HBSD_0321

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MARCH 2021

Vol. 47 No. 3

STORE OF THE FUTURE Technology, safety and serving the customer of tomorrow.




HBSDEALER HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY

16 Independent Profile

Isthmus True Value gets in the groove

PRODUCT CATEGORIES 22 The Fastener Update 28 Insulation and housewrap:

Pushing the Envelope

PRODUCT CATEGORIES 31 Cameron Ashley’s

eCommerce offering

32 Closing the deal is just the

beginning, by Larry Morgan

35 Top Women in Hardware & Building

16

Supply: Emery Jensen Distribution’s Alison Dowell

Cover Story: The Store of the Future Accelerating into new spaces of service and selection.

17 Five Future Features 19 The Future is Now: Global Edition

22

FROM THE EDITOR

NEWS & ANALYSIS

IN EVERY ISSUE

8

10 New owner for

12 News Map 14 Stat of the Month 14 Product Knowledge 36 People in the News 38 Quikrete Industry Dashboard

Reader mail and our coverage of Tractor Supply

Orscheln Farm & Home

10 A treated solution in California 12 The Big Show

moves to October

14 Boxable unfolds a new

housing idea

Hardware + Building Supply Dealer (ISSN 2376-5852) is published monthly, except for July/August and November/December, which are double issues, by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rate in the United States: $110 one year; $200 two year; $14 single issue copy; Canada and Mexico: $130 one year; $235 two year; $16 single issue copy; Foreign: $150 one year; $285 two year; $16 single issue copy; in all other countries (air mail only). Digital Subscription: $75 one year; $140 two year. Periodical postage paid at Chicago, IL., and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to HBSD, Circulation Fulfillment Director, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Copyright © 2021 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.

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HERE’S WHAT’S ONLINE

See more and share more when you follow us on Facebook.

Top Women are getting connected Connect with the new “Top Women in Hardware & Building Supply” Linkedin event page for news, knowledge and networking, all leading up to a live event in November. Men are invited, too!

Ken’s New Jersey Garage: Winter Edition The home-improvement-products video series treks to the kitchen for a 90-second cabinet transformation.

The polls remain open. Your voice counts. HBSDealer publishes weekly poll questions on pressing industry matters, and other topics. For instance:

10%

Strongley in favor

12%

50%

Strongly opposed

In favor

Q

To what extent would you support or oppose a $15 federal minimum wage?

Follow us @HBSDealer

Poll questions and results appear every week at HBSDealer.com.

29%

Opposed Source: HBSDealer Survey

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Delivering a NEW Experience • 24/7 online shopping • Mobile friendly

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FROM THE EDITOR

HBSDEALER HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY

Reader Mail An actual reader letter reads:

Hardware + Building Supply Dealer An EnsembleIQ Publication 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 hbsdealer.com HBSDealer On The Web • HBSDealer Info Services SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT (HBSDealer, Drug Store News, Chain Store Age) John Kenlon, jkenlon@ensembleiq.com, 212-756-5238

Ken Clark Editor in Chief

“Why is Tractor Supply getting so much press in your publication? They are more of a garden center and farm supply than hardware or LBM, and seem to have gotten someone’s attention to be as frequently mentioned as they are.”

EDITOR IN CHIEF Ken Clark kclark@ensembleiq.com, 212-756-5139 LBM EDITOR Andy Carlo acarlo@ensembleiq.com, 845-891-5108 CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Ken Ryan ryankgr@aol.com, 516-567-3034 Editorial Inquiries: Direct questions to Editor in Chief Ken Clark. ADVERTISING SALES

Here is my reply, slightly embellished:

Midwest & Southeastern States SENIOR REGIONAL MANAGER Amy Platter Grant agrant@ensembleiq.com, 773-294-8598 Northeast and Great Lakes States REGIONAL MANAGER Greg Cole gcole@ensembleiq.com, 317-775-2206

Sir,

to what extent portant point — im an on d ware stores he y touc ge of core hard You have skillfull yond the covera be y ra st ler ea should HBSD ditional channels ? ct answer. But tra rre and lumberyards co ate im improvement ult ere is an e flow of home We’re not sure th ion is to cover th iss m ware, r rd ou ha ve er, lie nt e be nels — home ce have blurred. W . ese blurring chan th ted all ec h nn ug co ro all th products we believe it’s me more. Because, would reveal so rs lumberyard and of our coverage sis aly an s our core reade an lap at er th ov e ly tru pp be Su r cto It may d Tra , de res tra sto cly , as a publi But with 1,900 interesting. Plus led disproportions. itself makes them s access to detai by ter at or th rep — d tes se es pr eon. in 49 sta lin ati ad er de op s n er r Supply off ing multi-$billio company, Tracto ategies of a grow str d an les sa on on public informati e more factor. an I must share on ly participated in In full disclosure ury, Tractor Supp nt ty hotel, ce Ci is rk th Yo of w de Ne mely upscale In the first deca tre ex an was in et t re en St alysts ev might of Wall investors-and-an e. The financial ol tim ho e sc th h at hig e a fic of — nce not far from our e great coincide reer path from luding – by som y successful ca ldl wi a represented, inc d we llo fo d an Sachs, and ha o ldm wh Go d ine classmate of m rd University an rva Ha h ug ro th . hool room Indiana public sc e in the breakout y wing with prestig notepad. Was m le litt y m th wi who was now glo it su er? ing sh fitt ra ill-c y rty m pa in unprofitable And there I was, serve me as an the time, ob at to ly e pp at m Su r ss cto cla successful the CEO of Tra l Hardware Show ist, Jim Wright, previous Nationa But here’s the tw a at e m th wi proached me, l are a pane cial giants. He ap happened to sh ed room of finan wd cro e th in s. e sines event. He saw m . Asked about bu but he might like an old friend on my shoulder, nd ha chatted with me ly nd frie a d ent for me. lai om he m if t r en be nd I can’t remem It was a transce . ne yo er ge nor our bias. ev ra of ve front ts affect our co en ev e have. It was all in os th let try not to As journalists, we an. m hu ly on ’re we But

Such was my response. But here’s another strong reason to examine retailers beyond the core. One never knows from whence the next big idea will come to shape the future. To wit; check out our Store of the Future feature beginning on page 16. HBSD

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AUDIENCE

LIST RENTAL MeritDirect Marie Briganti 914-309-3378 SUBSCRIBER SERVICES/CUSTOMER CARE TOLL-FREE: 1-877-687-7321 FAX: 1-888-520-3608 contact@hbsdealer.com PRODUCTION/ART

VICE PRESIDENT, PRODUCTION Derek Estey destey@ensembleiq.com, 877-687-7321 DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION Michael Kimpton mkimpton@ensembleiq.com, 647-557-5075 CREATIVE DIRECTOR Colette Magliaro cmagliaro@ensembleiq.com ART DIRECTOR Bill Antkowiak bantkowiak@ensembleiq.com PRODEALER INDUSTRY SUMMIT MAY 19-21, VIRTUAL WWW.PRODEALER.COM IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NLBMDA, WWW.DEALER.ORG CONTACT: AMY PLATTER GRANT agrant@ensembleiq.com, PDIS DIRECTOR OF SPONSORSHIPS PERMISSIONS: NO PART OF THIS PUBLICATION MAY BE REPRODUCED OR TRANSMITTED IN ANY FORM OR BY ANY MEANS, ELECTRONIC OR MECHANICAL, INCLUDING PHOTOCOPY, RECORDING, OR INFORMATION STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL SYSTEM, WITHOUT PERMISSION IN WRITING FROM THE PUBLISHER. FOR REPRINTS, PERMISSIONS AND LICENSING, PLEASE CONTACT WRIGHT’S MEDIA AT ENSEMBLEIQ@WRIGHTSMEDIA.COM OR (877) 652-5295.

CORPORATE OFFICERS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Jennifer Litterick CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Jane Volland CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER Tanner Van Dusen CHIEF HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER Ann Jadown EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, EVENTS & CONFERENCES Ed Several SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CONTENT Joe Territo

connect with us

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NEWS + ANALYSIS

A big deal for Tractor Supply Tractor Supply Company is making a big addition to its fleet of farm and ranch locations. The Brentwood, Tenn.-based retailer reported that it is acquiring Orscheln Farm & Home in an all-cash transaction for approximately $297 million, net of acquired estimated future tax benefits of $23 million. Orscheln Farm & Home operates 167 stores located in 11 states including Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky, Illinois and Ohio. The company’s corporate office is located in Moberly, Mo., where it also maintains a distribution center.

The acquisition is conditioned on the receipt of regulatory approval and satisfactory completion of customary closing conditions. Tractor Supply said that it intends to fund the acquisition through existing cash on hand. Like Tractor Supply, Orscheln has a retail focus on animal and pet care products, hardware, tools, lawn and garden, and workwear. The company also maintains a solid e-commerce presence while offering buy online/ pick-up at store services. “This is an exciting step for Tractor Supply as we expand our footprint in the Midwest with the high-quality assets of Orscheln Farm and Home,” Hal Lawton, president and CEO of

FOLLOWING UP

A treated solution in Calif. A possible solution to the treatedlumber concerns of lumberyards, home builders, remodelers and homeowners has arisen in California. The disposal of pressure treated lumber waste became an issue in the state last month after Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed 2020’s Assembly Bill 68. The move resulted in mandating that treated wood waste must be disposed of at Class I Hazardous Waste Landfills. But the move and resulting burden took the industry by surprise. Beginning Feb. 16, 2021, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) began allowing “interested parties” to apply for a variance from certain provisions of law relating to the management of treated wood waste. The variances that the DTSC is issuing will reimpose conditions similar

10

Variances are available regariding the management of treated wood waste in California.

to the streamlined management requirements that existed previously. Applicants will be able to apply for one of six classifications of variances. “WWPI appreciates the efforts of the DTSC to come up with a new program so quickly,” says Dallin Brooks, executive director of the Western Wood Preservers Institute (WWPI). “Preserved wood is the first board installed on every home and protects the rest of the wood

MARCH 2021 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

Orscheln Farm & Home brings 167 locations to Tractor Supply Company’s fleet of stores.

Tractor Supply, said in a statement issued by the retailer. “We have always had great respect for Barry Orscheln and the team at Orscheln Farm and Home for the strong connection they have with customers in the communities they serve, along with their industry knowledge and capabilities.” As of late December 2020, Tractor Supply operated more 1,923 stores in 49 states. The company also operates 182 Petsense small-box pet specialty supply stores in 25 states. framing. Other wood structures exposed to the elements like decks and fencing are built with preserved wood because it ensures safety and sustainability.” According to Brooks, the frequent use of treated lumber in residential construction and remodeling demonstrates that using the product around homes is safe and will remain a viable option going forward. Augie Venezia, president of Fairfax Lumber & Hardware and the government affairs chair for the West Coast Lumber and Building Materials Association, said the new solution still needs some work. For starters, Venezia told HBSDealer that the application process and the questions it asks of applicants are far too complicated and could present another hurdle. “It’s like taking a written test where you haven’t been given the study material,” he says. “I only want to do this once and do it correctly so we can get on with business.” For more on the treated lumber situation, visit HBSDealer.com



NEWS + ANALYSIS

Big Show: same Vegas, new dates The 75th anniversary event of the National Hardware Show will now take place Oct. 21-23, 2021. The show will remain in the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev., but will move to the newly opened West Hall. “After consulting key industry stakeholders and attendees, the decision to postpone to October was made to ensure maximum safety for all involved and to produce a successful event for all our participants,” said Beth Casson, Event Leader, National Hardware Show. “We know how eager everyone is to come together again, and are excited to unite in a brand new, stateof-the-art space in October.” The 75th live edition of the event will offer a renewed outlook on the future, celebrating innovation, deepening

The industry will arrive at the new West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center in October.

industry connections and growing a global footprint. Industry leaders and visionaries will come together for the major home-improvement event, which will be located, for the first time ever, in the new West Hall of the

Las Vegas Convention Center. While this schedule changes the Show’s daily model to Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the Education sessions will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 20, prior to the Show opening. The 2021 Show will showcase relevant, new, and international products providing insight on industry trends and innovations. Casson continued: “We understand how important NHS is to our customers and partners, and we understand how much has changed in the world since our last edition. We are committed to serving the industry by providing the education, resources and networking needed for success in 2021 and beyond.”

News map: Open for business from coast to coast Illustration of retailers and dealers in various stages of development. For more retail news, visit HBSDealer.com. california

Millbrae

Outdoor Supply Hardware In the site of a former Orchard Supply Hardware (which shuttered all of its stores in 2018), the new Outdoor Supply Hardware opened in February as part of the Central Network Retail Group’s (CNRG) family. CNRG operates 11 OSH stores in California.

virginia OPENING

CLOSING

california

Redondo Beach

South Bay Hardware The third Do it Best-member store in the family of owner Diana Newton, along with Bay Hardware in Seal Beach and Lunada Bay Hardware in Palos Verdes Estates. The new store officially opened Jan. 18.

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ACQUISITION

Richmond

84 Lumber 84 Lumber has opened its newest dedicated truss plant here. The facility will fill the increasing demand for engineered and manufactured wood products throughout the Mid-Atlantic, the pro dealer said. The new component plant will primarily manufacture wall panels, roof and floor trusses.

texas

San Antonio

Five Oaks Ace Hardware Ace Hardware’s first North Side San Antonio location will hold an official grand opening ceremony on March 26. Owner/manager John Dunlap oversees a 14,000 sq. ft. store replete with Ace Handyman Services San Antonio.

HBSDealer.com



NEWS + ANALYSIS Product Knowledge Product: Dow PARALOID Impact Modifiers Manufacturer: DOW Building Products Knowledge: Dow Paraloid additives are used in vinyl windows and doors, vinyl siding, PV pipes and conduit, and structural composite adhesives. They strengthen and toughen a broad range of thermoset and thermoplastic polymer systems with properties that are critical to withstand the most challenging conditions. Fun fact: Paraloid resins are used in the new ERC Soft and Supersoft golf balls from Callaway Golf.

STAT OF THE MONTH

Comps gone wild Home Depot and Lowe’s continued their rivalry in the stratified air of 20%-plus compstore sales gains. The question for the home centers, and the entire industry, is what will happen in 2021 when more business begin to scrap for share of wallet. Home Depot says too many uncertainites remain to offer guidance, but “if the demand environment during the back half of fiscal 2020 were to persist through fiscal 2021, it would imply flat to slightly positive comparable sales growth,” said CFO Richard McPhail.

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A new entrant in the race to housing disruption A new factory-built housing solution, Boxabl, is growing in the sands of Las Vegas. Boxabl wants to dramatically reduce housing costs on a worldwide scale while making housing more compatible for a mass production process. The company offers foldable, stackable housing units with key components pre-built into the structures. With a footprint of about 20-foot by 20-foot, or roughly 375 square feet, the units can be folded into an 8.5-foot unit for easier transportation and delivery. “We think if you can build housing on an assembly line, you can dramatically reduce the cost and increase the quality,” Galiano Tiramani, founder of Boxabl, told HBSDealer. Founded in 2017, the company has been streamlining its production techniques while working to reduce shipping costs. Shipping initial units were expensive and cumbersome, according to Tiramani.

Las Vegas-based Boxable has big plans for its foldable 20foot by 20-foot units.

Boxabl has since updated the materials and building equipment it uses for producing the units. All raw materials are processed by computer for quick, accurate assembly. Once delivered, the structures can be unfolded and set up in nearly an hour. Boxabl units feature insulation through the walls. Essentially, the walls are single laminated panels that don’t include studs, making the building envelope tight with no thermal bridging. “It’s almost designed like a refrigerator or cooler,” Tiramani explains. Boxabl’s initial offering is the Casita, which includes a full kitchen, bathroom, and living area. The cost of the units is about $50,000. Boxabl says the structures will save the owners money through insulation technology and LED lighting included within the system. The company says it has received $1 billion in preorders.

Home Depot vs. Loews

Momentum continues for the home center giants 40.0 30.0

HD LOW

28.6% 25.0%

20.0 10.0 0.0 19Q1 19Q2 19Q3 19Q4 20Q1 20Q2 20Q3 20Q4 Source: Company Reports

MARCH 2021 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

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INDEPENDENT PROFILE

Isthmus True Value gets in the groove By Ken Clark

G

reg Norman and Jason Shaw, the owners of Isthmus True Value Hardware in Madison, Wis., are examples of musically gifted retailers. But these are not your typical players who meet up to provide entertainment at industry gatherings. These guys bring heat. With Norman on bass guitar and Shaw leading the vocals, their brand of rock (available to sample at the website FullVinylTreatment.com) is described as “furious and intricate basslines” with “soaked tone blues guitar riffs.” Norman described the band to HBSDealer: “it’s progressive metal, distorted guitars.” Responding to a question, he added: “No, it’s not anything like Neil Diamond.” These days, the stage for Norman and Shaw has shifted from local nightspots like Mickey’s Tavern or the High Noon Saloon to a former bank building that’s now known as Isthmus True Value. The new, 3,000-sq.-ft. store represents the return of independent hardware retailing to downtown Madison. Shaw and Norman had been managers at Dorn True Value Hardware for years, before the grocery store that owned the property of Dorn’s downtown Madison location expanded and forced the hardware business out in early 2018. The two managers and groove metal performers saw an opportunity in the former bank building, and they opened the store in early 2021. “The neighborhood is really glad to have a hardware store back downtown,” Norman told HBSDealer. Madison is the hometown of the flagship University of Wisconsin campus. The bank location is excellent for walk-in traffic. It has off-street parking, a convenient location foor nearby residences. And It also has an ace up its sleeve: a familiar bank drive-through window. The new owners are rolling up their sleeves to make the most of the efficiencies of the built-in drive thru as curbside pick up shows no signs of slowing down around the industry. “Initially, we figured that the bank’s drive-thru would be kind of a gimmick,” Norman said. Customers, he imagined, could drive up and communicate with an employee in the drive thru line, or pick up small items through the window. “But since Covid-19 became such a big issue, we think this could really work out to be better than curbside pickup and more convenient than the experience that big boxes offer,” Norman added. There remains some red tape. Isthmus True Value requires city permission to operate the drive through. (At presstime, Norman said he was optimistic approval will be granted.) He’s also working on finding replacement pneumatic tube containers in case

HBSDealer.com

Above: Jason Shaw (left) and Greg Norman outside their new hardware store. Top right: An album cover of their Groove Rock band, Full Vinyl Treatment. Right: Norman on bass.

“Listen to your customer and react to what they say.” —Greg Norman, Co-Owner, Isthmus True Value

there’s a demand for really small items. (“The bank didn’t leave behind the capsules,” he said.) Norman entered the hardware industry in 1995. “It was a job opportunity, and it seemed like a good fit. The scheduling worked out, and I had just graduated from college.” At Dorn True Value, Norman met Shaw, joined Shaw’s band, and the two 20-yearhardware retailing veterans are now partners on the new stage Dorn True Value, where both men worked at various locations, had been a Madison institution since the early 1980s. The new store is about three blocks from the old Dorn’s Madison store, which was about five times the size of Isthmus True Value. “We’re trying to resurrect something that was successful,” Norman said. At 3,000 sq. ft. of selling space, every inch of merchandising counts. And the mindset is rock solid: Norman explained. “One of the things we’re working on now is getting customer feedback. We’ve got to put together the selection based on that and continue to modify,” Norman explained. “Listen to your customer and react to what they say.”

HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER MARCH 2021

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COVER FEATURE analysts and retail leaders to look into the Store of the Future. A common vision is one that emphasizes alternative delivery strategies and the combination of physical and digital platforms. The pandemic did not single-handedly create these trends, but it has significantly accelerated them. The online numbers in home improvement have been striking. Lowes.com generated sales growth of more than 100%. Acehardware.com pointed to sales growth of more than 270% in 2020. And it’s all blending with delivery and pick-up, to change the shape of retail.

Accelerating into new spaces of service and selection. By Ken Clark The Apple Store in Edison, N.J., located not far from Thomas Edison’s historic early laboratory of disruptive inventions, is a celebrated product of retail experimentation. To see the store now, however, is to realize how much retail has changed in the face of the pandemic. Before Covid, the Apple Store here was an inviting, hands-on, highly interactive destination and family gathering place. In many ways, it was the store of the future. But at press time, it resembles more of an airport security line, with barriers, windows, security personnel and snaking lines that extend out into the Menlo Park Mall. Vaccines are spreading, coming to rescue the concept of stores as destinations and gathering places and service centers. But many believe that some changes are irreversible – especially the increased role of shopping through interconnected channels like BOPIS and curbside pick-up. HBSDealer solicited ideas from all sorts of experts and

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Store of the Future Features These five ideas of varying complexity may (or may not) become established in the home improvement store of the future.

Same-day delivery It’s doubtful that drones will be employed anytime in home improvement. But the template for same-day delivery already exists. And not just the national players with billiondollar supply chains. Blain’s Farm & Fleet recently added sameday local delivery. Here are the rules: Orders placed before noon are guaranteed for same-day delivery to the customer’s door step. (Orders after noon get next-day treatment.) “Adding the same-day local delivery service, in addition to our buy online, pick up at drive-thru, ship-to-home, and in-store shopping options is part of our commitment to continue to evolve as new business trends emerge,” the company said. A store of the dystopian future? Lines, appointments and security barriers at an Apple store in early 2021.

“In 10 years, retail will stop using (or should stop using) the word ‘e-commerce,” said Grant Farnsworth, president of The Farnsworth Group, a research firm. “It will be only ‘commerce.’ “There will be no clear delineation of online vs in-store behaviors,” he added. “Online represents a critical component for a ‘frictionless’ purchase experience. Customers will not think of terms of going to a store or going online. They will think in terms of getting what they want, when they want, how they want in the most efficient way possible.” At Home Depot, Jalal Hamad agrees. “Customers aren’t shopping one channel or another,” he said. “They’re just shopping.” Speaking during “The Future of the Store,” a presentation from the Path to Purchase Institute, Hamad, Home Depot’s senior director of in-store experience, pointed to stats showing that more than half of all retail customers are adopting new shopping behaviors, such as BOPIS, locker pick-up and delivery. He added that one in four of online orders were being picked up curbside. “The most interesting thing I’ve read lately is that 86% of our customers expect retail business to be more convenient after Covid-19,” he said. Retail real estate developer Kimco is including designated curbside pickup spots in its parking lots. And the future will include ways to make that feature more efficient. At Lowe’s, there’s a plan revolving around geo-fencing and in store pick up. Joe McFarland described how the company

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Digital signage According to a study from the Worldwide Business Research’s Future Stores Event, 94% of retailers use or have used digital signage to augment change or improve sustomers’s in-store experience. Forty percent consider it either important or essential to those experiences. So it may seem that the future is now for this concept, but it still has a long way to go to reach its full potential. Engaging customers, generating proper content and integrating interactions with loyalty or marketing programs are seen as hurdles to clear in its future evolution.

Specific Home Solution 84 Lumber’s Andersen showroom is a first for both companies, combining the distribution strength of the pro dealer and the product depth of the manufacturer in a stand-alone store. “For customers who desire the tactile experience of seeing products in person, this new showroom offers customers the opportunity to discover products of unmatched quality and design and fully immerse themselves in an experience that helps bring their dream projects to life,” said Grant Davis, vice president and general manager of Andersen’s Residential and Commercial Pro Division, describing the “one-of-a-kind shopping experience.” It’s easy to imagine similar retail-and-manufacturer partnerships popping up elsewhere.

Total Home Solution To encourage growth, Lowe’s is embracing what it calls a “Total Home” strategy. Here’s how CEO Marvin Ellison describes it: “At Lowe’s we will be committed to offering everything a homeowner needs to provide a total home solution across every area in the home. This includes products and services for everything needed to repair and improve the home, for DIY and Pro customers alike, across all décor categories including paint, as well as simple and complex installations.”

Artificial Intelligence and cameras Amazon Go was the darling of the futuristic business community when it launched in 2018. RFID tagging allowed for transactionless grab-and-go convenience. Walmart’s AI-powered store of the future (A Neighborhood Market format) is a different animal, altogether. At the company’s Intelligent Retail Lab (fancy name for store of the future), “a combination of cameras and real-time analytics will automatically trigger out-of-stock notifications to internal apps that alert Walmart associates when it’s time to re-stock.” The concept sounds plausible. But the 1,500 cameras suspended from the ceiling throughout the store gives the project a distant-future vibe.

HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER MARCH 2021

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COVER FEATURE is enhancing its mobile app to improve the entire pickup experience. “We began rolling out Geofencing technology that alerts our stores when customers are on their way to pick up their orders, enabling quicker fulfillment when they arrive at the store. [In Q3], we announced that we were standing up dedicated fulfillment teams to handle all instore fulfillment orders. All of these enhancements, from the easy to use BOPIS lockers and the new Geofencing technology to the focus on the fulfillment teams, have already driven improvements in customer satisfaction and speed of service.” Despite the triple digit growth digital sales, the physical store will play a critical role in any future home improvement retailing scenario, the experts say. “I believe physical stores [are] more important to our future than ever,” said Home Depot’s Hamad. The “One Home Depot” seamless experience is blending digital and physical worlds to serve the customer. That’s the $11 billion strategy. Some of the tactics include:

Integration of special order price and delivery functionalities for pro customers;

Improving the ease of use of web sites; and

Improving digital store navigation.

Signs of the times: Parking lots of the future will continue to take on more and more responsibilities as distribution evolves.

The evolving ecosystem “Brick and mortar will remain, but they will continue to be more of a spoke in the sales wheel rather than a self-sustaining entity,” said Farnsworth. “In other words, physical locations will be an important part of the total ecosystem. Their role may be filling gaps of the online experience (showrooming, returns, etc.) or servicing customers’ immediate need of product.” Many of the ideas for a store of the future include technology behind the scenes that shares information about inventory, providing

“These investments are critical when it comes to how we’re going to be prepared for the customer of the future,” Hamad said.

Which of the following features are most likely to appear in the home improvement store of the future? (Pick up to three) 55%

Same-day delivery

50%

Digital shelf info

45%

Self checkout

37%

Do-it-for-me services

33%

Mobile POS

23%

Stores within a store

13%

Virtual reality

8%

Drone delivery Robotic help

5% 0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%

Source: HBSDealer poll

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MARCH 2021 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

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The Future is Now: Global Edition clarity for the retailer and the customer. “Transparency and communication will become more important,” said Farnsworth. “Meaning customers (particularly pros) ability to see what the supplier has, when, how much and where. They will expect the ability to track all orders and have immediate feedback on any questions or complications. At Home Depot, the art and science of building a store of the future includes an approach that imitates how websites generate actionable information. Hamad expounded on this point: “I’ve always been extremely jealous of my counterparts on the digital side of the business,” he said. “They know when someone has been shopping on the site, they know what they’ve looked at, what video they watched, what they abandoned in their cart. “And we’re trying to instrument our physical spaces in a way that I can get a deep understanding of how our customers are engaging us in our stores so that we can continue to build customer loyalty there.” Another result of the pandemic was the clear emergence of home improvement as a national pastime. A December 2020 customer survey from Lowe’s found that 64% agreed that “Home means more to me than it did a year ago.” And 60% said “I have bigger plans for my home than I did a year ago.” The home improvement retailer has an opportunity to build on that momentum, as long as it continues to adapt and experiment.

Thierry Coeman has a front-row seat on emerging retail formats around the globe. The past chairman of the Belgian DIY Association has been active in the European DIY Retail Association and has cultivated careful thoughts on the store of the future. He offered HBSDealer examples of retailers that are heading “in the right direction.”

Hubo (Belgium) introduced a Plafomat Construction & Industry format that brings home center convenience to tools and building supply. Plafomat is aimed at professionals in the construction and industrial sectors. “Plafomat guarantees you a quick quote, delivery slip and delivery, allowing you to optimize your time and devote it entirely to your professional activities,” reads the translated web site description. The store also cuts panels to measure and delivers to the job site.

A co-branded 84 Lumber and Andersen Windows & Doors showroom in Rockville, Md., seriving metro Washington, D.C.

OBI (Germany) Create! By Obi combines the aspirational inspiration of a Houzz with the resources of a hardware store. The DIYer can design their furniture, receive product lists and instructions, shop for everything, and build it themselves with the added touch of personalization. Categories also include “decoration sets” and “DIY ideas.“

Bunnings (Australia) With the concept of “hospitality” a key ingredient of the store of the future, Coeman points out Bunnings for its Kids DIY program, both in stores and online. The program inspires the next generation of home improvement customers with projects such as “How to Make a Bug Hotel” and “Cute, cactus rock pots.” The big idea here is to approximate an “amusement park” for kids and adults, while offering creative interactions. For more of Coeman’s insights, visit HBSDealer.com.

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FASTENERS

The Fastener Update By Andy Carlo Today’s fastener suppliers continue to fine-tune products, which offer increased speed and accuracy on the job site. At the same time, fastener manufacturers are providing upgrades to their offerings, promising tougher products with more durability. Time is money. And broken fasteners mean more time on the job and the project. Here is a roundup of some of the latest fastener products and programs for 2021 from the top manufacturers in the industry.

New from the Hillman Group for 2021 is the new Fas-n-Tite Fence Post Screw, which installs wire or panel fencing without a hammer or pre-drilling. Use in place of traditional fencing staples on wire up to 6 gauge. Easy to install and remove with a drill or impact driver, the Fas-n-Tite Fence Post Screw installs 10-times faster and is 3-times stronger than traditional fence staples. For all woods including pressure treated lumber. Hammer-free installation saves your fingers with the screws coated for corrosion resistance. They are available in 3 sizes for small tasks or big projects. Hillmangroup.com

PrimeSource is home to two of the industry’s leading fastener brands, Grip-Rite and Pro-Twist. The Grip-Rite PrimeGuard family of exterior screws is getting a facelift. PrimeGuard Plus and MAX Stainless products feature new packaging with refreshed consumer messaging, graphics, and imagery to assist the consumer at the point of decision. Also new to the portfolio, Grip-Rite Contractor Grade Bulk Drywall Screws are now available – premium grade fine and coarse drywall screws for pros who prefer to buy in job lot quantities, packaged in new contractor-grade graphite gray signature packaging. The Pro-Twist brand is also getting an upgrade. New Pro-Twist packaging, in its recognizable colorcoded bulk boxes, five-pound frontfacing, resealable tubs, and one-pound corrugated boxes create a true Pro-Twist threaded fastener family on the retail shelf. Primesource.com

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FastenMaster is expanding its offering of flathead fasteners with the LedgerLOK FlatHead. The New LedgerLOK FlatHead fasteners are code-compliant structural wood screws engineered specifically to secure deck ledger boards to the rim joist of a house without predrilling. They are designed to replace traditional lag screws. The primary benefits of the LedgerLOK FlatHead are its oversized head which eliminates the need for an additional washer, removal of the need to predrill saving time and money, and the fact that it can be installed flush with the ledger surface so joists, hangers and hanger flanges can be installed without interference from the screw’s head. In addition, LedgerLOK Flat Head fasteners are coated with a proprietary coating that protects against corrosion, is ACQ approved, and is guaranteed not to rust or corrode for the life of the project. LedgerLOK Flat Head Fasteners are available in two lengths: 3 5/8-in. for single ledgers, and 5-in. for double ledgers and thicker applications. All LedgerLOK fasteners are supported by an evaluation report and thirdparty application testing and supplied with a technical bulletin and IBC/IRC code-compliant fastening schedule in every box. FastenMaster.com

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Midwest Fastener has repositioned and re-launched its Construction Fastener brands, with new items innovation across the line. BuildRight is replacing its Midwest brand, quality products to complete the job. New to the SaberDrive line is the SaberDrive Platinum premium fastener. This new line will be available in tubs, featuring blue lids. New merchandising displays and promotions throughout 2021 will be available to provide support to retail partners. SaberDrive Platinum’s key features include a Spiral Razor Tip for a fast bite with anti-loosening technology; Cut Blade Threading for an easy drive; and a Sprial Shank Thread for a secure fit and reduced loosening. Fastenerconnection.com

Code compliant with a focus on customer service, U2 Fasteners offers eight product lines that are a diverse lineup of all essential screw types for residential construction that engineers and contractors agree on for whatever project you undertake. U2 Fasteners offers a selection of 59 SKU’s in 316 Marine Grade Stainless Steel Construction, Universal and Fine screws. Grade 316 is the standard molybdenum-bearing grade of stainless steel. The higher nickel and molybdenum content in this grade allows it to demonstrate better overall corrosion-resistant properties, especially with regard to pitting and crevice corrosion. In addition, Alloy 316 provides excellent elevated temperature tensile, creep, and stress-ruption strengths. U2fasteners.com

Tapcon, the inventor of blue concrete screw anchors has introduced the next generation of concrete fasteners. The newly engineered design delivers superior productivity through fast installation and less downtime. Tapcon Product Manager Adam Myers says the fasteners are a result of paying close attention to customer needs, including minimizing re-work at the job site. To further improve the speed of installation, Tapcon is also shifting from Phillips to a Star flat head. The new Tapcon Star Head recess helps eliminate bit slip during installation. With six points of contact between the bit and the anchor, users can be confident in increased productivity, especially in high torque applications where Phillips bits are prone to slipping. The Tapcon Star Flat Head anchor is also stamped with the Tapcon name, providing assurance that the anchor is a genuine Tapcon. The new Star Flat Head anchors come with a color-coded star drive bit in all large 75 pack and bucket offerings. This includes the T-25 Star bit for 3/16” diameter and T30 for ¼” anchors. Bits are also sold separately and included in the updated Tapcon Pro Installation Kit. The Tapcon Hex Head concrete screw anchor features new underhead ribs that resist anchor spin-outs and head snaps during installation. The underhead ribs limit over-torquing of the anchor during installation, reducing re-work and increasing productivity. Both the Star Flat Head and Hex Head Tapcon anchors feature a unique thread design to provide reduced installation torque and a consistent drive across all concrete and masonry substrates. In addition, Tapcon’s Climaseal corrosion-resistant coating provides long-lasting quality and durability on the job. Tapcon next generation screw anchors are available in 3/16” and ¼” diameters in key sizes for most concrete fastening applications from 1-1/4” to 4” in length. They are available in a wide variety of small, medium, and large pack counts along with even larger buckets to allow pros to by in quantities they need for the job. Tapcon screw anchors are also available in a White Ultrashield, Gray Maxiset and 410 Stainless Steel offerings. Tapcon.com

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FASTENERS Builders and contractors will have a new option this spring in the trim screws category with the release of new SPAX PowerTrim finishing and composite-PVC trim screws, the latest addition to the line of SPAX Engineered Fasteners. This new product is considered a specialty fastener and is designed for use in attaching wood and composite/PVC trim boards for residential home interior and exterior work. Partial thread applications include trim work, cabinetry, fine carpentry, stairs, railings, and deck boards. Reverse double thread applications include composite/PVC trim, deck boards, door and window jams. SPAX PowerTrim™ trim screws are available in both #8 and #9 diameters and in lengths of 1-1/4”, 1-1/2”, 2”, 2-1/2”, 3-1/8” 4” and 5”. PowerTrim fasteners feature patented SPAX attributes including T-STAR plus drive within a cylindric head Patented thread serrations and a reverse double thread for PVC applications to pull and hide pigtail shavings and eliminate bulging. The fasteners also feature a unique 4CUT point for quick and easy installation with no pre-drilling required. The new construction fasteners are made of carbon steel with SPAX exclusive white and yellow High Corrosion Resistance dual barrier coating, which is ideal for both interior and exterior applications including PVC and treated lumber. SPAX PowerTrim™ fasteners will be packaged in clamshells of 50pc or 100pc cartons ready for retail shelves and will include a T-STAR plus bit. Spax.us

Simpson Strong-Tie has introduced the Strong-Drive SD Connector SS screw, a Type 316 stainless-steel fastener designed, tested, and approved for use with Simpson StrongTie stainless-steel connectors to provide excellent protection in severely corrosive environments. A premium connector screw for applications where strength and performance are critical, the SD Connector SS (SD SS) screw helps protect projects from corrosion caused by moisture, salt, chemicals, and other factors. Made from Type 316 stainless steel and ideal for both interior and exterior environments, SD SS screws have a 1/4” hex-washer head with a large-diameter integrated washer to provide a load-bearing area and are stamped with the Simpson Strong-Tie logo and fastener size for easy identification after installation. SD SS screws have been designed, tested, and approved for use with Simpson Strong-Tie stainless-steel connectors to provide maximum performance values, the company said. When selecting fasteners for connectors, builders should match metals to maximize connection durability and prevent galvanic corrosion between different metals. SimpsonStrongTie.com

CAMO and Fiberon are partnering to offer Fiberon Edge, EdgeX, and Starter Clips to Fiberon’s entire dealer network. The partnership brings together two trusted brands that put just as much value in the builder’s experience as they do the finished result. Together, Fiberon and CAMO offer the most comprehensive fastening system in the composite industry, providing versatile solutions for Fiberon grooved deck boards. Edge, EdgeX, and Starter Clips are engineered to offer contractors a better, safer installation experience increasing speed and efficiency and are for use with Fiberon grooved-edge deck boards. Both Edge and EdgeX Clips eliminate the need for partial installation. Edge Clips (90-degree deck patterns) hug the joist, while EdgeX Clips (any deck pattern) fit in the board groove, allowing contractors to set multiple rows of boards and clips in place before fastening with the Never-Miss Guide included in every pail. Starter Clips offer a fastener-free deck surface that is easy to install. Camofasteners.com

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BUILDING SOLUTIONS

Pushing the Envelope New solutions and strategies look to win the battle on moisture and air control in residential construction. By Andy Carlo The building envelope remains as important as ever for a complete, sound housing package. What’s changing, however, is that homeowners are becoming increasingly savvy about building solutions thanks to online research that includes vapor and air controls in new residential construction. And for good reason: a sound envelope translates into less rot and decay, a healthier environment within the home, and a longer lifespan for the structure. Some of the industry’s top building products manufacturers and suppliers continue to provide answers for home designers, builders, contractors, and homeowners while addressing the envelope as a complete system. “We’ve heard from homeowners who are more interested about the air sealing in a home over granite countertops — that’s a big shift,” says Kristin Michael, growth marketing manager at Huber Engineered Woods. “Maintaining indoor air quality is not just about a better envelope, it’s about having a better house and the long-term health of a home.” Huber just introduced ZIP System Vapor Permeable (VP) Tape, the latest newest innovation in the ZIP System product line of flashing solutions. The high-performing professional tape is used Benjamin Obdyke’s HydroGap SA is a self-adhered, drainable weather-resistive barrier.

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in panel seam sealing and flashing applications, key components of a ZIP System wall assembly using ZIP System integrated sheathing. The combination is an all-in-one structural assembly with built-in weather-resistive barrier and rigid air barrier with a tape perm rating higher than standard ZIP System flashing tape for teams seeking a specific permeability in their designs. VP Tape rounds out a portfolio of sealing materials that include a wide variety of 15 different straight and “stretch” tapes, as well as fluid-applied flashing offerings from Huber. The new ZIP System VP Tape also offers all the benefits of standard ZIP System flashing tape with a high-powered acrylic adhesive and broad temperature application range, with the added feature of a higher permeance for teams seeking to increase this factor for unique designs or environments. Benjamin Obdyke is combining the benefits of its popular HydroGap drainable housewrap and the air-sealing benefits of an adhesive backing with the launch of HydroGap SA, the industry’s first and only selfadhered, drainable weatherresistive barrier (WRB). “How to deal with moisture, including diverting moisture, continues to be an issue as more building codes get adopted,” says Tara Murray, marketing director at Benjamin Obdyke.

MARCH 2021 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

ZIP System Vapor Permeable Tape is used in panel seam sealing and flashing applications.

Murray says the latest building envelope solutions continue to be a guiding light for builders and installers looking to address the needs of a concise, residential building system. HydroGap SA features a 100% continuous acrylic adhesive, providing sealing around cladding fasteners to help maintain the integrity of the air barrier. Benjamin Obdyke said that it has spent nearly five years developing HydroGap SA, and the resulting adhesive hits the ideal sweet spot; ensuring the WRB adheres to the sheathing but allowing for it to be repositioned upon initial application. It is also one of the few breathable, fully adhered acrylic adhesives, with a perm rating of 12 that is suitable for all climates. As an acrylic, the adhesive is UV resistant, with an exposure rating of 120 days, and can be installed in temperatures as low as 25º F without a primer. It also increases the housewrap’s tear-resistance and, by providing full contact with the sheathing, diminishes the chance for ballooning and blow-off. HydroGap SA also has a reinforcing scrim that helps it hold tight during application to avoid wrinkles. Like the original HydroGap, the new self-adhered WRB features 1mm spacers on the surface to create a true drainage space with 96% drain efficiency, shedding water two times

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faster than traditional flat housewraps and helping to prevent the damaging effects of mold and rot. According to Kaylen Handly, technical innovation manager for Benjamin Obdyke, the product combines the water-shedding benefits of a drainable housewrap with additional air-sealing properties to further protect the wall cavity. “HydroGap SA works as a system along with flashing accessories and building science-based installation techniques to create high-performing building envelopes that limit air and moisture intrusion,” Handly says. LP Building Solutions WeatherLogic Air & Water Barrier is now an APA Structural I Rated wall and roof sheathing. With the addition of this product, LP Structural Solutions now offers a full portfolio of framing and sheathing solutions to help achieve a tight building envelope. “We realize that moisture management is a challenge, both on the job site and after completion,” said Craig Miles, director, national sales and marketing for OSB/EWP at LP Building Solutions. “With LP WeatherLogic Air & Water Barrier, we can help give builders and dealers peace of mind through greater dimensional stability and strength, versatility and defense against air movement and water infiltration, and not to mention a cleaner, more professional-looking job site.” LP WeatherLogic Air & Water Barricade Building Products is addressing the market needs for alternatives to high-priced OSB and exterior insulation products.

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Barrier withstands temperature cycling and delivers consistent, long-term protection. LP WeatherLogic panels help safeguard homes from water intrusion while allowing moisture vapor to escape. An integrated wall and roof sheathing solution, it combines both air and water protection with the increased structural capacity of a Structural I rating. The vapor-permeable membrane on the panel allows moisture to dry. “We continue to engineer technological solutions to offer an integrated, holistic suite of products designed to meet specific resiliency needs and proven to help defend against weather,” said Casey Smyth, LP marketing product manager. “LP WeatherLogic Air & Water Barrier is lightweight, strong and eliminates the need for house wrap, making installation and ultimately moisture management simpler. It also helps builders deliver additional value to homeowners by improving the building envelope to deliver indoor comfort and energy efficiency.” Barricade Building Products is looking to address the market needs for alternatives to high-priced OSB and exterior insulation products. The building envelope solutions provider is emphasizing the certified performance of Thermo-Brace lightweight structural sheathing and Thermo-Brace S.I.B. structural insulative board. Barricade developed the latter in partnership with BASF, using Neopor GPS graphite polystyrene rigid foam insulation. “We’re focused on innovating lighter weight, safer, and healthier products that help builders meet the needs of consumers for energy-efficient homes that reduce costs and impact the environment,” said Geoff Baldwin, president of INDEVCO North America Building Products Division. Barricade Thermo-Brace, a 3-in-1

LP WeatherLogic panels protect against water intrusion while allowing moisture vapor to escape.

sheathing, offers stable raw material pricing, significantly less weight, moisture impenetrability, and ease of use. These qualities offer faster installation and reduced labor costs for builders. Thermo-Brace is recognized by the International Residential Code to have a higher shear value level than OSB testing standards. It’s also been designed to be water-resistant and lightweight for easy carry and installation, whether on-site or in a modular construction facility. PrimesSource is also providing assistance with the building envelope by simplifying the supply chain for building materials during times of high consumer and builder demand. With many brands and products “under the PrimeSource roof,” the company says it has the unique ability to combine building envelope essentials. This includes exclusive Grip-Rite housewrap, tape, pneumatic tools, and compressors on the same shipment with other products like fasteners, sealants and adhesives. PrimeSource says it has building envelope needs covered through an array of products and brands.

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KITCHEN & BATH

Tomorrow’s bathroom Touchless, stressless, paperless – bathroom trends for 2021 Even for the most-seasoned bathroom merchant, it’s highly unlikely that the term “left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex” has entered the marketing conversation. Until now. And That’s just one sign that the bathroom is changing. Bathrooms are getting smarter, as they are getting cleaner. It’s the next frontier of smart home, said Bill Strang, president of corporate strategy and ecommerce for Toto. And that’s just one of the trends knocking on the door of the most practical (one could argue) room in the house. Consider this: the company’s Flotation Tub with Zero Dimension combines biomechanics, neuroscience and ergonomics to create a weightless experience — like astronauts in space. In the tub, massage jets provide gentle therapy, while relaxation reduces activity in the part of the brain responsible for language. Water also comfortably flows from the adjustable “Neck Spa.” It’s a high tech tub. And according to Strang, and other experts in the kitchen and bath industry, technology is increasingly factoring into kitchen and bath decisions. “We believe the bathroom is the next frontier of smart technology,” he said. It’s also an area of the house Toto’s Flotation Tub

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Toto’s Washlet

responding dramatically to the pandemic-induced trend toward cleanliness. “There’s a heightened level of cleanliness and a desire to be attentive to our health and hygiene.” That plays well for the Washlet by Toto, which attaches to an existing toilet to create a bidet. Demand for the product exploded in March, with the emergence of toilet-paper scarcity. In fact, there was a time when the word “bidet” was the 20th most-searched term on Amazon, (behind of words including “wipes” and “sanitizer.”) The Washlet can attach to a regular toilet in about 10 minutes. And the price of conversion product (about $400) puts the bidet within easy reach of the masses. “We were in the right place at the right time with the right product when Covid hit,” he said. Kohler’s Seth Stevens, chief designer, has also seen the trends toward technology and hygiene ramp up in the last year. “The pandemic really has reminded us a lot about health and cleanliness and hygiene, how we treat our bodies and what we do to keep ourselves clean,” he said. “Touchless faucets and anything related to our selfcleaning toilet technology has “done

MARCH 2021 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

really well for us,” he said. Speaking at the KBISNeXT Stage 2021, Stevens said the technology in kitchen and bath was ramping up before the pandemic. And it turned on the jets in 2020. “We were seeing a 20% year over year demand increase in technology toilets,” Stevens said. “In the pandemic that increased by like ten times.” He doesn’t expect demand for bidets and self-cleaning toilets to slow. “People are used to them and more comfortable with them,” he said.

Kohler’s Touchless Faucet

The pandemic has also brought new products for facility managers. TOTO’s smart-sensor, Ecopower technology serves as an example of high tech. The system is like a regional hydroelectric power generator only on a smaller scale. It creates its own electricity every time water spins its small internal turbine. With Ecopower, there’s no need for hardwiring to a building’s electrical system or routine disposable battery replacement, which is costly and toxic to the environment. No minimum daily usage requirement. Strang says that Toto was deep into technology development before the pandemic struck. Therefore, it was well prepared for the acceleration of the trend in the last year or so.

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ECOMMERCE

Cameron Ashley invests in new digital footprint By Andy Carlo Cameron Ashley Building Products, Inc. has launched a new website with a strong focus on e-commerce that is designed to to meet the evolving needs of customers around the country. The new site, cameronashleybp.com, gives users 24/7 access to shop online for over 10,000 products. Full product lines of roofing, insulation, siding, gypsum, and building materials are available from the top suppliers in the industry, the company said. Additionally, the site is set up to take customers from browsing to check out easily and efficiently. “Our new website was designed entirely on customer feedback we gathered over the last year,” said Donny DeMarie, president and CEO of Cameron Ashley Building Products. “Everything that we implemented was based on how our customers shop and what they’d like to see in a brand-new online shopping experience.” With enhanced product listings including pictures, videos, and detailed information, users will have all the information they need to make an informed online purchase, according to Cameron Ashley. Some of the site’s new features include a mobile-friendly design, no credit card fees for online orders, saved carts and favorites lists, order history, account payment, and integration of the PLUS Points customer loyalty program. The Greenville, S.C.-based building products distributor said that intuitive website design, combined with the

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Some of the key features on Cameron Ashley’s new website are based on customer feedback gathered over the past year.

“Everything that we implemented was based on how our customers shop and what they’d like to see in a brand-new online shopping experience.” —Donnie DeMarie, president and CEO, Cameron Ashley Building Products

building product expertise of the Cameron Ashley sales and support teams, ensures a seamless shopping experience for customers regardless of delivery preference. Scheduled delivery and curbside pick-up services will be available at all distribution centers, with many offering jobsite and the company’s F^ST delivery service. Cameron Ashley celebrated the debut of the digital platform with a launch party for customers in late February to set the right tone. “We’ve made shopping fun

again and we wanted to do something fun to celebrate the launch with our customers.” DeMarie said. Prize drawings included exclusive online product discounts, and triple PLUS Points on all PLUS Points eligible products. There were also giveaway prizes such as Apple iPads to Garmin ECHOMAP FishFinders. Among the Grand Prize winners were some familiar names: Alpine Lumber Co., Lampert Lumber and E.C. Cottle Inc. “This is our way of saying thank you to our customers for their partnership and support,” DeMarie added. “Registered Customers gain access to exclusive discounts and a chance to win some really great prizes.” Cameron Ashley distributes roofing, insulation, gypsum, and other specialty building products through a network of more than 40 distribution locations with a total storage footprint of over 4.2 million square feet in 20 states. The company has over 5,000 customers in the lumber and building materials industry.

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MARKET INSIGHTS

Closing the deal: it’s just the beginning By Larry Morgan

A

lot of thought and effort goes into the sale of a business. But let’s skip ahead to the time when the buyer and seller come to terms and a contract is signed. This isn’t the end of the deal. In fact, for me, the buyer and even (occasionally) for the seller, it’s only the beginning. In this industry reputation is everything. Early on I realized my reputation was only as good as my most recent transaction. Put together 100 successful deals and nobody remembers. Put together one disastrous transaction and nobody forgets. So I make it a practice to revisit every transaction, not just for a few weeks, but in most cases for years. And it’s not a waste of time. In matching sellers with buyers, it’s crucial for me to know how previous transactions turned out. Was confidentiality maintained? Did the buyer make drastic changes? Did employees lose their jobs? Did the new owner lose customers? If there was an earn out, did my seller get paid? Did the buyer grow the business or was it ruined? Out of all my transactions I’ve only had two bad outcomes. As luck would have it, my very first transaction turned out to be a disaster for the buyer. It was an eight-unit, very profitable iconic operation with an owner that wanted to retire.

Remember the old saying, “if it works don’t fix it?” Well, the new owners chased the seller away after only one month. They made drastic and fatal changes to management and product mix, and it took years and another new owner to repair the damage. My second unhappy ending occurred years later. I sold a wellrun, profitable operation to a skilled operator who paid a fair price. The transaction went smoothly. The buyer maintained and even expanded the business. However, the seller had never really wanted to sell — family pressures finally made him sign the papers. Even though the deal had closed 15 years ago, the seller called me a month ago and bemoaned the sale of the company he wish he had kept. It remains a painful lesson and a sale I regret. Most transactions have happy endings. A smart buyer realizes that the former owner is a valuable asset. Most sellers remain in the community and are well known by all. Aware of this fact, one nationally known buyer maintained an office for the seller. But more than that, they encouraged him to come in, read the newspaper and have coffee. After a few months, most people had forgotten the company had changed hands. It was business as usual — just what the new owner wanted. The former owner’s office was

In this industry reputation is everything. Early on I realized my reputation was only as good as my most recent transaction.

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kept for him until the day he died. Some people just won’t retire. One seller of a very large pro yard in the Southwest never left. Although the sale took place many months ago, the seller — now in his 80’s — still runs the company. He likes what he does and he likes to work. The sale allowed him to take his chips off the table but continue to play the game and run the company he loves. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Recently I closed a transaction in a small community in the Rockies. I’d worked with the owner for years, and several buyers had visited but none seemed to fit. Finally we found “Mr. Right.” A national firm seeking more than just another company to add to their ever expanding corporate footprint. They were looking for talent. This yard was their first acquisition in a state in which they wanted to expand. Plus, they found a young but experienced owner. A man who wanted to stay in the industry. The sale insured the owner’s financial security, meanwhile the buyer landed a seller who could one day move into a top management position in the corporation. A win-win deal. The kind I like. Larry Morgan is general manager of Mountain State Acquisitions. He has more than 25 years of experience advising building and construction industry clients on mergers and acquisitions. Learn more at Larrymorgan.net.

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MARKET INSIGHTS

Doing the math, builders seek help on runaway lumber prices The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that lumber prices have soared more than 180% since last spring. And the price spike has caused the cost of an average new single-family home to increase by $24,386 since April 17, 2020, according to the NAHB’s standard estimates of lumber used to build the average home. The association also said that the market value of the average new multifamily home has increased by $8,998 over the same period due to the surge in lumber prices. Citing the latest Random Lengths prices as of mid-February, the price of framing lumber topped $975 per thousand board feet — a 180% increase since last April when the price was roughly $350 per thousand board feet.

The price increase was calculated by the NAHB based on the softwood lumber that goes into the average new home. Included is the softwood lumber used in structural framing, inducing beams, joists, headers, rafters, and trusses. Calculations also include sheathing, flooring and underlayment, interior wall and ceiling finishing, cabinets, doors, windows, roofing, siding, soffit and fascia, and exterior features such as garages, porches, decks, railing,

HIRI: 2020 in hindsight Stay-at-home projects like creating home offices and home gyms are one-time items, unlikely to be replicated in the future. The physical home improvement store, meanwhile, will continue to offer what eCommerce cannot on the other side. Those are some of the conclusions of a research project from the Home Improvement Research Institute and the Caney Group. The researchers took a deep dive into a panel of DIYers and home owners with a view toward better understanding Covid-19’s effect on home improvement. The name of the study, revealed in February, was “Remodeling Through a Pandemic: COVID’s Effect on Home Improvement.”

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It was a qualitative research study that involved 20 in-depth Zoom interviews with homeowners who have completed at least one home improvement product during the pandemic.

fences, and landscape walls. The softwood products considered include lumber of various dimensions (including any that may be appearance grade or pressure treated for outdoor use), plywood, OSB, particleboard, fiberboard, shakes and shingles, the NAHB said. In February, the NAHB said that it wants the U.S. government to push domestic producers to increase production, which could ease lumber shortages. Additionally, the NAHB said that it wants an end to tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments into the United States. One of the negative ramifications of high lumber prices has been home sales falling through. Builders are then being forced to put projects on hold during a period when housing inventories are at a record low. 3. Pro projects have focused on the exterior during the pandemic. The next frontier for pro projects is inside the house, with projects that are beyond the skill (or time commitment) of the home owners.

1. Pandemic lockdowns prompted “several immediate fixes,” with short term lift. Boosts in spending on home offices and remote learning expenses are unlikely to the replicated.

4. Online sales grew, but stores will continue to prosper. Shoppers will likely expand online purchases, but the ability to see and feel products, the immediate availability of products, and the trusted advice of a person are the domain of the physical store, which isn’t going anywhere.

2. Familiarity breeds awareness of shortcomings. Many of the longterm projects home owners were “meaning to get around to” were pulled into the present by the stayat-home conditions.

5. DIY “micro projects” are expected to decline as pro projects inside the house increase. Total dollar expenditures for many homeowners are expected to decline.

Some key takeaways:

HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER MARCH 2021

33


LBM EVENTS RECAP

LBM groups zoom into action Sharks, professors, prizes and most importantly, education factored into recent LBM dealer buying group virtual meetings. By HBSDealer Staff Forest and building materials buying group LMC, based in Wayne, Pa., continued its tradition of executive education with the Virtual LMC Sales Masterclass. Meanwhile LBM Advantage’s Annual Buying Show employed Zoom to connect members with top industry vendors, along with a visit from Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary. LMC’s Virtual LMC Sales Masterclass provided skills development for 60 participants from 30 companies. The event was led by the Kellogg School of Management’s Executive Education department. For the seventh year, LMC partnered with a top three executive education institution to offer a concentrated leadership program. The session covered topics such as sales, marketing, finance, culture, innovation and negotiation, in addition to building skills in financial acumen, strategic planning and leadership. In this year’s threeday program, leaders were immersed in highly interactive lectures specifically focused on sales that included small group exercises, LMC said. “I thought that the Kellogg program delivered on all fronts,” said T.J. LBM Advantage’s Stephen Sallah, right, swam with Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary.

34

Shaheen, vice president of Builders General. “When a three-day educational event passes by in a flash, for me that is a sign of being truly engaged & enamored.” The Masterclass, led by professor Craig Wortmann, took the attendees on the sales journey, where they learned how to do a self-evaluation of skills, handle objections, and develop the power of storytelling, among other skills. Meanwhile, the LBM Advantage Annual Buying Show, brought together hundreds of LBM vendors with Advantage members and staff. Virtual booths enabled vendors to share product sheets, videos, and other assets, along with a live virtual Zoom room to meet with the LBM Advantage members. The productive week was given a boost by one-on-one meetings between members and staff. “The virtual appointments were a bit like speed dating, but I met a lot of national sales reps and I benefited a lot from the three days,” said Jay Ward of Ward Lumber in Jay, N.Y. and a longtime member of LBM Advantage. Exhibitors offered exclusive show specials promoted in advance, including “booth-only” specials

MARCH 2021 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

LMC’s Masterclass tuned into the expertise of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

available to members. “It was essential to the show’s success that we bring our partners and members together,” said Tom Molloy, executive vice president, products and programs at LBM Advantage. “Even in a virtual environment, our members were able to speak with vendors, learn more about products and make deals.” The virtual show also featured a series of speakers. Highlights included a strategic growth presentation by Steve Frawley, founder and CEO of Frawley Sales & Strategy; a marketing and PR discussion from Andy Carlo, LBM editor at HBSDealer; and an hour keynote address from O’Leary, star of ABC’s Shark Tank television show. Additional limelight was provided by country music superstar Leanne Rimes. Good times at the event also included a virtual mixology lesson and a trivia contest. “I feel like we have a good formula for putting on a successful virtual show, but we’re all anxious to get back to inperson events,” Molloy said.

HBSDealer.com


Emery Jensen president’s equation for success Top Women profile series By Ken Clark

When Alison Dowell was promoted to the post of president and general manager of Emery Jensen Distribution last July, the press release pointed to her background in B2B and B2C operations, her leadership roles at Target Corp. and Home Depot and her experience rolling up her sleeves on the receiving dock. In a recent interview, Dowell shared an even deeper connection to home improvement: her early-life shopping trips to Builders Square with her father. “It was just such a big part of my childhood,” she told HBSDealer. “Going there with my dad and walking the lumber aisle, experiencing the smells and the whiskey barrel of fasteners where they used to sell them by the pound. All of the gadgets and tools that you saw there were so fascinating.” In later years, during a break in her academic journey toward becoming a math professor, Dowell revived her early enthusiasm for hardware with a job in home improvement. She donned an orange apron in Orange, Conn. And a retail career was born. From her office in Oak Brook, Ill., Dowell shared the following thoughts on opportunities for women in home improvement, and the importance of authenticity. On her break from college that changed her career path: “I couldn’t think of anything that would be more fun for my year off than working in a hardware store.” On diversity and leadership: “The workforce, family dynamics and

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how women contribute to their family and to society — all of that has changed in a way where I think it’s really important to think about how we give back to the next generation. We need to think about how we can pull more women into the business and how we can really support one another. And whether it’s women or men, diversity of thought and demographics are healthy. And I think it’s very important to continue building health within this industry.” On that one time on the sales floor years ago when a customer cajoled her to “get a guy” to help retrieve a shower door from a high shelf:

Alison Dowell, Emery Jensen Distribution

“The proper equipment to get it down for him wasn’t working, or the hydraulics were shot, but I climbed up there anyway. It didn’t go well. That door did not come down in one piece. I think if I had stopped and thought about why I was there in the aisle to take care of customers, I would have realized it was not because I was a big, strong dude. It was because I could solve problems. I could diffuse tension with customers. Instead, I went the inauthentic route and tried to be like a guy, or what I thought a guy would do or what I thought this guy thought a guy should do.” On the lesson learned: “You’re going to win if you soar with your strengths. You’re going to lose if you try to be somebody you’re not.” On strong women in the industry: “We are blessed at Emery Jensen not only to support so many independent businesses, but so many of those businesses have really strong women at the helm, whether it’s at ownership positions or management. You probably know some of our customers: Janet Neathawk at Neathawk Lumber, or Erin Flanagan at Viking Lumber, or Louise Eddy at Quality Hardware or Carol Ai at City Mill. There are so many really, really strong women that we are fortunate to call our customers. I hope that these examples and more can serve as a beacon for women to get involved with the knowledge that they can excel.” On opportunities in building supply: “Whether in stores or at distribution centers or with suppliers, this is a unique industry. We have so many different levels at which you can lead people or teams. For financial stability, security, the ability to have a career that you can grow in, I couldn’t think of an industry that is more appropriate for women.”

HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER MARCH 2021

35


PEOPLE IN THE NEWS Weyerhaeuser has appointed Nancy Loewe as senior vice president and chief financial officer. Loewe joins Weyerhaeuser from Visa, where she served as senior vice president of finance and brings more than 20 years of financial and operating experience across multiple industries. Prior to her executive role at Visa, Loewe was Loewe CFO for Kimberly-Clark International, after having served as chief strategy officer and global treasurer for Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Prior to that, Loewe was executive vice president and CFO for PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America business unit.

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Kevin Silveira has been promoted to vice president of sales at Mansfield, Mass.-based National Lumber. In his new position, Silvera will be responsible for leading sales in the Southern New England market and continuing to develop National Lumber’s Turn-Key business along the Eastern Seaboard. Silveira first Silveira started in the lumber business in 2001 as an account manager at Reliable Truss, which was

Removes

M Oil FRO Surfaces Dirt Kitchen Sinks Dust Cooktops Haze Refrigerators Streaks Ovens Smudges Grills Grime Ranges Static Hoods Residue Countertops Smears Fingerprints Faucets Watermarks Dishwashers Microwaves Trash Cans Indoor/Outdoor Commercial/Residential

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purchased by National Lumber in 2003 and became its manufactured products division. Tool and storage giant Stanley Black & Decker has named Donald Allan, Jr., as company president and CFO. In this new role, Allan will continue his focus on driving strategic, long-term profitable growth for the company and take on additional responsibilities, such as the execution and advancement of the company’s operating Allen Jr. model and certain growth initiatives, Stanley Black & Decker said. Allan will continue to report to Stanley Black & Decker CEO James Loree. Allan joined the company in 1999 as director of financial planning before being appointed senior vice president and CFO in 2008, and later executive vice president and CFO. Allan is lead director at Anderson Corporation and is chairman of the Board for United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut Dario Skocir joined True Value Company as the VP of supply chain on Feb. 22. Skocir has more than 30 years of experience of transforming operations with innovative technologies and process related to warehouse, delivery and fleet, the company said. Skocir Skocir joins the distributor from US Foods where he spent the last 12 years, most recently as the senior VP, distribution field operations. In this role he was responsible for distribution, managing all functions related to warehousing, delivery, fleet, technology, strategy, and mergers and acquisitions.

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36 MARCH 2021

HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

BlueLinx Holdings Inc. appointed Carol Yancey, the executive vice president and CFO Genuine Parts Co. (GPC), Yancey to the BlueLinx board of directors. Yancey will also serve as a member of the board’s audit and nominating and corporate governance committees for the duration of

HBSDealer.com


her term. Yancey has been the EVP and CFO of GPC since March 2013. She joined GPC in 1991 as the director of investor relations and has served in a variety of leadership roles at the auto parts company. GreatStar Tools USA promoted Arrow Fastener CEO Gary DuBoff to Group President, CEO. In this position, DuBoff will have the overall responsibility of running GreatStar’s growing portfolio of US tool brands, DuBoff Karlovitch including Pony Jorgensen, Goldblatt, Arrow, Prime-Line and Shop-Vac. During his time leading Arrow, DuBoff successfully transitioned the business from a family-run enterprise to a professionally managed retail category leader, all while maintaining Arrow’s US manufacturing base in the face of heavy foreign competition. In addition GreatStar promoted Melissa Karlovitch to the post of group vice president, chief human resources officer. In her new role Karlovitch will provide strategic leadership and oversight for the HR operation at each business unit, with the HR leaders at those business units reporting to her.

HBSDealer.com

Kodiak Building Partners named Kelly Fox to the newly created position of President Kodiak Building Partners Pacific Northwest. Fox joined Frontier Building Supply in June 2019 and has Prough Fox served as its president. While overseeing Frontier, he consistently improved results and promoted its culture as a great place to work, Kodiak said. Prior to joining Frontier, Fox was the CEO/Trustee of Lumber Traders, Inc. Fox will have overall responsibility for the management staff at Frontier and work closely with Wade Gardner and his team at Builders Alliance. Also at Kodiak Building Partners, Allen Prough has been named as the new president of Factory Builder Stores (FBS). Prough joined FBS in January 2018 and served as its vice president of sales and marketing. He oversaw all financial aspects of FBS, maintaining awareness of both external and internal opportunities for expansion, customers, markets, new industry developments, and standards. Prior to FBS, Prough was a national sales manager for the Whirlpool Corporation.

HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER MARCH 2021

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Residential Construction/Sales

Monthly Retail Sales, not adjusted

13 months of housing starts and existing-home sales

home centers and pro dealers (NAICS 444) and hardware stores (NAICS 44413)

Total starts

NAICS 444

(in thousands, SAAR) Jan.: 1,580,000

NAICS 44413

(sales in $ billions)

50

1700

(sales in $ billions)

3

1600

40

1500 1400

2.58

2.55 36.0

35.7

30

30.7

2

2.16

2.16

31.7

29.5

1300

2.36

2.36

27.9

20

1200

1

1100

10

1000

0

900

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M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

N OVEMBER DECEMBER

J

2019

SOURCE: COMMERCE DEPARTMENT

Single-family starts

2020

0

JANUARY

OCTOBER

2019

2021

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

2020

SOURCE: MONTHLY RETAIL TRADE REPORT FROM THE U.S. CENSUS BUREAU

(in thousands, SAAR) Jan.: 1,162,000 1400

HBSDealer Stock Roundup

1300

the percent-change performance of stocks based on Feb. 25 prices

1200

120

1100 1000

DE

900

100

800

600

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

ANNUAL CHANGE

700

J

SOURCE: COMMERCE DEPARTMENT

Existing-home sales (in millions, SAAR) Jan.: 6,690,000 7

80

BLDR

60

BECN

40

LOW

6.5

WY SHW

20

6

TSCO

SWK

HD

DJI

5.5

0 -15

5

-10

-5

0

5

10

15

20

4.5

MONTHLY CHANGE

4 3.5

BECN (BEACON); BLDR (BUILDERS FIRSTSOURCE); BMCH (BMC STOCK HOLDINGS); DE (DEERE & CO.);

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A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

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HD (HOME DEPOT); LOW (LOWE’S); SHW (SHERWIN-WILLIAMS); SWK (STANLEY); TSCO (TRACTOR SUPPLY);

SOURCE: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS

WY (WEYERHAEUSER); DJIA (DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE)

Consumer Watch Unemployment rate

Consumer confidence

Gas prices

for the entire United States

indexed to a value of 100 in 1985

average price per gallon (regular)

8.0

10.0

4.0

80

38

Current Prior month

120

Prior year

16.0

6.3%

18.0

January 0.0

$2.50 $2.00

14.0

6.0

2.0

100

12.0

20.0

60

91.3

$2.70

February

Feb. 25

140

MARCH 2021 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

$1.50

$3.00

SOURCES: LABOR DEPARTMENT, THE CONFERENCE BOARD, AAA

HBSDealer.com



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