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Despite downturn, customer satisfaction in home builders up

BY HBSDEALER Staff

They may be struggling through the housing downturn, but home builders still must please their customers. And in that race, J.D. Power and Associates has ranked national home builder PulteHomes on top.

In its 2008 study of customer satisfaction in home builders, J.D. Power said, in fact, builders succeeded in “significantly improving overall customer satisfaction in 2008, compared with 2007.”

Overall, customer satisfaction averaged 779 on a 1,000-point scale in 2008, up 38 points from last year. Markets experiencing the largest customer satisfaction improvements include Palm Beach, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; and Albuquerque, N.M. In addition, overall satisfaction has increased in 28 of the 29 individual markets that were also surveyed in 2007.

In the New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study, now in its 12th year, Pulte brands (which include Del Webb, DiVosta Homes and Pulte Homes) ranked highest in customer satisfaction among new-home builders in 11 markets.

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Handy Hardware fully operational after Hurricane Ike

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Less than a week after Hurricane Ike struck the Texas Gulf Coast, Handy Hardware Wholesale, is operating at full capacity, the Houston-based company announced.

“We have resumed all normal delivery schedules and continue to focus on the service to our member-dealers, as well as our employees in the aftermath of such a horrible natural disaster,” Handy Hardware president Tina Kirbie said.

According to Mickey Schulte, vp-marketing and purchasing, there was minimal damage to the operation, which allowed the distributor to focus on the needs of its member-dealers. “Our fleet suffered no damage, and we had limited damage to our inventory. The minor repairs to the roof of our 560,000-square-foot warehouse are already complete,” he said.

Established in 1961, Handy Hardware Wholesale operates in 10 states, mostly in the South and Southeast.

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Lowe’s, NASCAR’s Johnson raising money for Ike victims

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lowe’s, along with NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, will be raising money for victims of Hurricane Ike when Johnson participates in the NASCAR Spring Cup Race this weekend at Dover International Speedway in Delaware.

Through “Racing for Relief,” Lowe’s will donate $48 for every lap of the scheduled 400 laps that Johnson completes to the American Red Cross to help provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of Ike and other 2008 hurricanes. In addition, if Johnson wins the race, Lowe’s will donate an additional $4,800.

As part of the promotion, the Red Cross logo will be displayed on the deck lid of Johnson’s No. 48 Lowe’s Impala.

Funds raised through Lowe’s Racing for Relief will supplement an existing $1 million Lowe’s donation to the American Red Cross. More than 1,575 Lowe’s stores nationwide are serving as official cash donation sites to benefit the American Red Cross relief efforts throughout the 2008 hurricane season. Lowe’s will match in-store contributions dollar-for-dollar, up to $250,000.

Since partnering with the Red Cross in 1999, Lowe’s has raised more than $17.5 million for disaster relief.

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