Alene, Id. Erol Deren has been named v.p.-sales & marketing, and Jim Scharnhorst is now v.p.-market development, focusing on export, new markets, and specialty products. Chris Graham has rejoined McCoy’s Building Supply as store mgr. in Hobbs, N.M. John Steward, ex-Plum Creek, is new to the sales staff at Silver City Lumber, Three Forks, Mt. Shawn Roehr has been promoted to president at Arrow Lumber & Hardware, Eatonville, Wa. Jeff Wertenberger is now v.p./chief financial officer; Lloyd Gentry, v.p./director-store operations, Orting, Wa.; Steve Putney, v.p./ store mgr., Eatonville; Greg Simpson, v.p./store mgr., Randle, Wa., and Chris Peterson, v.p./ store mgr., Port Orchard, Wa. Cadian Hendricks will serve as v.p./store mgr. of a planned 8,000sq. ft. facility that is awaiting a building permit. Todd Perry is now focusing on lumber and panel sales in the western U.S. for Taiga Building Products, Burnaby, B.C. Cam White will become president and c.e.o. April 1, following the retirement of Jim Bradshaw, who joins the board. Kevin Bradshaw is now executive v.p.-supply management; Trent Balog, executive v.p.-operations, and Grant Sali, executive v.p.allied products & treated wood. Marc Brinkmeyer, Idaho Forest Group, Coeur d’Alene, Id., was named chairman of the new American Wood Council. Immediate past chair is Ray Tennison, Simpson Investment, Tacoma, Wa.; 1st vice chair Joe Patton, Westervelt; 2nd vice chair Brian Luoma, L-P; lumber rep Adrian Blocker, West Fraser; EWP rep Rob Taylor, Weyerhaeuser; panels rep Fritz Mason, G-P; other products rep Andrew Miller, Stimson Lumber, Portland, Or., and Canadian Wood Council rep Diana Blenkhorn. Larry Greene has been named director of sales for Calibre Door Closers, Orange, Ca. Kevin Surace, Serious Materials, Sunnyvale, Ca., was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. Rich Returns is now investment mgr. at Mungus-Fungus Forest Products, Climax, Nv., report owners Hugh Mungus and Freddy Fungus.

GOOD JOB: Gary Spliethof, Boise Cascade, Woodinville, Wa., was presented Vendor of the Year Award from Hadlock Building Supply, Port Hadlock, Wa., by Bill Kraut and Morris James.

Certifiers Ul and ICC Unite

Underwriters Laboratories and ICC Evaluation Service have teamed up to streamline evaluations that ensure building products are compliant with appropriate codes and product safety standards. The new dual evaluation and certification program will simplify the testing and evaluation, conduct testing to UL safety standards, show code compliance via an ICC-ES evaluation report, and get simultaneous postings of compliant products in UL’s online certifications directory and code correlation database. “This partnership brings two industry leaders together to create a onestop-shop for building materials testing and evaluation needs in the built environment,” said Chris Hasbrook, an UL v.p. and general manager. He added that the “dual evaluation and certification program will provide manufacturers faster turnaround times and speed to market, while giving their customers two more reasons to trust the quality, safety and efficiency of their products.” UL has also enhanced the usability of its product certification information. Its code correlation database connects product certifications directly with specific applicable model installation code sections to help code authorities and other industry professionals find ICC-ES code-compliant products. “This is just one of the many benefits of working with a trusted partner in safety like UL,” said Mark Johnson, president of ICC-ES. “We continue to look for new opportunities to expand this partnership to better serve our customers and members.”

January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 


PRODUCT Spotlight Radiata Pine Exterior Trim

Radiata pine makes its mark in exterior trim A


Lifespan exterior trim and siding photo by Tenon

continues to hold the lion’s share of the exterior trim market, sturdier alternative materials have been making inroads. There are fast-growing cellular PVC products, such as Azek Mouldings, Royal Mouldings’ Quick Trim, Koma Trimboards, and CertainTeed Restoration Millwork. There are engineered products, including LP SmartSide, and hardboard trim, including Collins’ TruWood. And fiber cement, such as from James Hardie and Plycem, also remains hot. That doesn’t mean wood has sat idly by. Stronger, more versatile

wood products have arrived, particularly from the radiata pine forests of New Zealand and Chile. To justify the long-distance shipping, the first radiata pine to arrive in the U.S. two decades back were highgrade, clear products. Due to their natural good looks, they initially targeted interior millwork applications. Over the last half-dozen years, however, radiata pine producers have attempted to expand and diversify by looking outdoors. Since, once outdoors, it will inevitably end up primed and painted, radiata pine exterior trim is now touting selling points beyond appearance. Among the advantages:

STARTED BY NATURE, FINISHED BY BODYGUARD There is no man made material that can compare with the beauty, warmth, or naturalness of wood; and now we’ve made it better. We’ve taken renewable New Zealand pine and enhanced it as Bodyguard, providing durability and effective prevention from insect damage and rot, all with a 30 year limited warranty. Distributed by The Kelleher Corporation. Call now for more information. Telephone (707) 938 4001.


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

• Sourced from sustainably managed plantations. (Several, in fact, are FSC certified.) • Pressure treated for durability, insect resistance, and moisture protection. • Covered by decades-long warranties again rot, fungal decay, and termites. • Treated with organic, non-corrosive preservatives. • Machine finished with primer and/or paint. • Require no special tools, cutting equipment, or fixing methods. • Kiln-dried and defects removed prior to fingerjointing for a smooth finish. • Can also be used indoors. “It’s a perfect product—and it’s proven,” said John Barry, sales manager for ITI Americas, which produces DesignPine radiata pine from a state-of-the-art facility in Chile. “It’s been used extensively in Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia, so due to its popularity we needed a larger source of supply and went to Chile.”

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January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 



Historic downturn sets the stage for slow lumber recovery “N


“Historic.” “Unprecedented.” “Worst Ever.” These and many other adjectives have been used to describe lumber markets this past year. While the worst may be over, the depth of the downturn in U.S. lumber demand and production has created new challenges and will likely hold back the pace of recovery in the future, according to a lumber market outlook from Western Wood Products Association. Demand for softwood lumber in 2009 plummeted to the lowest point in more than three decades. The collapse of the housing market, fueled by a U.S. economy roiled by financial crisis, has impacted the lumber business dramati-


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

cally. As demand for lumber evaporated, lumber prices declined, in some cases by 60% or more from levels of four years earlier. Housing long has been a key market for lumber, accounting for 45% of annual consumption. After peaking at 2.068 million in 2005, housing starts declined steadily before tumbling in 2009 to post-World War II lows. Just 551,000 houses are expected to be built in 2009, down 39% from the previous year, predicts WWPA. That total is the lowest since 1945, when 326,000 homes were built. As a result, just 7.2 billion bd. ft. of lumber will be used in new construction in 2009, compared to the 27.6 billion

bd. ft. used in housing just four years earlier. Overall demand for lumber is expected to total just 31 billion bd. ft. in 2009—less than half of what was used in 2005. That would be the lowest annual volume of lumber used since 1975. Repair and remodeling uses, the second largest market for lumber, has fared slightly better than home building, but is still weak. An estimated 11 billion bd. ft. of lumber will be used in repair and remodeling in 2009, down 26.6% from the previous year. The unprecedented decline in demand has taken its toll on lumber producers. Western lumber production in 2009 is forecast to decrease 21%. The 10.2 billion bd. ft. produced by western mills is the lowest since the 1930s and represents a little more than half the volume the same mills produced five years earlier. Sawmills in the South have reduced production as well, decreasing to 11.6 billion bd. ft. in 2009. In all, U.S. lumber production will total 21.8 billion bd. ft. for the year, down 21% from 2008. Canada and other foreign lumber suppliers have fallen on even harder times in selling to U.S. markets. Lumber imports from Canada are predicted to total 7.9 billion bd. ft. in 2009, a decrease of 32% from the previous year. Other imports, including lumber from Europe and Latin America, should decline by double-digit percentages for the fourth straight year and lose more market share to domestic producers. Looking ahead to 2010, lumber markets are expected to show some recovery as home construction activity picks up. But given the weak economy, continued high home foreclosure rates, and a financial system struggling for sta-

bility, the gains in lumber demand and production will be modest. WWPA is forecasting lumber demand to rise 11% in

RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION should begin the long, slow road to recovery this year.

January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 


2010 to 34.5 billion bd. ft. Housing starts will increase 21% to 668,000. While that is an improvement, the number of homes built in 2010 will be just half the total of what was constructed in 2007. U.S. lumber production should move higher to meet the slow growing demand. Western mills are expected to produce 11 billion bd. ft. of lumber in 2010, up 8%. Sawmills in the South will match that growth and increase production to 12.6 billion bd. ft. Canada may begin to regain some of the market share lost over the past

few years. Softwood lumber imports from Canada are expected to rise 18.8% in 2010 to 9.4 billion bd. ft. Volumes from Europe and Latin America will also increase to just over 1 billion bd. ft. Beyond 2010, both lumber demand and production are expected to follow an upward trend as economic activity and housing construction continues to rise. Housing starts, though, are not forecast to move above 1 million units until 2012. Lumber demand will follow those gains, but it may be some time before volumes come close to

those recorded in 2005. As recovery takes hold, hopefully the industry will find more positive adjectives to describe the lumber business.

Find Sawmills, Products with Online Utility

Historic declines in the western lumber industry have caused many changes in the supply chain, with distributors looking for new sources for lumber and services. An online locator can give wholesalers and retailers a head start on finding new lumber suppliers. Available at, the Online Lumber Buyers Guide can be used to generate a list of western mills based on species, product, service, even transportation mode. Once the criteria is selected, mill listings can be generated showing the sales contacts, phone and email addresses. Product selections range from dimension lumber to boards to specialty products such as fingerjointed lumber or pattern stock. All major western species can be sourced, including Douglas fir-larch, white fir, and ponderosa pine. Retailers selling product to green building projects can use the guide to find western mills making FSC or SFI certified lumber. Mills cutting for export markets can also be identified. Product services that can be selected range from heat treated (HT) stock, end waxing, double end stamping and long lengths. Transportation selections cover the major railroads—direct and reload— as well as truck or barge.


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010


Sawmills preparing for “new normal”


MERGING FROM THE DEEPEST downturn in the industry’s history, lumber sales professionals at western sawmills are preparing for a “new normal” in selling and serving their distributor customers as markets recover. Both mills and distributors have seen dramatic changes in the past few years. Demand for lumber plummeted by more than 50% from 2005 to 2009. Mills cut output as prices crashed, with some product such as framing lumber selling for 60% less than four years ago. On the distribution side, scores of lumberyards and wholesalers closed or filed for bankruptcy. The pace of consolidation accelerated, while economic conditions put stress on financing and credit for lumber purchases. Relationships between mills and customers—long a key part of the lumber business—will take on even greater importance as sales start to recover. Many mill sales executives said fortifying those relationships are a priority. Steve Schmitt, vice president of marketing at Stimson Lumber Co., Portland, Or., said his sales staff has been traveling more to meet with dealers. “We pride ourselves in standing behind our products. Going out to meet with our customers is the best way to demonstrate that commit-


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

WESTERN MILLS are tweaking their capabilities and product lines to remain competitive in a tough market.

ment,” he said. Other mills are becoming more involved with their customers’ businesses. Mark Porter, mill sales manager with Hampton Lumber Sales, Portland, said his company has spent more time evaluating what their customers need,

from product offerings to training. “We’ve been doing this with many of our key buyers and have been successful,” said Porter. “Even with the down markets, we’ve been able to increase our business to these customers.” Mills are changing how they supply lumber to customers. Sierra Pacific Industries lumber sales manager Bob Shepherd said his mills are selling more specified tallies and mixed cars than before, reflecting the changing buying patterns of their customers. J.D. Deisher of Georgia-Pacific West is finding ways to get more variety of lengths in smaller shipments for customers. Simpson Lumber Co. installed double trim saws at its mills to cut shorter lengths. “We now have more flexibility in cutting to 8-, 10- and 12foot products that our customers want,” noted Laurie Creech, Simpson sales manager. Other mills have expanded their product offerings. John Stembridge at Swanson Group Manufacturing, Glendale, Or., said their mills are now cutting wider widths, up to 2x12, instead of the 2x4 and 2x6 products they cut predominately in the past. Jim Scharnhorst, Idaho Forest Group, Coeur d’Alene, Id., said his mills are expanding in cedar products in addition to their framing and pine board offerings. SPI has added 4x4 and 4x6 white fir to its product line. Enhancing lumber quality and appearance is a priority for many mills in the West. Shepherd said SPI has focused on “doing a better job at the mill” to not only manufacture those products that are most in demand, but to ensure the quality the customer expects is there as well. Simpson has introduced a “Gold Label” premium line for lumber, which Creech says has been popular. The emphasis on quality goes beyond the cutting better lumber. Stimson’s Schmitt said they have changed to heavier paper wrap on lumber to better protect open car shipments in transit. A number of mills said they will be antistain treating both green and kiln-dried lumber to keep the products bright and clean when they reach the yard. The difficult market condition over the past year have forced mills to review the credit they offer to buyers and be more selective in extending

terms. At the same time, mills have tried to become more flexible with long-standing customers. As one sales executive noted, “We are working with people who have been working with us.” Many said that buyers who are honest about their financial conditions will have a better opportunity to develop long-term relationships with mills that can benefit both parties. With lumber inventories low throughout the market, the prospect of increasing sales will test mills’ ability to deliver lumber to all customers when they need it. Since 2005, west-

ern lumber production has shrank by some 47%, or 9 billion bd. ft. Should markets come to life, mills will be hard pressed to push production up quickly. Lumber buyers who have stuck with mills through the tough times will have a leg up in getting the supply they need once markets heat up. “Our best customers are those who understand that we rise and fall together,” said one sales manager. “Those are the people we want to do business with, in good times as well as bad.”

January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 



Lumber industry returns to Portland for annual confab


WWPA RETURNS its annual meeting to its hometown of Portland, Or., this year. HE WESTERN LUMBER INDUSTRY

will return to its roots with the Western Wood Products Association’s 2010 meeting this spring in Portland, Or. The annual gathering of lumber industry professionals will be held March 8 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Portland—just a few miles away from the site of the first

sawmill in the region, built by Dr. John McLoughlin in 1827. The special one-day session features business meetings, networking opportunities, and a lumber forecast presentation. Also, the meeting will be held the day before the Wood Technology Clinic & Show, which runs March 911 at the Portland Convention Center. Morning sessions include meetings of WWPA standing committees, followed by the industry luncheon. The afternoon features a forecast conference, with the association’s newest outlook for lumber markets and guest speakers. The day will close with the chairman’s reception, which offers many opportunities to network with other industry professionals. Registration is $290 for WWPA members, $350 for WWPA grading service and associates, and $425 for all others. For those who would like to just network with industry folks, WWPA is offering a special registration for the chairman’s reception only


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 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

on Monday night for $100. Complimentary passes to the exhibition floor of the Wood Technology Show also will be available for registered attendees. From the Embassy Suites, attendees can take Portland’s light rail to the show for free. Registration and hotel reservations for the meeting can now be completed online, using links on The association has secured a smaller block of rooms at the Embassy Suites, so those needing overnight accommodations are urged to make hotel reservations early.

Link Up with the Best in the West

Retailers and wholesalers who want to get connected with the top companies in the western lumber industry— and keep up on industry activity—can join as Western Wood Products Association distributor associates. WWPA distributor associate membership provides wholesalers and retailers access to a variety of services and opportunities delivered by the region’s largest lumber organization. Benefits include use of the WWPA distributor associate logo on company advertising and materials, listing on the popular WWPA website, discounted fees to WWPA’s annual meeting, and rights to sponsor various annual meeting events. Associates also receive free subscriptions to Plumb Line, a monthly newsletter; Lumber Track, a monthly review of industry statistics, and Barometer, a weekly report of western industry performance. Annual dues for distributor associate membership is $750. For a membership kit, contact WWPA’s Butch Bernhardt at (503) 306-3488 or


Software tools ease lumber selection, specification


slowly recovers, more lumber customers



 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

will be seeking help in identifying the right western lumber product for a

construction project. Two software design tools can make that job easier and aid wholesalers and retailers in helping customers make the right selections. The Western Lumber Design Suite and the Lumber DesignEasy software utilities deliver information on western lumber grades, spans and other technical information with just a few clicks. The design utilities, which work in concert with Microsoft Excel, are available free of charge from Western Wood Products Association. The Western Lumber Design Suite is a full-featured design tool that provides calculations for horizontal framing (beams and joists), vertical framing (posts and studs), and wood-towood shear connections. Calculations are available for the major sizes and grades of western lumber products available in the market today. All calculations follow the 2005 National Design Specification for Wood Construction (NDS). The Design Suite features three modes: Beam/Joist Design, Post/Stud Design, and Wood-to-Wood Single Shear Connections. The Beam/Joist mode is for horizontal framing and calculates reactions, shear, stresses, moments and deflections based on the specified loads. Users select the design parameters and the program assigns appropriate adjustment factors and determines whether the specified member size is adequate. Also displayed are diagrams, bending moments, horizontal shear and deflection per the specified loads, all on one screen. For vertical framing, the Post/Stud Design mode calculates compressive stress, bending stress, and combined stress ratio based on the specified loads for posts or studs. Users select the design parameters and the program

determines whether the specified member size is adequate. Adjustment factors for load duration, size, wet use, bearing area, repetitive member, stability, incising, high temperature, column stability, flat use and form can be specified. The Connections mode calculates the single shear capacity of a nail, bolt, wood screw or lag screw connecting two wood members. Load duration, connector penetration, and wood member end grain conditions are considered. The calculations are only for simple connections. While created for professional engineers and designers, the Design Suite allows distributors to better serve their customers by providing product recommendations based on the structural requirements in the plans. Retailers using the Design Suite can identify the right species, size and grade of western lumber for a project that they can supply from inventory. The Lumber DesignEasy utilities offer a quick and easy way to determine spans for Western lumber joists, rafters and beams. The Lumber DesignEasy–Joists utility quickly calculates simple joist and rafter spans for western lumber structural grades from 2x4 up to 3x16. Select the species and size, then enter the loading conditions, and DesignEasy generates a table of spans for each of the appropriate structural grades for four different on-center spacings.

LUMBER DEALERS and wholesalers can use software design tools to help their customers select the proper grades, spans and more.

A second utility, Lumber DesignEasy–Beams, allows users to calculate spans for Douglas fir and hem-fir beams and headers. Spans are available for solid-sawn beams in sizes from 6x6 to 14x24. The utility also calculates spans for built-up beams constructed from up to four 2” dimension lumber members in widths of 4” to 18”, as well as 4x4 to 4x18 beams. All Lumber DesignEasy utilities are optimized for use on portable hand-held devices or smartphones that can run mobile versions of Excel. WWPA is also developing a Lumber DesignEasy–Joist application that will run on iPhones. The app will be available on the iTunes store this spring. Both the Lumber Design Suite and Lumber DesignEasy utilities can be downloaded at no charge from the WWPA Online Lumber Technical Guide at Free registration is required to access the site. Additionally, both software programs are included in the WWPA Digital Library, a compact disc containing a full complement of western lumber digital publications.

January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 



Group documents history of western lumber industry


of the western lumber industry features a host of stories about unique personalities and companies. A group of veteran lumber industry professionals is now capturing these stories in annual monographs to keep this history alive for the next generation of lumbermen and women. The Lumber Pioneers, with a membership of wood products professionals with at least 20 years of experience in the industry, has published five monographs so far. The first monograph detailed the history of Pope & Talbot’s Port Gamble mill, which operated for 140 years, making it the longest operating sawmill in North America before it closed in 1995. Other monographs offer overviews of Gilchrist Timber Co., Paul Bunyan Lumber Co., Ochoco Lumber Co., and HE RICH HISTORY

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Bohemia, Inc. Each monograph is $5 from the Literature Store at Lumber Pioneers chair Sherman Kirchmeier said while the members are documenting the past, they are also focusing on the future. The group became a tax-exempt organization in 2009 and has established a scholarship program to support the next generation of industry professionals. “We would like to give back something to an industry that has given us so much,” said Kirchmeier. “Providing scholarships is one of the best ways we can do that.” The Lumber Pioneers are providing scholarship contributions to the Oregon State University Wood Science & Engineering fund and the Temperate Forest Foundation Teachers Tour program. Kirchmeier said the group is making a renewed effort to bring those still working in the industry into the Lumber Pioneer ranks. Individuals with 20 years or more experience working in the industry, from mills and lumber companies to wholesalers, retailers and others, are eligible for membership. Annual dues are $20 a year. For more information on the Lumber Pioneers and to download a membership packet, go to and select Lumber Pioneers under the About WWPA tab. You may also contact the group at

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ProFekt wood-look strips from United Plastics Corp. quickly beautify aging decks without power-washing or rebuilding. The strips are unrolled and installed with an adhesive over existing decks. The surface contains natural minerals to eliminate slipping and splinters, an ultraviolet stabilizer to minimize fading, and an antifungal treatment to prevent mold and mildew.

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Composite Siding Offers More and Less

A new composite siding from Tech-Wood is constructed of 75% long-strand pine fibers and 25% virgin polypropylene, reportedly to provide greater strength but lower weight and cost than fiber cement. Tech-Plank has a distinctive woodgrain and can be worked like wood, with no special tools.

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January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 



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Two new lines of deep I-joists from Boise Cascade are designed for environmentally friendly light commercial construction. The BCI 90E series and AllJoist AJS-30 series reportedly have higher design values to handle higher loads and longer spans, up to 44’. Both are available in depths of 18”, 20”, 22”, and 24”, with 1-1/2” deep and 3-1/2” wide Versa-Lam LVL flanges in lengths up to 48’.




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Slate-Look Shingles

StormMaster asphalt shingles from Atlas Roofing are now offered with the look of slate. Available in a full range of designer colors, the shingles reportedly resist cracking, splitting, warping and shrinking in hot and cold climates.


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

Tough Metal Shears

The cordless Bosch PS70 metal shear offers controlled, precise cut-

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Triple Glazed Glass

Milgard has added a triple glazing option to its Tuscany line of vinyl replacement windows and patio doors. The option reportedly meets or exceeds qualifications for both EnergyStar and Energy Tax Stimulus programs. Other options include dual SunCoatMAX Low-E glass and an argon gas blend for improved insulation and energy savings.






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1. 866. F S C . W O O D January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 


LACN 2ND GROWTH Photos by The Merchant Magazine

GOOD CHEER: Lumber Association of California & Nevada’s 2nd Growth group held its annual holiday meeting Dec. 3 at the Sheraton, Cerritos, Ca. [1] Jean Henning,


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

Danny Sosa, Charlene Valine. [2] Pete Ganahl, Terry Rasmussen. [3] Neil Rasmussen, Joe Allotta. [4] Diana & Mike Shumaker. [5] Aphai Ellison, Bill Humphries.

[6] Mike Carey, Beth Bollen. [7] Doug Willis, Bob Golding. [8] John Pasqualetto, Mike Garrity. [9] David Abbott, Rick Deen. [10] Endy Flores, Marcos Andrade. [11] Ron Reed, Shelly Merchain. [12] Roseanne & Darrel Bustamonte. [13] Alan Oakes, Melinda Ganahl. [14] Kevin Flickerman, Grey Scott. [15] Mike & Karin Caputo. [16] Eduardo Aguilar, Maggie Cabot, David Tait. [17] Scott & Lori Whitman. [18] George Kallas, Richard Coale. [19] Seamus O’Reilly, Shannon Mott, Tom Angel. [20] Rick Ponce, Karen Lewis, Dan Croker. [21] John Neel, Al Reed. [22] Chris Freeman, Jason Sumpter. [23] Gerry Perez, Janeece Lowder, Dan Sweeney. [24] Barrett Burt, Pete Meichtry, Tony Campbell.

LA HARDWOOD CLUB Brent Heppner. [5] Randy & Marty Porter, Kathy & Bruce Jauman. [6] Charles Bohnhoff, Judy Daugherty. [7] Todd Purcell, Gina Lupu, Linda & Joe Purcell. [8] Mike & Brooke Bohnhoff, Christa Bohnhoff, Nolan Torrez. [9] Charlotte Etheridge, Don Reel, Gale Daugherty.

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January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 


Photos by Tammy Medina

LOS ANGELES Hardwood Lumbermans Club’s Christmas party Dec. 12 at the Hyatt Regency, Huntington Beach, Ca., was the setting as [1] president Steve Ondich (left) presented the 2009 Lumberman of the Year Award to Alan Arbiso. [2] Allison DeFord, Walter Ralston, Deonn DeFord. [3] Cassia & Sergio Korn. [4] Steve & Heidi Ondich, Janndee Evans,

Happy New Year


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

Fifty percent of the proceeds from these business card ads benefits the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which for 12 years has been striving to aid cancer patients and survivors. Visit to continue the battle.

ASSOCIATION Update Western Building Material Association’s Young Westerner Group will hold its annual conference Feb. 4-7 at the Downtown Hilton, Eugene, Or. Seminars will cover product knowledge, yard utilization, innovation, partnership, inventory management, and reducing expenses.

Lumber Association of California & Nevada will cohost the annual Government Affairs Conference with California Forestry Association in Sacramento, Ca. Its 2nd Growth 40-and-under group installed Mike Carey, Sierra Pacific Industries, as its new president. Chris Freeman, Ganahl Lumber, is v.p.; Terry Rasmussen, Jones Wholesale Lumber, secretary; Danny Rosa, Pacific Wood Preserving, treasurer; Johnny Pringle, iLevel by Weyerhaeuser, member at large, and Mike Shumaker, Ganahl, immediate past president. The group will hold its first meeting of the year March 4 in Buena Park, Ca.

Mountain States Lumber & Building Materials Dealers Association has scheduled its annual Building Materials Expo for March 11-12 at Denver Merchandise Mart, Denver, Co.

Wood Moulding & Millwork Producers Association will come together for a winter business meeting March 23-27 at the Monterey Plaza Hotel, Monterey, Ca. A two-day, pre-meeting getaway to Napa and Sonoma will include accommodations at a luxurious wine country

hotel, sightseeing, and wine and olive oil tasting. During the conference, attendees can visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row shops and restaurants, and golf at local courses.

Western Wood Preservers Institute will host its winter meeting March 1-2 at the Embassy Suites Downtown, Portland, Or.

Los Angeles Hardwood Lumberman’s Club will host its annual pool tournament Feb. 11 at Danny K’s, Orange, Ca. A golf tournament is scheduled for March 11 at El Prado Golf Course, Chino, Ca. Western Wood Products Association holds its annual meeting March 8 at Embassy Suites Downtown, Portland, Or.

APA-The Engineered Wood Association installed Jeff Wagner, LP Building Products, as its new chairman at its recent annual meeting. Mary Jo Nyblad, Boise Cascade, was elected vice chair. Thomas G. Williamson, who recently retired from APA after a 42-year career in the engineering and wood products industries, received the Bronson J. Lewis Award. Safety awards went to Anthony Forest Products, Georgia-Pacific, LP Building Products, Roseburg Forest Products, Norbord, and RoyOMartin. Tim Fisher, Grenzebach Corp., Gladstone, Or., was elected vice chair of the Engineered Wood Technology Association Advisory Committee, succeeding Tim Ayers, who retired from Willamette Valley Co., Eugene, Or. EWTA is APA’s nonprofit organization for suppliers.

Happy New Year from…

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January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 


LBM Dealers Push for Tax Credits for Customers

The Obama Administration has consulted with both Lowe’s and Home Depot on a new government program that would encourage energy-efficient home improvements. “If this can drive sales at Lowe’s stores and put contractors and subcontractors back to work, that could have a very positive effect,” said Scott Mason, vice president of government affairs at Lowe’s. “We have seen home values decline around the country, and there are things that can be done with energy efficiency that can help drive home values up again.” Home Depot expressed support for “any program that provides incentives to consumers to make their homes more energy-efficient.” The proposed program, named Homestar, would cost $23 billion over two years. Of that amount, $6 billion would be used as incentives to people who complete at least two significant weatherization projects from a proposed list of 10 such projects. Homeowners who complete at least two eligible projects would receive up to $2,000, while up to four eligible projects would net up to $3,500—but government money could not pay for more than half of any project. Another $12 billion would reward homeowners who complete a weatherization project that reduces energy consumption by at least 20%, which would qualify for a $4,000 subsidy. Each additional 5% reduction would bring another $1,500, but government money could not pay for more than half of any project. Spot audits of completed improvements would be funded by another $2 billion. The remaining $3 billion would pay for incentives to contractors and home-improvement retailers.

U.S. Powers Tool Rebound

Global demand for power tools will climb 4% a year to surpass $28 billion by 2013, according to a recent Freedonia Group forecast. Despite the recession, the U.S. market will provide the best opportunities, accounting for over one-third of the growth from 2008 to 2013. Recovery in U.S. demand will reflect a turnaround in housing and continued enthusiasm for d-i-y projects. U.S. power tool sales will also benefit from the introduction of improved products, especially cordless electric models.


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

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Building Products Digest Call Heather at (949) 852-1990

IN Memoriam

Kenneth Vern Byers, 75, owner of Dependable Lumber Co., Paonia, Co., died Dec. 19 in Delta, Co. A veteran of the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, he bought the 115-year-old lumberyard in 1985.

Leroy “Lee” E. Hedlund, 85, former owner of two yards, died Dec. 17 in Yuma, Az. Mr. Hedlund served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. In 1946, he returned to Sandpoint, Id., and began logging. In 1955, he purchased Balch Lumber and renamed it Hedlund Lumber. The business grew to five sawmills—in Sandpoint, Id., and Chilco, Priest River, Ione, and Cusik, Wa.—before it was sold in 1970 to Louisiana-Pacific. He and his wife then moved to Gardnerville, Nv., and purchased Lakeside Lumber, which he sold in 1977. Terry Simpson, 56, longtime Portland-area lumber trader, died Dec. 12 in West Linn, Or. He spent more than 30 years in the western lumber industry,


GROWTH-ORIENTED COMPANY IN PORTLAND AREA SEEKS V.P. OF SALES This new role will have significant responsibility for developing and achieving company growth goals. You’ll manage, optimize and provide leadership for all aspects of company sales and customer service. You’ll also coordinate the integrated sales activities with sister companies. You’ll work collaboratively with Sales, Operations and Administrative teammates to organize the sales teams to provide a high level of customer service across all locations; provide exemplary service to existing customers while developing creative ways to help them to significantly grow sales and earnings; work closely with sales managers to implement strategies that are developed, and maintain an organization structure that has a deep “bench” to support and facilitate revenue growth and geographic expansion. Successful candidates MUST HAVE four-year degree from an accredited college/university and building materials industry knowledge and 8+ years of sales management experience; working knowledge of Microsoft Office; excellent interpersonal and communication skills; strong strategic skills as well as tactical expertise. Must be able to pass drug screening and background check for employment consideration. Send resume to

including at Louisiana-Pacific and Merritt Forest Products. Since January 2009, he had worked as a lumber trader at Buckeye Pacific, Portland, Or.

Arvo M. Matis, 102, former coowner of Herb Williams Lumber Co., Durango, Co., died Dec. 10 in Durango. During World War II, he served with the anti-aircraft artillery in Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s Army headquarters in the South Pacific, earning a Bronze Star. He worked at Durango Lumber Co., Durango, before partnering to buy Herb Williams Lumber, which he later sold to Boker Lumber Co. He continued working as a salesman at Boker for many years. Jimmy Joseph Fraser, 44, former owner of Western Air Nail, Bellevue, Wa., died after a brief illness Oct. 31 in Wenatchee, Wa. After working in construction with his father and brother, he started Western Air Nail. He later sold the company to Eastside Staple & Nail, Bellevue, Wa., and remained on as an employee until his death.


Willamette Valley Hoo-Hoo Club – Feb. 5, crab feed, Shadow Hills Country Club, Junction City, Or.; (541) 688-6675.

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

California Industrial Woodworking Expo – Feb. 5-6, Los Angeles County Fairplex, Pomona, Ca.; (828) 459-9894.

Seattle Remodeling Expo – Jan. 15-17, Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, Wa.; (800) 374-6463.

Remodeling & Decorating Show – Feb. 13-14, Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, Ca.; (818) 557-2950.

Do it Best – Jan. 13-15, winter conference, Orlando, Fl.; (260) 7485300;

Western Pallet Assn. – Jan. 16-19, annual meeting, Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, Rancho Mirage, Ca.; (360) 335-0208; Budma 2010 – Jan. 19-21, Poznan, Poland; (317) 293-0406.

International Builders Show – Jan. 19-22, sponsored by National Association of Home Builders, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nv.; (800) 368-5242;

Black Bart Hoo-Hoo Club – Jan. 20, industry night, Broiler Steakhouse, Redwood Valley, Ca.; (707) 621-4852.

Humboldt Hoo-Hoo Club – Jan. 21, crab freed, Elks Lodge, Eureka, Ca.; (707) 832-9039 or (707) 443-7024.

Guardian Building Products – Jan. 24-26, market, Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nv.; (800) 569-4262;

Tacoma-Olympia Hoo-Hoo Club – Feb. 2, crab feed, High Cedars Golf Course, Orting, Wa.; (253) 531-1834. Surfaces – Feb. 2-4, Sands Expo & Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nv.; (972) 536-6358;

Panel & Engineered Lumber Expo – Feb. 4-6, Omni Hotel at CNN Center, Atlanta, Ga.; (334) 834-1170; Western Building Material Assn. – Feb. 4-7, Young Westerners Conference, Eugene, Or.; (800) 956-7469;

Los Angeles Hardwood Lumberman’s Club – Feb. 11, pool tournament, Danny K’s, Orange, Ca.; (626) 445-8556.

Southern California Hoo-Hoo Club – Feb. 17, dinner & meeting, Pomona Valley Mining Co., Pomona, Ca.; (760) 324-0842.

National Frame Building Association – Feb. 17-18, frame building expo, Louisville, Ky.; (800) 557-6957;

American Fence Association – Feb. 17-19, FenceTech & DeckTech, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fl.; (800) 822-4342; National Wooden Pallet & Container Association – Feb. 20-23, annual leadership conference, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Orlando, Fl.; (703) 519-6104;

Lumber Association of California & Nevada – Feb. 24, annual government affairs conference, Sacramento, Ca.; (800) 2664344;

California Forestry Assn. – Feb. 24-26, annual meeting, Sheraton, Sacramento, Ca.; (916) 444-6592;

Oregon Logging Conference – Feb. 25-27, Lane County Fairgrounds and Eugene Hilton, Eugene, Or.; (541) 686-9191; Orgill Inc. – Feb. 25-27, spring market, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fl.; (901) 754-8850;

Colorado Springs Home & Landscape Show – Feb. 26-28, NorrisPenrose Event Center, Colorado Springs, Co.; (800) 374-6463.

VAN ARSDALE-HARRIS LUMBER CO. 595 Tunnel Ave., San Francisco, CA 94134 • 415-467-8711 • Fax 415-467-8144

Since 1888

Specialists in upper grades of clear, dry softwoods

Douglas Fir C & Better V/G & F/G Kiln Dried Full Sawn Rough • 1", 5/4", 2", 3", 4", 6" & 8x8 • 3x6 DF Select Dex Double T&G Decking Sugar Pine • 4/4 -16/4 C & Btr. • 5/4 & 8/4 D Select • 6/4 & 8/4 Mldg. • 5/4 #1 Shop • 5/4 x 12 #2 Common • 4x4 #2 Common Ponderosa Pine • 4/4 Clears, Moulding, #3 Clear, Commons • 2x4, 2x6, 2x12 Std. & Btr. Dimension Western Red Cedar Clear V/G & F/G Full Sawn Rough • 1", 5/4", 2" Kiln Dried • 3", 4", 6" Air Dried Timbers Alaskan Yellow Cedar C & Btr. Kiln Dried Rough • 4/4, 8/4 Poplar, FAS • 4/4, 5/4, 6/4, 8/4, 12/4 Sitka Spruce B & Btr. V/G Kiln Dried Rough • 4/4, 8/4 Honduras Mahogany, FAS Pattern Grade • 4/4, 5/4, 6/4, 8/4, 10/4, 12/4, 16/4

Cal Coast Wholesale Lumber, Inc. Pressure Treated Forest Products Alkaline Copper Quat (ACQ) and Borates Custom Treating Selected Inventory Available

P.O. Box 673 • 3150 Taylor Drive • Ukiah, Ca. 95482 Phone 707-468-0141 • Fax 707-468-0660 Gene Pietila

Sales for Coast Wood Preserving

January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 



Although the typical consumer might Making Beautiful Music

assume that they’d find the biggest selection at their local big box, retailer Elliott’s Hardware insists its three Dallas area stores actually carry twice the number of items—and if they don’t have what you’re looking for, they’ll find a way to get it. In fact, customer service has really been what’s separated the imaginative independent from the supersized chains. Elliott’s spreads the word through a torrent of unique promotions aimed at building local ties. After the holidays, they accept discarded Christmas trees and string lights to be recycled. They recently staged a Green Lifestyles Fair. And, most famously, in a stunt that made national headlines, the chain followed up a visit to the store last spring by George W. Bush by publicly offering the outgoing president a job as a greeter. Perks included a flexible part-time schedule, a seven-mile commute to his ranch, an opportunity to keep up on his people skills, ample parking for his security detail, employee discount, and company name tag with a big red W on it. (He graciously declined.) An ongoing success story has been partnering with the Dallas Wind Symphony. Elliott’s sponsored the symphony’s CD, Strictly Sousa, on the local classical radio station, which played one selection from the album each morning as its “March of the Day.” The chain was named on-air as sponsor and given the exclusive right to sell the CD in its stores for the length of the promotion. Elliott’s also sponsored the symphony’s Christmas, Fourth of July, and “Summer Evenings” concerts. The chain’s logo was printed on all promotional materials, and the company name was included in all radio ads. To help the symphony promote its season ticket sales drive, the chain hosted an on-site live broadcast in one of its stores. During the promotion, banners were displayed in the store, symphony volunteers handed out brochures, and small groups of musicians performed for shoppers. Elliott’s increased foot traffic, sales and name recognition in the community. In addition to selling 3,000 copies of Strictly Sousa in two weeks, the symphony received higher attendance at performances, new business sponsors, and a jump in season ticket sales. “Support of the arts is important to build customer loyalty,” said owner Charlie Bond. “It drives traffic into our stores and keeps loyal customers coming back again and again.”


 The Merchant Magazine  January 2010

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

Anfinson Lumber Sales [] ...........................................38

Bear Forest Products [] ........................................Cover III

Bodyguard [] ...................................................24

Cal Coast Wholesale Lumber......................................................................45

California Timberline......................................................................................4 C&D Lumber Co. [] .....................................................26 Capital []........................................................13, 37

Claymark [] .........................................................Cover II Columbia Vista Corp. []......................................34 Fletcher Wood Solutions []........................................39 Fontana Wholesale Lumber [] .........19

Forest2Market []..................................................35 Fred C. Holmes Lumber Co. ........................................................................38 Gemini Forest Products []....................................41

Hoover Treated Wood Products []........................................8

Huff Lumber Co. ...........................................................................................22

Ipe Clip Co., The []...........................................................46 Keller Lumber Co. ........................................................................................20

Lausmann Lumber []. ......................................15

LP Building Products [].....................................................5 Malheur Lumber Co......................................................................................32

Matthews Marking Products []......................8

Norman Distribution Inc. [].....................................11

Nu Forest Products []..........................Cover II Parr Lumber ..................................................................................................21

Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual [] .................Cover III

Potlatch [] ..............................................................31

Redwood Empire [] ................................................7

RISI []....................................................................30

Rosboro []......................................................................27

Simpson Strong-Tie [] ........................................Cover I Simpson Timber [] ......................................................28 Siskiyou Forest Products [] ...............23

Snider Industries [].........................................17

Stimson Lumber Co. [] .....................................33

Sunbelt []...............................................................21 Swanson Group Sales Co. [].......................29 Thunderbolt Wood Treating [].........41

Ultimate Escapes [].............Cover IV Utah Wood Preserving Co. ..........................................................................37

Van Arsdale-Harris Lumber Co. [] ..................45

Viance [] ...................................................................3

Wynndel Lumber []...........................................25

Yakama Forest Products []................................36

January 2010  The Merchant Magazine 


The Merchant Magazine - January 2010  

January 2010 issue of The Merchant Magazine, the leading monthly magazine for lumber and building material dealers and distributors in the W...

The Merchant Magazine - January 2010  

January 2010 issue of The Merchant Magazine, the leading monthly magazine for lumber and building material dealers and distributors in the W...