EVENTS

Builders FirstSource: 2015 ‘Pro Dealer of the Year’

BY HBSDealer Staff

New York — Hardware + Building Supply Dealer, the building products and home improvement retailing magazine of Lebhar-Friedman Inc., selected Dallas-based Builders FirstSource as the 2015 Pro Dealer of the Year.

The annual award, selected by editors of Hardware + Building Supply Dealer, with the input of key suppliers and industry stakeholders, is designed to recognize a high-performance company with a commitment to maintaining the best practices and best values of the lumber and building material industry.

 Builders FirstSource ended 2014 with sales increasing to $1.6 billion, as its bottom line made a dramatic swing to a profit. Even more dramatic was the company’s 2015 acquisition of ProBuild Holdings — a deal which created the nation’s largest LBM dealer.

The company will accept the award Oct. 28, on opening night of the three-day ProDealer Industry Summit at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Summit is co-hosted by HBSDealer and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association.

“It’s certainly an honor to be selected for this award, and it’s an honor that belongs to the many, many associates who serve our customers every day,” said Chad Crow, president and CFO of Builders FirstSource. “Through the determination and commitment of our associates, we were able to successfully navigate through the recent housing downturn and emerge on the other side a stronger company. This award is for all of them. We also could not be more excited to welcome all the ProBuild associates to the BFS family and are extremely excited about the future of our combined company.”

The Pro Dealer of the Year Award in recent years has been given to Meek’s Lumber (2014), US LBM (2013) and BMC (2012). The award dates back to 1997.

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EVENTS

Follow her on Twitter, improve your business

BY HBSDealer Staff

Everybody uses social media. But how do you use it to really help your business?

That’s the question that Crystal Washington is prepared to answer during the Oct. 28-30 ProDealer Industry Summit.

Crystal Washington, a social media marketing strategist, will take attendees on a deep dive into the realms of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Her presentation is titled: “Why Social Media? Learn How to Use Social Media to Differentiate Your Business from Competitors.”

Washington has provided social media insights to Google, Microsoft, GE and others in the United States, Africa and Europe. And for knowledge on social media, she has been interviewed by ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS and numerous radio stations and magazines around the globe.

Washington is the owner of CWM Enterprises, a social media instructional brand aimed at training everyone from Gen Y's to Baby Boomers in strategically using social media.

Coming to the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Oct. 28-30, the ProDealer Industry Summit is an exclusive three-day educational and networking forum designed to promote the growth of LBM dealers, distributors, wholesalers and the manufacturers that supply them. LBM dealers will benefit from sharing insights and best practices from leaders in the industry, in a relaxed format that encourages networking and personal interaction.

The ProDealer Industry Summit is presented by the NLBMDA (National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association) and by Hardware + Building Supply Dealer (HBSDealer).

For more information, visit prodealer.com.

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How’s Handy doing? Here’s how

BY Ken Clark

San Antonio — During a state-of-the-distributor presentation here at the Handy fall market, president Craig Cowart repeated a question that he hears a lot in his role as head of the former co-op: “How’s Handy doing?”

He answered with conviction: “I can promise you, we’re putting together a business that allows us not only to do the job you’re used to us doing in the past, but a better job going forward,” he said.

After a turbulent four years that included bankruptcy, new leadership and new ownership, Handy Hardware points to new capabilities as part of Cranbury, New Jersey-based Hardware Holdings LLC.

“We are not trying to recreate the old business that we had,” Cowart said. “We are taking a foundation and all things that were good from it — it's people, it's process, it's location, relationships with manufactures, and we are focused on delivering simplicity and facilitating success.”

[Click here to see the HBSDealer Slide Show from the Handy market.]

In the past three years, Hardware Holdings has brought together five businesses, including most recently, Moody, Alabama-based Jones Stephens. After a period of operating independently, the divisions are now working closely together. And Handy — also described as the “Local Market Division” for Hardware Holdings — is part of a group that serves more than 5,000 customers across the country through five distribution centers.

“We are now capable of meeting the needs of a broader range of customers both regionally and nationally,” said Cowart.

Part of that strength is in the brands and “blended planograms.” In the area of security, the blended mix includes Guard padlocks, WordLock locks and Master commercial locks.

With Hardware Holdings, Handy has access to 25 “owned brands,” including KC Professional Tools, Ultra Hardware, Aqua Plumb and Guard Security.

Handy’s Fall Market in San Antonio attracted more than 500 manufacturers and close to 1,000 attendees, according to the company. Attendance showed a double-digit percentage increase.

Hardware Holdings CEO Don Devine was in attendance. “At this market, it was important that we showcase Handy’s new capabilities and inspire confidence in Handy’s traditional dealer network, as well as the many new customers participating in a Handy Market for the first time,” Devine said, in a statement. “We want all dealers in the Southwest to know that Handy is now part of a national, growing and stable company with greater resources dedicated to facilitating their success.”

Handy Hardware emerged from a Chapter 11 filing in August 2013 after being purchased by Hardware Holdings, part of the Littlejohn & Company group. The company’s structure changed from a member-owned co-op to an independent wholesaler and distributor. As a result of the bankruptcy proceedings, retailers who were members of the co-op lost their equity.

At the recent market in San Antonio, a closed-loop video thanked retailers for their loyalty through the tough years, as it promoted the new Handy.

Dealers seemed to embrace the message.

Sean Stevens at Tulsa, Oklahoma-based M& M Lumber told HBSDealer: “I’m optimistic about it. “Since they've been recapitalized, they have some money behind them and new faces and some energy going for them.”

“I think they're on the right track,” said Ike Epstein, owner at Dr. Ike’s of South Texas. “Under the new setup they have, they'll be able to increase their buying power, make it more efficient. And consequently have better prices.

“Unfortunately, Handy was a co-op and people were members before. Now they're customers. But I think a customer-based operation will be more flexible.

He added: “They have the umbrella Hardware Holdings up in New Jersey, Jones Stephens in Alabama, a new DC in the Los Angeles area. There’s only one way they can go, and that’s up.”

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