LUMBERYARDS

In Dayton, Requarth Lumber merges with Supply One Cabinets

BY Ken Clark

The historic Requarth Lumber, a 151-year-old Dayton, Ohio, lumberyard that once sold lumber to Orville and Wilbur Wright, will merge with Supply One Cabinets and Design, according to a report in the Dayton Daily News.

The move is designed to generate business growth in a declining market. Alan Pippenger, president of Requarth, will remain president of the merged company as Supply One brings in a showroom to the lumberyard’s Dayton location on Monument Avenue.

The new showroom is expected to open in January, according to the news report.

Requarth was featured in the January 2010 issue of Home Channel News in a series of articles about business sustainability. In a prescient statement, Pippenger described adaptability as a key to long-term survival. "We aren’t the same company that we were 150, 100 or even 50 years ago," he told Home Channel News. "You have to be willing to give up on what’s not working anymore."

Pippenger told the newspaper that he was optimistic that the worst of the downturn is over.

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TW Perry named HCN Pro Dealer of the Year

BY HBSDealer Staff

Gaithersburg, Md.-based TW Perry, a pro dealer celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2011, was selected as the Home Channel News Pro Dealer of the Year.

The company will be recognized during a special awards dinner during the 2011 ProDealer Industry Summit held in San Antonio Oct. 26 to 28.  The summit is hosted jointly by the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) and Home Channel News.

"TW Perry represents a new breed of lumberyard company — smart, entrepreneurial and able to make big decisions quickly," said Ken Clark, editor of Home Channel News. "The company has shown both success and leadership and is a deserving recipient of the Pro Dealer of the Year award."

TW Perry is ranked 33rd on the Home Channel News Pro Dealer Scoreboard, with 2010 sales of $107.7 million. The six-unit dealer had double-digit sales gains in 2010, and is expecting significant growth in 2011, as well. The company is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2011. 

In addition to core building materials and services, the company has continually pursued innovative ways to engage their customer base, including conducting its Green Building Workshop, an event that was held in February for the third straight year, as well as other events targeted toward the architectural profession, the Hispanic communities and homeowners/contractors networking.

On receiving the award, TW Perry’s CEO Michael Cassidy said: "The entire team at TW Perry is quite honored to receive this award and to join the many notable companies that preceded us in this honor. We will demonstrate our appreciation for this award by humbly rededicating ourselves to executing on the tried-and-true basics, while innovating wherever practical as we continue to work to support our customers during these challenging times."

The selection criteria includes high performance, innovation and commitment to the values of the lumber business. Past winners of the HCN Pro Dealer of the Year award include: MarJam Supply, 2010; McCoy’s Building Supply, 2009; Curtis Lumber, 2008; Carter Lumber, 2007; and ProBuild Holdings, 2006.

In addition to the Pro Dealer of the Year awards dinner, The ProDealer Industry Summit will feature the NLBMDA Officers Installation Dinner, a yard tour with McCoys Lumber, and educational sessions ranging from supply chain management to 2010 census trends. For more information, visit prodealer.com.

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And now this: Beetle infestation spreads

BY Brae Canlen

The damage done by the mountain pine beetle to the forests in British Columbia has received much attention, given the billions of dollars already lost to this pernicious pest. But Dendroctonus ponderosae knows no borders, and now the western United States is grappling with the same epidemic. The pine beetle has spread to Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Colorado. 


Sawmills and wood product producers have dealt with various infestations before, but not during the worst U.S. housing downturn in history. Many mills have closed, and Colorado, perhaps the worst-hit state, watched its largest sawmill go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year. One of the reasons behind the failure of Montrose, Colo.-based Intermountain Resources was its payments to the U.S. Forestry Service timber contracts. Two other remaining mills, along with smaller mom-and-pop operations, have found themselves in similar straits. 


Enter Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who brought up the timber contracts last June during a Senate subcommittee hearing on the Colorado wildfires. Udall questioned whether beetle-killed trees — Colorado has an estimated 4 million acres of dead Lodgepole pines — had not fueled the fire. And wouldn’t it make sense for the idle sawmills to be processing these trees into wood pellets and other biomass products?


“Our sawmills are in real trouble, and the reason behind that are the legacy timber sales,” Udall testified. “They are no longer viable. They have become a liability.” In Udall’s view, releasing the mills from their forest service contracts would bolster their finances; then they could turn their attention to the less profitable, but just as important, job of clearing away dead and dying trees. 


The head of the U.S. Forest Service, Tom Tidwell, defended the use of long-term “stewardship” contracts. “In order to maintain this integrity, the wood products industry needs to [have] some certainty that wood is going to be available,” he replied. 


Udall kept up his campaign, however, stressing the risk of mills closing, jobs leaving the state and the need to clear hundreds of thousands of dead trees that pose a risk to power lines, campgrounds, roads and trails. Udall’s efforts paid off on Aug. 4, when Tidwell announced that the U.S. Forest Service would allow an unspecified number of mills in Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming to either renegotiate or “mutually cancel” contracts made before the recession began.


This spells good news for Eric Sorenson, who operates the second largest sawmill in Colorado: Delta Timber, located just south of Grand Junction on the Western Slope. Sorenson signed a 10-year lease with the Forest Service when Louisiana-Pacific operated a wafer board plant up the road. In a joint agreement, LP and Delta shared low-grade Aspen logs to make wafer board and sawn lumber. 


But LP closed its plant shortly after Sorenson signed the contract, and there wasn’t enough money in the timber end of the business. “It would eat our lunch every time we’d try to bring timber in here,” Sorenson recalled. 


A second Forest Service contract, this one for Aspen and conifer used at a Delta mill in Montrose, was signed in 2004, when the market for tongue-and-groove interior paneling — about 25% of Delta’s business — was strong. Sorenson faced the same predicament with both contracts: operate at a loss or default. 


“We’ve been here 21 years, and I’ve never defaulted on a timber contract,” Sorenson said proudly. He noted that 90% of his supply depends on logs from U.S. Forest Service land, and he really can’t risk ruining his reputation or his financial standing with the agency. 


Sorenson has already received a letter from the Forest Service regarding an easing of the terms of his current contracts. “For us, it’s really going to help,” he said. “We’re facing so many challenges right now, from the markets to the lenders, and it’s one more thing off our plate.”


Sorenson is going to leave most of the beetle-kill logging to his competitors, who sell the blue-stained lumber as a niche product. But he has talked to investors about biomass plants and wood fiber fuel made from beetle-killed trees. “There are people interested in doing it,” he said. 

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