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A new day for classic American brands

Hangzhou GreatStar plans a relaunch of Goldblatt, Pony and Jorgensen.

BY Ken Clark

Hangzhou GreatStar Industrial Company plans to polish off three venerable American brands, and operate them under the direction of a fourth – Arrow Fastener Co.

Goldblatt, Pony and Jorgensen — properties of China-based Hangzhou GreatStar, one of Asia’s largest hand tool manufacturers – are being relaunched with the help of Arrow’s sales, marketing and distribution teams. Hangzhou GreatStar agreed to acquire  Saddle Brook, N.J.-based Arrow from the Masco Corporation about one year ago.

The relaunched Pony and Jorgensen adjustable clamping brands and Goldblatt tile, drywall, concrete and masonry tools will hit the North American marketplace in mid-2018.

Arrow’s strategically located New Jersey facility will become a primary distribution center for Pony, Jorgensen and Goldblatt products, in addition to Arrow’s product line, the company said.

“As a respected American tool brand, Arrow products are ‘must-have’ items for many retailers in North America and elsewhere,” said Arrow President Gary DuBoff. “Given Arrow’s sales and marketing capabilities, combined with GreatStar’s manufacturing expertise and innovation pipeline, we are well positioned to deliver high-quality, innovative products under all these iconic American brands: Arrow, Pony, Jorgensen and Goldblatt.”

Here is how GreatStar describes the reputation of Pony and Jorgensen:

“Since 1903, both the Pony and Jorgensen brands have been well known US clamp brands owned and managed by the Adjustable Clamp Company in Chicago. The products are used by a wide array of woodworkers, cabinet makers, carpenters, and serious DIY enthusiasts. Some items, such as the Jorgensen handscrews and the Pony pipe clamps are iconic hand tools with wide recognition. A standard pipe clamp, for example, is commonly referred to as a “Pony Clamp” among woodworkers and tradesmen regardless of what brand is on the product. In May, 2016, the Adjustable Clamp Company ceased operations and all business assets were acquired by GreatStar.

And here’s the company’s description of Goldblatt: “Started by Henry Goldblatt in Kansas City in 1885, Goldblatt was at one time a strong and vibrant US based hand tool brand best known for its line of US made masonry trowels and concrete floats. As America grew through the first half of the twentieth century, the company grew with it, expanding its product line to include drywall tools, tile installation tools and painting tools. A series of ownership changes beginning in the 1960s took the company away from family ownership. The business then changed hands through several private equity owners before being purchased by GreatStar in 2010.”

DuBoff added that GreatStar intends to recreate the tools as faithfully to the originals as possible, Also, GreatStar “has executed on a firm commitment to make the new tools at least as good, but preferably better, than the original U.S. made product,” he said.

Arrow is currently in the process of stocking the Saddle Brook, N.J. warehouse with Pony, Jorgensen and Goldblatt inventory to feed the growing business. The company expects the warehouse to be fully stocked and operational by July 2018.

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Readers Respond: Categories of opportunity

Poll question points to the power of building materials.

BY HBSDealer Staff

No two stores and no two companies have the same needs. But everyone can benefit from a hot-selling category.

HBSDealers poll question of the week asked: “What product category will give your business the biggest boost this year? With less than 100 votes tallied, the leading vote getter was Building materials (24 votes), followed by Lawn and garden (14 votes).

The hot-prospect category question allowed readers to write-in their own answer. Write-in categories were Farm (3 votes) and Wood flooring (1 vote).

The poll is still open in the HBSDealer poll archives.

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Rising incomes enhance housing affordability

California dominates list of least affordable housing markets.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Growth in U.S. wages helped offset an increase in mortgage interest rates, in turn providing an increase in housing affordability in the first quarter of 2018, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).

In total, 61.6% of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $71,900. This is up from the 59.6% of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the fourth quarter.

“Continued job growth, rising wages and strong consumer confidence are fueling housing demand. In turn, this should lead to more buyers entering the housing market in the coming months,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “However, builders continue to face headwinds that could impact affordability, including chronic labor and lot shortages, rising prices for building materials and excessive regulations.”

Average mortgage rates jumped by nearly 30 basis points in the first quarter to 4.34% 4.06% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

“At the national level, median family income rose an impressive 5.7% to $71,900 in 2018 from $68,000 last year, and this wage growth helped to boost housing affordability,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

According to Dietz, growth in the economy, along with tight inventories and increasing household formations, will lift housing production in the year ahead.

“But we also expect mortgage rates to continue to rise, and this will place downward pressure on affordability,” Dietz said.

Of the 237 metropolitan areas recorded in the first quarter HOI, 167 markets registered a gain in affordability from the fourth quarter of 2017, 68 posted a loss and two were unchanged.

Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., was the nation’s most affordable major housing market with 90.9% of all new and existing homes sold in the first quarter being affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $60,100. The Cumberland, Md.-W.W. market, was rated the nation’s most affordable smaller market, with 98.5% of homes sold in the first quarter being affordable to families earning the median income of $55,500.

Rounding out the top five affordable major housing markets in respective order were Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind.; Scranton-Wilkes Barre-Hazleton, Pa.; Toledo, Ohio; and Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.

Smaller markets joining Cumberland at the top of the list included Springfield, Ohio; Elmira, N.Y.; Wheeling, W.Va.-Ohio; and Fairbanks, Alaska, which also posted a fifth-place tie with Binghamton, N.Y.

San Francisco, for the second straight quarter, was the nation’s least affordable major market with just 9.2% of the homes sold in the first quarter of 2018 being affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $119,600.

Other major metros at the bottom of the affordability chart were all located in California, including Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale; Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara; and San Diego-Carlsbad.

All five least affordable small housing markets were also in the Golden State. At the very bottom of the affordability chart was Salinas, where 10.7% of all new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $69,100.

In descending order, other small markets at the lowest end of the affordability scale included Santa Cruz-Watsonville; San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande; Napa; and San Rafael.

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