Cleaning house: Cleanliness is next to profitability
Cleaning supplies are big business. And the major hardware co-ops are showing by their actions, their words and their shelf space that they mean business in the cleaning business.
Most notable among recent moves was Do it Best Corp.’s recent elevation of its cleaning supplies category by giving it a dedicated buyer for the category of cleaning supplies and storage. It’s Amanda Harmeyer’s job to manage the cleaning supplies and storage category for the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op, which until now had cleaning supplies as part of a much larger housewares group.
“This category is an important and promising area of growth for our members, which is why we’ve invested in this new position on our merchandising team,” said Steve Markley, VP merchandising for Do it Best.
True Value sees the importance of cleaning supplies to the extent that its retail laboratory store in Mount Prospect, Ill., has gone double wide — a cleaning supply expansion in aisles 27 and 28 of its store.
“Cleaning supplies are always one of the top classes every week of the year,” said True Value CEO Lyle Heidemann, explaining the co-op-owned store’s increased emphasis on cleaning supplies “And it’s very much a selection business.”
At Ace Hardware’s Chicago market, Proctor & Gamble’s Mr. Clean was on hand to help promote a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital campaign. Ace is teamed up with the makers of Comet, Joy, Tide and Swiffer, among many others to provide in-store product displays for the campaign.
D.C. Hotline: Toward a consensus-based green building standard
By Ben Gann, Director of legislative affairs, NLBMDA
The National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) has joined other leading associations representing a wide range of interests from the building and construction industry in the formation of the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition (AHPBC). The 32-member coalition, which includes groups such as the American Chemistry Council and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has the goal of promoting and supporting the development of sustainable building standards under accredited consensus processes and scientific performance data.
Formation of the coalition comes as the General Services Administration (GSA) is in the process of reviewing the use of green building standards by the federal government, while the U.S. Green Building Council continues its efforts to revise its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system.
AHPBC has said GSA should only endorse green building rating systems that are developed through an open, balanced and consensus-based approach. The current credit development process for LEED is not open, available or transparent to all interested stakeholders.
AHPBC supports the common objective of improving energy efficiency and environmental performance in buildings and will continue to engage members of Congress on the issue. NLBMDA is proud to be a member of the coalition and looks forward to working with building and construction industry stakeholders in the development and voluntary adoption of green building standards that embrace a consensus-based approach.
Armstrong sells cabinet business
Armstrong World Industries has entered into an agreement to sell its cabinets business to American Industrial Partners for $27 million, according to a company announcement. Headquartered in The Colony, Texas, Armstrong’s cabinet division has a manufacturing facility in Thompsontown, Pa., and employs approximately 750 people. Sales in 2011 were $136 million, just under 5% of the company’s total sales. The unit had a loss in 2011 and had not been profitable since 2007.
“Exiting our cabinets business supports our business strategy to focus on our core businesses — flooring and ceilings — around the world," said Armstrong CEO Matt Espe. "We are working closely with AIP to ensure a smooth transition for our employees, customers and suppliers."
American Industrial Partners was founded in 1989 and is an operationally oriented middle-market private equity firm that makes control investments in North American-based industrial businesses serving domestic and global markets. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2012.