The candidates: housing industry takes spotlight
The unprecedented shake-up on Wall Street has put an even brighter spotlight on the housing market, mortgage foreclosures and the entire home channel. As the November election draws closer, how the respective presidential candidates would handle the current housing and economic issues has become a major question.
The Treasury Department’s $700 billion bailout plan received mixed reviews from the two presidential candidates. The plan drew particular attention from Sen. John McCain, as he voted to suspend his campaign and push back the first presidential debate to focus completely on the deal in Washington, asking opponent Sen. Barack Obama to join him. Obama responded by promoting the importance of multi-tasking, and said the economic problems facing the country make the debate even more important to go ahead as scheduled.
(At the last minute, McCain agreed to participate in the first presidential debate as scheduled.)
As for the issues, Obama and McCain have not been terribly far apart in their respective opinions of the Paulson plan. The candidates, keenly aware of the unpopularity of the bailout with voters, skirted around some issues and emphasized oversight and protections for taxpayers in their comments on the issue. (See table below.)
The candidate’s positions regarding the latest credit crisis are just one area of comparison as the election reaches the critical final stretch. There’s the related issue of mortgage foreclosures, and the always critical stance on small business.
And once the smoke clears from the current economic firestorm, there will be other important issues to deal with—in the home channel, “green” building reforms will be especially notable. Many cities are enacting new green building codes, and how the federal government responds with its own regulations bears watching. This issue is also particularly important to the home channel, as both campaigns have tied their stances on green building and other green reforms into job creation. And in an industry that is seeing a wide swath of cutbacks, mill closures and consolidations of all kinds, job creation is paramount.
We’ve taken a snapshot of some of the candidates’ opinions and plans on those issues that dramatically affect the home improvement industry.
Arthur Blank named chairman of Golf & Tennis Pro Shop
Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank has been named chairman of the board for Golf & Tennis Pro Shop, owner and operator of PGA Tour Superstores. The move also marked Blank’s debut on the company’s board of directors.
Blank replaces Golf & Tennis Pro Shop founder Bill Hamlin, who is retiring, according to a statement from the company.
Blank is described as having been a “significant investor” in the company since 2006. He also serves as CEO of the Atlanta Falcons.
“I am honored to be leading the board of this exciting retail concept,” Blank said in a statement. “PGA Tour Superstore has real potential to further solidify its leadership position in the golf and tennis retail segments, by continuing to enhance its business model and through future store growth. I, along with our other board members, look forward to guiding the company in both these areas.”
The company was founded in 2004 and has since grown to 10 superstores nationwide.
Vermilion Hardware to close after almost 150 years
After nearly 150 years — 62 in the same family — Vermilion Hardware in Vermilion, Ohio, will be closing its doors before the end of the year, according to the Chronicle-Telegram newspaper.
The store, purchased by Henry and Edna Bailey in 1946, is now being run by their granddaughter, president Denise Fahrney, 34, as well as Fahrney’s father and sister. It is the oldest business in Vermilion.
Andy Grote, one of 10 store employees, said the store will probably close by mid-November.