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Floor and Decor Outlets to open stores in Chicagoland area

BY HBSDealer Staff

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Floor and Decor Outlets of America has announced plans to expand its Midwest presence with the openings of two more stores in the Metropolitan Chicago area. The first will be in Arlington Heights, Ill., at 600 E. Rand Rd., on April 18, 2013. The grand opening of the store in Aurora, Ill., will follow this summer.

Like the company’s store in Lombard, Ill., the Arlington Heights location will feature a 90,000-sq.-ft. showroom and will employ 50 to 75 people.

"We’re thrilled with the success of our Lombard store, and we are so pleased to be expanding in the Chicago area," said Bryant Scott, president of Floor and Decor. "Floor and Decor offers contractors and do-it-yourselfers the chance to build and remodel on a budget while not compromising quality, beauty or durability. Plus, having all the materials in one place makes the experience easy and efficient."

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Fighting words for the EPA

BY Ken Clark

Washington, D.C. — Speaking to a room full of lumberyard owners and LBM suppliers, Representative Bill Johnson of Ohio’s 6th Congressional District and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee made it very clear how he felt about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"It’s the most out-of-control regulatory body in Washington," he said, in remarks that helped kick off the 2013 Legislative Conference of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) and the Windows and Doors Manufacturers Association (WDMA). 

Showing knowledge of the details of the EPA’s lead paint rules, Johnson called for a reinstatement of the opt-out rule, allowing homeowners, if there are no pregnant women or young children in the house, to allow remodelers to replace and repair windows without the extra lead-safety measures. 

The EPA’s Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting (LRRP) Rule was introduced in 2010 and requires remodeling and renovation firms that perform work on pre-1978 housing to be EPA certified.

"When the EPA retroactively alters a rule without justification, there is a serious problem," Johnson said. "The removal of the opt-out provision will cost over $300 million in compliance costs, and really pushes consumers to deal with vendors who don’t comply with the rules." 

Johnson also took aim at the Affordable Care Act, of which he said: "It’s going to die of its own weight."

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February housing starts hold steady

BY Ken Clark

Data released Tuesday by the Department of Commerce show privately owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000.

The rate is 0.8% above the revised January estimate of 910,000. It’s also 27.7% above the same rate a year ago.

Single-family starts were also up slightly in February, hitting a rate of 618,000, up 0.5% from the previous month.

Building permits were up 4.6% in February, reaching a rate of 946,000. That’s up 33.8% from February 2012. Single-family building permits were up 2.7% in February, compared with January.

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