84 Lumber builds (and bids) American

Las Vegas — In the not-too-distant future, 84 Lumber sees itself giving its potential customers two bids — one regular bid, and one bid consisting exclusively of American-made products.

When it happens, builders may be surprised at the similarity in total costs, according to Jeff Nobers, VP marketing for the Eighty Four, Pa.-based pro dealer.

The all-American bid system is one of the ideas stemming from 84 Lumber's new initiative to encourage builders and consumers to buy American when building — called "We Build American."

A group of 84 Lumber executives were joined at the International Builders' Show by Marnie Oursler, president of Marnie Homes of Bethany Beach, Del., who founded We Build American and recruited 84 Lumber to join her efforts to promote the concept.

"If we get other builders on board, we can make a difference," said Oursler, referring to the creation of more jobs in the United States.

The We Build American website already lists approximately 180 companies that sell American-made building materials and products.

"We know there are [more] vendors out there we may not be aware of," said Nobers. Builders who are willing to construct homes with at least 95% U.S.-made materials are also encouraged to sign up.

Additionally, 84 Lumber is planning a prototype store that will showcase U.S.-made building products. Chief operating officer Frank Cicero toldHCNthat the LBM chain is looking at a location in an area where the company has a high concentration of stores, such as Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; or Virginia.

Nobers stressed that 84 Lumber was taking a "big tent" view of the We Build American initiative. "This just can't be an 84 Lumber thing," he said. "We think everyone should take a look at this."

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