Page 1


Vol. 46 No. 9

Steven Kaitz, Co-CEO, National Lumber

National Lumber, Mansfield, Mass. Townsend Building Supply, Dothan, Ala.


MARKET INSIGHTS 30 LBM Issues: Prices, inventory

and safety are on the minds of dealers and their customers.

34 Big growth for Hawaii’s

HPM Building Supply.

50 NPD Group measures

home improvement momentum.

SPECIAL FEATURES 44 The Tractor Supply Company

gets technical, and delivers.

58 Top Women in

Cover Story: The 2020 ProDealers of the Year


ProDealer of the Year


Independent ProDealer of the Year

Hardware & Building Supply: Network of Executive Women CEO Sarah Alter.


National Lumber, a New England power house that’s always one step ahead.

Townsend Building Supply, a market leader that lives up to some pretty cool values.

PRODUCTS 36 Power tools and accessories

that make the cut.

40 Siding trends and solutions

from around the industry.





10 Sizing up the Super Merger 12 West Coast reacts and

12 News Map 14 Product Knowledge

14 Shop-Vac abruptly

60 People in the news 62 Quikrete Industry Dashboard

Some major similarities for some major award winners.

responds to blazes closes shop

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). Periodical postage paid at Chicago, IL., and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to HBSD, Circulation Fulfillment Director,8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Copyright © 2020 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.





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PDIS logo… The Oct. 7-9 ProDealer Industry Summit, hosted by HBSDealer and the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association, lives on in a virtual format. Visit ProDealer.com to learn more.

HBSDealer Daily Newsletter: plus, the Saturday Edition The HBSDealer Daily Newsletter, the industry’s leading news source, now has a companion: “The Saturday Edition” — with the top stories and top insights you might have missed. Sign up to receive your daily news at HBSDealer.com. Monday





Quikrete Industry Dashboard

HBSDealer Poll Question

Stat of the Week

Throwback Thursday

Eye on Retail

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


Following the BMC-BLDR merger, “Do you expect more mergers of multi-billiondollar companies in this industry to take place in 2020?”

Follow us @HBSDealer


29% No

71% Yes

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


Source: HBSDealer Survey


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Separated at Birth? Maybe

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

It sometimes happens that two strangers who meet accidentally will discover tremendous similarities, and then realize with astonishment that they are twins separated at birth. It happened in Shakespeare’s canon (“A Comedy of Errors”), and it happened to Lindsay Lohan (“The Parent Trap.”) Can it happen to lumberyards? Consider the case of HBSDealer’s 2020 ProDealers of the Year — our Independent ProDealer of the Year, Townsend Building Supply in the Wiregrass Region of Alabama; and National Lumber, the 2020 ProDealer of the Year, which hails proudly from New England. Strangers, yes. But the similarities are striking. Both are award-winners, based on the months-long selection process of HBSDealer and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association program recognizing “high performing” pro dealers with a “commitment to the values and best practices of the LBM industry.” Check and check. But that’s just the beginning. National Lumber and Townsend Building Supply are both thirdgeneration family businesses led by sibling grandchildren of their respective founders. Under their watches, manufacturing facilities have been expanded Each business has branched into showrooms — an Andersen Window & Door Showroom in Dothan, and a chain of Kitchen Views showrooms in several locations throughout New England. Both companies have identified

CORRECTION The 2020 ProDealer Scoreboard included a glaring omission. Balston, Spa, N.Y.-based Curtis Lumber, a 2008 ProDealer of the Year honoree, should have appeared in the no. 37 spot, with $210 million in sales and 21 units. HBSDealer regrets the error.


Ken Clark Editor in Chief

EDITOR IN CHIEF Ken Clark kclark@ensembleiq.com, 212-756-5139 LBM EDITOR Andy Carlo acarlo@ensembleiq.com, 845-891-5108

builder services as a growth area. National’s turn-key program has advanced all the way to California, based on the idea that its construction expertise is a valuable resource for builders. A similar marketdriven approach is leading Townsend down the turn-key path, and it’s already established a “Strongwood by Townsend Building Supply” installed sales brand. During yard tours of both businesses in the course of a week in September, it was uncanny how various executives who happened into the way of reporter emphasized a focus on quality and a culture of acting quickly. That’s when it struck me: these guys might be related. And here’s one more powerful argument for separation at birth; comments from two CEOs that reflect a DNA match of the mindset. “Turner and I have always tried to remain very close to the business,” said Michael Townsend. “And we’ve been successful more or less with that throughout our time here. I think first, we provide a good place to work. It makes work an enjoyable place to be every day They’re not numbers, and we’re trying to treat them well.” A thousand-plus miles away in Mansfield, Mass., Steven Kaitz echoed the concept: “We treat people right,” he said. “They make a good living, and they understand what we bring to the table, innovation, credit, locations, equipment, and an ear to people making decisions — they can’t get that anywhere else.” Separated at birth? Before you answer, check out the profiles that begin on page 18. An easy conclusion: they’re definitely worthy of recognition as ProDealers of the Year. HBSD


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 AUDIENCE

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



connect with us



“We wanted to find new ways to serve

Do it Best member-owners Sharona and Cecil Eiserer always thought they were

our customers actually are.”

solely a contractor-driven business. But through powerful research and analysis programs from Do it Best, they discovered a steady stream of do-it-yourselfers were already coming into their store. The Eiserers jumped on the opportunity to serve this untapped market. With help from our Signature Store Design and Retail Performance teams, they TM

redesigned a larger store, adding The Color Bar and introducing popular TM

housewares brands to deliver a fresh shopping experience for all their customers. Sharona and Cecil’s investment has paid off. Sales have more than doubled, and Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply is now the community’s go-to DIY store while still meeting all their pros’ needs.

» How well do you know your customer base? Do it Best can help identify your strongest customers and show you how to serve them best. Call us today at 888-DO-IT-BEST (888-364-8237) or visit doitbestretail.com.

our customers—it helped to learn who Sharona Eiserer Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply


Sizing up the Super Merger By Andy Carlo When Builders FirstSource and BMC Stock Holdings announced they were combining companies last week in the largest pro dealer merger ever, the lumber and building material distributors created a super dealer with annual sales of $11.2 billion. A combined Builders FirstSource and BMC, having sales of $7.5 billion and $3.8 billion before the merger, positions the new company as the second-highest ranking company among pure building products distributors serving home builders, contractors and remodelers. ABC Supply, the Beloit, Wis.-based roofing and building materials distributor remains at the top spot with sales of roughly $11.7 billion and well over 700 locations. But ABC does not deliver lumber or offer residential framing services. Value-added categories at the new company will represent about 43% of sales. This includes windows, doors and millwork, accounting for 24% of total sales, and manufactured products, accounting for 19% of total sales. The new company said it will capture about $4.8 billion in sales from valueadded products, including $2.7 billion from windows, doors and millwork and $2.1 billion from pre-fabricated trusses and components. Traditional lumber and sheet goods will account for 30% of overall sales, or roughly $3.36 billion.

Combined Net Sales by Product 24%


Windows Doors & Millwork

Lumber & Sheet Goodz


ValueAdded Product Mix


Siding Metal & Concrete


Manufactured Products



Other Building Gypsum Products and Roofing & Insulation Services Source: Company reports.


Combined national footprint of Builders FirstSource and BMC 550 Locations 42 States 26,000 Team Members

Annual cost synergies at the new company are forecast to between $130 million and $150 million by year three of the deal. “A larger platform will strengthen our ability to create or invest in best in class innovative solutions that deliver significant benefits to customers,” said Builders FirstSource CEO Chad Crow. The new powerhouse, with a combined 235 value-added product facilities and 452 LBM facilities, extends its reach into 214 of the top markets in 42 states. Individually, Builders FirstSource served about 201 markets while BMC operated within 45 markets. Prior to the merger, Builders FirstSource and BMC have acquired 22 companies in the past 10 years. Questions about leadership have also been answered. Crow announced earlier this year that he was stepping down as CEO of Builders FirstSource. But the companies had to look no further than BMC CEO Dave Flitman for the top executive of the new entity. “Earlier this year I announced my intention to retire once we identified my successor,” Crow said. “I believe we have found the best fit possible in BMC’s Dave Flitman.” Looking ahead, and taking into account the increased scale of the company, larger market penetration, and geographic diversity, Flitman says the dealer is poised to expand


even further. “Overall, we’ll have a leading operation poised for future growth as the fragmented market continues to consolidate.” “We will significantly improve our ability to service key high-growth markets in the South, Southeast and West regions, which represent over three-quarters of U.S. singlefamily housing starts and more than 85% of our combined revenues,” Flitman explained. Crow will remain with the company for roughly 90 days after the closing of the transition with Builders FirstSource CFO Peter Jackson remaining as the lead financial executive of the merged company. Builders FirstSource Chairman Paul Levy will serve as chairman of the board of directors of the combined company. The combined board will include12 total directors, with 7 directors from the current Builders FirstSource board and 5 directors from the current BMC board. Terms of the all-stock merger, announced in late August, call for BMC shareholders to receive 1.3125 Builders FirstSource shares for each BMC share. Ownership at transaction close will break down at a ratio of 57% Builders FirstSource shareholders and 43% BMC shareholders. The company will be branded as Builders FirstSource once the merger closes in the fourth quarter and trade on the BLDR ticker symbol.


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West Coast reacts and responds to smoke and fire The industry’s struggles with wildfires raging in the Pacific Northwest and northern California, forced closures and impacted timberlands. They also showcased the community spirit of industry leaders. At Oregon-based Parr Lumber, fire-induced smoke and air quality detriioration caused the closing of all locations for a day in mid-September. The stores are back open. Even as the disaster unfolded, the company set up a relief refuge at Saint Paul High School, offering free water, buckets, sandwiches and safety. “Our hearts go out to all the families directly impacted by the fires,

and to the frontline workers fighting to keep the remaining fires at bay,’ the company said on a facebook post. Forest products giant Weyerhaeuser said that some of its timberlands in Oregon have been impacted by the disaster. Meanwhile, Seattle-based Weyerhaeuser, which owns about 1.6 million acres of timberlands in Oregon and 1.3 million acres in Washington. announced that it was making a $150,000 donation to the Red Cross in support of communities affected by the wildfires, including Oregon. Fire authorities have estimated that the damage in California and Oregon

may not be contained and fully extinguished until November. “Our focus right now is on keeping our people safe and out of harm’s way during this challenging situation,” said Weyerhaeuser CEO Devin Stockfish. “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this disaster, and we thank the firefighters and first responders working to save lives and contain the fires as quickly as possible.”

News Map: Openings, Closings & Acquisitions Illustration of retailers and dealers in various stages of coming and going. For more retail news, visit HBSDealer.com. OPENING





Hardwick’s & Sons After 88 years in the same location, Hardwick’s & Sons Hardware in the University District is closing and opening a new store in Idaho. “Seattle has changed,” owner Dean Hardwick told a local radio show, bringing up rising taxes and increasing frequency of break ins. Hardwick’s will set up shop in Post Falls in Northern Idaho.



US LBM US LBM has opened a new Hines Supply roofing and siding location in West Chicago. The location is US LBM’s eighth new roofing and siding focused greenfield since 2018. A division of US LBM, Hines distributes building products across Illinois, including Chicago and the city’s five collar counties: DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will, which comprise the Midwest’s largest metropolitan market. pennsylvania



Alpine Lumber Westminster, Colo.-based Alpine Lumber is expanding. The foundation has been poured for a new facility in Siverthorne, expected to open in April or May of 2021. The new yard will join the dealer’s 17 other retail yards and additional truss and millwork facilities, while improving access to Summit County.




Busy Beaver Home Improvement Centers Pittsburgh-based Busy Beaver plans to open its 25th home center store in May 2021. The new store in Delmont, Pa., will open in a building formerly occupied by an AMC Theatre. At 55,000 square feet, the new store will be one of Busy Beaver’s largest stores among its locations across western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and northern West Virginia.



Product Knowledge

Shop-Vac abruptly closes shop

Product: The Tank, 6-gallon high capacity pancake air compressor

It appears to be the end of the line for a brand that was so popular, that its name fell into usage as a generic term: Shop-Vac. Williamsport, Pa.-based Shop-Vac, the manufacturer of wet/dry vacuums and accessories used for residential, commercial and industrial uses, has abruptly closed its three facilities in Williamsport, and laid off more than 400 employees. Shop-Vac filed a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notice with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry and said that 427 employees are impacted by the decision.

Knowledge: A lightweight compressor weighs in at 41 pounds, and provides enough pressure to run a team of five 18-guange nailers at one time. At 200 PSI, that’s about 25% more pressure than a basic pancake compressor.

“The current global pandemic and economic crisis has left the Company in dire financial conditions.” —Shop-Vac, statement

Shop-Vac pointed to a potential sale of the company falling through as a major trigger for the closure. In the WARN notice, Shop-Vac

stated, “We regret that we were unable to provide you with more notice.” “The current global pandemic and economic crisis has left the Company in dire financial conditions. The Company accordingly had been negotiating the sale of the business as a going concern, which, if such sale has been completed, would have enabled us to stay in business and continue the employment of employees. We fully anticipated the sale to be completed and for the buyer to hire all employees. Unfortunately, the buyer without warning walked away from the deal. Such unforeseeable business circumstance has left us with no choice but to close our facilities,” the manufacturer said. As of Sept. 18, Shop-Vac had taken down its website, shopvac.com, along with its social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. Shop-Vac could not be reached by HBSDealer for comment.

Manufacturer: Metabo

Fun fact: Metabo is the brand name for Koki Holdings America (formerly part of Hitachi.) The name Metabo is a truncation of the German word for metal drill: “Metall bohrer.”


A confidence record 83, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, measuring builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes increased. That’s the highest reading in the 35-year history of the index, breaking the previous record of 78 in December 1998.




LBM Advantage


ansfield, Mass. — Steven Kaitz of National Lumber, remembers a time in the 1990s when he saw a lumberyard competitor unload a Moffett at a job site somewhere in Massachusetts. His team recognized immediately the efficiencies and the benefits delivered by the portable forklifts that ride piggyback on trucks. And it didn’t take long to jump on the bandwagon in a big way. “We went out and bought two, and then bought ten more right away,” said Co-CEO Kaitz. “They had one, we had 12. And we even got involved in helping Moffett design their first four-way machines.” Dipping toes in the water is for other companies. National Lumber dives right in. That’s the mindset that has helped propel National Lumber to its status as a New England powerhouse with 14 retail locations, and a family of

By Ken Clark

related businesses — component manufacturing, millwork, paint stores and kitchen remodeling showrooms among them. Led by siblings and Co-CEO’s Steven and Margie Kaitz Seligman (grandchildren of the founder) and President Manny Pina (see page 22), the company of 750 employees, including designers and specialists, has shown a bias to action combined with a nimbleness and willingness to invest in new opportunities. These qualities propelled National Lumber to its status as the 2020 ProDealer of the Year. The award recognizes a lumberyard company that displays high performance combined with the willingness to adapt and embrace the best practices and best values of the LBM industry. The selection is the combined responsibility of HBSDealer and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association. “When we find something that’s worth doing, we grab hold of it,” Kaitz explained, when asked about the keys to success. “We are very quick to understand that we have to differentiate ourselves. Everybody’s going to ultimately catch up, and then we have to jump further ahead, and further ahead, and further ahead.” National Lumber provides sophisticated builders services and programs, such as a turn-key framing program that has expanded all the way to California. Also noteworthy is their Rapid Frame® engineered floor system that end cuts I-Joists with precision and delivers them to the job site with inkjet labels and pre-applied glue strips. And according to executives interviewed for this article, equally important is the family-run business’s emphasis on treating customers and staff like family.

Culture of service

The Holland Companies has been a National Lumber customer for about 15 years, working in some of the most prestigious addresses in Boston’s Beacon Hill, and other historic areas. “Our customers are pretty discriminating,” Joe Holland told




National Lumber of Mansfield, Mass., has invested in equipment and people to stay ahead of the competition. (Below) Co-CEO Steven Kaitz in the Mansfield, Mass. yard.



On the origin of the name “National Lumber” “To our grandfather, the name “National” sounded really big, even though they had just one location in Roxbury. That started in 1934. And it did sound big, and it kind of sounds big today.”

High-end custom jobs begin in National’s stateof-the-art millwork facility (right). The company’s fast-growing turn-key program brings construction expertise to the job site. (below)

“We treat people right. They make a good living, and they understand what we bring to the table, innovation, credit, locations, equipment, and an ear to people making decisions — they can’t get that anywhere else.”

HBSDealer. “Working with National Lumber, we have found that they really partner with us. They understand that this is a high-touch business and they’re with us all the way.” National Lumber has provided Holland more than $2 million worth of custom architectural millwork over the years. Its ability to serve the highest quality custom builders can be traced back to a 20,000 sq. ft. shop and staining area within their 100,000 sq. ft. millwork facility in Mansfield. That’s where old world craftsmanship meets state-of-the-art equipment and technology.



We often ask ourselves: Is it good to be big? What are we? In Massachusetts, we’re probably as big as the next three biggest companies combined. But I don’t personally feel as if we’re big, because we know the employees, we know the customers, we know the area. We want to continue to be very nimble and make decisions quickly. We can change when we want to change. And we don’t have to move a whole battleship.”

The slogan “Service Above All™” is brought into the field by a team of 80plus outside sales reps, many of whom bring expertise in specialty areas — from gypsum board to kitchens. “Steven and Margie promote family and workmanship and everyone working together,” said outside sales rep Jamey Creason. “And the customer feels that. It’s a feeling that everyone is behind them and working together. We are family-owned and treated that way. It shines outward.” Customer relations are big deal, and so are the biennial (preCovid) customerappreciation trips to Cancun, Mexico, along with Foxwoods Resort

Weekends and excursions to sporting events (14 season tickets to New England Patriot football games are at the sales team’s disposal).

Sales are based on relationships, but they begin with service. The company’s turn-key program is one of the ways it differentiates itself while providing service to customers. In 2019, the turn-key program grew to about a third of National Lumber’s business. And through relationships with framers and other suppliers, it expanded all the way to California. “The builder turns over the project plans to us and says ‘give me a frame,’” explained Kevin Silveira, National Lumber director of business development, who heads up the program. “And when the concrete is ready, we show up. And we leave when the frame is finished.” The concept applies to siding, trim, roofing and gypsum board, and appeals


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to the commercial builder customer for a number of reasons: First, there’s a labor shortage. And second, National Lumber takes on the staffing and the materials at a fixed cost, protecting the general contractor from risk. How? “There are a lot of moving parts,” said Silveira. Those parts include expertise in reading the market, experience in framing, and relationships with crews and vendors. And there’s also software that has allowed the program to broaden. “We are going to continue to grow our “turn-key” operation, because we believe that there’s going to be less and less people out in the world that understand how to build,” said Kaitz. “And a lot of the contractors and builders want to buy something where they can control their costs.”

In a long, garage-like building in the company’s main distribution center in Mansfield, one finds another example of National’s commitment to big ideas. A machine about 30 yards in length precision end-cuts (down to an 1/8 of an inch) giant I-Joists, labels the engineered wood, and pre applies a powerful Rapid Frame adhesive strip for ease of assembly at the job site. Contractors just rip off the film and connect the components. Developed in concert with Boise, the


Friends and family: (top) From a Pina family wedding album with Myron, Manny and Blaine Pina, and CoCEO Steven Kaitz. Jamey Creason (above, far right) spends quality time with customers at a Patriots game.

saw apparatus system (similar machine operates at National’s Branford, Conn., location) is unique in the New England market and represents an investment of about two million dollars. The system is the foundation for the company’s value add Rapid Frame engineered floor systems program. “It speeds up the process,” said Dave Pelletier, director of operations. “If somebody wants a floor system, we’ll design it for them, and they won’t have to make the cuts. The glue is pre applied, and the guys who have tried it, they love it.” Pelletier manages all the National Lumber yard locations, and splits much of his time between Mansfield and the Reliable Truss manufacturing


Through his expertise in engineered wood products, Manny Pina was recruited to National Lumber by John Kaitz, the father of current co CEO’s Margie and Steven Kaitz. A former U.S. Marine and Viet Nam War veteran, Pina began his National career as VP of engineering in 1987, and has since led the push to establish specialties in millwork and manufacturing and turn-key framing. “National Lumber was my biggest customer, and John spent two years recruiting me,” Pina said. “When he finally hired me, he said ‘Manny, I’m only going to promise you an opportunity. What you do with it is up to you.’ I said, ‘Just give me that.’” In addition to the company’s growth, another lasting contribution made by Pina was in the field of human resources: Five sons and one grandson are employed in various fields at National Lumber — Myron, Blaine, Lydell, Austin, Nolan and Blaine, Jr. “It’s a blessing,” Pina said. “I really enjoy them. Sometimes it can be tough because of my makeup. I don’t believe in nepotism or playing favorites. I tell them that their supervisor is the person who they have to impress.”

plant 40 minutes away in New Bedford. Reliable Truss supplies, among other things pre-cut rafter systems and roof trusses from simple to complex. “We spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to be different in the market and add value,” Pelletier said. “If all you do is sell sticks, and the project goes to the lowest bidder, then it becomes a very challenging business.” Looking ahead, the company likes what it sees in the long-term for the housing market. Pointing to a nearly 15-year run of annual housing starts that have fallen far short of historical averages, Kaitz looks for a strong decade for housing to come. The pandemic disrupted some of the building in New England, but not National Lumber’s momentum. “In January and February, we thought it was going to be the best year ever,” said Creason, the outside sales rep. “We still think it’s going to be pretty darn good.”








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Dothan dealers. From left, Turner Townsend, Steve Hemendinger, Rob Eaton, Michael Townsend, Steve Riggs and Sean O’Neal.


Townsend Building Supply Independent ProDealer of the Year By Ken Clark

‘Don’t be a jerk’ and other principles of an Independent leader.


ith a cool list of core company values and an embrace of technology that exceeds its rivals, Townsend Building Supply of Dothan, Ala., has been selected by its peers as the 2020 Independent ProDealer of the Year.



The story starts with the values:

Do the next right thing Hustle Solve problems Don’t be a jerk Build relationships.

“It starts at the top, and everyone here knows our core values,” said VP of Operations Steve Riggs. “And everyone here can recite them —



and that’s rare. We can make a decision without everyone getting into a committee meeting.” There have been some big decisions made at Townsend Building Supply since the company that began life as a Florida sawmill in the 1920s. Big 21st century milestones include the 2009 acquisition of Hendricks Building Supply in Troy and Ozark, Ala. The years 2011-12 brought the addition

It’s been amazing to watch the Townsends transform their business into a regional powerhouse. They are a wonderful example of how to envision a future, create a plan, and then execute it to success. They have managed the inherent challenges of family business with grace and grown the company while still maintaining the values that their father established in the company. The Townsends definitely prove the adage of ‘nice guys finish last’ wrong. — Jim Moody, Construction Suppliers Association director

of two Dothan, Ala businesses — and Andersen Window and Door Showroom and Chapman Building Systems. With the move to Dothan, brothers Michael and Turner Townsend, president and VP of development, respectively, and grandsons of the founder, laid down a vision for growth. “We both realized that we needed to look at what we wanted to do with this business,” Michael told HBSDealer. “You’re either moving forward or going backward. You really can’t stand still. That’s when the mission shifted to growth and to become the dominant force and preferred vendor of choice in our region.” The plan revolves around three divisions: Townsend Building Supply, Townsend Building Systems and Townsend Andersen Showroom (a designated “Circle of Excellence” dealer). The overarching slogan “Projects … Done.” Has been amended to “Installations … Done.” For the company’s growing effort in installed sales through its Strongwood by Townsend Building Supply brand. With construction knowledge in its DNA, and with the general population’s skilled labor pool shrinking, the company is following a path toward turn-key building solutions for its builder consumers.

Michael (left) and Turner Townsend grandsons of the founder, continue to fine tune their plan for the family business. The company’s Andersen Window and Door Show Room (above) is a Circle of Excellence designee. Core values (above left) are simple, meaningful and cool.





“We firmly believe that labor is going to be the name of the game going forward,’ said Turner Townsend, who is heading up installed sales and turnkey businesses. “Whether it’s dealers or builders, whoever is able to control labor is going to have a whole lot more control over their success and their ability to grow than those who don’t. And so, we need to be part of that solution, because our builders are going to struggle with trades.” The company counts a wide range of builders and contractors on its customer rolls. The typical customer builds about 15-20 houses per year. “It’s a one stop shop,” says Rob Eaton, director of purchasing and business analytics, describing the company’s sustainable advantage in the Wiregrass region of Alabama. “Truss shop, windows, everything. They come to us and say, ‘Here’s my problem, this is what I need.’ And from there, we have 120 people who are involved in helping them get their job done.” Most dealers of Townsend’s size don’t have a “business analytics director” on their staff — and that’s another differentiator for the company, which leans heavily on BisTrack software for construction suppliers. “We’re always looking to do find advantages and to figure out how we can use our systems to the fullest advantage more,” said Turner Townsend. “It’s something we did that makes us more efficient, better at what we do. The Dothan Yard sits on 14 acres, and includes the truss plant, where laser beams guide the arrangement of components on a giant table. Truss manager Sean O’Neal proudly showed off the new MiTek blade saw, that’s coordinated with the software programs used by the designers. But the real reputation for quality springs from the employees, he said. “It’s the people here, They hustle,” O’Neal said, echoing the company’s value statement. “They want to learn, and that makes all the difference.” In many places portable basketball


Top: Sean O’Neal manages the truss facility, which beneits from a Mitek saw, integrated design software, laser-aided tables and a staff of eager learners who “hustle,” he said. The drive-through lumberyad (left) makes pickup easy for customers.

goals in the warehouse are evidence of lunch-break two-on-two. But at Townsend they’re leftovers from the annual “Forklift Rodeo.” The event (postponed during the pandemic this year) showcases driver skills, such as forklift finger rolls into the hoops, as


it promotes overall driver safety. The company is moving ahead on a variety of fronts — maintaining strong ties to three nearby military bases, responding to hurricane damaged homes in several markets, and expanding and renovating its location in Panama City, Fla. While the company laid the groundwork for growth with a plan years ago, it has shown that it aggressively seeks out new opportunities. “We’ve continued to update and work with our plan,” said Michael Townsend. “It’s morphed and changed over the years. We’ve been successful sometimes faster than we thought, sometimes slower than we wanted. But, so far it’s worked out.” Added: Turner: “We’ve still got our foot on the gas pedal.”


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Looking Ahead:

Big LBM Issues Prices, inventory and safety are on the minds of dealers and builders. By Andy Carlo


ousing looks strong. It’s been solid nearly all summer after stumbling with the initial, domestic spread of COVID-19. The most recent new home sales report showed that sales of new single-family homes broke the one million mark and hit their highest level since 2006. Single-family home starts were up 4.6% in August and reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.021 million. The demand for lumber and building materials is solid, fueled by a national desire for housing and a continuing DIY frenzy. Inventory turns have been high in recent months, but the staggering price of lumber is causing a myriad of concerns for pro dealers. Here are some of the biggest issues facing lumber and building material dealers right now: Lumber Prices What began in the spring with a spike in pressure treated lumber eventually continued into the summer with soaring prices for softwood lumber, oriented strand board, and other materials. A combination of the sawmills shutting down during the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, combined with a DIY craze caused by consumers completing home improvement projects while stuck at home, followed by a major resumption of home building, lead to a perfect storm for lumber prices and tight supply.


Softwood lumber prices hit a record high of $928.50 per thousand board feet in early September, tripling its low price point in April and increased nearly 15% in August, according to the Producer Price Index. This marked the largest four-month gain since data was first recorded in 1949. The increase is also the second-largest gain since seasonally adjusted data became available in 1975, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Prices were already up nearly 80% since April prior to the late summer climb. “Lumber and building material prices are definitely a top concern and one we are hearing about daily from our members,” Jonathan Paine, president and CEO of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA). Both the NAHB and NLBMDA are seeking assistance from the White House in finding a solution to staggering lumber prices. The associations are urging the administration to work with domestic lumber producers to ensure production is at capacity to meet demand, along with an emphasis on negotiating a renewed Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) with Canada. Eating the price According to the NAHB, rising costs have added an additional $16,000-plus to the cost of new home




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LBM ISSUES construction. A big problem home builders have run into is closing the price gap. Randy Noel, former chairman of the NAHB and a home builder in Louisiana, said that a problem that he ran into, like many home builders, is that homes had already been sold and now he had to figure out a way to close a price gap. This includes searching for alternative materials, including steel, to help lower costs. “I know builders who have had to call customers and give them their deposit back and say, ‘I can’t build your house because of the price of lumber,’” Noel told the NAHB. “People already have their loan secured and can’t increase the price.” Likewise, pro dealers don’t want to burn out their customers with staggering price tags and have had to eat some of their margins so they don’t drive builders and contractors away with sticker shock. Stephen Sallah, CEO of LBM Advantage — the lumber and forest products cooperative — told HBSDealer that one of his memberdealers was recently reported to the Better Business Bureau after a DIYer accused the business of price gouging on 2X4’s. But the dealer was charging the market price. “Most lumber dealers have had the same customers for years and, in some cases, generations,” Sallah told HBSDealer. “And many supply product to home builders that are watching their margins fall and risks rise. Our dealers have done their best to share the pain and ‘eat’ some of the differential. This is not a great long-term strategy, but their customers are dealing with their end customers, home builders and, sometimes, fixed priced contracts.” There’s a tightrope to be walked for lumber dealers. They love solid inventory turnover rates. And the demand for materials is red hot with home builders, contractors and


Along with mounting lumber prices, the industry continues to face labor and safety concerns.

remodelers catering to pent up demand in both housing starts and remodeling projects, including new decks. But when does the market correct itself and what could that mean for dealers? The market typically corrects quickly. But dealers don’t want to be sitting on high-priced inventory and take a massive loss as colder weather approaches and demand could quickly lessen. At the same time, distributors who hold inventory in their market could also be reluctant to carry more than absolutely necessary. Labor and Safety A lack of skilled labor has been an issue in the LBM industry for years and the trend continues. While finding talented workers for the industry is a necessity, keeping them safe at job sites and around the yard has compounded the issue. It also means that dealers need to increase services, such as framing and installed sales while manufacturers continue to supply labor-saving products. Builders, remodelers, and retailers have


been complying with new COVID-19 and safety standards, including social distancing. Essentially, more has to be done with even fewer workers at times. The NLBMDA points to employer liability protections as a growing initiative. This trend stems from employers across the nation being concerned about exposure to COVID-19 lawsuits even if they are following all health and safety regulations and guidance. NLBMDA is supporting proposals put forward in the Senate that will protect employers from lawsuits provided they follow all regulations and provide a safe workplace. “Dealers across the U.S. want to ensure that employees are safe and able to continue receiving income during these difficult times,” Paine said. Concerns aside, yards and job sites are busy with business looking to continue its pace for some time. “What dealers are not worried about at the moment is sales,” Sallah says. “There appears to be plenty of construction activity to keep all types of retailers and pro yards in the black for the near future.”


It takes strength and perseverance to own a small business. It takes dedication, hard work, and sacrifice. Many of you continue to operate to provide essential services to our communities. As the backbone of America, you play a vital role in the recovery of our economy. Together, we’ll come out stronger than ever. We see you, we need you and we thank you.



Big growth for Hawaii’s HPM Building Supply A merger and an exclusive for the Hawaiian pro dealer.

By Andy Carlo


Photos courtesy of HMP Building Supply


t’s been nothing but business in paradise for HPM Building Supply of Hawaii in recent months. The Keauu, Hawaii-based company merged with Miyake Concrete Accessories in August and then announced that it had doubled the footprint of its Oahu location while becoming the state’s exclusive distributor of SCAFCO steel framing materials. Additionally, HPM has added CertainTeed acoustical ceiling panels and commercial interior materials to its product offerings. The merger with Miyake represented the joining of two local, longtime, family businesses. Miyake and HPM share island values, deep local roots, and a longstanding commitment to serving customers, employees, and our local communities, the companies said when announcing the deal. With the merger, Miyake Concrete Accessories’ four building supply stores and one truss manufacturing plant on the Valley Isle became part of HPM Building Supply — expanding HPM’s operations statewide to 13 locations across Hawaii Island, Oahu, Kauai, and Maui. HPM Building Supply plans to renovate and rebrand the Maui stores, which will be called “Miyake - HPM Building Supply.” Additionally, HPM said it plans to expand services, products and inventory so that contractors, builders, and homeowners on Maui receive a wider selection of products and services. HPM’s Kapolei location has also added new employees and the facility now spans six acres, with 50,000 square feet of covered warehouse

Above: Recent moves by HPM Building Supply include yard expansion and becoming the exclusive distributor of SCAFCO steel framing materials. Right: Jason Fujimoto, president and CEO of HPM Building Supply.

space, a lumber yard, a steel yard, and custom metal roofing manufacturing. “By adding steel and commercial interior products to our extensive lineup of lumber, paint, roofing and hardware, we’re able to offer even more for our customers and truly be a one-stop shop for projects of all types and sizes,” said Jason Fujimoto, HPM president and CEO. “HPM is well-known for our lumber selection, and our specialization in lumber stretches back 99 years.” The addition of SCAFCO materials allows HPM to supply large commercial and residential projects where steel is required or preferred. “As a fifth-generation local company, we’re pleased to bring top-notch products like SCAFCO steel framing to Hawaii so that our community can build better and live better,” Fujimoto said. The addition of CertainTeed acoustical ceiling panels allows HPM


to enter into the commercial interiors market. The panels are used across commercial facilities, including offices, schools, hospitals, and restaurants. HPM intends to continue expanding its selection of commercial interior materials, and the Oahu location will soon regularly stock windows as well as a wider array of moulding, drywall and insulation products. HPM also provides customers with locally manufactured wood wall panels and trusses, shipped from its Keaau manufacturing facility on Hawaii Island to job sites across all islands. “As the Oahu construction industry continues to see growth, even during the pandemic, we are excited to expand our capacity and capabilities to better serve our customers,” said Mark Schwinn, HPM Oahu regional manager. “Doubling our footprint is just the first step in our vision to grow our presence on this island.”


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Making the cut These power tools and accessories are creating buzz. A handful of recent cutting tools and cutting tool accessories are taking the power tool category further down the path of increased utility and adaptability. The collection assembed here includes band saws, a reciprocating saw and blades that are all united by their ability to bring more to the job site. At work are themes of battery system compatibility, smart tool functionality and increased precision and durability.

Much of that can be seen with the Bosch Power Tools new 18V Compact Band Saw. It is up to 60% lighter and 40% more compact than standard deep-cut band saws, drastically enhancing its ability to make clean, precise cuts in tight workspaces, overhead, or in corners. The new band saw adds to Bosch’s 18V cordless portfolio, which is building a strong ecosystem based around its 18V battery packs and technology. With a new lightweight design, this cutting-edge power tool is only 7.3 pounds, yet built to deliver an impressive cut rate of 530 surface feet per minute.

Also cordless, and also in the band saw category, Makita U.S.A. has introduced two new compact band saws for efficient metal cutting in tight spaces and overhead cutting applications. The Makita 18V LXT Compact Brushless Cordless Band Saw (XBP04) and the sub-compact version (XBP05) meet ANSI blade guarding requirements for onehanded operation, making them ideal for a range of metal cutting tasks in tight spaces. The 18V LXT Compact Brushless Cordless Band Saw (XBP04) features a 2-5/8” cutting capacity is ideal for cutting a variety of metal materials. (shown here)




The 18V LXT Sub-Compact Brushless Cordless Band Saw (XBP05) is smaller and lighter than premium power tools. It can make up to 160 cuts of ¾” EMT with an 18V LXT 2.0Ah Battery and has a 2” x 2” cutting capacity. The XBP04 has a trigger switch with lock-off feature that requires two actions to power-on the band saw. A catch bar helps eliminate accidental follow through during repetitive cutting. Other features include a built in L.E.D. light that illuminates the work area for more efficient work, rubber bumpers, and a removable hook. Makitatools.com

With a durability and versatility message, Milwaukee Tool has unveiled its newest M18 FUEL Sawzall Reciprocating Saw. Designed for the toughest applications on the jobsite, it’s described as the fastest cutting reciprocating saw in its class and the most durable Sawzall Reciprocating Saw yet. The tool is also available is a version with One-Key, which allows users to dial in performance for unique


NEW PRODUCTS applications such as adjusting the speed for smoother cut starts and engaging a CUT-BRAKE. The CUTBRAKE automatically stops the blade from reciprocating after a cut is completed in most cutting applications, helping to avoid cutting sensitive or unintended materials. Users can create their own modes and, with the touch of a button on the tool, easily go back and forth between up to 3 saved modes (profiles) so each application is done with the most accurate and productive settings. Once the tool is set, a phone is no longer needed. Within the OneKey app, users also can track the tool with community tracking and alerts, and digitally manage it in their inventory. The PowerState Brushless Motor provides 3,000 SPM and a 1-1/4” stroke length for faster material removal, allowing this tool to make the fastest cuts in common job site materials such as wood with nails, black pipe, and conduit. RedLink Plus Intelligence ensures maximum performance under load as well as protection from overloading. The slide crank mechanism has been a key component of the Sawzall saw for decades, according to the company. And this new saw features a mechanism built with improved dust and water ingress, and overall durability.

up to twice as fast as previous model standard wood blades. The Triple-ground Japanese tooth design generates fast, clean, and precise cuts in wood. And the new Power Curve cutting edge provides greater control and easier starts while plunge cutting Tool compatibility is also a big story at Imperial Blades, whose oscillating multi-tool accessories can be used across the spectrum of tool brands. Hence the slogan: “Every tool. Every user. Every application.” Imperialblades.com

company states. The company also says that end-users can feel confident that “unplugging” with Diablo will deliver up to 65% more cuts per charge in cordless saws. Cutting efficiencies are enhanced by a Perma-SHIELD nonstick coating and the super-thin kerf, which minimizes material removal and produces a fast, clean cut. This 24-tooth framing blade is light, and also ideal for framers, roofers, remodelers, concrete formers or anyone who owns a saw that chews through nail-embedded wood. Diablo is a brand of Freud America. Diablotools.com


Durability is a big part of the story at Diablo with the introduction of its 6 ½-inch 24-tooth Tracking Point saw blade. And so is control and precision. This new blade produces accurate, smooth cuts on framing materials without bogging down cordless power tools. Designed with the professional user in mind, this next generation blade increases jobsite efficiencies with the introduction of Tracking Point, a “rudder” like tooth design that reduces vibration and tension, allowing for true, straight cuts, the


For precise cutting, Imperial Blades’ One fit Japanese tooth power curve hardwood blade is ideal for hardwood, wood, PVC and drywall. And the product is engineered to be


Spyder Products, a maker of professional-grade power tool accessories, has launched a new line of reciprocating saw blades and expanded its tool lineup in several other categories. Spyder’s new Black Series bimetal reciprocating saw blades are designed for tough cutting tasks that require an aggressive, durable and long-life blade. Constructed from an 8% cobalt blend, which adds strength and durability, the product claims to be up to three times faster and 10 times longer-lasting than standard bi-metal blades. Available in lengths of 6, 9 and 12 inches, and featuring 6 to 18 teethper-inch, Spyder’s Black Series reciprocating saw blades excel in demanding demolition projects, quickly cutting wood, nail-embedded wood, metal and other materials. Spyderproducts.com


YellaWood® brand pressure treated pine is sought after by all the best builders, especially those with leather tails, buck teeth and nature’s highest building standards. Our proven reputation for having high quality products drives demand for the Yella Tag. The five-star service and unrivaled support of the YellaWood® brand puts dealers in position to meet their customer’s specific needs. See how the YellaWood® brand delivers at YellaWood.com.


YellaWood® brand pressure treated products are treated with preservatives (the “Preservatives”) and preservative methods, and technologies of unrelated third parties. For details regarding the Preservatives, methods, and technologies used by Great Southern Wood Preserving, Incorporated, see www.yellawood.com/preservative or write us at P.O. Box 610, Abbeville, AL 36310. Ask dealer for warranty details. For warranty or for important handling and other information concerning our products including the appropriate Safety Data Sheet (SDS), please visit us at www.yellawood.com/warranties or write us at P.O. Box 610, Abbeville, AL 36310. YellaWood® and the yellow tag are federally registered trademarks of Great Southern Wood Preserving, Incorporated. All other marks are trademarks of their respective owners and are used with their permission.


How LP SmartSide pivoted to meet pro needs By Andy Carlo


he COVID-19 pandemic has posed new challenges in the siding industry that have led to the need for quick adjustments. To combat these hurdles, LP SmartSide prioritized siding professionals from the beginning, working diligently to provide solutions for supply chain issues, changing housing markets, and rising prices. “The effects of the pandemic are far from over,” says Cameron Bailey, corporate brand manager for LP Building Solutions. “But the siding markets LP serves have recovered sharply and currently show no sign of slowing.” LP’s early response to COVID-19 involved curtailing a portion of April’s production. However, the company quickly adjusted when demand rebounded through May and June. To support product requests, siding production was added back in May. As mentioned in LP Building Solutions Q2 earnings report, by June their facilities were near 100% capacity. The demand spike is largely due to markets in which construction wasn’t restricted as part of the area’s COVID-19 response. “We were able to maintain a good product flow where building was deemed essential,” Bailey notes. LP shifted its focus to its repair and remodel segment due to increased spending in that area and increased retail demand for LP SmartSide products. With repair and remodel contractors sourcing products through retailers, “a surge in demand offset a decline with distributors,” according to Bailey.


LP SmartSide siding continues to provide solutions for building professionals.

The LP SmartSide brand also repositioned itself through a strategic transformation that contributed to its growth in these areas during the pandemic. With an enhanced retail strategy, LP SmartSide products gained more shelf space and grew brand awareness. As spending at home retailers jumped, LP SmartSide siding saw sales increase in that channel. Though lumber prices continue to rise, LP SmartSide adds value to its premium product with support and installation benefits for professionals. For example, the BuildSmart Preferred Contractor Program allows builders to support their businesses with rewards, training, lead generation, and more. The new LP SmartSide ExpertFinish prefinished siding addresses labor constraints, whether due to COVID-19 or other variables. This product’s proprietary LP SmartSide


ExpertFinish Lap Joint features an alignment groove, which helps the installer visualize where to stop the lap joint and provide the necessary 3/1” gap to improve workability. To further increase job site efficiency, LP SmartSide also recently launched a portal that provides continuous training opportunities and education — the LP SkillBuilder Training Hub. This resource helps builders become installation experts, so they can capitalize on the products’ workability and boost their businesses. LP SmartSide remains committed to supporting professionals as the industry shifts due to COVID-19 and in response to inevitable changes in the future. “Housing is a bright spot in an otherwise uncertain economy,” Bailey reminds professionals. “Demand and prices are strong, and repair and remodel activity is robust.”


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SIDING PRODUCTS Here is a roundup of some of the latest products in the siding and exterior building products category:

STONEfaçade from CertainTeed is a stylish, easy-to-install stone veneer product that replicates the aesthetic of real stone with screwin-place installation (no mortar necessary). With nature-inspired colors suitable for indoor and outdoor applications, STONEfaçade features the industry’s first fullyintegrated 3/8” rainscreen for outstanding moisture management and home protection. Beveled perimeter edges give the product a more attractive appearance. Available in 8”x10”, 8”x14”, and 8”x24” panels for a wide variety of configurations. Certainteed.com

LP SmartSide ExpertFinish Trim & Siding comes in 16 prefinished colors with a new proprietary LP SmartSide ExpertFinish Lap Joint feature to make the installation process easier. Encompassing engineered wood strand technology, it is manufactured to withstand extreme temperatures, along with moisture and insects. SmartSide ExpertFinish Trim & Siding is offered in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and finishes to meet the vast array of homeowner preferences. The product is available in lap, panel, and trim, so it’s a match for the multitude of exterior design styles. Lpcorp.com

Royal Building Products has added 5” Smooth Clapboard to its lineup of Celect Cellular Composite Siding and Celect Canvas Unpainted Siding. The products feature a smooth brushed finish and the same low-maintenance benefits as traditional Celect products. The new Celect 5” Smooth Clapboard is available in 15 fade-resistant colors and features a patented interlocking seam design, which keeps moisture out and almost completely eliminates seams. The new Celect Canvas 5” Smooth Clapboard profile is an unpainted version of Royal’s industry-leading cellular composite siding. Celect Canvas features the same brushstroke finish, woodgrain aesthetics and low-maintenance benefits as traditional Celect products. RoyalBuildingProducts.com

Tando, a brand of Derby Building Products, features Beach House Shake as a long-lasting, weather-resistant alternative to cedar shingles and nearly indistinguishable from real cedar. Beach House Shake stays looking just like the day it was installed. The product is impervious to moisture, insects, rot, and decay, requires little to no maintenance while standing up to salt spray, storms, humidity, snow, and sun. The lightweight panels allow quick and easy one-person installation, using just a hammer or nail gun, allowing contractors to safely social distance. It also offers the contractor a profitable product that installs in a fraction of the time of cedar shingles. Beach House Shake is engineered and approved by Florida’s Miami-Dade County for High-Velocity Hurricane Zones. www.beachhouseshake.com





Tractor Supply gets technical The retailer continues to make digital advancements leading to larger sales. By Andy Carlo


op open the hood on the Tractor Supply Company and you’ll find a retailer that provides many of the essential goods that were deemed necessary during the COVID-19 crisis. A tour of a Tractor Supply store reveals aisles and displays containing hardware, lawn, and garden, tools, outdoor power equipment, paint, workwear, decor, pet products, toys and, of course, farm and ranch products such as feed and fencing. And don’t forget seasonal baby chicks and ducklings, along with traditional truck, trailer and tractor needs.

Technology upgrades have been high on Tractor Supply Company’s agenda in 2020.

This summer Tractor Supply debuted its first mobile app.


But Tractor Supply has evolved into much more than just a farm and ranch retailer, particularly when it comes to the technical progress the company built in 2020. In June, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based retailer launched a revamped website along with its first mobile app. The app, which helps customers shop faster, track orders, schedule deliveries, and check Neighbor’s Club rewards, is available through the Apple Store or on Google Play. Tractor Supply said that it is actively rolling out new features to the app to improve shopping convenience and accessibility. Tractor Supply followed the summer launches by reporting that second


quarter sales had jumped 35% to a record $3.18 billion compared to sales of $2.35 billion in the second quarter of 2019. Net sales for the first six months of 2020 increased 23% to $5.14 billion. Comparable store sales for the second quarter were also strong, increasing 30.5%. The company said comp-store sales were driven by comparable transaction count and comparable average ticket increases of 14.6% and 15.8%, respectively. E-commerce sales increased by triple digits during the second quarter. And while the exact digital total was not disclosed, it reflects a steady ramp up of digital services that go hand-inhand with Tractor Supply’s brick and mortar locations.


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TECHNOLOGY In September, Tractor Supply reached a milestone when it opened its 1,900th location in Oakhurst, Calif. The retailer could have as many as 80 new store openings by the end of 2020. Company locations remain an integral part of the Tractor Supply formula. With much fewer stores than the likes of The Home Depot or Lowe’s, there remains plenty of room for growth; especially in rural markets. Some of Tractor Supply’s success in 2020 can be attributed to the retailer remaining open as an essential business while government agencies halted other retail activities during the dimmest days of the COVID-19 crisis. But Tractor Supply wasn’t satisfied with merely keeping its doors open. Updating and upgrading its digital presence has been a driver. “Over the last few months, we have successfully rolled out new technology and services such as curbside pickup, same day/next day delivery and our first-ever mobile app,” CEO Hal Lawton said this summer. “We are excited to announce our Field Activity Support Team (FAST) and several new technology and service enhancements that are being implemented across the enterprise” Looking to build on its ONETractor strategy, but remain elastic with rapidly changing technology, Tractor Supply formed a new partnership with tech giant Microsoft in January. Tractor Supply Company said that it selected Microsoft as its preferred and strategic cloud provider to support technology architecture and modernization for the company’s e-commerce website and enterprise analytics platform. The agreement supports Tractor Supply’s ONETractor strategy of leveraging physical and digital assets to deliver personalized, convenient shopping experiences anytime, anywhere and in any way customers choose, the retailer said.


Expanding its partnership with Roadie and offering same-day delivery is one of the moves Tractor Supply deployed in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Tractor Supply has also selected Microsoft Azure to support the upgrade of its e-commerce platform at TractorSupply.com. The company said that the Azure cloud solution will allow it to deploy workloads at scale while remaining elastic and agile to support changing demand. At the time of the Microsoft announcement, Rob Mills, Tractor Supply’s executive vice president, chief technology, digital commerce and strategy officer, said, “We believe that this collaboration with Microsoft will help us drive innovation and stay nimble when responding to market changes and our customers’ ever-evolving needs.” Little did the company or the world know just how quickly the market would change in March with growth of the coronavirus in the United States.


Tractor Supply says its e-commerce business has seen substantial growth quarter-to-date with many customers choosing the “buy online, pickup at store” option, along with contactless curbside pickup. The company also said that it is experiencing record sales across all channels, product categories, and regions. As social distancing became a norm in the nation, Tractor Supply was one of the first retailers to emphasize curbside pickup. Then the company took the move a step further. In April, Tractor Supply expanded its same-day delivery service in partnership with Roadie, to all of its U.S. stores - more than 1,860 locations at the time. The expansion comes three years after Tractor Supply initially launched its partnership with Roadie, the delivery service with the nation’s largest local same-day footprint. Originally, Tractor Supply had plans over the coming year to continue to increase the number of stores that offered Roadie as a delivery option. But given the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the farm and ranch retailer said that its customers’ demand for delivery services became even more pronounced. Roadie and Tractor Supply worked to accelerate the ramp-up of same-day delivery in almost 80% of its stores, or an additional 1,462 locations, in less than three weeks. “At Tractor Supply, we are committed to being the most dependable supplier of basic maintenance products for farm, ranch and rural customers,” said John Ordus, executive vice president, chief stores officer at Tractor Supply. “Now, more than ever before, our customers are depending on us to get them their essential goods in a timely manner so they can continue to take care of their families, homes, land, pets and animals.” At Tractor Supply stores, the company has heavily promoted its new technical advances through in-store signage at entrances and kiosks along with


reminders of the company’s app and digital offerings at check-out counters. Since the rollouts, the company has identified another hurdle for some of its customers: the digital divide. This September the company announced that it had joined the American Connection Project Broadband Coalition (ACPBC) to bring high-speed internet infrastructure to rural areas. By joining the coalition, Tractor Supply hopes to leverage its resources to help bridge the rural digital divide. Through the Tractor Supply Company Foundation, the retailer will donate $1 for every download of its mobile app before the end of 2020, up to $1 million, to the efforts of the American Connection Project. According to Tractor Supply, the initiative is one of several the


“Now, more than ever before, our customers are depending on us to get them their essential goods in a timely manner so they can continue to take care of their families, homes, land, pets and animals.” —John Ordus, executive vice president, chief stores officer, Tractor Supply

company is pursuing in its effort to increase internet connectivity in rural communities. “As the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, Tractor Supply is committed to supporting those who live and love this lifestyle,” Lawton said. “Internet connectivity is vital to conducting business, accessing healthcare, and learning across America, yet our rural communities seldom have it.”

Tractor Supply is also launching a pilot program, which provides free Wi-Fi access from select store parking lots during operating hours. This will allow the public to have high-speed internet access, excluding streaming capabilities, from the privacy and social distance of their vehicles. Lawton noted that the nation relies heavily on these communities, “so it is imperative we all work together to ensure they have what they need to thrive.”




Regal Ideas partners with Sherwood Lumber Under a new distribution agreement, Sherwood Lumber will distribute Regal Ideas aluminum railing The two companies said they are joining forces to provide awardwinning, outdoor living products and personalized services in the decking and railing category to contractors, builders, architects, and homeowners in the Northeast. “Their go-to-market and social strategies parallel ours. We are looking forward to providing Regal products in their markets,” said Andrew Pantelides, vice president of marketing and business development for Regal Ideas Sherwood Lumber will stock Regal ideas products in their distribution centers and now be offering the complete line

Deck railing from Regal Ideas.

of innovative Regal ideas products, that include “easy to install” Regal Aluminum Railing systems in pickets or glass

panels, Crystal Rail frameless glass railing systems, LED technology, Wood railing systems and accessories. Said Todd London, SVP of marketing and sales at Sherwood Lumber: “With the addition of Regal Ideas, Sherwood can now offer a full offering of decking options and accessories. There is no doubt aluminum railing systems is an area where the industry is headed and Regal Ideas is a leader in the space.” Along with its products, Regal Ideas’ “turn-key” merchandising and marketing programs will also be available through Sherwood Lumber to dealers across the Northeast region. Sherwood Lumber is based in Melville, N.Y. with Regal Ideas headquartered in Delta, British Columbia.

Fortress Building Products debuts virtual outdoor visualizer Fortress Building Products has introduced a new virtual outdoor visualizer: FortressView. The interactive 3D platform guides users through the deck design process from start to finish, making it easy to bring dream outdoor living spaces from concept to reality. Users can preview framing, decking, lighting, stairs and railing materials in a 3D setting and customize dimensions, products and colors. An autogenerated bill of materials, cost-estimator and the ability to save multiple layout concepts bring function and efficiency to the deck design and planning process. Contractors and homeowners alike can utilize the virtual tool to streamline communication and collaboration between clients and builders. To ensure all parties are aligned on the


deck design concept prior to installation, a 3D detailed image replaces timeconsuming explanations or flat drawings; and saves valuable time when changes arise. Users can also communicate and visualize deck plan modifications by simply editing the 3D design. The exterior home design tool’s intuitive user interface goes a step beyond providing required building materials and offers a holistic view of the complete deck system. Once building materials are selected, users can preview how the deck will look in a contextual setting by selecting cladding materials, doors, windows and accessories, like furniture and landscaping. Those seeking design inspiration will find this function especially helpful when it’s time to shop for décor that complements their dream outdoor


living room aesthetic. “When it comes to deck design, a picture really is worth a thousand words,” said Toby Bostwick, vice president of product and brand at Fortress Building Products. “From the structural framing to accent lighting, homeowners and builders can virtually see the entire deck system come together in real-time, and then get a material list sent straight to their inbox. This makes the deck building experience easier, faster and more fun.” Based in Garland, Texas, Fortress Building Products produces decking, framing, fencing, railing, lighting and fastener systems.



NPD measures home improvement momentum The amount spent in the average home improvement shopping trip increased 10% during the pandemic when compared to 2019, that’s just one of the findings from a recent NPD Group study of the home improvement business, which should give retailers optimism for continued strength. The popularity of do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement projects in the U.S. during the pandemic is a trend that will continue with more than 40% of consumers indicating having postpandemic DIY home improvement plans. According to new insight on the

home improvement market from The NPD Group’s Checkout information, approximately one in ten consumers have taken on home projects they

would have hired professional services for pre-pandemic, including cleaning, landscaping, maintenance, repairs, and even remodeling. Through the pandemic, while most brick-and-mortar channels experienced declines in purchases due to COVID-19, the home hardware store channel has benefited from the consumer’s increased focus on their living spaces, and personal interest in taking on some new projects. With 11% more purchases than last year, home hardware stores were the second fastest growing channel in the first seven months of 2020. “House-bound in March, consumers noticed opportunities to make their personal spaces more livable as they not only provided shelter, but became office space and schoolrooms

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for many,” said Shay Krafft, NPD’s president of U.S. home improvement & major appliances. “Home hardware stores were able to remain open and support the needs of the consumer, both in-store and online.” This increased interest in DIY projects during the pandemic accelerated home improvement market performance in several ways. Across five key home improvement segments of lawn and garden, tools, paint, kitchen and bath, and hardware, both online and in-store purchase methods exhibited doubledigit growth in the seven months ending July 2020. Seasonally, industry sales that typically peak in June peaked a month earlier this

House-bound homeowners are making their environments more livable in a number of ways, including flooring and gardening. The numbers bode well for future demand.

year, with 48% more sales in May 2020 than in 2019. “The heightened attention paid to where we live, and spend so much of our time, has resulted in increased consumer demand for home

improvement solutions, but also an expanded customer base,” added Krafft. “The home improvement industry has an opportunity to strengthen these new consumer relationships that will support future success.”

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Kodiak Building Partners acquires Carpenter Contractors of America Kodiak Building Partners announced that it is acquiring Carpenter Contractors of America, Inc. (CCA). Based in Pompano Beach, Fla., CCA is a provider of fabricated lumber components and field installation services in the Midwest, Carolinas, and Florida. The company’s main operating locations are in Winter Haven, Fla.., Belvidere, Ill., and Fayetteville, N.C. CCA employes about 2,000 associates. Don and Ken Thiel of CCA have signed a definitive agreement that is expected to close in October, according to Kodiak. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Kodiak acknowledged that this is


the company’s largest acquisition in its nine-year history. As with most of Kodiak’s acquisitions, CCA’s existing management team will


continue to run the company, including President and Vice Chairman Ken Thiel. Founded in 1955 by Don Thiel, with his brother Robert, CCA has modest roots but has evolved to become an industry leader. Don attributes CCA’s success to its ability to hire and retain the very best employees. “Our focus on staying true to our family-business culture, even as we grew and evolved, was always key, and I am confident that Kodiak will not only respect our culture but also enhance it,” he said. “It is important to me and my family that with Kodiak’s involvement, our company will continue to grow, improve, and thrive, while caring for our


employees and valuing everything that they each bring to the table. I will be able to enjoy my upcoming retirement, knowing that CCA is in good hands.” Ken Thiel echoed his father’s sentiment, commenting that “selling a market-leading 65-year-old family business was a difficult decision but made easier knowing that we would be partnering with a company like Kodiak who understands and respects our hard-earned legacy. Our combined organizations will leverage the best of CCA’s manufacturing excellence and customer-centric operating philosophy with Kodiak’s scale and infrastructure.” Kodiak President and CEO Steve Swinney notes that the acquisition will present numerous opportunities. “While we recognize areas in which we can complement CCA, Kodiak is also looking forward to learning from them,” he said.

A team from Carpenter Contractor of America’s Florida division at a job site.

According to Swinney, “Sharing best practices among our companies only helps us achieve our goal of being better today than we were yesterday. CCA has a very innovative model of combining installation, manufacturing, and supply that sets them far apart from any competitor.” Looking ahead, Swinney said

We are a

that the efficiencies CCA presents and has developed will benefit to other Kodiak operations across the country. Kodiak Chairman Paul Hylbert said the move bolsters the company’s current significant position in Florida and grows its presence in attractive long term markets in the Carolinas and Midwest. “The considerable scope that CCA adds to the Kodiak family not only broadens our reach, but it assures the ongoing successes, expansions, and enhancements of an already admirable company,” Hylbert said. D.A.Davidson was the exclusive advisor to CCA and the Thiel Family on this transaction. Based in Highlands Ranch, Colo., Kodiak Building Partners operates 83 locations in 20 states.

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Starr’s highlights from a virtual market


ointing to the retail and distribution virtues of focus, readiness, agility — and also, humility — Do it Best Corp. President and CEO Dan Starr delivered a wide ranging address to the remote attendees of the Do it Best virtual market. The pandemic was a major talking point, as were the co-op’s efforts to keep up with soaring demand, and its record metrics — warehouse sales of $3.6 billion; net profit increase of 12.6%; and member rebates totaling $128.4 million. The president of the co-op, which concludes its fiscal year in June, had a lot to talk about in his annual President’s Address. Some of the highlights are here:

On unprecedented demand: “COVID challenges persisted throughout the fourth quarter despite our very best efforts. For virus-related products, member demand jumped 15 times normal in several categories. We sold through what would have been decades worth of volume in certain products... in under a month.” Meanwhile, major categories such as lawn & garden, outdoor living, farm and ranch and paint and paint supplies have seen growth “upwards of 50%.” On the new MOCE ecommerce platform “Ecommerce saw record-setting sales for the last quarter, equating to an increase of 142% over the prior year.

Fiscal 2020 recorded a total increase of 42% for the year. Our timing with the new platform served us all well and the growth opportunities are about to get even better.” On a new ‘Do it Center’ design “We are very close to opening up a new prototype location for a next generation of store design.” Early results are promising, he said. On resiliency “Our industry has faced challenges with supply chain, health and safety, federal and state mandates, new federal loan programs, and so much more — hitting all of us at lightning speed. And while I won’t pretend it’s



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Dan Starr, president and CEO of Do it Best Corp., shared several uplifting financial metrics during the co-op’s virtual event in September.

thriving area like Dallas-Fort Worth is a tremendous benefit to all of us.” Ramping up the acquisition efforts must respect existing stores’ territories he said. But in the end, given the competition’s efforts in this area, It’s not only the right thing to do, Starr said, it’s the necessary thing to do. been easy, it has been truly rewarding to see how resilient you’ve been throughout it all.” On joint venture with Best PALFINGER-AD.pdf 1 2020-09-25 6:52:24 Nation’s PM Investing in Nation’s Best, a growthoriented retail member, the co-op expects to drive growth through the


acquisition of strong players in the industry, Starr said. “This strategy allows us to play both offense and defense. “The idea of going out and targeting strong businesses that are currently affiliated with Ace, or Orgill, or True Value, or LMC… taking market share in a

On humility “Sometimes we get it wrong. But that hasn’t stopped each of us from standing back up, adapting and continuing on. We’ve learned to control what we can, understand what we can’t and be flexible with whatever comes next.”




Orgill zooms into high gear Demand is way up, sales are way up and aggressive steps to help meet unprecedented customer demand have receded into near normalcy, CEO Boyden Moore reported in a wide-ranging address to Orgill nation. Memphis-based Orgill has also fasttracked the roll out of a new distribution center in Rome, N.Y. That’s one of the distributor’s several responses to intense increases in demand produced during the global pandemic. Speaking to Orgill dealers via Zoom during the company’s “E-Volution Fall Online Buying Event,” last month, Moore said Orgill is preparing for continued growth as its customers benefit from unprecedented pandemicamplified share-of-wallet increases.


“Like the rest of the industry, Orgill experienced tremendous growth in demand from our customers since mid-March,” Moore said. Second quarter sales showed dramatic increases in sales over the same quarter in 2019 in each of the distributor’s business segments:

Farm: Up 40.5% Hardware: Up 30.0% Home center: Up 27.0% Pro: Up 10.8%, and accelerating since the second quarter.

In 2019, Orgill sales hit $2.52 billion, up 3.2% from the previous year — and more than doubling from 2010 sales of $1.18 billion.


A new Orgill distribution center in Rome, N.Y., is being fast-tracked to enter service sometime in mid 2021.

Calmly and matter-of-factly, Moore laid out the steps the company has taken during the pandemic to keep products flowing in the face of intense demand. And he pointed to some “difficult decisions” made in the face of the supply chain crunch. The company suspended conversion and new business opportunities as it addressed the surge. More than 200 store conversions were put on hold. In two particularly hard-hit distribution centers — Inwood, Va.;


TAKING THE PULSE OF ORGILL NATION During Moore’s virtual presentation, the CEO used a digital survey tool to gain insights from Orgill dealers on a variety of topics. Here are the results:

and Sikeston, Mo. — Orgill suspended orders from non-primary customers and instituted maximum line counts. “We knew we needed to prioritize those customers with the strongest commitments to us,” he said. Moore said he was happy to report that almost all restrictions on line counts have been removed, plus orders from secondary customers are being served as capacity has been increased in the past few weeks. Also, conversions and store support efforts have resumed in the past 30 days. Meanwhile, 600 additional distribution center employees have come online since June, and 200 more are expected. The additional manpower marks a 30% increase in total staffing at Orgill’s distribution centers. In addition to the distribution center under construction in New York, Orgill

operates seven distribution centers, six in the United States and one in London, Ontario. These facilities supply retail customers in all 50 states, all Canadian provinces and 50 additional countries. In all, there are about 10,000 stores served by Orgill. The company’s new Rome distribution center is expected to begin operating in about 10 months — a full year ahead of the original plan. Moore also said Orgill is eyeing capacity expansion in the Western U.S. “At Orgill we believe demand will remain high for home improvement longer, as more people invest in their homes, where they’re spending more time,” Moore said.


What is your current expectation for sales in 2021? Up more than 10%; 39% Up less than 10%; 40% Down less than 10%; 16% Down more than 10%; 5% When do you think the Coronavirus crisis will subside? Q4 2020; 13% Q1 2021; 23% Q2 2021; 28% After Q2 2021: 36% As we move forward from the pandemic, do you think uncertainly will: Speed up: 29% Continue about the same: 49% Slow down: 22%

A scene from the distributor’s Fall Online Buying Event.


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The 2020 Top Women in Hardware and Building Supply Awards Gala will bring the industry together virtually Nov. 3-5. Learn more at HBSDTopWomen.com.

Female CEOs: More is not enough Firsts and broken records are to be celebrated, but there’s still more road to travel. By Sarah Alter, NEW President and CEO

When I heard the news that Citigroup had become the first major financial institution in the U.S. to name a woman, Jane Fraser, as its CEO, I was thrilled. These “firsts” — the women who are first through the door of the top office in their industry — are always a cause for celebration. At NEW, our mission dictates that Advancing All Women, our mission, is just good business. The facts of this have been proven time and time again. Yet the very fact that there are still barriers to be broken — that there are still “firsts” to be had for women in the C-suite — goes to show how much work there still is to do. A record-breaking 38 When the Fortune 500 was announced earlier this year, it came with a celebrated number: 37, the most female CEOs ever on the list. In 2018, that number was just 24. Clorox, which recently named Linda Rendle as its new CEO, has brought that exciting total up to 38. That this number continues to rise is a testament to the women and men who have worked tirelessly to ensure that women share an equal opportunity to rise to the top. Yet we can’t ignore the fact that this recordbreaking number is still just 7.6%


of the companies that make up that 500. Compare that to the 49.584% of our world which is female, and the problem becomes blatantly apparent. While we’re talking about an obvious disparity, where are the women of color on this list? There were just three when the list was announced in May, a shocking 0.6% of the total CEOs on the list. There are only four Black CEOs on the list, and all four are men. The U.S. is predicted to become “minority white” by 2045, making this gap all the more stark.

so encouraging, and it is a personal point of pride to be among that group of women. I’m particularly affected when one of our partner organizations appoints a female chief executive, as our partner Clif Bar & Company did earlier this year when they brought Sally Grimes in to helm their organization. But looking at these numbers in context shows the work there is left to be done, particularly for women of color. What can you do? Start by committing yourself to surmounting this challenge, making a promise to yourself not to stop until the work is done. That alone is a very powerful thing, but that commitment must be followed by action. Support women in your workplace, and resist the urge to call “done” on decades of discrimination when a record is broken. Advocate for women of color, and ensure unconscious bias in our workplaces is challenged and demolished. Find men who can be allies to the cause. Celebrate the wins, but never willingly lean back. There is good news, however: for this fight, you’re in the best of company.

Sarah Alter, President and CEO, Network of Executive Women

Accelerating the rate of change Seeing the number of female CEOs continue to grow in this country is


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PEOPLE IN THE NEWS Costello’s Ace Hardware, the Long Island, N.Y.-based retailer and one of the largest family-owned and operated Ace Hardware chains, appointed Ken Goodgame to the position of senior VP of merchandising. Goodgame is a former Ace Hardware Corp. GMM of merchandising, and he held a similar role at True Value Corp., until 2017. At Goodgame these two co-ops, Goodgame often played a prominent roll at general session presentations, explaining the benefits of various merchandise strategies to large audiences of dealer members.



Julie Korth, the chief financial officer and an 18-year veteran of Drexel Buiding Supply, has been spotlighted by Biz Times Media of Milwaukee. The “Notable Women in Fiance” report notes that Korth held various positions at Drexel Building Supply before being named CFO five years ago. Korth currently leads a team of 15 financial professionals at the Campbellsport, Wis.-based pro dealer.

Roseburg, the forest products, lumber and building materials producer, announced that Matthew Sally has been promoted to the role of supply chain and Logistics manager for Roseburg’s eastern region. In his new role, Matt will lead the transportation and logistics team within his region, assisting in the development Sally and implementation of logistics strategies and collaborating across the organization to meet the company’s business objectives. Dena Cordova-Jack joined Kodiak Building Partners as senior director, talent management. Cordova-Jack will lead an effort to establish and implement a learning and development strategy across Kodiak’s companies and at all levels of the organization, the company said. She most recently served as EVP of the Mountain Cordova-Jack States Lumber Dealers Association and has more than 29 years of experience in the industry.



Jackson Morrill, president of the Composite Panel Association, is American Wood Council’s new president and CEO. Morrill succeeds Robert Glowinski, who is retiring at the end of the year after over 41 years with the wood products industry’s associations and the last 10 years spent as AWC’s Morrill President & CEO. Prior to CPA, he worked at the American Chemistry Council and served as an environmental law consultant at the World Bank. Rev-A-Shelf announced that is has appointed Steve Orr as its new west coast sales representative. Orr has over 13 years of sales experience with Bell Marketing in Southern California as a Rev-A-Shelf & Tresco Lighting Independent Sales Representative. While working with Bell Marketing, Orr Orr also represented various companies in the woodworking industry.

Tim Johnson will replace the retiring Duncan Facey as vice president of forest products at LBM Advantage, the LBM cooperative. Facey has been LBM Advantage’s vice president of forest products Johnson Facey since 2009 and has overseen dramatic growth in sales and efficiency, taking the forest products division from $250 million at ENAP in 2009 to over $1 billion at LBM Advantage, the cooperative said. Johnson has served as the vice president of Southeastern Operations since 2017 and is the former president of IBSA.


Sadie Hammond, representing the fourth generation of the family ownership of Belgrade, Maine-based Hammond Lumber, has been named the director of organizational development. In this role, she will focus on strategic planning, employee satisfaction, and company culture.

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Residential Construction/Sales

Monthly Retail Sales, not adjusted

13 months of housing starts and existing-home sales

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

Total starts


(in thousands, SAAR) Aug.: 1,416,000

NAICS 44413

(sales in $ billions)




(sales in $ billions)


3.09 2.80




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MAY 2019






(in thousands, SAAR) Aug.: 1,021,000 1050

HBSDealer Stock Roundup


the percent-change performance of stocks based on Sept. 24 prices

950 900

























Existing-home sales (in millions, SAAR) Aug. 6,000,000 6


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Deck and Trim


New Housing

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