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September 28, 2011

Orme Hardware owner Richard McCoy describes his company’s claim to fame with a simple description: “We still run an old-time hardware store.” 


Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. Certainly, the Do it Best Corp. member with business roots that reach back to 1869 has an old-school flavor — one of the locations still operates with rolling ladders and wooden drawers, but McCoy is not only a recognized “Extreme Retailer,” he’s an innovator and a growth-oriented operator even in today’s contracting times.


September 28, 2011

While no product category is absolutely recession-proof, there are a few in the home channel that come close. Paint will always sell, and weather permitting, lawn and garden is a safe bet.

Add pet products to the list.

September 28, 2011

Housing prices will remain depressed for the next several years and may get even worse, according to a just-released survey of economists, analysts, investors and housing experts. The survey was conducted by MacroMarkets, a firm founded by Yale University professor Robert Shiller. 


September 28, 2011

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, during a hearing held earlier this year, told Congress: “We’re not Sherwin-Williams paint. We don’t cover the earth equally.”


The exchange confirmed HCN’s position that slogans matter — a case we made in this space back in 2009. Among the notable slogans highlighted here were those of Sherwin-Williams (Cover the Earth), McCoy’s Building Supply (Go Build Something) and Lowe’s (Let’s Build Something Together).


September 28, 2011

Some of the best leaders in retail have been hammering at customer service initiatives throughout the home channel for years on end. So how are they doing? According to research from San Francisco-based MarketTools Inc., pretty good, but not great.


Of 1,000 consumers asked to think back to their last time they shopped at a home improvement store and describe service on a scale of 1 to 9, the average mark was 6.5. The study, conducted in July using a nationally representative sample of consumers, also found 75.3% believe service has neither improved nor declined.


September 28, 2011

With locations in Baton Rouge and Denham Springs, La., Do it Best Corp. member Holmes Building Materials operates two home centers, both with about 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space, supplemented by full lumberyards out back and powered by a 22-truck fleet. One location is heavily commercial, the other is heavily retail-oriented, and both operate a store-within-a-store Holmes Windows Doors & More.


September 28, 2011

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest differences. Then again, sometimes it’s the big things.


The Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Do it Best Corp., fresh from its October Market in Indianapolis, is advancing a slate of initiatives both large and small. Projects range from reprinting its field staff’s business cards to building what it calls a digital World Class Commerce Center. And as CEO Bob Taylor sees it, they are all in service of one overarching goal: serving the members. 


Let’s start with the big plans first. 


September 28, 2011

Orchard Supply Hardware has gone through a lot of changes in its 80-year history, but the California chain — now numbering 89 units with $660.7 million in annual sales — has weathered them all. Changes in ownership, leadership, store design, color scheme and signage have come and gone. But the stores’ customers — known for their exceptional loyalty — have generally stuck with the chain. 


September 28, 2011

The 2011 ProDealer Industry Summit is responding to the building downturn with a healthy lineup of business-building educational sessions.


This year’s event, sponsored jointly by the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association and Home Channel News, will take place Oct. 26 to 28 at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio. 


“This industry is ready to break out of the doldrums,” said Jim Reynolds, PDIS managing director. “The best minds in the industry will gather again this year in San Antonio to share their ideas.”


September 28, 2011

Top 100 Distributors list


September 28, 2011
September 28, 2011
August 31, 2011

Across the country, and across a broad spectrum of industries, advertisements sporting mobile bar codes are becoming an increasingly familiar sight. QR codes — quick response codes — are the most common of a few types of bar codes that consumers can scan using a pre-downloaded smartphone app. The bar codes may appear on anything from posters to packaging to catalogs and, when scanned, lead consumers to a specific set of information, often through a mobile website.

August 31, 2011

The damage done by the mountain pine beetle to the forests in British Columbia has received much attention, given the billions of dollars already lost to this pernicious pest. But Dendroctonus ponderosae knows no borders, and now the western United States is grappling with the same epidemic. The pine beetle has spread to Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Colorado. 


August 31, 2011

Under the umbrella of True Value, a handful of the co-op’s brands represent niche businesses beyond the nuts-and-bolts of DIY hardware retailing. In the rental business, they are Grand Rental Station, Taylor Rental and Just Ask Rental. Commercial businesses are more familiar with Induserve Supply. Party Central and Home & Garden Showplace round out the specialty brands. 


August 31, 2011

Ben Gann took over his role as the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) director of legislative affairs and grassroots activities last month. Here’s his first HCN Q&A:

HCN: What are the key issues you’re pushing right now?

August 31, 2011

True Value CEO Lyle Heidemann offered some friendly advice to a reporter recently. “Bring your camera to Philadelphia this year,” he said. 


Philadelphia is the site of the Chicago-based co-op’s Fall Market, Sept. 23 to 25. Here, True Value will be displaying its Destination True Value store design and format for smaller stores. In the Philadelphia and nearby East Coast markets, the co-op is expecting strong attendance from dealers with smaller-than-average footprints. 


August 31, 2011

The phaseout of the standard, energy-inefficient incandescent light bulb has caused confusion, controversy and more than a few myths as the 2012 deadline approaches. Thomas Edison’s descendents have even been dragged into the controversy. Separating fact from fallacy is not all that difficult (as long as you steer away from politics). After interviewing manufacturers, retailers and trade organizations involved in the world of light bulb commerce, Home Channel News has put together a list of misconceptions about the upcoming phaseout. 


August 31, 2011

On the eve of the company’s second-quarter earnings announcement, Lowe’s closed seven underperforming stores. 


Shuttered are locations in Meriden, Conn.; Riverdale, Ga.; Elgin and Schaumburg, Ill.; Kenai, Alaska.; Cambridge, Minn.; and Ticonderoga N.Y.


Obviously, the move upset the affected communities. For instance, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski complained of the lack of notice. But CEO Robert Niblock is paid to make tough decisions, which is how he described the seven closings.