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Following up: Made in the USA, or not?

BY HBSDealer Staff

The February issue of Home Channel News looked at a variety of angles of the “Made in the USA” trend. But for a view of the controversy surrounding the definition, look to a San Diego courtroom.

That’s where a settlement to a class-action lawsuit launched against grill manufacturer Weber over its “Made in USA” claims is heading to a final approval hearing July 20.

The original lawsuit filed in February last year alleged that Weber violated the law by designating Weber grills and certain accessories as “Made in USA.” The complaint pointed specifically to the charcoal grate and the charcoal separator (both made in China) and the hinged grilling grate, made in Taiwan.

On its website, Weber denies any wrongdoing: “Weber believes that because all Weber grills and the disputed accessories are designed and engineered in the USA, and all grills save for one line are manufactured and assembled in the USA using component parts primarily made in the USA, it did nothing wrong.”

Still, the case winds on.

The proposed settlement provides a payment of $2.00, $5.00 or $9.00 to class members composed of those who purchased a Weber grill or accessory between Feb. 15, 2007, and Feb. 15, 2012. Weber also agreed to pay costs of the settlement process. 

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Give that man a raise!

BY HBSDealer Staff

In these days of overinflated executive salaries and bonuses, it’s refreshing to find a CEO who is actually underpaid — and has been for years. Donald Boone, president and CEO of Jewett-Cameron, draws a base salary of $36,000. His entire compensation package is $39,960.

In Jewett-Cameron’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the low-end compensation is explained this way: “The board’s determination for Mr. Boone’s remuneration as president, CEO and treasurer was set many years ago. Mr. Boone’s compensation has remained unchanged at his request and remains below the competitive rates paid to similar executives.”

In other words, he doesn’t want more money. 

The North Plains, Ore., wholesaler has held its own through the recession, and its last quarterly results, released on April 11, reported sales of $19.0 million for the first six months of fiscal 2012, compared with sales of $17.9 million a year ago. Net income after other items and income taxes was $1.35 million compared with a net loss of $349,386 a year ago.

Jewett-Cameron’s business consists of the manufacturing and distribution of specialty metal products and wholesale distribution of wood products to home centers and other retailers located primarily in the United States.

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Fastenal racks up another double-double

BY HBSDealer Staff

It’s called a 20-20 double-double, and among business metrics it’s a grand slam multiplied by a slam dunk. The definition is sales and earnings growth of at least 20% in the same quarter.

Not only did Winona, Minn.-based Fastenal achieve a 20-20 in the first quarter — $769 million in sales, up 20.0%, and $100 million in net earnings, up 26.0% — but the company has scored a 20-20 double-double for eight consecutive quarters.

With that kind of performance, the company has earned the right to talk about the key to growth. One reason is they have picked their market carefully. “It’s big,” the company wrote about the industrial supplies market in its latest earnings announcement. The market’s total sales in North America are north of $160 billion. And that market is fragmented, too.

While 2,611-location Fastenal describes the concept of growth as simple — “find more customers every day and increase your activity with them,” — the execution is “hard work.” Here are the company’s keys to achieving it:

• Recruit service-minded individuals to support its customers and their business;

• Operate in a decentralized fashion to help identify the greatest value for customers;

• Build a great machine behind the store to operate efficiently and to help identify new business solutions; and

• Do these things every day.

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