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California fines Ace $850,000 over air quality violations

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware has been fined $850,000 by the Air Resources Board (ARB) of California for selling windshield washer fluid that failed to meet California air emissions requirements.

This represents California’s largest-ever consumer products settlement, ARB spokeswoman Karen Caesar said.

From 2003 to 2007, Ace sold nearly 25,000 one-gallon containers of washer fluid with higher volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in areas where it was not allowed, resulting in more than 20 tons of excess emissions, the ARB confirmed.

The windshield fluid was specially formulated with higher pollutants to prevent from freezing in the state’s colder, mountainous areas.

“Windshield washer fluid is the only consumer product in California that has two permissible VOC limits, depending on the location,” Caesar said. “In the colder areas, they need (the higher VOC content) to keep from freezing.”

VOCs react with other pollutants and sunlight in the atmosphere to form ground-level ozone and particulate matter — the main ingredients in smog. Both pollutants can aggravate asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.

“We have a very active enforcement division and a fairly aggressive consumer products division,” Caesar said.

Ace was cited for similar violations in California in 2005, resulting in a $40,000 fine, the ARB said.

Ace issued a statement, saying, “Ace Hardware has long had in place a restriction in its computerized ordering system that is designed to prevent Ace retailers in certain California counties from purchasing windshield wiper fluid that contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in excess of California-mandated VOC thresholds for those counties. Unfortunately, an error in this system enabled a relatively small number of Ace retailers in these California counties to inadvertently purchase these products from Ace.”

Ace spokesman Christopher Boniface told HCN: “As soon as Ace was made aware of the situation, we promptly began to work with all affected Ace retailers in certain California counties to pull these products from the store shelves.”

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FBMA elects new officers

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Florida Building Material Association (FBMA) has elected Brad Wanzenberg of Deerfield Builders Supply as its new chairman. Wanzenberg, whose term started on Jan. 1, is executive vp of the Tampa Bay chain, which operates locations in Deerfield Beach, Clearwater, Fort Meyers and Sarasota.

Other FBMA board of directors elected for 2009 include: Dennis Vlassis, Gulf Stream Builders Supply, as treasurer and the chairman-elect; Wade Jefferson, Beaver Door & Trim, as first vice chairman; Bridget Pulsifer, Mills & Nebraska, as secretary; and Don Magruder, Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply Company, as national dealer director and immediate past chairman.

Founded in 1920, FBMA represents building material dealers and suppliers throughout the state of Florida.

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Do it Best launches credit card program

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Do it Best Corp. has partnered with Shoppers Charge Accounts Co. (SCA) to develop and administer a new private label credit card program for its dealer-members throughout the United States, SCA announced.

The new Do it Best credit card will provide such special features as 90-day and six-month “same-as-cash” extended payment terms.

“Through our partnership with Shopper’s Charge Accounts Co. we’ve had many members show interest in this program as a way to help them get away from house accounts, plus offer their customers new purchasing options such as 90 days, 6 months or 12 months same as cash,” said Chris Hill, interim retail programs coordinator for Do it Best.

Headquartered in Mahwah, N.J., Shoppers Charge Accounts Co. ranks among the nation’s largest private label credit card companies. A division of TD Banknorth, N.A., the company launches and administers new credit card portfolios for brick-and-mortar, Internet and catalog merchants, and acquires retailers’ existing credit card portfolios.

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