Page 1

Vol. 45 No. 5

Ben Rosen, and his father, Stewart, keep up with the times in Boston.

MAY 2019


Philip Chapman, Kate Borroni and Stu Chapman Woodson Lumber Texas

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HBSDEALER HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY

PRODUCTS

Smart: Connected 32 Get products for an industry that’s smarter than ever.

34

The smart home movement lights up.

19

COVER STORY THE STIHL HARDWARE ALL STARS Meet the 2019 Class of STIHL Hardware ALL Stars — one high-performance retailer from each of the 50 states.

MARKET INSIGHTS 38 Postcards from Capitol

Hill: Here are the issues that fueled the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association’s legislative conference.

40 From the Network FROM THE EDITOR 8 Cheers to a fourth-generation Boston All Star

NEWS & ANALYSIS 11 At Lowe’s, ProServices is

moving in a fast, new direction.

PREVIEW 30 SHOW Here’s what else is new at the National Hardware Show in 2019.

of Executive Women: A blueprint for Gender Equality and inclusiveness.

42 A coffee industry giant talks hardware, and business, at the Ace convention.

44 J.D. Power & Associates rates the paints, and the paint retailers.

12

The News Map marks the spots for the new, small format Sears Home & Life.

IN EVERY ISSUE 48 People in the News

15

49 Product Showcase

It’s been a busy month for US LBM Holdings, here are the highlights.

50 The Quikrete Industry Dashboard

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: $119 per year in the United States; $139 in Canada and Mexico; $279 in all other countries (air mail only). Periodical postage paid at Chicago,IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to HBSD, Circulation Fulfillment Director, P.O. Box 3200, Northbrook, IL 60065-3200. Subscription changes also may be emailed to hbsdealer@omeda.com, or call 847-564-1468. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. For change of address, six weeks notice to Hardware+Building Supply Dealer, P.O. Box 3200, Northbrook, IL 60065-3200 is requested. Give old and new address and zip code. If possible, enclose address portion from cover on previous issue. Vol. 45, No. 3, March 2019. Copyright © 2019 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.

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MAY 2019 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

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HERE’S WHAT’S ONLINE

@HBSDealer

Tweet Central

Highlights from the Show Floor HBSDealer is the source for news, analysis, videos and commentary — including coverage of the upcoming National Hardware Show and Do it Best May Market. Sign up for the HBSDealer Daily Newsletter at HBSDealer.com.

Take the Poll, Digest the Results HBSDealer.com publishes a weekly poll question on pressing industry matters. Here are two recent polls:

Q

What areas of your own home have undergone significant improvement projects in the last 12 months?

18%

Bathroom Yard

14%

Kitchen

14%

Living Room

11%

Deck

11%

None

10%

Basement

8%

Garage

7%

Windows/Doors

6%

Roof

4% 0

Q

Has your company embraced the green movement (if at all)?

5%

10%

15%

20%

9% 45%

16%

(45%) Have not embraced the green movement (29%) Introduced more environmentally friendly products (16%) Invest in energy efficient facilities (9%) Promote the green message in advertising and social media

Want to be featured in Tweet Central? Send us a tweet using #HBSDealerTweets

6

29%

Participate in a new poll question each week on HBSDealer.com

MAY 2019 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

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FROM THE EDITOR

Cheers for Boston’s All Star Check out this circa 1980 photo of eight Norfolk Hardware staffers in the gritty, blue-collar Mattapan neighborhood of Boston. That’s Stewart Rosen in the middle (bearded), the same Stewart Rosen (clean shaven) who appears with his son, Ben, on the cover of this issue. “This is a really cool picture,” said Ben Rosen, VP of Norfolk Hardware. “I haven’t seen this in a long time. So, I’m fourth generation. My grandfather Carl is the person to the left of my father in that picture, just before the guy with the Yankees cap.”

Ben did not appear in the photo, because he was only five years old at the time. No explanation was offered for the appearance of a New York Yankees hat in a Boston hardware store. More importantly, though, Ben explained two major themes that consistently emerge during conversations with All Star retailers. One is the ability and willingness to keep up with the times. And another is the ability and willingness to be something more than a hardware store. The vintage photo is a far cry from the new look store, thanks to a dramatic

8

physical transformation in 2017. As Ben tells it, even gritty Mattapan had become wicked expensive. “We saw this neighborhood just totally change, with all kinds of new residents moving in,” he said. “So, we thought we really needed to update the store to stay current.” And so they did. Wide aisles, bright lighting, a colorful Paint Pub (complete with authentic bar stools) are some of the features of the 40,000 sq. ft. home center. There’s also a kitchen and bath design showroom, which has played a huge role in the growth of Norfolk Company, of which Norfolk Hardware is a division. There are now five standalone Norfolk Kitchen and Bath showrooms. “What’s really cool is how we’ve grown a lot in the fourth generation, and we’ve grown not by buying companies, but we’ve been growing organically,” Ben said. He credits the family business’ ability to add an expert specialty to its general hardware store success. “I think that’s the real story, and I know a lot of people already agree – everybody should find something to really specialize in,” he said. When that happens, “You become a destination.” You can even become an all star. Congratulations to the team at Norfolk Hardware and the 49 other all stars described in our feature beginning on page 19. HBSD

HBSDEALER HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY

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 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

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 PRODUCTION/ART

VICE PRESIDENT, PRODUCTION Derek Estey destey@ensembleiq.com, 877-687-7321 PRODUCTION MANAGER 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 OCT. 8TH TO 10TH, COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. WWW.PRODEALER.COM IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NLBMDA, WWW.DEALER.ORG CONTACT: AMY PLATTER GRANT agrant@ensembleiq.com, PDIS DIRECTOR OF SPONSORSHIPS PUBLISHER OF HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER, DRUG STORE NEWS, CHAIN STORE AGE. CIRCULATION LIST MANAGER: ELIZABETH JACKSON, MERITDIRECT (847) 492-1350 X318. PERMISSIONS: MATERIALS IN THIS PUBLICATION MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION. TO ORDER REPRINTS CALL PARS INTERNATIONAL AT (212) 221-9595, EXT. 435, OR EMAIL LF-REPRINTS@PARSINTL.COM. CONTACT COPYRIGHT CLEARANCE CENTER, 222 ROSEWOOD DRIVE, DANVERS, MA 01923, (978) 646-2600 OR (855) 239-3415, OR ON THE WEB AT COPYRIGHT.COM FOR IMMEDIATE AUTHORIZATION TO PHOTOCOPY FROM HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER (ISSN 2376-5852).

Corporate Officers EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAIN Alan Glass CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER David Shanker CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Dan McCarthy CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Joel Hughes CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER Tanner Van Dusen CHIEF HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER Ann Jadown EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, EVENTS & CONFERENCE Ed Several

connect with us

Ken Clark Editor in Chief

MAY 2019 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

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FIRST CHOICE. BEST CHOICE.

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS Some think of Do it Best as the industry leader in hardware distribution and retailing expertise. Others know Do it Best as the co-op that serves the largest and most successful lumber dealers in the country. The fact is, both are correct. Do it Best is the only co-op that serves as a single-source provider while leading the industry in both hardware and LBM. Why do we work so hard to maintain relationships, deliver proven programs and support members with dedicated expertise on both sides of the industry? Because we want to give all members a simpler, streamlined ordering process, backed by strategic purchasing power and sophisticated business strategies. As a result, we offer incredible opportunities for growth, regardless of the types of customers our members serve. It’s an approach that has proven to be just as successful for single-location retailers as it is for large, multi-location businesses. From LBM to Hardware, Do it Best is focused on being the first and best choice in everything we do. “At Do it Best, we want to help growth-minded entrepreneurs serve their customers with outstanding service and unbeatable selection.” — Nick Talarico

Vice President of Sales & Business Development

Call us today at 888-DO IT BEST (364-8237). independentsdoitbest.com


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NEWS + ANALYSIS

Lowe’s ProServices moving in fast, new direction POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — Contractors, builders, and remodelers hitting Lowe’s stores in late March received a serious pitch from the retailer. As part of a week-long “Pro Event,” Lowe’s made its case to professional customers including changes in merchandising and services that are sweeping through stores and the ProServices Department. “We want our customers to feel like they are being taken care of,” says Dan Eichenhofer, the ProServices supervisor at the Lowe’s location in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. This includes new, dedicated pro loaders stationed near the contractor check-out area and entrance. Loaders are there to meet, greet and help contractors with their orders and a quick exit back to the job site via the “quick load canopy.” “They’re our front line,” Eichenhofer said of the pro loaders. Also on the front line are the pro supervisors Lowe’s has put into place to cement and cultivate relationships

with contractors. New parking spaces dedicated to pros, including signage and freshly painted lines, will be added to the parking lot near the pro entrance in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Lowe’s has put an emphasis on the bulk discounts and contractor account discounts it offers to pros. Inside the store, a quick look at the lumber and building materials selection demonstrated that Lowe’s has been fast in deploying its new “Job Lot Quantity” strategy. Piloted during the fourth quarter, Lowe’s stores are carrying high levels of LBM inventory. The idea is to treat the contractor with a visual of well-stocked shelves. The pilot program revealed an increase in pro sales penetration and reinforced what was needed across stores nationwide. “If it looks like we’re overstocked, then we’re doing our job,” Eichenhofer explains. Other features of the recent pro event

Meet the new brand NCI Building Systems, Inc., after recently merging with Ply Gem Building Products, announced that it will officially operate as Cornerstone Building Brands. Beginning May 24, the Cary, N.C.based company will trade under the ticker symbol “CNR” on the New York Stock Exchange. Cornerstone’s product portfolio includes windows, vinyl siding, insulated metal panels, metal roofing and wall systems and metal accessories. Serving residential and commercial customers across new construction and

HBSDealer.com

repair & remodel market, Cornerstone describes itself as one of the largest manufacturers of exterior building products in North America. The new name represents the company’s commitment to business transformation that will drive future growth and effectively serve customers

Assistant Store Manager Joe Crozzoli and ProServices Supervisor Dan Eichenhofer are excited about the changes at Lowe’s.

included tool specials, discounts, and a special breakfast and lunch provided to contractor customers. About 25% of Lowe’s total sales are to pro customers. “We have a lot of uptick right now and we can grab sales from the competition.” Eichenhofer says. “But we also know that we have to invest more in our programs.” HBSD — Andy Carlo

and communities across North America. In the words of CEO and Chairman James Metcalf: “Cornerstone Building Brands is creating industry solutions that will become the cornerstone of countless communities.” It also plans to push ahead with several community-focused programs, including the Home for Good project, a campaign that will to serve as a key corporate initiative and has helped build and remodel more than 500 homes in 90 communities across the U.S. since 2016. NCI Building Systems, Inc. merged with Ply Gem Parent, LLC. Last November. HBSD

HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER MAY 2019

11


NEWS + ANALYSIS

The Price is Rising, mostly Prices paid for residential construction products increased 1.5% in March on a non-seasonally adjusted rate, according to latest Producer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysis of the data from the National Association of Home Builders reveals prices have been rising faster in 2019 than they did during the same period in 2018 while reaching their highest level since last October. The average price increase from January to March since 2000 is about 1.1%. In the first three months of 2017 prices rose 0.7% and grew 1.9% for the first quarter of 2018. But this year, prices have risen 2.3% during the three-month span. The latest PPI report indicates that the pace of softwood lumber price increases has calmed some with

prices rising 2.3% in February but just 0.5%. Meanwhile, the PPI for softwood lumber has declined 13.3%. Although the PPI does not include prices paid for imports, Canadian lumber imports indirectly affect the price of domestic softwood lumber. OSB prices fell 6.1% in March, the fourth decrease over the past six months, as gypsum product prices declined 0.3% last month. The NAHB notes that gypsum prices have fallen in six of the past seven months by a total of 10.1% since a peak in August. Ready-mix concrete prices have been flat but diesel fuel prices rose 12.6% in March after increasing 7.2% in February. Prices have increased 20.7% overall since a two-month, 23.1% decline between November 2018 and January 2019. HBSD

Residential Construction Products (Jan. to March price increases) 2.3% 1.9%

2.0%

1.5

1.1% 1.0

0.7% 0.5

0

Avg. since 2001

2017

2018

2019

Source: Producer Price Index, NAHB

News Map: Sears Home & Life edition Illustration of stores in various stages of coming and going. For more retail news, visit HBSDealer.com. About two months after Eddie Lampert bought Sears out of bankruptcy for $5.2 billion, the retailer is going small. It plans to open three “Sears Home & Life” in May — each one measuring between 10,000 and 15,000 sq. ft. Sears Home & Life will focus on four categories: major appliances, mattresses, small kitchen appliances and connected home products. The test stores will also offer Sears Home Services and free-store-pickup on any item purchased at sears.com. The company says the new stores borrowed insights gleaned from its Sears Appliances & Mattresses stores that opened in 2017.

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MAY 2019 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

Sears Home & Life stores Anchorage, Alaska Lafayette, Louisiana Overland Park, Kans.

Sears Appliances & Mattresses stores Ft. Collins, Colo. Pharr, Texas Honolulu, Ha. Camp Hill, Pa.

HBSDealer.com


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NEWS + ANALYSIS

Still Wanted: construction workers Although construction job openings might have fallen in February, they are higher on a year-over-year basis, according to the National Association of Home Builders and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOTLS). Total open construction jobs measured at 286,000 in February, the latest month for which statistics are available, compared to 198,000 in February 2018, the NAHB reported. And while the open position rate — job openings as a percentage of total employment plus current job openings

— declined to 3.7% in February from 4% in January, it stands higher than a rate of 2.7% a year ago. On a smoothed, 12-month moving

average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector increased to 3.8%, a post-recession high. The peak (smoothed) rate during the building boom prior to the recession was just below 2.7%. For the current cycle, the sector has been above that rate since October 2016. More modest growth rates for housing construction for 2019 and 2020 are likely to place downward pressure on construction job openings in future data releases. The NAHB also said that 2019 could be the year in which the job openings rate for construction levels off. HBSD

A myriad of moves for US LBM It’s been an active spring for US LBM Holdings, LLC. The Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based pro dealer named Tim Liester to the newly created position of executive vice president of operations and sales. Liester Liester has been with the Minnesota-based Lyman Companies, a division of US LBM, for more than 20 years and was named president in 2016. Scott Richter has succeeded Liester as president of Lyman Companies. In his new role, Liester will be responsible for executing US LBM’s strategic initiatives and priorities to achieve continued and sustainable market growth. Liester will oversee US LBM’s four operating regions and the company’s purchasing, fleet, manufacturing and logistics functional areas. Liester will report to US LBM President and CEO L.T. Gibson.

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“Tim will drive the continued growth of our local divisions, leveraging our national platform and supporting their unique needs,” said Gibson. “Tim is a true leader, and we’re excited that all of our divisions will benefit from his knowledge and past experience leading a large, multifaceted and market-leading division of US LBM.” US LBM operates more than 250 locations and had sales of $3.34 billion in 2018. On April 2, US LBM announced that it had acquired BM Windows, which provides distribution, sales and installation services for windows and doors to customers in Las Vegas and Reno in Nevada. BM Windows will operate as a unit of US LBM’s Desert Companies. Led by division President Terry Ono,

MAY 2019 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

Desert joined US LBM in 2014 and is a supplier of lumber, engineered wood, fasteners, roof and floor truss systems to residential homebuilders and contractors in the Las Vegas market. US LBM also acquired Bailey Lumber & Supply on April 3. Based in Gulfport, Miss., Bailey operates six locations and offers a broad range of services and specialty building products to both professional builders and do-ityourselfers, including roofing, siding, windows, cabinets, floor and roof truss systems, customized doors and fine millwork. Bailey Lumber & Supply will continue to be led by Richard Kostal, who is remaining with the company as president, US LBM said. During the month US LBM expanded its Universal Supply banner as well with an opening in Edgewood, Md. This marked the second Universal location in Maryland and 14th overall. HBSD

HBSDealer.com


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Alabama: Russell Do it Center Alaska: Ace Hardware Top of the World Arizona: A2Z Home Center Arkansas: Hum’s Hardware & Rental California: Hensel’s Ace Hardware Colorado: Fruita True Value Connecticut: Welden Hardware Delaware: Wagner Hardware Florida: Bell & Bates Home Center Georgia: Howard Brothers Hawaii: HPM Building Supply Idaho: Caldwell True Value Illinois: J.C. Licht True Value Indiana: Akard True Value Iowa: Huffman’s Farm & Home Kansas: Waters True Value Kentucky Jones Home Center Louisiana: St. Landry Lumber Co. Maine: Maine Hardware Maryland: Deale Hardware & Home Center Massachusetts: Norfolk Hardware

The 2019 Class of STIHL Hardware All Stars

T

Michigan: Ace Barnes Hardware Minnesota: Marv’s True Value Mississippi: Coastal Hardware & Rental Missouri: Henkle’s Ace Montana: Westmart Building Center Nebraska: Builders Supply Company Nevada: Ace Shopper Stopper New Hampshire: The Lumber Barn New Jersey: Lavallette Hardware New Mexico: Randall Lumber & Hardware New York: Trio Hardware & Paint North Carolina: Burke Brothers Hardware North Dakota: Lumber Mart Ohio: Merrilees Trustworthy Supply Oklahoma: Building Solutions Oregon: Tightwads Discount Building Supply

he tradition began in 2011, when Home Channel News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, recognized 50 Hardware All Stars — one hardware store, home center or building supply dealer from each state. The tradition continues in 2019, with this all-new class of STIHL Hardware All Stars. It’s a class as deserving of recognition as any that preceded it. The 50 stores here represent all that is stellar in home improvement retailing. To varying degrees, they support local and national charities, experiment with merchandising and store design, differentiate themselves from competition, invest in their facilities and their people, and generally serve their communities like All Stars. HBSDealer thanks all of the industry professionals who nominated retailers for All Star consideration, and we congratulate our 2019 STIHL Hardware All Stars for high-performance retailing.

HBSDealer.com

Pennsylvania: Triangle Building Supplies & Services Rhode Island: Mt. Pleasant Hardware South Carolina: Southern Lumber and Millwork South Dakota: Kopetsky’s Ace Hardware Tennessee: Tennessee Ace Hardware Texas: Elliott’s Hardware Utah: Sunroc Building Supplies Vermont: Sticks and Stuff Virginia: Rocking R Ace of Harrisonburg Washington: Stoneway Hardware West Virginia: General Hardware Wisconsin: Village Ace Hardware Wyoming: AD Martin Lumber

HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER MAY 2019

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HARDWARE ALL STARS Fruita True Value FRUITA, COLO.

In Arkansas, Hum’s takes rental very seriously.

Russell Do it Center ALEXANDER CITY, ALA.

The Russell Lands Inc. family put on their hard hats to break ground for a new store in Auburn, Ala., set to open in late spring. But the company already operates six retail home centers in the state. The first was this energetic, Alexander City gem in 1984. Each store and three additional pro yards are designed and targeted for their unique markets. Alexander City assistant manager Scott Pearson shared with HBSDealer one of their secrets: “We try to stay busy.”

Ace Hardware Top of the World UTQIAGVIK (BARROW), ALASKA

For three months of the year, the sun doesn’t rise in this arctic city formerly (and still) known as Barrow. And for three months in the summer, the sun doesn’t set. “When its dark, in the wintertime, we sell a lot of light bulbs,” said Herman Solomon, store manager. “And In times of 24-hour light, camping gear is big.” The 3,000 sq. ft. store is valued by hunters, contractors and locals. It’s not easy working in such a remote place. “We’re used to it,” Solomon said.

A2Z Home Center CHINO VALLEY, ARIZ.

Filling the gap left by a retiring hardware store operator, owners Jeff and Nancy Van Nuy have high standards for their three-year-old home center

20

in north Central Arizona. Says Jeff: “Excellent quality with excellent service and competitive pricing.” The dealer is already spreading deep roots in the community — through donations to needy families, fund raisers, even supplying the lumber and paint to the local drama club. A recent store remodel keeps the business in All-Star territory.

Hum’s Hardware NORTH LITTLE ROCK, ARK.

Some stores call rental a “niche.” At Hum’s it’s a passion. The family business, owned by Bruce and Jason Hum, began renting heavy equipment in 1998, and the business has taken off. So has the store’s reputation as a repair and maintenance destination. The company turns its rental fleet at an aggressive pace (every few years) to better help customers do their jobs.

Hensel’s Ace Hardware ARCATA, CALIF.

With perhaps the sweetest tooth in all of hardware, Hensel’s is one of only two stores to receive the coveted “Coolest Store” honor from Ace Hardware in 2019. This fun (some would say funky) northern California retailer in two buildings is known for its full-service paint center, a strong housewares department and a candy store called Cook ‘n Sugar that carries sweets from around the world and around California. Ceva Courtemanche leads a veteran team.

MAY 2019 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

A 2019 Best Hardware Store in Town honoree, Fruita has been getting top grades on its mystery shops for cleanliness and store layout. Fruita resets its merchandise (all 10 sections) twice a year, which general manager Loni Moore admitted ‘is a lot of work but it keeps us fresh.” The secret to their success? “We listen to our customers’ needs, and if we get two ‘ask for’s,’ we inventory it.” The hardware store is strongly connected to the community through such philanthropic efforts as the Grant A Wish Program.

Welden Hardware SIMSBURY, CONN.

The Welden “team” includes the owner, store manager, the college kid, and two canines (Jasper and Tucker). Owned and operated by John and Melissa Brett since 2004, Welden Hardware has served Farmington Valley for 130 years as the oldest, continuously operating hardware store in Simsbury. Its How-To videos on everything from spring lawn and equipment tips to combating ethanol damage have become must-see TV. “We pride ourselves on those videos,” Melissa said. “We live here, we work here, we are active members of the community. We want to help our neighbors.”

Wagner Hardware WILMINGTON, DEL.

Months away from extinction in 2015, Wagner Hardware got a new lease on business life in a new location and has flourished ever since. “People are finding us, and once they do, they keep coming back,” owner Chuck Wagner said. Wagner Hardware has its own private line of bird food and stocks 100 signature Pennsylvania bird feeders and houses. It is also known for its assortment of grills and special services like sharpening. “We do things the boxes don’t do, and neither do a lot of others stores. We go the extra mile; we’ll carry your purchase out to the car for you.”

HBSDealer.com


Bell & Bates Home Center QUINCY, FLA.

For 85 years, Bell & Bates was home to the country’s oldest locally owned hardware business until owners Mark and Patsy Bates donated the 1912 Bell & Bates building to the Gadsden Arts Center. Bell & Bates continues to thrive in its new location in Quincy; this Benjamin Moore signature store has an extensive inventory, including automotive products, work boots, and animal health offerings. Bell & Bates also offers a UPS drop-off and shipping center on its premises and provides power tool service and repair.

Howard Brothers OAKWOOD, GA.

“No cookie-cutters here—each store has its own personality and reach,” said John Howard, who co-owns the five-store True Value dealer with his brother Doug. The Oakwood location, for example, offers items not found elsewhere including dog houses, hardware for docks, boating, and power equipment, which has become a major revenue stream for the business. “Gear Up,” its biggest one-day sale of the year, is held every February and attracts top commercial landscape companies from Atlanta and North Georgia J.C. Licht brings color to Chicago.

to take advantage of steep discounts, and manufacturer rebates.

HPM Building Supply KEAAU, HA.

When the Kilauea volcano erupted last year, HPM Building Supply snapped into action. Combining its shed-kit inventory and its building-component expertise, the Hawaiian home center — with the help of vendors customers and volunteers — helped spearhead the construction of much-needed, comfortable and safe micro housing. “What was awesome about it was the way everyone got together,” said Adam Bauer, COO, “And we put up 20 micro shelters in a single day. It really says a lot about the heart of our community and HPM.”

Caldwell True Value CALDWELL, IDAHO

The 12,000 sq. ft. selling space of this 2019 True Value “Best Hardware Store in Town” honoree is a multitasking zone for the versatile staff. “We have your basic, core hardware items and a fairly good-sized giftware department,” said Leah Nelson. “Many of us are wearing triple hats.” Nelson will soon take over from her parents the wide-aisled, little-bit-ofeverything, 35-year-old store. “We hear all the time from people that they come here when they don’t think they’re going to find it anywhere else,” she added.

J.C. Licht True Value CHICAGO, ILL.

“We pay for quality help, we give them benefits, they make a great living, and that’s the difference.” Those are the words of Elliot Greenberg, president of J.C. Licht, one

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of the nation’s largest Benjamin Moore dealers. Here in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, J.C. Licht experimented with a unique store that combines a pro-oriented paint operation with a modern, bright, convenience hardware store with an upscale flair. A 24-space parking lot — a rarity in Chicago — takes convenience up several notches.

Akard True Value ZIONSVILLE, IND.

Leigh Ann Akard’s grandfather established the family business in 1955. Today, this 2019 True Value “Best Hardware Store in Town” honoree successfully conveys vintage Hoosier hospitality in its strip mall setting. “We do a lot more than hardware,” she said, summing up a business model that leans heavily on “shoppertainment” and niche items — wind chimes and lake-house décor, among many others. The atmosphere is reminiscent of a little village and vacation town, one customer says. Annley the greeter dog keeps things friendly.

Huffman’s Farm & Home FORT MADISON, IOWA

The automated telephone message describes services such as a custom hydraulic hose facility, a welding shop and small engine repair — that’s the legacy of the company founded as Huffman’s Welding & Machine in 2002. Now with three stores (one in Illinois), Huffman’s Farm & Home plays the role of all-star retailer and community servant. “We’re very community-minded,” said Holly Howard, marketing director. “Not only in our product offering, but in our donations and giving back.” Case in point: the annual Huffman Scholarships to young part-time employees and children of existing employees.

Waters True Value WAMEGO, KAN.

Small town Wamego is big on heart. And Waters True Value exemplifies that

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HARDWARE ALL STARS spirit through its community actions including True Value Foundation’s Painting a Brighter Future program in which a half-dozen Kansas schools received a paint refresh. This Best Hardware Store in Town recipient is now in its sixth generation (run by Jim Waters) and is recognized by residents for its workshops on subjects ranging from beekeeping to composting. Waters True Value has seven locations across Kansas and keeps connected with customers through Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Jones Home Center UPTON, KY.

It’s all about community for Jones Home Center which hosts an annual Ladies Night that highlights local vendors and craftsmen who sell their handmade goods to the 200-plus guests — or about one-third the entire population of Upton (681, per 2010 census). “It’s one of our biggest events of the year,” said Heather Jones, whose father-in-law started the business in 1977. “We get people to come out who didn’t know we were here.” Jones also hosts a Wellness-onWheels program and does fundraisers for the Addison Jo Blair Cancer Bar Unit at Norton Children’s Hospital. Jones makes

wooden American flags (4-foot x 3-foot) entirely in-house which they proudly promote as Made in the USA.

St. Landry Lumber OPELOUSAS, LA.

St. Landry owner Austin Perkins vowed that if he ever built a new lumberyard, he would have a sporting goods section to go along with it. Today Austin Outdoors is a sportsman’s paradise for everything fishing and hunting related. As for the lumberyard? “I love the challenge that the lumberyard presents. Usually in the wintertime, it’s cold and rainy, and most of the jobs can’t get going because of the weather. That’s where the sporting goods really carry the lumberyard. And then, vice versa in the spring, summer, and fall.” St. Landry Lumber dates to the 19th century and is one of the oldest businesses still operating in Opelousas.

Maine Hardware PORTLAND, ME.

“Proudly local, fiercely independent and wicked helpful,” Maine Hardware welcomed a new president in 2019 (Rick Tucker) with a fresh perspective, having held management positions at L.L. Bean, Dick’s Sporting Goods

and The Dish Network. Three years ago, the store launched a B2Business division that serves local businesses. Delivery is free, however the goodwill it engenders among merchants is priceless. Said manager John Ross, “[B2B] gets our name out there, and it helps people — mostly one- and two-person shops — grow their business. We have worked hard to carve out a niche for ourselves.”

Deale Hardware & Home Center DEALE, MD.

Long-time residents and entrepreneurs Jim and Vicki Weaver identified a need for a home center (borne out of their own frustration of having to travel great distances for a part) and built what is today the go-to spot for folks in this small waterfront community where everyone knows your name. “Customers call it ‘our little mini Wal-Mart’—we try to have everything they might need so they don’t have to drive 30 minutes for it,” said Wendy, the office manager. The Weavers, who also operate Weaver Boat Works, a custom sport fishing yacht building company, recently added a marine center for boaters.

Norfolk Hardware & Home Center BOSTON, MASS.

In Boston, Norfolk Hardware keeps up with the neighborhood.

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This 90-year-old Boston institution unveiled a total transformation in 2017, with brilliant results. The layout, flow and design of the 40,000 sq. ft. home center has engaged customers ever since. More than just a pretty building, the store continues to serve as a model of philanthropy in its community. Boston’s largest family owned hardware store supports Habitat for Humanity, homeless shelters, and historic property renovation, including the rehabilitation of the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm, one of the city’s oldest landmarks.

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HARDWARE ALL STARS Coastal Hardware & Rental KILN, MISS.

Where else can you find lumber, paint and hardware — and that perfect dress for the special occassion? The unique answer is: Coastal Hardware & Rental. This small-town Do it Ace Barnes Hardware swings for the fences in housewares. Best dealer describes itself with the tagline: “More Ace Barnes Hardware than a Hardware Store… It’s an ExperiANN ARBOR, MICH. ence.” Princess the store cat patrols a On game day, you can hear the roar sizable paint, hardware and tool departof the crowd at the Big House — the ment. And owner Mary Ann Strickland University of Michigan stadium. And ensures the store maintains its appeal inside this 2018 Ace Hardware “coolest for niche customers as well, traveling Store on the planet” honoree is pure, around the south for fashion, jewelry retail eye candy — especially in the and other items for unique displays. sophisticated housewares department. Ann Arbor is a vibrant, colorful city, and Henkle’s Ace Hardware the store skillfully plays off the collegeWEBB CITY, MO. town vibe. Future growth plans involve Tune into Newstalk KZRG on Saturday’s a permanent greenhouse on the premfor a weekly dose of home improveises. “We’re pretty lucky that we have a ment radio with Cris and John Henkle. community that supports us being difThe owners of Henkle’s Ace Hardware ferent,” said Bridgett Barnes, co-owner. provide how-to advice, special guests and husband-and-wife banter deMarv’s True Value scribed by Cris as “a little snarky.” It PRINCETON, MINN. works. And so does the store, thanks Few hardware retailers have more she says to the helpful employees who big-equipment credibility than Marv’s, average 80 hours of training per year. founded in 1966 as the Marvin George Henkle’s features hands-on customer Builders lumber yard. A power equipfix-it areas; and its own greenhouse. ment and repair shop expansion took “We try to do everything differently,” place in 2000, and the Rental Business said Cris. “We built our store differently bolted on in 2004. But the store has from the beginning.” a soft side, too. The 2018 Best Hardware Store in Town honoree features Westmart Building a bright paint center — Inspiration Center Realized — and a healthy crafts and WEST YELLOWSTONE, MONT. gifts department. Community events Tucked away in a remote corner of the are big, too. From Easter Egg hunts to Yellowstone National Park and Forest, Ladies Night. “We always have a pretty this 40-year-old retailer is an oasis of good turnout,” says Alecia Lueck, pro- home improvement service and materimotions advisor. als for locals and tourists alike. Owner

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MAY 2019 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

Greg Forsythe takes pride in his people’s ability to handle any project — motels to time shares, decks to doors. “You are a friend when you walk through our doors and a customer and better friend when you leave,” he says in his digital message to customers.

Builders Supply Co. OMAHA, NEB.

Operating out of a single location in Omaha for 68 years, Builders Supply Co. can do it all, thanks to its employee-owned work force of 250 people. “We manufacture walls panels, trusses, windows, pretty much the full spectrum,” said Mike Rhodes, manager of the home center and design center. “And we’re always trying to be innovators and bringing in new products.” But the key to leading the market is collective experience. Says Rhodes: “We’re very knowledgeable.”

Ace Shopper Stopper BOULDER CITY, NEV.

If you’ve ever driven from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam, you probably passed right by this Boulder City, Nev. hardware store. And there’s even a good chance that you stopped to shop. “Happens all the time,” said store manager Joe St. Louis, about the sightseeing customers. Located in postcardperfect Boulder City in an adobe-style building, Shopper Stopper combines a vintage-style with an up-to-date paint and hardware offering. “Customers think fairly highly of us,” said St. Louis. “We’re known for our paint, and more importantly, our customer service.”

The Lumber Barn BRADFORD, N.H.

The Lumber Barn is a full-service hardware store with a pro lumberyard, a stand-alone kitchen showroom and a complete STIHL department and service area. To best serve their customer base of builders, contractors and

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HARDWARE ALL STARS Lavallette Hardware LAVALLETTE, N.J.

This hardware store in Lavallette appears regularly near the top of the Do it Best ranking of warehouse purchases per square foot. Located just a few blocks off the beach on a Jersey Shore barrier island, Lavallette Hardware is a go-to stop for contractors and homeowners. The store endeared itself to the community by playing a prominent role in the rebuilding effort following the destructive Superstorm Sandy. Trio Hardware’s Todd and Ritsa Kirschner.

Randall Lumber & Hardware TAOS, N.M.

DIYers, The Lumber Barn underwent a remodel in 2016. And, to help inspire women to tackle their own home improvement projects, the store hosts a Ladies’ Night event.

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On the Pueblo, legend has it that the “elders” are the most respected and wisest people, revered for their knowledge and ability to render the right decision. That may ex-

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plain why so many locals hang out at this 100-year-old business that is part of the fabric and culture of a 400-year-old New Mexico community. Randall is noted for its wisdom—as well as its expertise and expansive portfolio. “Our motto is ‘Anything to build everything,” co-owner Paula Randall Ervin said. “We’re helping the community with a basic need, which is housing.”

Trio Hardware & Paint PLAINVIEW, N.Y.

Hundreds of people turned out to help Trio Hardware move into a brand-new location a mile down the road. Now with double the square footage, the hardware business has the means to maximize its merchandising, including high-end fixtures and a custom service counter with creative displays above. Trio, which

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has flourished despite increasing competition, carries about 53,000 items, just about anything to facilitate a home project. “If it’s not in stock, it’s a day away,” co-owner Todd Kirschner said. “And if we don’t have it, you don’t need it.”

embraced the future, targeting younger customers through social media and upgrading its operations with new software. But no amount of software will replace the personal touch here. “Our goal is to get you everything you need,”

Lumber Mart GRAND FORKS, N.D.

Burke Brothers Hardware RALEIGH, N.C.

Walking into this store is like walking into the 1930s, a throwback to that old-fashioned, local hardware store that has every nook and cranny. While it still retains that old-time charm — a neon “established in 1936” sign reminds you of that — Burke Brothers Hardware has

co-owner Jeff Hastings said. “When you leave here, you shouldn’t have to make any extra trips.”

In Raleigh, N.C., Burke Brothers combines vintage with modern.

With a full-service lumberyard and truss manufacturing operation, the Lumber Mart is a destination for builders and contractors. Those close ties with contractors are manifested each year in the annual appreciation luncheon that draws dozens of contractors from as far as 75 miles away. With an eye to the future, the owners have used the truss shop to help educate the next generation of young builders by inviting area trade students to tour the facility and get some one-on-one time and see how the business operates.

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HARDWARE ALL STARS Merrilees Trustworthy Supply

Triangle Building Supplies & Services

CLEVES, OHIO

BELLEFONTE, PA.

Its company mantra—“The Problem Solvers”—is so ingrained in the culture at Merrilees that a sign “We’re the Problem Solvers!” is draped across the exterior of the store. Voted as one of the best hardware stores in Ohio, Merrilees never gets complacent; it keeps tabs on the local competition with occasional in-store visits and adjusts pricing when necessary. Owner Dale Drew, who took over from his father, is joined by his wife and kids in the day to day affairs. “We try to be a welcome throwback to what a hardware store should be,” he said.

Being diversified has allowed Triangle, a 2019 True Value Best Hardware Store in Town honoree, to withstand any seasonal softness. Although its business is concentrated on building supplies, Triangle operates a hardware store, a separate rental business, an attached showroom for kitchen and bath (soon to be spun off as its own LLC), a full-service lumberyard, and an on-premises mill shop. Owner J. Allen Witherid also has a separate heating and cooling business. “The last couple of years have been very good, and we’re ahead of our pace this year,” said Andy Corman, manager. “Unlike the box stores, we know where our products are located, and we help our customers solve their problems.”

Building Solutions TULSA, OKLA.

When other lumberyards were cutting back during the housing downturn, Building Solutions president Ronnie McGlothlin saw a market opportunity “to fill in the gap and expand.” To seize that opportunity, McGlothlin changed the company’s name to reflect that it sells more home construction supplies than just lumber. Today, Building Solutions has one of the largest full-line cabinet shops in northeast Oklahoma. In the midst of growth, McGlothlin said Building Solutions never lost sight of their mission — to be the best building material supplier in the industry.”

Tightwads Discount Building Supply PRINEVILLE, ORE.

They might be “Tightwads” in name but don’t mistake this building supply establishment for being cheap, or even a thrift store. As managing partner Josh Hanson noted, “We sell all new items here.” Tightwads focuses on budgetconscious customers—mostly DIYers for home improvement projects—with pricing and unique items. Hanson, a fifth-generation lumberman who spent 25 years in the sawmill industry, is able to leverage his relationships with mills, with the ultimate goal of passing the savings onto his customers.

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Mt. Pleasant Hardware PROVIDENCE, R.I.

Marc Gillson, the third-generation owner of a business his grandfather established in 1923, credits their success with being able to adapt. “We have morphed from strictly hardware to industrial supply to paint; and as those markets dried up, we moved into window and glass installation and repair for commercial and residential customers. It’s all about giving the customer what they want, when they want it.” Mt. Pleasant runs a lean operation, with fewer than 10 full-time employees. However, these employees are often on a first-name basis with customers and able to cultivate relationships that go beyond the sale.

Southern Lumber & Millwork CHARLESTON, S.C.

Adversity not only builds character, sometimes it builds businesses. When the Department of Transportation took 2 acres from Southern Lumber & Millwork—citing eminent domain to expand the nearby interstate—Southern was forced to reduce its footprint from 7 acres to 5 without interrupt-

MAY 2019 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

ing its business. “That meant our inventory levels couldn’t drop and our service couldn’t either,” owner Thad Shuler said. During the re-sizing Southern turned out three of its best years. Southern is noted for its custom millwork and special moldings and trim work for the restoration and new construction industries.

Kopetsky’s Ace Hardware YANKTON, S.D.

Kenny Kopetsky lets it be known that if you are caught in an after-hours winter storm emergency, he’ll open for you. Just ask. That kind of commitment to customer service scores points with customers, and so do the numerous giveaways and events, the latest being an open house with a local builder. Kopetsky’s also engages the community with its side business — Ace Bike & Fitness, known as “Yankton’s outdoor fun headquarters.”

Tennessee Ace Hardware GALATIN, TENN.

Entering town from the north, you hit Lowe’s. Enter from the south, and you hit this 2019 All Star — a 40,000 sq. ft. community-focused service-oriented home center, known for its grilling and chilling. “We sell tons of grills,” said Collin Barnes, store manager, pointing to Traeger, Weber and Big Green Egg. And its also known for its power equipment expertise — the store is a certified STIHL Elite dealer. And a supporter of local sports, as well as the Children’s Miracle Network of hospitals.

Elliott’s Hardware FAIRVIEW, TEXAS

As part of CNRG, it’s fitting that Elliott’s Hardware’s newest store (opened October 2018) is stocked with best synergies and best practices from the retail group. From the wall of decorative hardware (accessed by a classic rolling ladder) to the Elliott’s Hardware Workshop, the commanding presence of the Décor Center and the OPE aisle

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General Hardware WINFIELD, W.VA.

Sunroc is Utah’s source for building supplies, and more.

powered by STIHL and Honda. “We provide what the customer is looking for in terms of selection and service,” said Andre Spencer. “Those were two key tenets that my grandfather founded the business on.”

Sunroc Building Supplies LINDON, UTAH

From humble origins in 1937, Sunroc has grown to 10 locations in Utah (plus two in Idaho), earning the slogan: “Utah’s souce for building supplies.” Sunroc has also upped its game for do-it-yourselfers with strong merchandising and friendly service inside its stores, plus the largest fastener department in the state. Sunroc has earned multiple Utah Valley’s Reader’s Choice Awards for “best in hardware/ home improvement.” Sunroc invests in its communities and supports area kids engaged in school activities and Eagle Scout projects.

Sticks and Stuff ST. ALBANS, VT.

Don’t let the folksy name throw you. Sticks and Stuff is a high-powered home center with four locations and the tagline: ‘Vermont’s most complete locally-owned home center,” with service throughout the Northeast. Hardware? Check. Full-service lumber yard? Check. Kitchen renovations? Check. Plus, a mill shop in St. Albans fabricates all kinds of stuff: custom doors and stairs to furniture and counter tops.

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Rocking R Ace HARRISONBURG, VA.

Rocking R is a destination location where thousands congregate to attend one of its many events, among them Ladies’ Night, where they roll out the red carpet and pamper women; bird seminars and adopt-a-pet days in conjunction with the Rockingham/Harrisonburg SPCA. Its fall tool show, which brings out leading vendors, is another signature event. Roughly half of Rocking R’s 7,500 square foot space is comprised of hand and power tools, which may be low margin for some but has been a nice revenue source for Rocking R, according to store manager Bill Freeman.

Stoneway Hardware SEATTLE, WASH.

Founded by five friends from the hardware industry who saw the need for a locally owned store, this downtown Seattle All Star has evolved from a “mini-mart” into a 12,000-square-foot specialty hardware powerhouse. Their big niche, according to co-founder Ken Bartlett, is nuts and bolts — hence their nickname, “The Fasten Nerds.” Fasteners are sold by the piece or by the box. “We buy from 13 different vendors because no one vendor has everything,” Bartlett said. Stoneway caters to the marine trade with over 1,300 accounts, from fishing boats to commercial yachts.

Before he became an owner, Eric Tarr was a consumer who grew frustrated that there were no local hardware stores in Winfield. Together with Dale Vance, these entrepreneurs invested in a hardware store that would cater to the needs of all. “We’re a general store—it’s a play on words, ‘General Hardware,’” Tarr said. “It has a little bit of everything, from snacks to screws to cleaners to plumbing to electric—it’s all there.” General has also added a lumberyard to the mix. “We have all the building materials—everything you need to build a house.”

Village Ace Hardware GLENDALE, WIS.

As second-generation hardware men, the Meinecke brothers (Jim, Mike and Mark) grew up in the business following in their parents’ footsteps. “Our parents, Jim and Margaret Meinecke, made us learn every aspect of the business, literally starting in the basement and working up,” Jim Meinecke said. This hardware store is serious about selling paint, and in years past has sold more paint than any other Benjamin Moore dealer in Wisconsin. Village now has a stand-alone store, Village Paint & Design, that is akin to a hardware store inside a paint store.

A.D. Martin Lumber RIVERTON, WYO.

A.D. Martin has come a long way from the days when it sold horse-drawn farm equipment. More recently, it added a truss division that features state of the art programs for component design such as Truswal Systems software that creates trusses in multiple configurations. As Riverton’s oldest lumber yard, A.D. Martin has long-standing relationships with redwood mills, and boasts of offering the lowest prices in the state on 2 x 4 and 2 x 6 common redwood decking. “We’ll also deliver it to your front door,” owner John Martin said. HBSD

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SHOW PREVIEW

A Big Show opens its doors wide National Hardware Show embraces innovation as it builds new audiences.

The National Hardware Show returns to Las Vegas May 7-9.

If you’ve been following the evolution of the National Hardware Show, you’ve probably heard about the launch of Tiny Living @ NHS, educating the industry on the tiny-home trend. Also widely reported is the debut of an Interactive Smart Home, showcasing the latest in home technology. But there’s a lot more going on at the National Hardware Show that affects

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hardware and building supply dealers — and their customers. For instance, an alliance with the National Association of Home Builders is getting off the ground. According to Rich Russo, industry VP for the National Hardware Show, the teamwork and the sharing of marketing material and promotional efforts all make perfect sense for NHS and the NAHB. Smart home trends and tiny

MAY 2019 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

home education are just part of the wide expanse of common ground. “There are a lot of builders out there who just want to know what’s going on, and how they can either participate or take advantage of the trends,” Russo told HBSDealer. “So, we see builders, contractors, remodelers as another area of growth from an attendee standpoint.” The National Hardware Show will light up Las Vegas May 7-9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. And the sheer variety of products for home improvement representing 15 major product categories has a natural interest for hardware store dealers as well as anyone who gets paid to build or remodel a home. “There is definitely a lot of crossover there,” Russo said. “And there are certainly opportunities for [builders, contractors and remodelers] to learn, to educate themselves, and then in addition, to find some really cool products that might be valuable to them.” For the entire spectrum of the home improvement industry, the National Hardware Show again promises its bread-and-butter — innovation and new products. “Innovation continues, and it drives this industry,” Russo said. “Exhibitors are looking to introduce products that make projects easier, faster, more efficient, or more effective,” Russo said. This year’s Inventors’ Spotlight event will have more than 150 inventors with never-before-seen products. Look for products that allow homeowners or contractors to do more. “I think that applies throughout the entire industry, whether you’re talking about a major manufacturer, or a retailer, he said. “There’s no doubt

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visit nationalhardwareshow.com

What else is new? “Exhibitors are looking to introduce products that make projects easier, faster, more efficient, or more effective.” — Rich Russo, Industry Vice President, National Hardware Show

that people are having to do more with less, and that will be showcased.” At last count, the National Hardware Show was piling up the positive statistics. Pre-registration is up 25% compared to 2018. Also there are more than 700 new-to-the-Show companies that will be on the exhibit floor. Attendees will also be able to identify those products that are being launched for the first time in Las Vegas. “That’s a great reason for retailers to come and see the Show, because there is going to be a lot of vendors that they haven’t met before, and products they haven’t seen,” Russo said. “We’re excited about it.” HBSD New trends, new products and new opportunities attract attention each year at the National Hardware Show.

“It’s all about new, and it’s all about innovation,” says Rich Russo, industry VP for the National Hardware Show Every year brings new twists and trends to the event. This year’s May 7-9 Show in Las Vegas is no exception, and has more than its fair share of programs and experiments compared to previous years. Here are some highlights. Interactive Smart Home Showcased in a realistic and interactive setting of a simulated house in the Homewares area of the Show floor, The Interactive Smart Home allows attendees to walk through and experience featured smart home products. (See article page 32) Tiny Home @ NHS A historically consumer-focused event, formerly known as the Tiny House and Simple Living Jamboree, the new Tiny Living @ NHS will focus on the business of small building and construction technology, with an array of specialized exhibitors as well as experiences geared towards the tiny house movement. Tiny House Village: Tiny Living @ NHS will feature a curated tiny house village set alongside the popular Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ outdoor area of the Show. Steals and Deals Organizers of the 2019 Show are compiling a long list of exhibitors’ “best deals available” — a sort of blue-light special for today’s retailer. These specials will be promoted on the Show’s mobile app, through signage and through touch-screen kiosks on site. “The idea is that you’ll be able to see the best deals on the Show floor,” Russo said. Hot Hits For the first time, the Show will allow for instant tracking of hot products, as determined by other attendees. Here’s how: At each of the featured areas – Made in USA, or New Product Launch, for instance — each product on display will have a barcode that will feed into the NHS mobile app, creating a constantly updating live leaderboard of the most scanned products. As more and more scans are happening, attendees will be able to see it in real-time. “If a product is just blowing up with hits, then that’s a product you’re going to want to make sure you check out,” Russo said. Inventors Spotlight This popular program returns in 2019, and it’s bringing with it more than 150 inventors with never-before-seen products. Those looking to address the labor shortage affecting the housing industry would do well to visit this area. “These inventors are always looking to solve problems,” Russo said. And speaking of never-before seen products, Show organizers are working with as many vendors as possible to identify new hardware and building supply products that are being launched at the 2019 Show. HBSD

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SPONSORED BY

SMART PRODUCTS

Get Smart The National Hardware Show is proud of its reputation as the springboard to “the future of home improvement.” With more than 2,800 exhibitors in 15 major product categories, there’s no one clear direction for home improvement trends. But we do know this: homes are going to get smarter. The products assembled on the following pages represent the many iterations of “Smart Home,” from lighting control, to security to home environment and entertainment. And according to Rich Russo, the industry VP of the National Hardware Show, they don’t make smart home products like they used to — they make them better. “Today, the technology has been made so simple to use — and it literally walks you through every step of the install,” Russo said. One new feature of the 2019 National Hardware Show is the Interactive Smart Home — a simulated house on the show floor where buyers get a close-up look at features and benefits of products in their natural environment. Here’s a sample of the kind of smart-home products to be found at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.

Vosker security cameras No wi-fi? No power? No problem for the Vosker Outdoor 4G/ LTE security cameras. Wherever security is needed — even in remote locations where Wi-Fi is unreliable, Vosker offers video protection. The Vosker 4G and LTE security cameras are ideal for construction sites, farmland, marinas, and chalets. No wi-fi is needed — they function on their own without it. Connects to mobile app with plans that range from free to $20 per month. (NHS booth #3639) Vosker.com

La Crosse Weather Station This V22-WRTH Complete Personal Remote Monitoring Weather Station from La Crosse Technology brings sophisticated climatology inside the home. The station measures wind speed, rain, indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity data, to name a few. Plus, a new Wi-Fi connected option, packages all of the sensor data in a new La Crosse View app. A color LCD display brings smarts to a tabletop or mantle. Sells for about $170. (NHS Booth #3815) Lacrossetechnology.com

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The answer, Dual Cam Video Doorbell From Maximus Smart Home Security, the “answer” Dual Cam Video Doorbell is described as the first dual-camera smart video doorbell to capture video footage of both people and packages. It offers a 180-degree field of view thanks to two 1080 HDR cameras. The smart product allows homeowners to talk live or respond to motion with custom greetings. Jiawei Technology, the company behind the Maximus brand, is a leader in solar, LED, low-voltage and smart home products. Sells for about $200. (NHS booth #3434) Maximuslighting.com

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visit nationalhardwareshow.com

SimpleSence Leak Detector The SimpleSence leak and freeze sensor is an in-home, Wi-Fi connected, multi sensor system that instantly detects and alerts water leaks and extreme temperature variations. Available in single unit or different multi-unit home packs, homeowners receive around-the-clock leak and freeze protection for family and valuables. This Sencentric Inc. product simply connects to a router — no need for a smart-home hub or additional equipment (or cost). A back-up siren alerts anyone in the house when a leak is detected. (NHS booth #3216) Sencentric.com

ACOPower LiONCooler

The Motorola Bolt Smart Safe ITSmart Security, LLC is introducing the Motorola Smart Safe. This Internet connected personal safe secures items that need to be protected, but also require regular access. If the safe is tampered with or an incorrect code is used, then the smart safe sends real-time security alerts to the owner’s phone. It also alerts the owner if anyone gains access via the keypad or back-up keys. Sells for about $130. (NHS booth #4137) Motorola.com

It’s called the first, smart portable solar fridge freezer. And a new way to powerfully chill beverages (up to -4 degree F) and food with smart digital controls. You can charge it, control it and go wherever you like. The temperature of the mobile fridge/freezer can be adjusted manually, or with the app for your smart phone. The removal, rechargeable battery will last 10 to 15 hours on a new charge. You can charge the regular way, or with solar panels. (NHS booth: Outdoor 13418) Acopower.com

EcoHome Smart Lock Science fiction has become home improvement fact, with the EcoConnect Home Smart Lock. It’s a facial identification lock that has four modes of entry; Face ID, Pin code, RFID Sensor tag, and triedand-true key entry. It is IP65, making it designed for outdoor elements. The fast face match unlocks in under one second, the company says. It also boasts easy installation with all part included and is available in stainless and bronze finish. (NHS booth Outdoor #13119) Ecoxgear.com

PowerCube SmartHome The industrial design company Allocacoc unveiled its newest PowerCube — this one is called SmartHome. Essentially, it’s a power socket in the shape of a cube. But it’s also a connectivity device that allows homeowners to use their mobile device to turn on or off any device in the home that is connected to the cube, while providing an award-winning alternative to clumsy power strips. The PowerCube SmartHome has four easy-access outlets. It’s also childproof. (NHS Booth 4130) Allocacoc.com

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SPONSORED BY

SMART PRODUCTS iView

Habitat humidifier “Alexa, ask Habitat to set the house to 40% humidity.” And so it does. From Healthsmart International, the Habitat smart humidifier allows the homeowner to take control of their home environment. The stylish, easy-to-clean product can be controlled and monitored from anywhere through the smartphone app. A super-smart feature is the water freshness indicator — it changes colors depending on the freshness of the water in the tank. Sells for about $300. (NHS booth #3527, 3536) Habitat.tech

Lockly Secure door lock Described as the world’s smartest locks, Lockly’s patented PIN Genie Technology makes it virtually impossible for someone to use the access code without the owner’s approval. Unlike other static keypads where the combinations are always the same, Lockly ensures that the digital keypad display is unique every time someone approaches the door. Sells for about $250. (NHS Booth #3736) Lockly.com

“Wake up and smell the coffee.” That’s one of the rallying cries of the Chino, Calif.based maker of smart home products. The iView CM200 Smart Coffee Maker grinds beans with 14 adjustable courseness settings and brews coffee at the control of the app (seen here) or the homeowners voice. The iView coffee maker is promoted as a no-hub-necessary smart product. Avoid the confusion, the company says, and simply control the iView CM200 Smart Coffee Maker from anywhere using any Wi-Fienabled device. Sells for about $150. (NHS Booth #3820) Iviewus.com

Nanoleaf lighting Here’s a complete new way to illiuminate the home space. With smart home compatibility, the Nanoleaf Canvas Smarter Kit includes 9 light squares that connect on any side to allow a customized lighting experience. The light squares can also be activated with the touch of the palm. Also, integrated audio sensors allow the light squares to react to sound, for those seeking a new level of music or gaming immersion. The “Smarter Kit” sells for about $230. Expansion packs are a popular add on. (NHS booth #3608) Nanoleaf.me

Ring More than just a smart doorbell, this security system’s mission is explained thus: “to reduce crime in neighborhoods and empower consumers by creating a Ring of Security around homes and communities.” And with the companion Neighbors App, the Ring system becomes “the neighborhood watch for the digital age.” The Ring Security Kit works in concert with Ring Doorbells and Cameras and sells for about $200. (NHS booth # 3439) Ring.com

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The Smart Home movement lights up Greg Rhoades has been marketing smart homes to consumers for 14 years. And according to the director of marketing for Leviton Energy Management Controls and Automation — translation: “all things smart” — people are beginning to see the light in a way that bodes well for the connected-home movement. There is historical precedent to be optimistic for the future of smart homes, he said. Young home buyers, Rhoades said, “are beginning to demand technology just as the homebuyers in the post-war 50s began expecting residential air conditioning and their predecessors expected knob and tube wiring for the new light bulb. We’ve finally hit that point of critical mass where “Lighting is people innately understand immediate and the benefits that a product can it’s experiential.... bring to their lifestyle.” The change can be seen on That’s why so actual blueprints, where builders many people have dubbed WiFi as the gravitate to “fourth utility,” and identifying smart lighting.” the location of wireless access points in the plans — Greg Rhoades, Leviton The proliferation of WiFi is powering the movement, along with improved simplicity and some powerful market leaders. The disparate systems — call it the “hub” or the “gateway” or the “bridge” — that used to serve as the brain of the smart home are no longer necessary. In its place comes an era of plug-and-play simplicity. “We’re considering the ‘hub’ as a piece of legacy equipment,” he said. “What really happened is WiFi has exploded as a real home automation standard. We don’t need that box, because we can do all the heavy lifting in the cloud.“ Lowe’s decision to abandon its Iris smart home system can be viewed as one result of this trend. Similiarly, Stringify recently announced its plans to close down operations of its iPhone app built to control and connect multiple smart home devices. WiFi’s power has also led to the emergence of the smart home front runners Amazon and Google and their voice activated speakers to play a central role in the WiFi enabled

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smart home. (“Amazon is the leader, and Google is doing an amazing job trying to leap frog Amazon,” Rhoades said.) And in this environment manufacturers have the new ability to focus on their specific products, as opposed to a whole-house system. “Now, I can worry about making the best light switch, as opposed to all that other stuff,” he said. In Leviton’s case, a recent focus is on a smart switch used to control outside lights, fans, pumps, and — the most common application, he said — the front porch light. The Leviton DW15S-1BZ Decora Smart Wi-Fi 15A Universal LED/Incandesent Switch is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Note this key phrase in its marketing material: “No hub required.” Leviton intends to push the product to a higher degree of “smart” by building Alexa into the light switch itself, thus eliminating the need for even a speaker tower on the counter. “You’ll just speak directly to the dimmer,” he said. The all-in cost of this more sophisticated product will be about the same as the current model. In the words of Leviton, the smart home movement’s new simplicity can be described this way: “If you have WiFi and a smartphone, you can now have a smart home.” Many of the products and applications pushing the smart-home movement forward are in the lighting category. And there’s a reason for that, said Rhoades. “Lighting is immediate and it’s experiential, it’s sudden,” he said. “And it’s pervasive throughout the house. That’s why so many people gravitate to smart lighting.” HBSD

The Leviton DW15S switch.

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MARKET INSIGHTS

LMC takes care of business This year’s LMC Annual Meeting, held in San Diego, Calif., had an added level of excitement -- $4.8 billion in purchases that LMC achieved in 2018. That’s on top of the buying and networking opportunities for the dealer members of LMC. “We’ve had a great 84th annual LMC stockholder meeting and show here in San Diego,” said Andy Toombs, senior vice president of purchasing for LMC. “Dealers from as far as Alaska, Florida, and Maine made the trip out here to the beautiful city of San Diego. There

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was great activity on the show floor, a lot of purchasing opportunities, special programs, education, and networking opportunities for our dealers, our suppliers, and our staff.” On the show floor this year were a number of specialty exhibits including

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the House of ModernView, Kitchen & Bath Showcase, Capital Equipment exhibit, and the New Products Showcase. “It’s a buying show, we come out to buy, buy, buy,” said Dan Groth of HomeCo Lumber & Hardware. “We come out to see how LMC has been doing for the whole year. There’s a lot of good vendors and the show is more relaxed than some of your typical buying shows.” The New Products area featured nearly 100 products from more than 60 LMC suppliers. Taking home the top prize, as voted by the LMC dealers attending the show, was the fastening tool CAMO Drive from National Nail. Second place went to SKILSAW Power Tools for their 16 in. Worm Drive Carpentry Chain Saw. Third place was Delaney Hardware’s Deadbolt Z-Wave Smart Touchpad with Camera Bridge. Friday night LMC hosted a spe-

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LMC elects new chair cial event aboard the USS Midway. Guests enjoyed tours of the ship, flight simulators, and a plethora of antique aircrafts. The night culminated in a fireworks display, sponsored by Huber Engineered Woods. In addition to the buying and networking opportunities afforded to LMC dealers at the show are the unique educational opportunities. There were a number of National Kitchen & Bath Association accredited courses offered as part of the second annual Kitchen & Bath Showcase. There were also education sessions on the topics of social media marketing, leading in the artificial intelligence age, brand management, employee loyalty and retention, and recruiting. New this year was a round table offered by LMC’s Component Alliance—a newly reinvigorated group

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of dealers who are involved in truss manufacturing. The round table featured three industry facilitators from Mitek, Canfor, and Interfor. “All of us here do business in different ways,” said Ike Padgett from Tindell’s Building Materials. “Having the ability to talk to each other and hear different strategies and methods is a huge benefit. It allows us to evaluate our own processes against others, look at new ideas, and look at our efforts to continuously improve. That’s a strength for this alliance.” Based in Wayne, Pa., LMC (Lumbermens Merchandising Corporation) is a forest-products and building materials buying group owned by independent lumber and building material dealers. There are more than 1,400 LMC dealer locations in the United States and the Bahamas. HBSD

At the recent 2019 LMC Annual Meeting in San Diego, the LBM co-op elected Charlie Kreyer of Dykes Lumber Co. to the post of chairKreyer man of the board. He succeeds Krya Bishop from Berry Home Center in Chilhowie, Va. Founded in 1909 in New York City by Andrew H. Dykes, Dykes Lumber joined LMC in 1936. In 1995 Charles Kreyer took over leadership in the company from his father, Lou Kreyer, Jr. Since then, Dykes has grown to nine locations. Over the years at LMC, Charlie Kreyer has served on the finance, audit and executive committees in addition to the board.

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NLBMDA RECAP

Postcards from Capitol Hill Washington, D.C. — A delegate from Texas orchestrated 14 individual meetings with legislative offices on Capitol Hill during the 2019 National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association Legislative Conference. A dealer from South Dakota saw all three of that state’s national legislators. And dealers from New York say their freshman class of representatives in Washington were polite and eager to listen. The talking points were emphasized and rehearsed at a breakfast presentation, which focused on four issue briefs in the leave-behind packet:

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Taxation of qualified improvement property — This issue seeks to correct a drafting error in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and allow interior improvements to commercial buildings (Qualified Improvement Property) to be eligible for 100% bonus depreciation, saving businesses from an unnecessarily higher tax burden. Repeal of the health insurance tax — The objective here is to delay or repeal the annual HIT (health insurance tax) on plans offered by small and medium-sized businesses. Along these lines, the NLBMDA seeks support for the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act. Strengthen the low-income housing tax credit — Addressing the shortage of affordable housing, the NLBMDA supports the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to incentivize the private sector into building affordable homes.

From left to right: Adam Hendrix of CHIC Lumber of Missouri joins the group at the Congressional Reception. Capitol Hill throght the cherry trees. Brett and Colton Hanson, representing Trie State Building Center of Sisseton, S.D. Dealers came from all over the country to press the issues with their representatives April 1-3; The Legislative Conference included an issue briefing presented by the NLBMDA and the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association.

Renewal of the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber agreement — There hasn’t been an agreement since 2015, and in its place have come countervailing duties and antidumping duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports. No agreement means no stability in pricing.

Dealers sought out their representatives to talk about things back home, and to press on the issues. Several dealers said the strengthening of the housing tax credit seemed to be the best received proposal of the bunch. Bob Sanford of Sanford & Hawley in Connecticut and chair of the NLBMDA said the dealers delivered a strong message. “It was great to see so many dealers on Capitol Hill educating legislators—especially the freshman class—on the importance,

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intricacies and impact of the building material supply industry on the U.S. economy,” he said. “We also delivered a message about the value of this industry on the shelter and well-being of many Americans.” Brett Hanson of Tri State Building Center in Sisseton, S.D., saw both of the South Dakota senators and its sole House member. With Hanson was his 14-year-old son Colter, who was making the rounds on Capitol Hill for the third year in a row. “Having him by my side makes a statement to my legislators, as well as the representatives of the other states we visit, that I am not just here for today,” said Brett Hanson. The NLBMDA’s next major event is the 2019 ProDealer Industry Summit, slated for Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct. 8-10. HBSD

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Inside the beltway banter Washington, D.C. — It didn’t take long for housing affordability or the labor shortage to check into the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association’s 2019 Legislative Conference. A veteran housing industry lobbyist dove into both topics, and a few others, to kick off an early-morning Washington Briefing Breakfast here on Tuesday. Jerry Howard, CEO of the D.C.based National Association of Home Builders, predicted that housing affordability will be an important issue in the 2020 elections, and it’s one of the keys to the NAHB’s lobbying efforts currently. Rising costs, regulations and the much-discussed labor shortage all play a role in the affordability issue. The Washington Briefing also included remarks from Representative John Curtis (R-UT), who described lumber dealers as “the cogs of the machinery of this country.” As for labor issue, the NAHB is supporting the training and placement of a variety of groups: veterans (including homeless veterans), atrisk youth and even medium-security prisoners. The effort, he said, helps the labor problem and also helps

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society in general. “We have to do something to increase our labor supply,” said the CEO of the NAHB, whose interests are often in line with those of the NLBMDA. The rising cost of building materials plays a role in affordability, and forest management could mitigate the problem. He said countries with more advanced forest policies — Sweden, Germany and Russia, for instance — “laugh at the way we manage our forests.” The rising cost of housing is fueled by regulatory compliance costs, which

“The rising cost of building materials plays a role in affordability, and forest management could mitigate the problem.” — Jerry Howard, CEO, National Association of Home Builders

account for about 30% of the cost of a home, he said. And that’s a good reason for the industry to raise their voice in the halls of power. Howard said lobbying is the “closest thing to a sport that adult people can play.” And he encouraged the pro dealers in the audience to visit their representatives on Capitol Hill with an attitude of “they work for you.” Representatives in congress clearly don’t readily work with each other, however, and the level of in-fighting and mutual antagonism is higher today than ever, said Howard — at least in his years in Washington. Two key groups that the NAHB is working to influence are the New Democratic Coalition, of central leaning Democrats. Also the “ProblemSolvers Caucus,” a bipartisan group of about 50 legislators — half Republican, half Democrat — are a focus. He described both of these groups as “incredibly important” to any kind of progress on legislation. The breakfast briefing was sponsored by Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Do it Best Corp. Howard’s presentation was followed by one from Representative John Curtis (R-UT). The former mayor of Provo, Utah, said that Washington, D.C.’s partisan battles aren’t as toxic as you might think, and he pointed to passage of numerous bills to attack the national opioid problem. “A lot of good is happening that is never talked about,” he said. HBSD — Ken Clark

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NEW HORIZONS

The Invisible Woman

Women are out of sight, out of mind of senior executives. By Sarah Alter With the growing realization that flexible work arrangements — a shift in work hours, working remotely or job sharing — are key to attracting, keeping and advancing talented women at all points in their careers,

discussion around the relative importance of face time in the office vs. results is heating up. Many managers are hanging on to outdated views about face time as a full

measure of an employee’s value to an organization and are losing outstanding employees as a result. Still, one type of face time is key to advancing a career — face time with senior leaders. Employees who interact regularly with their company’s senior leaders are more likely to ask for and receive promotions, according to McKinsey & Co.’s Women in the Workplace 2018 report. They’re also more likely to stay with their companies and aim to be leaders themselves. Can you hear me now? Makes sense. The problem is 33% of the women surveyed for Women in the Workplace said they’d never had a significant discussion with a senior leader about their work (compared to 27% of men surveyed). For some women of color, access is even more limited. Forty percent of Black women reported never having a substantive work-related conversation with a senior leader.

“Women have fewer opportunities to make strategic connections.” Women are also less likely than men to socialize with their managers or other executives outside the workplace. Nearly half of women surveyed said they have never had an informal interaction with a senior leader, compared to 40% of men. Again, many women of color have even less face time with the men and women who create opportunities and open doors. Fifty-four percent of Latinas and nearly 60% of Black women said they’ve never had an informal

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interaction with a senior leader. At all points in their careers, women have fewer opportunities to demonstrate their skills, show off their work results or make strategic connections with their company’s career-opportunity gatekeepers. The result: When managers are considering candidates for stretch assignments, leadership development or promotions, they’re more likely to choose a man, because it’s more likely a man is on their radar. A known employee always has an advantage over an unknown employee.

EDITOR’S NOTE: EnsembleIQ, the parent company of HBSDealer, serves as the official business-to-business media partner of the Network of Executive Women (NEW). This column is one of a series of contributions from NEW, and it reflects HBSDealer’s effort to shed light on the opportunities and issues affecting women in the industry.

Seeking sponsors One way to level the playing field is to encourage senior leaders to sponsor women. A full 70% of the 70 organizations named 2019 Top Companies for Executive Women by the National Association for Female Executives have sponsorship initiatives. Companies can support more sponsorship with these five actions put forth by Working Mother magazine:

Expose senior leaders to highpotential talents from different groups, especially underrepresented populations;

Link sponsorship to senior executives’ goals, performance reviews and compensation;

Have clear objectives for sponsorship and communicate to everyone involved;

Use employee resource groups to find high-potential women worthy of sponsorship; and

Measure promotion and retention rates of those who are sponsored versus people not sponsored in similar roles.

The NEW Blueprint for Gender Equality, which NEW is sharing now with our corporate partners, lays out

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best practices for companies who are working to create a gender diverse and inclusive workplace. While developing this action plan, we found a number of forward-thinking companies that are disrupting the status quo with other practices that promote women’s visibility with senior leaders. One of our corporate partners, for example, is piloting a program that pairs individuals who are ready to move up to the next role with members of its leadership team for development discussions. “It’s very

straightforward,” the company’s VP of human resources told us. “Women who may not have a sponsor already are getting that attention.” J.P. Morgan’s Women on the Move initiative’s 30-5-1 campaign brings women and men together for 36 minutes each week to supporting women’s growth and development. Participants commit to spending 30 minutes having coffee with a talented up-and-coming woman, five minutes congratulating a female colleague on a win or success and one minute talking up the woman who had that win with other colleagues. “At JPMorgan Chase, we have a truly amazing group of female colleagues,” said J.P. Morgan’s Asset and Wealth Management CEO Mary Erdoes, cosponsor of Women on the Move. “It’s up to each one of us — men and women alike — to ensure they have the support mechanisms they need to succeed, and this campaign is one of the most important ways we can do that.” Formal, structured development programs that support face time with senior leaders benefit talented women and men, but especially those who may otherwise be unseen — or overlooked. HBSD

Sarah Alter is president and CEO of the Network of Executive Women, a learning and leadership community representing 12,400 members in 22 regional groups in the United States and Canada. Learn more at newonline.org.

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MARKET INSIGHTS

Ace serves a strong cup of coffee

Ace Hardware CEO John Venhuizen, left, engaged Howard Schultz in a cross-industry question-and-answer session.

ORLANDO — Ace Hardware CEO John Venhuizen welcomed the Starbucks visionary Howard Schultz to the stage here at the Ace Hardware Convention general session and invited the potential presidential candidate to enjoy a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. Venhuizen was joking. But the Ace CEO led a question-and-answer session with Schultz that offered some serious ideas and advice on small business, retail success and independent hardware stores.

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Schultz, the chairman emeritus of Starbucks, helped make the brand a household name. He served as CEO of the company from 1986 to 2000, and again from 2008 to 2017. Earlier this year, the high-profile businessman and entrepreneur announced he was exploring a presidential bid. The wide-ranging interview did not include an official campaign announcement, but it did produce some laughs, some heartfelt comments, and some spontaneous applause — especially

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when Schultz described his admiration for Ace and the country’s independent hardware stores. Here are some of Schultz’s highlight quotes from the interview: On Starbucks: Starbucks has no proprietary technology. What is it we have? As trite as it might sound, it’s our people. Everything we try to do is experiential — It’s the relationship that our people have with our customers. We have to exceed the expectations of our people, so they can exceed the expectations of our customers. On empty chairs and decision making: We have quarterly meetings and weekly management meetings. In every meeting, there are two empty chairs. One chair represents one of our customers and the other chair is for one of our people. And that reminds us to ask the question: ‘Is this decision going to make our people and our customers proud?’ Not every business decision is an economic one. Of course you have to make payroll, you have to be profitable. But if you can take the long view and do the right things, the customer today wants to support a company whose values are compatible with their own.” On Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo: Tom Izzo was asked what kind of kids he tries to recruit. He said ‘There are three kinds of kids. Kids who like it, kids who love it, and kids who live it. We recruit kids who live it.’ This can’t be a casual thing. You have to take this so personally every single day to make a difference in your store, and you have to live it. When you see something as a leader in your store, and you see a behavior

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Schultz’s book, “From the Ground Up,” was given away by the hundreds at the convention.

flight from Seattle. That’s how smart we were. But it worked out, because we loved it and we willed it.

On teamwork: Business is a team sport. I can tell you there were some drag out battles over a number of strategic decisions that we had to go through. And those battles make us better. HBSD

inconsistent with the heritage and tradition to Ace, and you see that go on — if you let that go, you are part of the problem. Every single day you have to live it. On politics: The two-party system is broken, and our leaders are not doing what they should be doing. I think we’re better than this. On failing: We’re going to fail. If you’re not failing, I don’t think you’re pushing hard enough. On creating a “third place” between home and work: The ‘third place’ is this environment between home and work, and a safe place to interact with other people. People are longing for human experiences, longing for people they trust. There is an epidemic of loneliness in America. We bring people together. On retail and mediocrity: I would say: when I go into retail stores across the country — and I’m constantly doing that as a merchant — I would say, by and large, America has been swept away by mediocrity. Are we ensuring that the customer is going to be completely blown away? “I just went to an Ace Hardware store, and you won’t believe what happened to me?” That should be not only the goal, but the standard experience. The difference between that and ordinary is huge. On international expansion: We went to Japan as a first international market. The truth is, we went to Japan because it was the only direct

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For over a century, we have insured the lumber and building material industries. A long time has passed since we first started insuring the unique risks of wood-based businesses in 1895, but our core values remain the same – we are committed to bringing our policyholders the most comprehensive and current coverages along with sophisticated risk management practices to keep their businesses safe and prosperous. Put our time in the wood industry on your side. Contact us or your broker for a competitive quote. It’s about time you moved your insurance to PLM.

800.752.1895 | www.plmins.com AMERICA’S OLDEST AND LARGEST MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY DEDICATED TO THE LUMBER AND BUILDING MATERIAL INDUSTRIES.

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MARKET INSIGHTS

J.D. Power Rates the Paints

Sherwin-Williams, BEHR and Benjamin Moore were the brands that most often appeared at the top of the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Paint Satisfaction Study. Sherwin-Williams ranked highest in three segments, while BEHR and Benjamin Moore each ranked highest in one segment. In the paint retailer segment, Sherwin-Williams scored highest, edging out Menards in the overall customer satisfaction index ranking. The study is based on the responses from 5,884 customers who purchased and applied interior paint, exterior paint or exterior stain in the last 12 months. The study was fielded in January 2019. In addition to customer satisfaction, the study also presented lessons learned on customer behavior. For instance: Generation Y and Z customers are more likely to make their paint purchases online than Boomers or Pre-Boomers. And while a majority of paint customers are making purchases in- store, satisfaction among those who purchase online is higher than those who went in-store for purchases, according to the J.D. Power study.

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“Paint brands are challenged by the need to provide consultative experiences for in-store customers, while catering to the technologically reliant younger generations who want to buy paint online,” said Christina Cooley, director of the At-Home Practice at J.D. Power. “Channeling more resources into their websites— while maintaining current in-store experiences—will only help paint brands in the long run.” In the retailer segment, SherwinWilliams earned an Overall Customer Satisfaction Index of 855 points on a 1,000 point scale. Menards was close behind at 851. Both of these retailers earned “Among the best” ratings from J.D. Power. Three other retailers were given an “about average” ranking in the paint retailer segment: Lowe’s (841), Benjamin Moore Paint Stores (838); The Home Depot (830). The Paint Retailer Average was 837. Trailing the group with a 762 index was Walmart. Other study results: BEHR and Sherwin-Williams rank highest in a tie in the interior paint segment with a score of 852. Valspar ranks third with 851.

Benjamin Moore ranks highest with a score of 858 in the exterior paint segment. Sherwin-Williams (854) ranks second and BEHR (848) ranks third.

Sherwin-Williams ranks highest in the exterior stain segment with a score of 837, while BEHR (823) ranks second. HBSD

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“Paint brands are challenged by the need to provide consultative experiences for in-store customers, while catering to the technologically reliant younger generations who want to buy paint online.” — Christina Cooley, Director of the At-Home Practice, J.D. Power


MARKET INSIGHTS

Franklin’s focus on the workplace pays off By Andy Carlo Franklin Building Supply has been honored as one of the 2019 “Best Places to Work in Idaho.” The Boise-based pro dealer is a top 10 honoree in the “macro employers” category for companies with 250 employees or more. The Best Places to Work in Idaho Program was created to identify, promote, and support Idaho’s best employers. The program “is not a beauty contest,” according to Best Places to Work in Idaho. Honorees are identified based on the results of a confidential employee survey.

Other companies in this year’s top 10 include businesses with a national presence such as Citi, T-Mobile, Edward Jones and Allstate. Franklin Building Supply CEO Rick Lierz said this was the first year that the dealer participated and asked employees to take the survey. Lierz noted that the survey takes up to 45 minutes to an hour to complete and drills down into an employee’s work experience at the company “from all angles.” More than 60% of Franklin’s 650 employees participated in the extensive, anonymous survey, according to

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MAY 2019 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

Franklin Building Supply has been recognized for its positive work environment.

Lierz. “All we did was bang the pots and kettles and ask them to take the survey,” he said. Part of Franklin’s inspiration for participating in the program was Hancock Lumber of Casco, Maine. Last September, Hancock Lumber was named one of the “Best Places to Work in Maine” for the fifth year in a row. Idaho’s ultimate winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on April 19 [after this issue goes to press]. Other categories include large employers with 100-249 employees, medium employers with 50-99 employees, small employers with 20-49 employers, and micro employers with 10-19 employees. Lierz said a group of Franklin employees will be in attendance at the ceremony. “It’s really cool that we get to call ourselves one the best places to work in Idaho. It’s great for recruiting,” Lierz noted. The survey completed by employees also serves as a valuable feedback tool for the company. “You can develop a strategy on how to address the feedback and that’s really good for company culture. We have a strong company culture but you can always be better and improve,” Lierz explained. “And recruiting never stops. It’s a full time job and one our priorities,” he said. HBSD

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A Houzz metric shows tempered optimism Tax refunds, consumer confidence and the weather all factor into the second quarter 2019 Houzz Renovation Barometer, which tracks residential renovation market expectations. The results show a slowdown from a year ago, and also optimism among professional remodelers The Barometer, also measures project backlogs and recent activity among businesses in the construction sector and the architectural and design services sector in the U.S. According to Houzz, it points to optimism among home renovation professionals for business activity in the second quarter of the year. “This year’s residential renovation activity is already looking very different from 2018,” said Nino Sitchinava, Houzz principal economist. “Professional sentiments for the first quarter were considerably more tempered and businesses are starting the second quarter with much shorter backlogs relative to a year ago. Home professionals attribute the slowdown to unusually cold and wet weather conditions, in addition to consumer apprehension caused by the government shutdown, tax refund uncertainty, and the high costs of products and materials.” Still, the business outlook for the next three months is upbeat:

The Expected Business Activity Indicator related to project inquiries and new committed projects increased to 74 in Q2 (up two points relative to Q1). The increase is a result of an uptick in expectations for both project inquiries (up two points to 74 in Q2) and new committed projects (up one point to 73 in Q2).

The Project Backlog Indicator increased to 5.0 weeks (up 0.2 weeks) in Q2 relative to Q1. That said, it is 4.8 weeks less than a year ago.

The Recent Business Activity Indicator related to project inquiries and new committed projects remained unchanged at 67 for Q1. This follows a decline in project inquiries to 66 in Q4 (down one point), and an increase in new committed projects to 67 in Q4 (up one point).

The Q2 2019 Barometer was fielded March 28th through April 10th and garnered responses from more than 2,000 small businesses. HBSD

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HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER MAY 2019

47


PEOPLE IN THE NEWS Professional Builders Supply (PBS) hired John Merritt as president of the Multifamily Division. Prior to joining PBS, he was the managing director of CBC Capital, where he led Capitol Broadcasting Company’s investment in PBS in 2017. Merritt has served on the board of PBS since 2017 and worked closely with the PBS management team before joining the company in 2019. He is responsible for all multifamily activities across PBS’s markets. Prior to joining CBC, Merritt was an owner and operator of Envirolink, Inc., where he helped grow Envirolink into the largest provider of water and sewer public-private partnerships in North Carolina. 

48

84 Lumber announced that company president and co-owner Maggie Hardy married Shawn Knox. The wedding took place on March 30 in Aspen, Colo. In a statement issued by 84 Lumber, the company said, “The couple is thrilled to start their new life together and look forward to many years of happiness and adventure.” Hardy has served as president of the Eighty Four, Pa.-based pro dealer since 1992. Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. has appointed Thomas Schmitz as vice president and chief accounting officer. Schmitz has been with Beacon for over 14 years in several financial roles, He started in 2004 as a regional controller and was promoted to divisional controller and vice president

MAY 2019 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

of finance. In 2017, Schmitz assumed leadership over the integration of Allied accounting and finance functions across all of Beacon. In January of this year, he was named Beacon’s corporate controller, assuming responsibility for all the company’s regional accounting functions.

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

PRODUCT SHOWCASE American Construction Source (ACS) has named Randi Moran as the company’s chief human resources officer. Moran will report directly to ACS CEO James Drexinger. The Springfield, Mo.-based pro dealer said Moran brings decades of expertise leading organizations to develop high-performance cultures, deploy employee engagement programs, and identify high potential individuals for focused training and career development. Prior to joining ACS, Randi Moran served in senior leadership roles at Elo Touch Solutions, GE Power, Vought Aircraft, Boeing, Hughes Space & Communications, and Allied Signal. Moran was a major in the U.S. Air Force and earned an aerospace engineering degree from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Pepperdine University. Jim Ackroyd’s term as chairman and member of the board of directors of Ace Hardware came to an end. Ackroyd, the CEO of 14-store Vision Ace Hardware in South Florida, joined the Ace Hardware board in 2008. He will be replaced as chairman by Brett Stephenson, an Ace dealer with four stores in Colorado and two in Wyoming. Ace CEO John Venhuizen had high praise for Ackroyd’s tenure, describing him as “a great board member and a great chairman for Ace.” He backed up those words with hard numbers: Since Ackroyd joined the board in 2008, the company’s assets increased from $1.2 billion to $2.2 billion; revenue increased from $3.8 billion to $6.0 billion; and net income increased from $85 million to $170 million.

HBSDealer.com

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HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER MAY 2019

49


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) Feb.: 1,162,000 1400

40

1300

30

NAICS 44413

(sales in $ billions)

(sales in $ billions)

3

32.1

31.6

29.4

28.9

25.4

2.33

2.21

2

28.4

2.29

2.31 2.00

2.13

20

1200

1 10

1100

1000

0

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

J

F

NOVEMBER 2017

SOURCE: COMMERCE DEPARTMENT

2018

DECEMBER

0

JANUARY

NOVEMBER 2017

2019

2018

DECEMBER

JANUARY

2019

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

Single-family starts (in thousands, SAAR) Feb.: 805,000 950

HBSDealer Stock Roundup

900

the percent-change performance of stocks based on Apr. 11 prices 80

850

70 800

50 F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

J

ANNUAL CHANGE

750

700

TSCO

60

F

SOURCE: COMMERCE DEPARTMENT

Existing-home sales (in millions, SAAR) Feb.: 5.51 million 5.75

40

LOW

30 20

SHW DE

10 0

SWK

-10

5.5

WY

-20 5.25

HD

BMC

DJI

-30 -3

BLDR 0

BECN

3

6

9

12

15

5

MONTHLY CHANGE 4.75

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

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

J

F

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)

5.0 4.5

100

5.5

$2.50

Current

$2.00 80

6.0

Prior month

120

Prior year

4.0

3.8% 3.5

50

March

6.5 60

124.1

$2.78

March

April 11

140

MAY 2019 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER

$1.50

$3.00

SOURCES: LABOR DEPARTMENT, THE CONFERENCE BOARD, AAA

HBSDealer.com


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HBSD - May 2019  

HBSD - May 2019