Top 100 Distributors list

“Your decision to not include Boise Cascade’s Building Materials operations on your list of top wholesale operations is inconsistent and misleading to a wide variety of audiences. Your reasoning for our deletion was apparently based on the fact that Boise Cascade is both a wholesaler of a broad line of building materials and a manufacturer of wood products. Clearly we do not understand this reasoning after having been on the list for decades. In addition, this reasoning seems to be inconsistently applied, given that other distributors on the list fit a similar profile.

“While the exclusion will in no way hinder our goal of providing our customers with the broadest product line available and the best service possible, we clearly want our customers and vendor partners to understand that your exclusion in no way diminishes our capacity and commitment to them. We are, and will continue to be, a dynamic and growing part of our great industry.”

— Nick Stokes

Senior VP

Boise Building Materials Distribution

HCN responds:

After further review, Boise Building Materials, as well as competitors, including Weyerhaeuser’s distribution arm, have been returned to the digital version of the list, available at 

In our effort to simplify our definition of two-step distributor, the original list published in our August issue removed certain companies that can be described as manufactures. However, several of these companies are too important to the distribution channel to ignore. HCN regrets the confusion.

Fix housing first? 

Readers responded to the administration and Congress’s efforts to fix the economy.

“Washington, D.C., has the cart before the horse. There has to be demand for products before businesses can hire people. Housing is the best category to jump-start more businesses throughout the United States. Housing drives our economy in so many ways. However, if housing affordability is not in line with consumer income, savings and trust in the future, there will be no job creation on a scale that will bring us back to prosperity, let alone out of recessionary thinking.

“It is increasingly apparent that the President and Congress (as well as the banking system) have little clue regarding the day-to-day running of a business. It also seems lacking in the knowledge of U.S. citizens’ needs. We are ‘voters’ to the politicians running our government, instead of ‘their employers.’ ”

— Jim Schweiger

“I don’t feel [the jobs plan] will do any real good because it focuses on a microcosm of the overall economy. This small group that will benefit coincidently has a major union presence (Operating Engineers Union). The housing construction industry does not have this presence. Also, the housing industry consists of many small ‘mom-and-pop’ companies. It’s not like the Roosevelt New Deal era when such infrastructure projects were largely manual labor, and thus created tens of thousands of jobs. With our current technologies, they will only employ a couple of thousand — not nearly enough to make a dent in the problem.”

— Kent Pearson

“Housing will lead us out of this mess, if we support it.”

— George Pattee

CEO, Parksite

“In general, I agree with the President very little; on his jobs plan I agree with him even less. However, from what I read, on the basis of demographics, housing isn’t coming back any time soon, if ever. To sit back and wait for or expect the government to take some kind of action that will somehow trigger another building boom is in some ways a definition of madness. The world economy — let alone the U.S. economy — is in a deep transitional phase, and, just like 1980, what comes out on the other side will look nothing like the economy of the past 30 years.”

— Chris Clements

Portland, Ore.

The Solyndra failure

“Not every business plan is well thought-out. Just because you have a new Solar Photovoltaic technology (as was the case with Solyndra), there is no assurance that the initial increased costs per watt to consumers will be accepted.

“Solyndra’s business plan was predicated on economies of scale bringing costs into line with existing technologies. In an industry changing as quickly as renewable energy is today, last year’s plan is obsolete before introduction. Perhaps smaller production facilities and a gradual start would have been the answer, rather than a huge production facility that made a great backdrop for a sound bite.”

— Bob Whelan

Washington Supply Co.

Washington Depot, Conn.

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