LUMBERYARDS

Chemcraft partners with Rugby Architectural Building Products

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Chemcraft, a brand of AkzoNobel, has announced a distribution agreement with Rugby Architectural Building Products throughout its network of North American distributors. Chemcraft develops and manufactures innovative wood coatings with a focus on sustainability.

Rugby Architectural Building Products is based in Concord, N.H., and has 13 distribution centers that cover 25 states. They currently distribute a full line of interior architectural building materials that serve a variety of manufacturing segments, including cabinet, casework, commercial millwork and store fixture manufacturers, countertop fabricators, office, residential and contract furniture manufacturers, and other specialty industries.

“Over a year ago, we identified Industrial Wood Coatings as a key product category for growth,” said Drew Dickson, Rugby’s chief operating officer. “It was essential to partner with one of the top brands. AkzoNobel’s Chemcraft brand delivers exactly that with products, technology and support that is second to none in the industry. A perfect fit for us in the Atlanta market.”

Dickinson added, “We are expecting Chemcraft to help complete the already broad product offering that is available from our Atlanta Distribution Center. With the addition of Chemcraft, we can truly supply the cabinet manufacturers with all of their needs from start to finish. We are very pleased to be part of the Chemcraft distribution team.”

Starting Feb. 20, 2012, Rugby will begin to distribute the AkzoNobel Chemcraft brand line of products from its Atlanta distribution center. 

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BFS executive departs

BY Brae Canlen

Brad Leist, the VP, controller and principal accounting officer at Builders FirstSource, has resigned his position to pursue other opportunities, according to a Feb. 28 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Until the company fills that position, Chad Crow, senior VP and CFO at Builders FirstSource, will serve as the acting principal accounting officer.

The SEC filing also noted that Ramsey Frank will leave the company’s board of directors in connection with his resignation as a managing director of JLL Partners. Frank was a member of the board’s compensation committee. Brett Milgrim, who has served on the board since 1999, will now serve on the compensation committee. 

The board appointed Daniel Agroskin to serve as a director to fill the board vacancy on Feb. 28, 2012. At that time, the board also appointed Agroskin as a managing director of JLL Partners, which he joined in August 2005. Prior to joining JLL, Agroskin worked at JP Morgan Partners, a private equity investment firm, and in Merrill Lynch’s mergers and acquisitions group. Agroskin is also a director on the boards of PGT and Patheon. He was previously a director on the board of PharmaNet Development Group until July 2011.

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Dealers keep on truckin

BY Brae Canlen

LBM dealers trying to deliver building materials into New York are wondering if they haven’t become a new source of state revenue, given the stepped-up enforcement of linkage laws by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Although the issue is being addressed in the New York State legislature by a bill brought forth by the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association (NRLA), lumberyard delivery drivers are playing cat and mouse with state troopers while their bosses are fighting $1,000 citations in court.

Each state has its own limits on weight and length for commercial trucks. Most fall between 40 ft. and 60 ft. New York is at the low end — 40 ft. — the typical length of a lumberyard delivery truck. The problem comes when you mount a forklift or an articulated crane or another piece of equipment on the back to unload inventory. That adds a few feet to the trucks length or “linkage.” Which is OK in Connecticut and Vermont, where the limit is 46 ft. But once these drivers cross into New York, they’re often likely to meet up with a state trooper and maybe a portable scale in order to undergo an inspection and receive a citation. LBM dealers have told Jeff Keller, manager of legislative and regulatory affairs for the NRLA, that a certain highway patrolman waits at the border between New York and Connecticut waiting for violators.

“They know the guy,” Keller said.

The NRLA is trying to address the matter with a bill in the New York State legislature, but these legislative fixes take time. (More on that later.) Meanwhile, pro dealers are coping in a variety of ways: fighting the citations in court, modifying their equipment or finding “alternative” routes to avoid being pulled over.

Jay Balkan, one of the owners of U.S. Lumber in Lynbrook, N.Y., is fighting a $1,000 “overlinkage” citation right now, with the help of a lawyer. His drivers have been cited “three or four times,” he said, and each time the fine goes up. Balkan’s trucks are hitting against an even more restrictive regulation enacted in New York City: Commercial trucks, including any piggybacked equipment, cannot exceed 35 ft. in length.

“As soon as you cross the border from Long Island to Queens, the DOT stops you and inspects your truck,” Balkan said. Measuring the length is only the beginning, he said. “They go through everything. I keep my trucks [well maintained], but no matter what, I come back with 10 or 15 tickets.”

Has Balkan thought about cutting back his deliveries to New York City? He laughs at the very idea.

“We’re finding new routes,” he said.

On the state level, LBM dealers find it particularly irksome that a law passed in 2003 to aid tourism allows recreational vehicles (RVs) up to 45 ft. to travel the highways of New York. They point out that their drivers are trained, licensed and drug tested — yet they are restricted to 40-ft. vehicles.

Legislative bill 4505, which would amend the vehicle and traffic law in New York to allow 45-ft. commercial vehicles, passed the state senate on Jan. 23, 2012, after failing to muster enough support last year. It has been introduced into the state assembly, where members of the transportation committee are working on its final version. The N.Y. Department of Transportation, which did not respond to a request for comment from Home Channel News, is working with the NRLA and members of the legislature to hammer out acceptable wording, according to the NRLA’s Keller.

“We’re open to any suggestions or solution that other states are using,” Keller said. “These trucks are vital to our members.”

Even if bill 4505 does pass, it won’t help dealers driving into New York City, which can set its own commercial vehicle lengths. Many lumberyard owners have just thrown in the towel and ordered special equipment to satisfy local or state regulations. Dana Schnipper, owner of JC Ryan EBCO/H&G, a distributor of doors and windows in Farmingdale, N.Y., has a made-to-order boom truck that can carry equipment and still fit within New York State’s 40-ft. limit.

Schnipper, who chairs the NRLA’s New York legislative committee, can’t explain the uptick in citations. But he’s been hearing a lot of complaints lately from dealers in Connecticut and Massachusetts who get cited when they cross the New York line.

“I think the law has been randomly applied over the last 15 years,” Schnipper said. 

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