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BlueLinx names George Judd as CEO

BY HBSDEALER Staff

BlueLinx Holdings, a distributor of building products, has announced that its board of directors has named George R. Judd as CEO, succeeding Howard S. Cohen, who has been interim CEO since March. Cohen will continue as executive chairman of the board of directors.

Judd has been president and chief operating officer of BlueLinx since 2004. He played a leading role in the company’s transition from a division of Georgia-Pacific to an independent, publicly held company. Judd joined Georgia-Pacific in 1984 and held a number of positions within the building products distribution division. He currently serves on the board of the Building Products Institute in Washington, D.C., and is past chair of the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association.

He graduated from Western Connecticut State University in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing.

“As an original member of the BlueLinx executive team, BlueLinx will benefit tremendously from his industry experience and his proven ability to lead and grow business through a combination of new initiatives, traditional philosophies regarding business and his strong compassion for people,” said Cohen.

“I am excited to lead BlueLinx and our best in industry, people, customers and vendors.” Judd said. “BlueLinx is well positioned to win in the building products industry now and in the future when the industry recovers from this unprecedented downturn.”

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Georgia nonprofit receives $10,000 grant from Ace

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Teen Challenge of Macon received a $10,000 grant as one of 10 national winners of Ace Hardware’s “New Faces for Helpful Places” campaign, according to the Macon Telegraph of Macon, Ga.

Teen Challenge is a nonprofit organization that works to help adult men who receive treatment for substance abuse and other problems.

Workers at Teen Challenge were surprised when Lou Manfredini, Ace’s Helpful Hardware Man and a syndicated radio and TV show host, presented a $10,000 check to the organization on Oct. 28.

“Helpful Places” must be locations that house a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving its community. Those selected receive not only the $10,000 grant from Ace, but Ace also provides volunteers who help with the renovations .Previous renovation projects have included paint, lighting, storage, bathroom and kitchen repairs.

About 2,600 nonprofit organizations submitted entries for the grants this year. The Oak Brook, Ill.-based co-op confirmed it is surprising the winners one at a time, a process that will be finished by early December. Teen Challenge, the only organization in Georgia to be selected, according to the article, was the third organization to be notified.

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Aboff’s Paint acquires seven stores

BY HBSDEALER Staff

When Aboff’s Paint & Wall Covering completed a deal to purchase seven Janovic paint stores from Benjamin Moore last month, the Huntington, N.Y.-based company became the largest independent dealer of Benjamin Moore paints in North America.

The acquisition represented confidence in the future at a time of near panic in the financial markets.

“It’s good to be aggressive when other people are fearful,” said Rod Aboff, third-generation owner of the company, which now has 28 locations — all on New York’s Long Island.

The multi-store acquisition helped the company solidify its position in the upscale Hamptons section of Long Island, as well as to establish the brand in the southern part of Nassau County. The new stores are in Baldwin, Bellmore, Hicksville, Valley Stream, Wantagh, Woodmere and Wainscott.

Aboff’s closed the deal Oct. 6, and all seven stores should have new awnings and signage by mid-November. The company declined to reveal the purchase price.

“We’ve had a strong presence on the North Shore but had a weakness on the South Shore,” said Aboff, whose grandfather started the business with one store in Huntington Village, N.Y., in 1929. “We still have many weak pockets — if we have 28 Benjamin Moore stores on Long Island, there are probably 50 we don’t have.”

Benjamin Moore, which had purchased the Janovic stores in 1999, said the deal follows company policy of returning small retail outlets back to independent dealers. There are 17 remaining Janovic Paint & Decorating Centers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Chip Siglain, Benjamin Moore vp-company owned stores, said Aboff’s has been a valued retail partner for decades and that the two companies have shared a good relationship. “They have a true entrepreneurial spirit and they’ve been a great partner. Now they’re our largest partner,” he said.

Aboff’s carries the full Benjamin Moore paint line, as well as Pittsburgh Paints, a variety of wall coverings and Hunter Douglas window treatments. Aboff, who runs the company with his cousin Michael Aboff, said his stores put a premium on service, greeting customers at the door with a smile.

“Our employees are paint experts,” he said. “When someone comes in, we want to make sure he leaves with everything he’ll need for a job so he only has to make one trip.”

Aboff said this acquisition will strengthen synergies with Benjamin Moore and that the two companies will be “better aligned to accomplish their goals going forward.” It will also help him compete with Sherwin-Williams, which is “very aggressively going after the paint contractor on Long Island,” as well as the big boxes, “which have a low price strategy but whose prices aren’t always better than ours.”

Aboff said his company will continue to look at acquisition opportunities, although it “will take some time to digest this.” His company’s practice has been to add a store or two at a time, with the largest previous acquisition being four stores.

“We are the exit strategy for other independent dealers looking to sell,” he said.

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