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Aubuchon Hardware patriarch passes

BY HBSDEALER Staff

William Aubuchon Jr., who grew a family business into a chain of 136 hardware stores, has died. He was 91 years old.

Aubuchon joined W.E. Aubuchon, his father’s hardware store business, in 1938. Founded in Fitchburg, Mass., in 1908, the company operated 33 hardware stores at the time. Aubuchon expanded the chain to 136 locations and oversaw its entry into Maine, New York and Connecticut. He served as president from 1950 until 1993.

AFrench Canadian by heritage, Aubuchon was active in Franco-American cultural affairs. He was also a good bridge player. Aubuchon is survived by his wife of 63 years, Camille, two sons and three daughters.

The 140-unit chain is now led by CEO William “Bill” Aubuchon III and president M. Marcus Moran Jr., both grandsons of the company founder.

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BlueLinx announces consolidation

BY HBSDEALER Staff

BlueLinx Holdings, a nationwide distributor of building materials, has announced plans to eliminate underperforming skus from its assortment as part of a cost-cutting effort. The company plans to “aggressively sell through its inventory in these skus” commencing in the fourth quarter, according to a prepared statement.

No details were given on which skus have been targeted, or how many are involved. BlueLinx will also consolidate its Atlanta headquarters and sales center into one building, thereby saving a projected $1 million to $1.5 million in operating expenses in 2008. Both buildings are leased facilities, and declines in headcount have produced excess capacity. According to the statement, both moves were prompted by the nprolonged downturn in the housing market.i

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Management changes at Newell Rubbermaid

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Storage and housewares manufacturer Newell Rubbermaid has announced key senior management changes with the goal of “speeding the company’s transformation into a marketer of consumer-driven brands.”

James Roberts has been appointed executive group president-office products and cleaning, organization and decor. Roberts has been responsible for Newell Rubbermaid’s tools and hardware and cleaning; and organization and decor segments since 2003. He will retain responsibility for cleaning, organization and decor, while assuming the additional responsibility for office products.

William Burke III will succeed Roberts as group president-tools and hardware. He also will retain responsibility for the company’s Lenox Industrial Products and Services business in North America until a successor is named at a later date.

Steven Marton has been named president-special assignments, after heading up the company’s office products segment since 2004.

The management changes are in addition to the recently announced appointment of Jay Gould as group president-home and family. All four executives will report directly to Newell Rubbermaid president and CEO Mark Ketchum.

“These business segment leaders have proven their ability to grow revenue and profit in challenging categories, while building brands, partnering with customers and suppliers and building organizational capability,” Ketchum said.

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