HBSD- September 2023

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Here’s how Hilltop Lumber, the 2023 Independent ProDealer of the Year, helps deliver dreams.

SEPTEMBER 2023 Volume 49 No. 8

22 Diving into the trends and the products that fuel continued growth in outdoor living Stains

30 Making their mark in 2023


From the land of 10,000 lakes — these ‘Minnesota Lakers’ deliver on dreams. Hilltop Lumber from Alexandria, Minnesota, is named the HBSDealer Independent ProDealer of the Year.

32 Builders FirstSource CEO describes investments in technology and why it, “improves the transparency in the building process.”

34 A big deal in Sparta, Illinois TOP

36 Rachel Hoops, B2B and component sales manager at Lumbermens Merchandising Corp., talks supply chains, challenges, and nding your allies in business.

4 September 2023 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER HBSDealer.com Hardware + Building Supply Dealer (ISSN 2376-5852) is published monthly, except for July/August and November/December, which are double issues, by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rate in the United States: $110 one year; $200 two year; $14 single issue copy; Canada and Mexico: $130 one year; $235 two year; $16 single issue copy; Foreign: $150 one year; $285 two year; $16 single issue copy; in all other countries (air mail only). Digital Subscription: $75
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09.23 COVER
of the Year
ProDealer Industry Summit. “It’s the right thing
10 Orgill plans
big sales team expansion. 10
after getting hacked — told rst person by Scott Aubuchon. 12 Same-day delivery deliverables.
PRODUCTS Decking and Railing
Here’s what’s online 12 Product Knowledge 37 People News
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Kansas City here we come, for the Summit

The 2023 ProDealer Industry Summit is (almost) here. The Oct. 4-6 event in Kansas City, hosted by HBSDealer and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, has crafted an agenda for LBM dealers to network and gain valuable insights. Find out more at Prodealer.com

Show us your showroom

HBSDealer is launching  Top Showrooms, a brand new feature designed to celebrate the business of design. To participate, simply send us photos or video of a design center or showroom that demonstrates any of the following: quality, creativity, innovation or inspiration. Share with us at news@hbsdealer.com

The 2023 Industry Leaderboard is online

Here it is: the annual listing of the top hardware and building supply dealers, featuring the full 150 high-performing companies in industry. Download the report at hbsdealer.com/report.

When you connect with us, you connect with the industry @HBSDealer


From the Editor

Driving home a point


Bonner Springs, Kansas, is the home of Vesta Lee Lumber, owned and operated by Jim Bishop, the current chairman of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association.

Jim recently let me drive his all-terrain vehicle.

I’m going to return the favor and let him drive this editorial feature.

speakers that we have are going to be on point for our industry. We’ll have the director of research of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. We’ll have experts coming in to talk about what’s going on in Washington, D.C.”

He could also mention the education around game-changing technology, recruiting the next generation of leaders, and a panel of dealers sharing insights on how to handle a tough economy.

“It’s all really important. But I also think that a lot of the value of the Summit is the comradery with other dealers,” he said. “When you meet someone at the Summit, you have lunch with them, or you have a drink with them, then you feel like you have a connection to call him whenever, and say, ‘Hey, how are things going in Texas,’ or wherever. And that can be so helpful.”

There’s a shared experience with the vendors, too.

550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste. 200, Chicago, IL 60631 (773) 992-4450 Fax (773) 992-4455 www.HBSDealer.com


SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT John Kenlon (516) 650-2064 jkenlon@ensembleiq.com

EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ken Clark kclark@ensembleiq.com

LBM EDITOR Andy Carlo acarlo@ensembleiq.com

HARDWARE EDITOR Tim Burke tburke@ensembleiq.com


ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Amy Platter Grant MIDWEST & SOUTHERN STATES (773) 294-8598 agrant@ensembleiq.com


NORTHEAST & GREAT LAKES STATES (317) 775-2206 gcole@ensembleiq.com


ART DIRECTOR Bill Antkowiak bantkowiak@ensembleiq.com

PRODUCTION MANAGER Patricia Wisser pwisser@ensembleiq.com

MARKETING MANAGER Kathryn Abrahamsen kabrahamsen@ensembleiq.com


LIST RENTAL mbriganti@anteriad.com


“First thing is, who wouldn’t want to come to Kansas City?” he said.

Jim is talking about the upcoming ProDealer Industry Summit, Oct. 4-6 in the City of Fountains, not far from Bonner Springs.

He could also mention Kansas City is home to the magni cent World War One Memorial, happening neighborhoods like Brookside and Westport, the Oregon Trail and the charming homes along Ward Parkway.

But those are just gravy. The real meal is served in the PDIS program.

“One of the highlights is the McCray Lumber and Millwork tour, we’ll be going both to the mill, and to the lumberyard. That will an exciting kick off.”

There’s more.

“The education that has been put together is tremendous,” he said. “The

“We have a lot of great vendors that are going to be there, and you want to talk to those guys. You want to get to know who they are. They’re the right people. They know their product. they’re the guys to talk to.”

In Bonner Springs, I asked Jim how we could promote the event to the industry.

“Whatever article you write, and however you want to write it, at the end, I would include the words: ‘It’s the right thing to do.’ Supporting the ProDealer Industry Summit is the right thing to do.”

Couldn’t have driven home the point better myself.








Levi Smith, CEO, Franklin Building Supply

Steve Sallah, CEO, LBM Advantage

Christi Powell, Women & Minority Business Enterprise Market Manager, 84 Lumber

Neal DeLowery, Store Projects and Merchandise Manager, Aubuchon Co.

Brad McDaniel, Owner, McDaniel’s Do it Center

Joe Kallen, CEO, Busy Beaver Building Centers

Tom Cost, Owner, Killingworth True Value

Permissions: No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

connect with us
Jim Bishop, owner, Vesta Lee Lumber Co.
The HBSDealer Top Women in Hardware & Building Supply program honors women making outstanding contributions to their companies and their communities. Visit www.hbsdtopwomen.com for more information. EMPOWERING INDUSTRY TRAILBLAZERS Thank You to Our Current 2023 Sponsors Wednesday, 11/15 Welcome Cocktail Reception Awards Dinner & Ceremony After Party Thursday, 11/16 Networking Breakfast Keynote Speaker: Talia McKinney Have We Got a Job for You! Male Allyship Insights By Dr. Deborah Gilboa NextUp Fresh Look: From the Eyes of Future Leaders Work Life Balance: Can We Really Have It All? Leadership… Now What? *Agendasubjecttochange. REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! EVENT AGENDA* Join us to celebrate the honorees! November 15th - 16th 2023 Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk For more information on sponsorship opportunities, contact: Amy Grant, Associate Publisher | agrant@ensembleiq.com | 773-294-8598 Greg Cole, Regional Manager | gcole@ensembleiq.com | 317-775-2206

You got hacked. Now what?


“I think we’ve been hacked.”

Those are words no one wants to hear. Especially independent hardware and building supply dealers.

But a few days before Memorial Day weekend — a busy time of year for hardware stores — those were the exact words Scott Aubuchon, VP of IT at The Aubuchon Company, received in a text message from his IT manager.

Panic. Fear. Terrified. That awful lump in your stomach.

That’s how he described to an audience at the recent NHPA conference in Dallas, his feelings in the first few moments as he jumped up and rushed to his office that morning a couple years ago.

“A cybersecurity threat,” his voice echoed to a darkened auditorium, “came to me in the form of that wake-up text.”

On stage, his red shirt seemed to almost glow, as if in a warning to other hardware

Looking to Grow

retail owners to get on their guard.

The first thing he did was, “run to the office and unplug the internet; then unplug all our switches,” he said.

As his heart pounded and he pulled the plugs, he took a breath and realized that step one would have to be calling their insurance company. They advised him to get

in touch with his cybersecurity insurance company. He also contacted their law firm.

“We were attacked by ransomware on five of our servers, it was determined,” said Aubuchon.

“We contacted a cyber security firm who was to handle the threat negotiations,” he explained to the silent crowd.

It turned out, “the perps had found a hole in our firewall from a past test we had conducted and that we forgot to plug back up,” he said.

The breach affected their buy-online orders so that the retailer couldn’t see the orders.

So they negotiated.

This was done through people trained by the cyber security company in ransomware negotiations.

“It was nerve-racking,” said Aubuchon, “but finally after a couple days we received a decryption key to unlock our files, and after about seven days we were pretty much back up to 90%.”

Luckily no credit cards or personal data had been affected. After that incident, he said, they worked on tightening their systems. And they now regularly review everything.

Scott Reynolds, president and CEO of the American Hardware and Lumber Insurance company, also on stage, describe the four key areas of cyber security.

“Number one — and it’s a big one — is data backup,” he said. “The others are: Protection, detection and restore.”

But backup is king. Having a copy of all your — what he termed “precious data” — means “you might not need to pay ransom,” he said.

The presentation turned back to Scott Aubuchon to apply the final exclamation point.

“It takes a hack incident,” he said slowly, “to get people’s attention. And then you get more in the budget to defend yourself.”

Aubuchon Company has bolstered its IT resources to support cyber protection. He added a final grim warning.

“It’s not ‘if’ but ‘when’ for getting hacked.”

10 September 2023 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER HBSDealer.com News + Analysis
Memphis-based Orgill is planning to expand its 400-strong field sales team, (above) by as much as 10 percent in 2023. According to David Mobley, Orgill executive vice president of sales, the move is designed to keep up with the distributor’s sales growth over the last three years. Scott Aubuchon talks about cyber threats to retail hardware businesses at the recent NHPA Conference in Dallas.

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Same-day-delivery deliverables


The owner of two Michigan hardware stores says creative staffing and successful delivery go hand in hand. Another Michigan dealer suggested scheduling tools as a means to step up the delivery performance.

Retailers Adam Barden, owner of Vassar True Value and Frankenmuth True Value, and Chad Ayers, owner of Allendale True Value delivered the following insights:

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“We need to have adequate staff on hand to make a delivery that may come up at the last minute. We are not big enough to have dedicated delivery staff, so we have staff with other responsibilities that are making deliveries for us.

“I think that you have to think about who your customer is and what their needs are. For us, retail customers are not a big driver of home delivery – but contractors are,” said the owner.

“We would need to alter our delivery system signifi cantly if we had a large number of retail customer delivery orders,” he said.


“A large majority of our items being delivered are bulk goods, for instance large goods like mulch, lumber and retaining wall blocks. But we do our fair share of smaller items, too,” he said.

“We have been delivering goods for many years — the key to our most recent success and efficiency has been creating a delivery calendar that allows for trucks to be accounted for based on time

slots,” the hardware store owner said.

“This allows us to adjust on the fl y with what we have available for drivers and trucks to assure we don’t over promise and under deliver.

“In today’s ‘want it now’ world [sameday delivery] it’s almost a necessity. With that said, we’re competing not so much with ‘same day’ as we are with the next day or within a couple days. If you can figure out how to provide it locally for your main customer group — which is who helps us all exist — you will help combat the retailers that do provide it.”

Pillars of Importance: The Poll

With the 2023 ProDealer Industry Summit set to launch Oct. 4-6, HBSDealer — cohost of the event with the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association — aimed a recent poll at big issues in Washington, D.C. We looked at the NLBMDA’s 2023 Policy agenda and asked readers which of the eight pillars below matters most to your business.

Fun fact: plant- and water-base is sourced from upcycled waste from tequila production.









12 September 2023 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER HBSDealer.com News + Analysis
The green team express: The Allendale True Value delivery team.
For more information, contact us today! Kim Gibbs, Marketing Manager: 1-800-333-0520 | marketing@househasson.com House-Hasson Hardware Company: Knoxville, TN | www.househasson.com OCT. 5-7 2023 Deeply Discounted Specials Complimentary Rooms New Vendor Programs Golf Tournament Complimentary Meals Live Entertainment (Hipshack) Giveaways Find more exciting event details on our website!


Hilltop Lumber, our Independent ProDealer of the Year, delivers on dreams.

Alexandria, Minnesota—The receding glaciers of the Pleistocene epoch (the ice age) created the unique geography that makes Minnesota the land of 10,000 lakes. But to turn the lakes into a lakefront dream home; that’s where Hilltop Lumber makes its mark.

The 2023 Independent ProDealer of the Year knows its way around the Minnesota lakehouse lifestyle. And through its knowledge, culture and family-business values, the company founded in 1988 is an expanding force in the Western Minnesota homebuilding landscape.

General manager Brian Klimek, son of founder Paul Klimek, describes the purpose statement that makes it all work. “We help plan, supply and deliver dreams,” he said. “And it’s something we definitely live by.

“Dreams can mean a lot of things, whether that’s moving here into a home to raise a family, or to enjoy the lakes in a retirement home or second home, whatever the case may be,” he said. “All of our locations are in a lakes area. We have [customers] who live here year round. But we also see a lot of second homes, retirement communities, lake cabins and so forth. So that’s where the dreams come in.”

Frozen winters, you say? Well even then, there’s a lot of people in Western Minnesota who dream of ice fishing and hockey.

The company takes service to the next level, beginning at the idea stage. The business model welcomes the homeowner and contractor at the very beginning of the home building process, providing design and drafting services, and delivering three-dimensional project renderings and accurate estimates.

“We have a full drafting department here, so we’re helping, whether it’s new home, a remodels, additions, decks, whatever the project would be,” Brian Klimek said. “And then the sales people are there, getting them the product they want,” Klimek said.

Back in the day

Paul Klimek started Hilltop Lumber in 1988 in Glenwood, Minnesota, with a delivery truck, five workers and a yard on a hill (hence the name) overlooking Lake Minnewaska. The Golden Rule was a guiding principle, and the growth of the company has been kind of a dream, the founder told HBSDealer.

The tough times peaked in 2008, he said, during the housing downturn. But it was no picnic in year one of Hilltop, when interest rates hovered around 18.5 percent. Highlights are seeing the family business thrive.

“You just have to adjust and move on,”

Opposite page: The Idea House is not your typical lumberyard showroom. Hilltop leaders include (from left): Jason Breitzman, Andrew Tischer, Bruce Hanstad, and the brother-sister team of Brian Klimek and Tonya Thorson.

Paul Klimek explained, modestly. “You’re always so busy, you miss a lot of things. You just have to make a go of it.”

Hilltop Lumber has followed that advice, by mak ing a go of an opportunity in Park Rapids, Minne sota, with the acquisition of Northland Lumber, the company’s fourth location, in early 2023.

Show room of ideas

The company’s seven-word purpose statement is well represented in the Alexandria location’s Idea House showroom.

Walking through the main entrance in Alexandria, customers and contractors are greeted with a beehive of a sales desk head on, and a two-story home display off to their right, inviting them to explore a pathway through several full-scale home vignettes.

“It’s really important to us,” said Jason Breitzman, sales manager at Hilltop Lumber. “It really helps customers come

in and see the product and make a decision easier. It’s nice to have a full size display so you can show full-size windows. We leave the trusses open, too, and we have the ability to show them anything in the house.”

The Idea House also garnered attention as a Business and Industrial Appreciation Day Award winner. And it’s the state’s largest Marvin Windows and Doors Showroom outside of the Twin Cities.

“A lot of people have a hard time visualizing materials,” Breitzman said. “We’ve got five different houses here that have all different types of siding and shingles.”

“We’re very proud of it, and it draws people from a large area,” said Brian Klimek. The display continues up the steps and around the second-floor offices. “We try to use every inch we can.”

But showrooms and locations are only as good as the teams that run them. And at Hilltop, it’s a people business first, said Bruce Hanstad, head of human resources.

“That’s our biggest competitive advantage — it’s the people,” he said. “We have a great team that works well together. With good people, it’s amazing what you can do.”

The company meets the industry-wide labor challenge head on, he says, recruiting prospects straight out of college, recruiting friends of

Brian (left) and Paul Klimek. Paul launched the business with a truck and five employees back in 1988. “Hilltop Lumber and the Klimek family are true leaders in the LBM industry,” said Cody Nuernberg, president of the Northwestern Lumber Association.
“That’s our biggest competitive advantage— it’s the people. We have a great team that works well together. With good people, it’s amazing what you can do.”
—Bruce Hanstad, Hilltop Lumber


Good people, hard work and persistence have been key elements of the business plan of Hilltop Lumber since it was founded in 1988 in Glenwood, Minnesota.

It’s about time to recognize them.

Hilltop Lumber will accept the 2023 Independent ProDealer of the Year Award at the upcoming ProDealer Industry Summit in Kansas City, Missouri, Oct. 4-6. Brian Klimek, Hilltop Lumber owner and general manager, described his team as “incredibly honored” for the recognition.

“As a family-owned company, we know the importance of building strong partnerships with our customers and contractors,” Klimek said. “Our purpose — to help plan, supply and deliver dreams — along with our core values have always been at the forefront of everything we do and the main reason for our success.”

The annual Independent ProDealer of the Year Award, selected by the editors of Hardware & Building Supply Dealer in concert with the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, is designed to recognize a high-performance independent lumberyard (no more than five locations) with a commitment to best practices and the best values of the lumber and building material industry.

Past honorees of the Independent ProDealer of the Year award include Espy Lumber (2022) of Hilton Head, South Carolina; Dakota County Lumber Co. (2021) of greater Minneapolis; and Townsend Building Supply (2020) of Dothan, Alabama.

The ProDealer of the Year award ceremony will take place on Oct. 5, as part of the Oct. 4-6 event, hosted jointly by the NLBMDA and HBSDealer. The Summit provides an educational forum designed to promote the growth of lumber and building product dealers, distributors, wholesalers, and the manufacturers who supply them.

“The core values at Hilltop Lumber are ethics, team player, excellence, change and have fun,” said Klimek. “Our team has the desire to be the best they can for our customers while always celebrating successes and enjoying what they do. Thank you to those who nominated Hilltop Lumber for Independent ProDealer of the Year, and to the NLBMDA and HBSDealer for recognizing our team.”

Hilltop Lumber joined the Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Do it Best co-op in 2005.

Chris Marland, Do it Best territory manager for Hilltop Lumber, described the Hilltop team as purveyors of first-class customer experiences.

He added the company is skilled at maximizing buying opportunities. More than that, Hilltop excels at knowing its customers.

“The team creates the

experience based on the needs of those who shop at each store,” he said. “For example, in Alexandria, they offer one of the largest Milwaukee selections you’ll find at a hardware store. In Ottertail (above), they offer their customers an expanded grill and outdoor living area for their summer customers. In Glenwood, their focus is servicing their contractors with the products they need.”

current employees, and — more commonly — developing people from the inside And for retention, Hilltop embraces the work-life balance. Need to pick up the kids? Fine. Going to vote. No need to clock out. Doctor’s appointment? Go get well.

“We try and make it fun to come to work,” said Hanstad. “And, of course, not everything is always fun, but our culture is to build a good environment and give everybody the support they need as best we can.”

Another attractive selling point to potential staffers: the lakes themselves. “Alexandria has a slogan: easy to get to and hard to leave,” said Brian Klimek. “It’s exactly that. There are so many options to be able to enjoy the lakes, fishing, boating sightseeing. That’s the beauty of all of our locations.”

To take a virtual tour of Hilltop’s award-winning Idea House showroom in Alexandria, visit HBSDealer.com/video.

IMAGINE satisfied CONTRACTORS Satisfied homeowners means satisfied contractors. When you partner with Deckorators, you can offer contractors decking, railing, outdoor lighting and more in styles their clients are sure to love. Become a Certifed Dealer today at Deckorators.com/Dealer Imagine local contractors partnering with you. accent frame here recessed light here

Decking and design enhance outdoor living


Spending time with friends and family has never been more valued and backyards are often the epicenter for home entertaining, according to Leslie Adkins, vice president of marketing and ESG development for Trex.

While remodeling expenditures are showing signs of lesser growth, investing in outdoor living projects — including decking and railing — does not appear to be slowing down.

The North American Decking and Railing Association says the United States has over 60 million decks in use, with more than 50 million being residential. But 50% of all U.S. decks have surpassed their life expectancy and are over 30 years old.

“Checking your deck should be a top priority for every homeowner,” says Michael Beaudry, Executive Vice President of NADRA.

Old decks on existing homes translate into repair and remodeling dollars for both sellers of treated lumber and composite decking.

But new decks continue to evolve while consumers play a bigger part in the design process. Digital tools have allowed

for creating the look of a deck, material lists, and pricing while allowing greater transparency in the deck-building process.

Deck users are optimizing the use of their outdoor spaces and creating extensions of the home. To do so, the use of a single color board is giving way to mixing tones and patterns with more aluminum railings coming into play, providing the look of modern elegance.

Sustainability is also on the minds of eco-conscious consumers. Many of today’s leading composite decking manufacturers tout how much of their product is created from recycled materials.

Others, such as the ACRE product from Modern Mill, are using new technology with boards 100% fashioned from upcycled rice hulls.

According to Trex, sustainability in decking is no longer an added feature but an actual requirement for many homeowners. The manufacturer’s decking is made from 95% recycled and reclaimed materials and has upcycled about five billion pounds of plastic film in the past three decades.

Mixed use of decks is also growing in importance. For a recent project designed by Portland, Oregon-based Cascade Deck & Fence, the homeowner was seeking multi-functionality.

“The homeowner wanted the space to flow between a formal and informal area with dining and lounging,” says Leif Wirtanen, CEO of Cascade Deck & Fence and a Deckorators Certified Pro. With three locations in the Pacific Northwest, Cascade provided the homeowner with a deck that combined a dining area with a hot tub space.

“This is something that homeowners are looking for — efficiency and style,” Wirtanen says.

The 2023 Contractor Insights report, recently issued by Deckorators, notes to just how many design concepts can be included in deck design.

Homeowners are looking to covered decks, pergolas, and docks for all-purpose functions. Then there are added features such as built-in day beds and couches, fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, entertainment centers, and screens. The end result is an environment that almost completely brings the indoors to the outdoors.

Catherine Lippincott, director of global expansion at Premier Outdoor Living, which serves the Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia markets, says her deck-building firm approaches projects with more in mind than just building a new deck.

“We like to approach our overall deck design as designing for individual rooms rather than one large space,” Lippincott says.

22 September 2023 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER HBSDealer.com Decking
Outdoor living spaces continue to develop into extensions of the home that can be used for multiple purposes, such as dining, entertaining and lounging.

You stock your shelves with the best lumber. And your customers depend on you for it. We get it. For ProWood®, that’s not enough. It’s about selection and availability. It’s about standing behind our product. It’s about trust and relationships. It’s about building something. Together.

Learn more about becoming a ProWood Dealer: ProWoodLumber.com/Dealer built to last. DECKING | FENCING | RAILING | TIMBERS built to last. partnershipS FORFORpartnershipS NEVER SETTLE.


Here are some of the latest products and solutions in the outdoor living and decking categories.

Deckorators, the decking, railing, and accessories brand of UFP Industries, has introduced Aluminum Rapid Rail The product features a contemporary design with square balusters and simple installation. Rapid Rail was developed and tested with Deckorators’ network of Certified Pros, who collaborated with the brand’s leadership and designers on this railing innovation.

“We wanted to make sure that our product was going to deliver the quality and advanced design that our customers and Certified Pros expect from Deckorators, so we had them at the table as we created and tested what is now an exciting new product, Aluminum Rapid Rail,” said Michelle Hendricks, category marketing manager, Deckorators.

In addition to its innovative installation system, Aluminum Rapid Rail offers a quality powder-coated aluminum railing in a textured-black finish and contemporary design that complements a variety of home styles. It is available in six-and eight-foot lengths. Deckorators has expanded its aluminum railing enhancements with more post sizes, two-piece brackets, color-matched Contemporary Cable Rail spacers, and templates to improve ease of installation and customization for Aluminum Contemporary Rail, ContemporaryCable Rail, and Aluminum Rapid Rail. Deckorators.com

Avon Plastics has launched its new Armadillo Essential line , including grooved and solid decking boards and respective fascia and 2x4’s. The new Armadillo Essential series is fully capped and features four trending colors sought after by homeowners, at a price to fit almost any budget.

“Now you can get premium composite deck board in the best colors available, without giving up quality or warranty — all backed by a company that’s been in business for over 50 years,” said Doug DeLuca, vice president of sales and marketing at Avon Plastics. Tones in the decking series include Saloon, Thunder, Dovetail, and Sawgrass. Avon said the Essential series offers great value in warranty, premium woodgrain embossing, and color palette. Armadillo Essential comes with a limited lifetime warranty and two years of labor coverage. ArmadilloDeck.com



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Digger Specialties Inc. (DSI) offers a wide spectrum of railing systems including a ScreenRail system to upgrade decks and porches. Within the overall category of decking and railing products, screened-in decks and porches allow homeowners to enjoy fresh outdoor breezes while experiencing a sanctuary from pesky insects, falling leaves and debris, and inclement weather.  Screened-in decks and porches offer notable benefits that enhance the livability and value of a home including shelter from the elements, additional living space, and no insects.

DSI offers multiple ScreenRail options to upgrade porches and decks, along with accessories and components such as hardware, mounts, and more.


MositureShield Outdoor Project Hub is an online tool that helps users create the perfect outdoor oasis. The digital hub assists homeowners in designing and building deck projects with ease by offering step-by-step planning and checklist features that are all accessible on one dashboard. “Sometimes, it can be overwhelming to start out with a blank slate,” said Molly Werner, MoistureShield Senior Brand Manager.

“The Outdoor Project Hub is the perfect online tool for helping MoistureShield customers seek inspirational design ideas, select the right products and find a contractor who can turn their dream deck into a reality.” The tool is both computer and mobile device-friendly, so planning can be done at home or on the go. Starting with some quick questions to assess the project, the Outdoor Project Hub guides the homeowner through the entire planning process, complete with inspirational custom mood boards and curated MoistureShield collections. Once a user selects a MoistureShield product, the Outdoor Project Hub utilizes a checklist to stay on track with deck size, budget, timing and desired amenities. The final step is to search MoistureShield’s “Find a Contractor” database and share the project as a PDF to start building. MoistureShield.com/ProjectHub

New to the TimberTech Advanced PVC Landmark Collection is Board, a light, warm gray color that resembles hardwoods like aged white oak or cypress as homeowners continue to seek weathered wood aesthetics. This addition was inspired by weathered coastal boardwalks and includes cascading highlights and lowlights that create unique board-to-board variation, as well as a crosscut cathedral grain pattern for a soft, textured look.

The Landmark Collection is part of the TimberTech Advanced PVC decking line, which delivers the most realistic wood looks with the highest performance to anything else on the market. The Landmark Collection includes boards made of approximately 60% recycled material. TimberTech has also added Reclaimed Chestnut to its Composite Reserve Collection . The light brown tone resembles chestnut or white oak with a gray cast that reflects a time-worn patina.  Reclaimed Chestnut was inspired by reclaimed barn wood and includes heavy wire-brushed cathedral grain patterns for a rustic texture. The Reserve Collection is made from approximately 85% recycled material and features highly durable boards won’t fade, splinter, or crack, so homeowners enjoy a worry-free deck for decades to come. TimberTech.com

N TUR LLY R T D S I NTIFI LLY NH N D B y h — F b ky Please read all product information available at WolmanizedWood.com before use. © 2023 Arxada ® ® w b , w h ® L


Trex has introduced Select T-Rail. The composite railing system, featuring a popular T-shaped top rail, is designed to make the beauty and convenience of Trex’s high-performance composite and aluminum railing available to a wider audience with pricing that competes headto-head with PVC vinyl railing, the manufacturer said. According to Trex, the product has also been designed as an entry-level answer to composite railing systems.

Engineered for ease, efficiency, and economic value, Trex Select T-Rail features a classic T design on top with a choice of two infill options — square composite balusters in Classic White for a cohesive, coordinated look, or round aluminum balusters in Charcoal Black for a more modern contrast. Full-span top and bottom rails in Classic White are offered in 36” and 42” heights and 6’ and 8’ lengths. Trex.com

Simpson Strong-Tie and MOSO North America have announced a new collaboration, including products and software to enable customers to plan and design their deck projects with Simpson Strong-Tie Deck Planner Software. The free-to-use online deck-building software allows contractors, deck builders, and homeowners to design and build their own custom deck rendering using MOSO Bamboo X-treme decking material , along with structural products and technical knowledge from Simpson Strong-Tie. The planner provides customers with all the information they need to build safe, durable, and sustainable decks.

Additionally, the deck planner has features that are unique to a MOSO Bamboo X-treme deck. Users are able to select from the various widths of MOSO Bamboo X-treme decking boards (4”, 6” and 7”) to see how each will look and to properly

estimate material needs. In addition to deck boards, the program can estimate quantities for all MOSO bamboo decking-related products, including fascia boards. Another feature can even age the designed deck to show users how the bamboo will naturally change color as a result of prolonged exposure to the elements.Users can also connect with MOSO North America material suppliers in their area to obtain pricing and get assistance in accurately estimating project costs. Moso-bamboo.com/us

Fiberon has introduced Fiberon Ascendant , a platform hosting customer loyalty programs, incentives, education, and tools developed to engage and reward Fiberon customers. Within the Fiberon Ascendant platform, trade professionals can access educational tools and content tailored specifically to their needs. Designed with the professional installer in mind, the Fiberon Certified Installer Program helps installers set their business apart from the rest.

The Certified Installer Program features three participant tiers: Outdoor Pro, Outdoor Expert and Outdoor Ambassador. Fiberon-certified installers receive access to an exclusive 5-, 10- or 15-year labor warranty, based on their respective tier level. Certified installers can also receive rewards for purchasing qualifying Fiberon products. Rewards can be used in a variety of ways, based on the installer’s needs. Select tier levels will earn co-marketing dollars for additional, exclusive benefits. All certified installers receive a listing within the “Find a Builder” tool on fiberondecking.com, making it easier for them to connect with potential customers. The Fiberon Accredited Dealer Program provides dealers with access to educational tools, samples, and displays, as well as co-marketing tools to help boost their sales. Fiberon.com


Stains make their mark in 2023

Behr Paint has come around to the idea that stain colors deserve to be recognized with “color of the year” honors every bit as much as paint colors deserve to be so honored.

And earlier this year, Behr’s designers pointed to Cordovan Brown as its groundbreaking selection.

More important than the actual color of the stain (it’s a sort of dark brown) was the moral support that the award delivered to the entire stain category

shown by Masco, Behr’s parent.

“We believe wood stains hold just as much power as paint,” said Erika Woelfel, vice president of Color & Creative Services at Behr, in a press release announcing the news. “They offer a polished finish on decks, porches, doors and more which can enhance the overall curb appeal. Paint and stain can play off each other beautifully, creating a balanced color scheme on exterior surfaces and structures. Pairing darker wood tones like Cordovan Brown with soft natural paint colors creates contrast and compatibility for any style.”

Stain manufacturers in 2023 have recognized not just colors, but trends. Cleveland-based Cabot, a brand of Sherwin-Williams, has consulted its design experts in announcing the annual Outdoor Trend of the Year. Here’s the trend: “Gathering spaces.”

Cabot’s Sue Kim, director of color marketing for Cabot, explained: “With most of us continuing to spend more time at home, outdoor spaces are serving as extensions of our living space and inspiring home improvement projects to help our families make new memories together. From building a gazebo to staining coasters, there is a project for all DIY skill levels that aligns with our 2023 Outdoor Trend of the Year.”

Cabot pointed to three specific doit-yourself projects that fit nicely with the trend: the cozy backyard fire pit, a practical porch serving area, and a private patio wall trellis. Cabot has an “anchoring color” for all three: Newburyport Blue to match all three.

For Iowa-based Old Masters, an old trend is new again: white washing. The Iowa-based company says the opaque white pigment in its Pickling White color creates what is historically known as white washing (a practice famously avoided by Tom Sawyer in the Mark Twain classic).

A centuries-old technique, white washing has gained popularity recently in the shabby chic trend, according to Old Masters. Part of the appeal is the chalky undertones and the range of styles from rustic elegance to cottage chic, or any style in between the two.

Pickling White is available in Old Masters Wiping Stain, Gel Stain, Water-Based Wood Stain, and Fast Dry Stain.

30 September 2023 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER HBSDealer.com Stains & Coatings
Trends in stains include Old Masters’ Pickling White (above) and colors for a “practical porch” (left) from Cabot. Behr's Cordova Brown demonstrates the power of stain to transform a room, indoors or outside.
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Emerging role for BLDR: Tech pioneer

While Builders FirstSouce (BLDR) planned to face headwinds in residential construction in 2023 , promising signs are ahead.

And the nation’s largest prodealer is ramping up investments in technology and automation as it looks to become an even stronger partner to its builder and remodeling customers.

According to Builders FirstSource CEO David Rush, many of the company’s single-family home builder customers are showing stabilizing housing demand due to the widespread shortage of existing homes for sale. At the same time, the dealer and building solutions provider is assisting customers in navigating the dynamic economic environment.

“Our focus on value-added solutions, digital innovations, and customer service is helping builders improve their construction ef ciency,” Rush said during the Dallas, Texas-based company’s recent quarterly nancial presentation.

“We’re helping our customers lower cycle time,” Rush said while noting BLDR continues to increase its ef ciency in getting materials to the jobsite in an accurate, timely fashion.

BLDR’s on-time deliveries increased to 96% in the second quarter compared to 93% a year ago. “We are ensuring that customers have the right materials at the right time,” Rush said. The strategy includes continuing to ramp up value-added services for customers.

“We rmly believe our long-term commitment to new digital innovation and technologies will deliver greater ef ciency across home building and enhance our product and service offerings,” Rush explained. “We continue to play a pioneering role in the digital transformation of the home building industry and have made a signi cant investment in growing our digital platform.”

The CEO, who of cially took over the top leadership role at BLDR in January, said BLDR has “made it a priority to ensure digital adoption is integrated across operations as we seek to build a platform to building better, more affordable homes.”

The myBLDR.com platform serves as the digital gateway for customers. Within the platform, designed to create digital efciency, is a portfolio of platforms that look to improve transparency and engagement in the home building process.

For example, BLDR’s Home Con gure tools allow for digital ef ciency between BLDR, it customers, and potential homebuyers. Home Con gure lets homebuyers customize their home—inside and out— with photorealistic 3D visualizations that can include the product selections. The prodealer says the tool shortens design time, manages homebuyer expectations, and provides peace of mind.

According to Rush, BLDR’s improvements and investments in new tech “improves transparency and engagement in the building process.”

“This allows customers more control over design cost estimating and the builder process, ultimately saving builders and their customer time and money.”

Looking ahead, BLDR said it remains con dent that its tech investments and offerings will result in incremental product sales gains of $1 billion by 2026. In the short and long-term, the moves will make BLDR the partner of choice for home builders, Rush said.

BLDR is also making tech advancements beyond the pure digital scope.

Since the company merged with BMC in January 2021, BLDR has invested more than $100 million in automation and upgrading facilities. With each acquisition the company has made in the past two years, some type of automation upgrades have been implemented.

“We feel really good about the level of automation that we have where every plant has some level of automation,” Rush said. “But we still have a pretty long runway there to improve.”

“We are good customers for our automation vendors,” the CEO added.

Market Insights
“Our focus on value-added solutions, digital innovations, and customer service is helping builders improve their construction e ciency.”
—David Rush, CEO, Builders FirstSource
Builders FirstSource’s myBLDR.com platform serves as a digital gateway for customers.
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Market Insights

A big deal in Sparta, Ill.


With the acquisition of a Wright Building Center location in Sparta, Illinois, R.P. Lumber continues its growth while welcoming a former competitor into the family.

The Wright Building Center location will begin operating as R.P. Lumber shortly after Labor Day. The prodealer has been a long-time industry presence in southwestern Illinois.

“For 39 years, Wright Building Center has served the citizens of the Randolph County area, and we are thrilled to have their team join the R.P. Lumber family,” said Robert Plummer, president and CEO of R.P. Lumber. “We have been industry friends and competitors for many years, so it is exciting to add this great location to our footprint in Illinois.”

The Wright Building Center team began working with R.P. Lumber’s team in early August, and the deal was expected to close in early September. A second Wright Building Center location will continue to operate in Murphysboro, Illinois and is not part of the deal.

“Since 1964, my family has been in the hardware, lumber, and construction business,“ said Jami Lee Wright, owner of Wright Building Center “We’ve had a great run. We’re thankful for our awesome team and the strong customer base that has kept us going since 1984. R.P. Lumber runs an impressive operation.”

Based in Edwardsville, Illinois, R.P. Lumber currently operates 82 locations in Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Wyoming and its home state. R.P. Lumber also maintains two truss manufacturing locations in addition to offering e-commerce options.

“We’re excited to watch them grow and thankful to be moving

on to our next chapter,” Wright noted.

Along with offering lumber, shingles, siding, drywall, and other building materials, R.P. Lumber said that its latest acquisition will also feature a robust selection of hardware merchandise ranging from power tools and paint to plumbing and electrical supplies.

Additionally, an experienced design team will specialize in designing everything from decks and patios to cabinets and countertops for kitchens and bathrooms.

This new location not only allows us to bridge the gap between several of our existing locations, but it helps us better serve some of our great Southwestern Illinois customers,” Plummer said. “Sparta is a great community and Randolph County is a great place to do business. We’ve sought an opportunity in the area for several years, so working out a deal with an anchor in the community like Wright Building Center was a great solution.”

Last year, R.P. Lumber celebrated its 45th anniversary. The company was founded by Robert and Donna Plummer in 1977.

“Jami Lee and the Wright family have built a wonderful business, we are honored and blessed that they have entrusted us with their store, and we are excited to begin serving the market,” Plummer added.

This latest deal from R.P. Lumber follows its acquisitions of Kieffer Lumber and Southwest Building Supply in 2022. The company also opened a new location in Nevada, Missouri last year.

Tracking the moves of the industry

Big names are all over the HBSDealer News Map, including acquisitions (like Builders FirstSource in Auburn Hills, Michigan), and new store openings (like Great Lakes Ace in Indianapolis).

Visit the interactive version of the HBSDealer News Map at HBSDealer.com/map.

Wright and R.P. Lumber have been “industry friends and competitors” for years, said Robert Plummer of R.P. Lumber.

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Top ProfiWomen le Series


LMC announced at the start of May that Rachel Hoops, components and B2B sales manager, had joined the Board of Directors of the Structural Building Components Association (SBCA).

Joining the board arrived after several years of a successful partnership between the two organizations, LMC said.

But the appointment of Hoops is also representative of a female lumber and building materials leader climbing the ranks professionally while demonstrating the signi cance of Top Women in the industry.

Hoops entered the industry on Jan. 2, 2017 when she joined LMC — the Wayne, Pennsylvania-based lumber, building materials, and forest products buying group.

“It was a new year and a fresh start coming out of the world of fashion retail,” Hoops says. Prior to joining LMC, Hoops worked for ve years as a supply chain project manager for a fashion retail company within its distribution division.

But Hoops says she recognized that fashion retail wasn’t going to work for her in the long run so she went back to the career drawing board.

Previously, the manager knew members of the LMC staff during her undergraduate studies at Penn State. In addition to majoring in Supply Chain, Hoops also studied Wood Products Marketing at the university’s Forestry School. While Hoops was offered an internship at LMC, she decided to pursue other options.

Hoops says that “fate” came into play when years later she saw a job opening at LMC.

After serving as a lumber trader for several years at LMC, Hoops was ready for a “new challenge.” And an opportunity presented itself with the launch of a new sales initiative within LMC’s lumber division: improving on buying opportunities available to members through components — aka roof and oor trusses along with wall panels.

Part of the plan was to integrate the sale of components to LMC dealers from LMC dealers who already

had manufacturing operations.

“Ultimately, this was a huge success,” Hoops says. “The idea of having LMC members who manufacture products selling to other LMC members became its own division of sales otherwise known as the B2B department. In addition, this program brought to light the importance of component product category to our lumberyards, and we continue to grow our sales offerings of components to LMC members.”

Since Hoops embarked upon this portion of her career journey, beginning in 2019, she has spent a large portion of her time learning everything she could about the structural building components market.

“Whether it was gaining insight from an LMC member who manufactured these products, a raw material supplier within the component industry, or from a staff member at SBCA, I soaked up as much knowledge as I could to better sell this product to our lumberyards as well as service our members who manufactured this product,” Hoops says.

The manager points out that she built the division she oversees from the ground up. “And I’m nowhere near done!”

Regarding her career in the LBM, Hoops says, “This industry truly holds many of the best people I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside. If you talk to staff at LMC you’ll frequently hear about how our members are next to none. I share this sentiment; my job is to service our members and they could not make my job easier or enjoyable.”

Hoops’ advice to other women seeking careers in the industry is, “Come join us!”

“Though it may appear daunting at rst, we have many allies all throughout the industry,” she says. “I would not be where I am today without the backing and encouragement of incredible male allies. I am forever grateful for their unwavering support; they continue to push me to be the best I can and enable me to leave my mark on my company and this industry.”

Hoops adds:

“My advice to other women coming into this industry: once you’re here, nd your allies and learn everything you can from them.”

The 2023 Top Women in Hardware & Building Supply awards and networking event will return to Chicago Nov. 15-16. Find out more at HBSDTopWomen.com.
as LMC,
“Whether it was gaining insight from an LMC member who manufactured these products, a raw material supplier within the component industry, or from a staff member at SBCA, I soaked up as much knowledge as I could to better sell this product to our lumberyards as well as service our members who manufactured this product,”
—Rachel Hoops, LMC

Kate Woodson Borroni of Woodson Lumber has been elected as president of the Lumbermen’s Association of Texas Board of Directors. Chris Rivers — division president at Higginbotham Bros and Parker’s Building Supply — and Cason Shrode — CEO at Cassity Jones Building Materials — took on new roles at LAT as First and Second Vice President.

Davis Lumber & Hardware and Davis Truss announced that Cory Venable has been promoted to company president. Venable served the Red River Lumber family of companies for nine years in various leadership roles. He has also been actively involved with LMC’s 21st Century Leaders program.

House-Hasson Hardware named Christa Livolsi as assistant vice president in charge of the company’s accounts receivable activities and credit management operations. Livolsi, a Ft. Myers, Florida native, joined House-Hasson in 2013 as an accounts receivable specialist, and in 2016 was promoted to credit manager.

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BlueLinx Holdings appointed Todd Skaggs as regional vice president for the company’s West region. Skaggs brings more than two decades of experience in sales, distribution, and operational excellence to his new role. Skaggs’ career trajectory at Beacon ranges from Branch Manager to vice president, Paci c region. Skaggs will report directly to Shyam Reddy, president, and CEO.

West Coast Lumber, the regional lumber and building materials supplier launched by Building Industry Partners in 2022, added Jason Walsh to its leadership team. Walsh will serve as the company’s vice president of component manufacturing and will be responsible for leading its strategy in the category.

Andersen Corporation, manufacturer of windows and doors, has appointed Andrea Nordaune as senior vice president, chief legal ofcer, and corporate secretary, a move that follows the retirement of Alan Bernick. Nordaune began working with Andersen in 2000. Her most recent position was vice president, general counsel, and assistant corporate secretary.



Offer limited to new and existing members of UPG (UPG membership is free), subject to Verizon approval, and activation of new 1- or 2-year contract with eligible calling plan(s) of $34.99 or higher and with an activation fee/line of up to $40 and subject to a $650 early termination fee. Offers and coverage vary and are not available everywhere (unlimited plans are not eligible). For additional details, contact your Verizon Wireless Business Specialist or visit verizon.com ©2023 Verizon.

Offer limited to new and existing members of UPG (UPG membership is free), subject to Verizon approval, and activation of new 1- or 2-year contract with eligible calling plan(s) of $34.99 or higher and with an activation fee/line of up to $40 and subject to a $650 early termination fee. Offers and coverage vary and are not available everywhere (unlimited plans are not eligible). For additional details, contact your Verizon Wireless Business Specialist or visit verizon.com ©2023 Verizon.

People in the News HBSDealer.com HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER September 2023 37
Woodson Borroni Skaggs Livolsi Nordaune Venable Walsh

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) NAICS 444 (sales in $ billions) NAICS 44413 (sales in $ billions)

HBSDealer Stock Roundup

the percent-change performance of stocks based on Aug. 17 prices

Consumer Watch



38 September 2023 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER HBSDealer.com 50 40 30 20 10 0 3.61
Consumer confidence indexed to a value of 100 in 1985 Unemployment rate for the entire United States
Gas prices average price per gallon (regular) Current Prior month Prior year Total starts (in thousands, SAAR) July: 1,452,000 140 60 80 100 120 July $5.00 $2.00 $3.00 $4.00 Aug. 17
starts (in thousands, SAAR)
July: 983,000
U.S. CENSUS BUREAU 20.0 0.0 2.0 10.0 4.0 6.0 8.0 12.0 14.0 16.0 18.0 July MAY JUNE JULY APRIL MAY JUNE 4 3 2 1 0 2022 2023 2022 2023 SOURCE: COMMERCE DEPARTMENT J A S O N D J F M A M J J 1800 1700 1600 1500 1400 1300 1200 1100 1000 900 Existing-home sales (in millions, SAAR) June: 4,160,000 SOURCE: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS 7 6.5 6 5.5 5 4.5 4 3.5 J J A S O N D J F M A M J MONTHLY CHANGE ANNUAL CHANGE -10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 100 80 60 40 20 0 -20 SOURCE: COMMERCE DEPARTMENT J A S O N D J F M A M J J 1400 1300 1200 1100 1000 900 800 700 600 $3.87 117 3.5% 46.5 42.3 48.6 43.9 3.80 50.9 50.6 3.67 3.27 3.90 3.41 WY BECN BLDR MAS LOW SHW SWK TSCO HD DJI



Wednesday, October 4th

McCray Lumber Yard Tour

Opening Networking Reception at Boulevard Brewing Company

Thursday, October 5th

Welcome & Opening Remarks

Keynote, National Economic Update & Insights into Federal Monetary Policy

A State of Play from Washington D.C. The Future is Now

The Five Core Mindsets of Innovators

Innovation Lab Discussion Workshop

Keynote, Navigating the Future of Shipping and Logistics

Playing Smart in a Tough Economy ProDealer Awards Dinner

Friday, October 6th

U.S. Housing Market Outlook and Implications for LBM Demand

Closing Remarks

Kaiser Yang, CEO and Co-Founder of Platypus Labs, will share his hands-on learning experience. You will learn to systematically unlock your creative potential and walk away with a practical set of tools that you can put into practice immediately. You will learn how to discover new and unique perspectives, harnessing proven inventive thinking techniques that can be deployed to solve any challenge, big or small.

For Sponsorship Opportunities, please reach out to: Amy Grant, Associate Publisher | agrant@ensembleiq.com | 773-294-8598 OCTOBER 4-6, 2023 KANSAS CITY MARRIOTT DOWNTOWN REGISTRATION IS OPEN Please visit www.prodealer.com for more information. Thank You to Our Current 2023 Sponsors
*Agenda subject to change.


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