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Following up: Fenton Hord takes stock of LBM industry

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Fenton Hord had a huge run at the helm of Stock Building Supply. 

In 1987 he oversaw a seven-unit, $98 million pro dealer. When Hord retired in 2007, Stock was a 350-location, $5 billion “North American Super Power.”

Of course, when the housing starts dried up, Stock remained in the headlines with a well-documented run of bankruptcy and reorganization.

Even today Horde is optimistic about the LBM business. And that’s exactly where his latest venture is looking to put its money.

Late last month, Investors Management Corp., of which Hord is a board member, formed Cornerstone Building Alliance, with former Stock COO Steve Short at the helm. The investment company will target distributors, manufacturers and installers in the $10 million to $100 million-plus range.

“We know the business, we like the business, and we’re excited about the prospects Cornerstone brings to the industry,” Hord said.

The investment strategy calls for a majority position, with management teams to retain minority ownership. “This allows our partners to financially participate in the recovery of the market and the success of the business,” Short said.

The newly formed company’s next acquisition will be its first. “Stay tuned,” Short said.

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D.C. Hotline: Senate Finance Committee approves 25C extension

BY HBSDEALER Staff

By Ben Gann, director of legislative affairs, NLBMDA

On Aug. 2, by a 19-5 vote, the Senate Committee on Finance approved legislation to continue dozens of expired or soon-to-expire tax breaks known as “tax extenders” through 2013, including the residential energy efficiency (25C) tax credit. The proposal was not supported by five of the committee’s 11 Republicans.

The committee approved the measure after many of the more than 100 amendments to the legislation were not offered. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) had proposed two amendments seeking to strike the extension of the 25C tax credit and replace it with an incentive program linked to the way an entire house performs, but those amendments were withdrawn. During the markup, the committee expressed support for drawing up a comprehensive tax overhaul next year that would include broadening the tax base and phasing out energy tax credits.

The 25C tax credit first took effect in 2006 and was increased for 2009 and 2010. The credit was reduced for 2011 and expired at the beginning of this year. Although the reduced amounts are not as beneficial to homeowners, they still provide an incentive for homeowners wanting to make energy-efficient improvements.

The House Committee on Ways and Means is conducting its own examination of tax extenders, and a final agreement is not expected to be reached until the lame-duck session after the November elections. NLBMDA supports extending the 25C tax credit and will continue working with Congress on an extension.

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Wet and Forget hits the showers

BY Ken Clark

The makers of a leading exterior moss, mold, mildew and algae stain remover are rolling out a low-maintenance shower cleaner called Wet and Forget Shower.

The product slogan is: “Spray weekly. Scrub never.” And it expands the company’s easy-to-use brand messaging. 

“It’s a weekly shower spray because who has time for the daily shower sprays?” said Teresa Britton, marketing manager for Elgin, Ill.-based Wet & Forget USA. "After the last shower of the day, you spray down the shower and leave it.”

Normal shower use will take care of the cleaning.

Britton said the product will be in stores by the end of September. It was presented at the Ace Hardware Show in Chicago and met a high level of enthusiasm, she said. It will also be showcased at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas in 2013.

Based on feedback and research, the product is being offered in a 64 oz. size with a remote high efficiency sprayer, she said.

Wet & Forget’s outdoor product is sold in 10,000 stores in the United States, including hardware stores, mass merchant, home centers and Costco.

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