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Getting to know you

BY Ken Clark

Know thyself, and thou shall know all the mysteries of the gods and the universe.

That high – brow advice comes not from a dusty book, but from a recent rerun of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.” Can’t recommend the show, but the advice is still sound. I’m an especially big believer in two similar maxims: Know thy industry, and know thy reader.

With the publication of our Top 350 Pro Dealer Scoreboard, this edition in your hands advances industry knowledge by identifying the nation’s key dealers of lumber and building materials. If there is another list like it that is even half as comprehensive, I’m not aware of it.

The section, the third of four major industry listings, begins on page 17 in the print version. (Our Top 50 Hardware Stores Scoreboard remains to be published in October.)

The struggling housing market that you might have heard about has taken its toll. But life and business go on, and senior editor Brae Canlen documents just how it goes for a cross section of pro dealers who share (at least) three qualities: they’re all optimistic leaders, savvy operators and Nebraska residents.

Successful businessmen know themselves and their communities. But do they know you, the readers of Home Channel News? After surveying a representative sample of our 40,000 or so subscribers, here’s an introduction:

You make buying decisions. Some 72 percent of you are involved in either recommending, approving, selecting or specifying your organization’s purchases of home building, renovation, maintenance or decorating products.

You’re about 48 years old, on average.

You spend quality time us. The average time spent with a typical issue of Home Channel News is about 43 minutes—that’s about the length of an episode of “Terminator,” when one factors out the commercial breaks.

You are experienced. Some 24 percent of you have 30 years or more experience in this industry. Another 26 percent have 20 to 29 years experience. That bears repeating: a full half of you have 20 years or more of experience. That’s impressive, and that’s why the next finding is so meaningful to the editors.

You turn to HCN for news. An overwhelming majority of you see HCN as the source for the most news coverage of the industry. That’s a gratifying highlight, and a trend that we intend to build on.

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Toro’s earnings decline in third quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Pointing to the weakness of the domestic economy, Toro reported fiscal third-quarter net earnings of $38.2 million, down 10.1 percent from $42.5 million last year.

New sales grew 3 percent to $492.6 million, up from $478.7 million the previous year, which the company attributed to the strength of its international business.

Professional segment net sales for the quarter increased 5.9 percent to $351.6 million, while residential sales declined 0.6 percent to $132.1 million.

The company expects overall economic conditions to remain difficult for the remainder of fiscal 2008. “In the current environment, we’ll maintain our focus on driving retail demand, managing inventory levels and addressing rising commodity costs,” said Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO.

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Do it Best names e-commerce manager

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Do it Best has hired Joe Caldwell — who has a background in e-commerce infrastructure and more than five year’s experience in network administration — as its e-commerce manager.

In this position, Caldwell will oversee the development, administration and operation of the company’s Web site, doitbest.com, including coordinating on-site advertising with vendors and shipping orders. The company’s customer service center, which helps members with logistics, shipping and product information, also falls under his jurisdiction.

Caldwell will report to Bill Zielke, vp-marketing, for the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op.

Caldwell previously worked as facility manager with Brentwood, Tenn.-based American Color, one of North America’s largest full-service premedia and print companies, where he managed the print projects for Do it Best. Prior to that, he worked with Kruse International in Auburn, Ind., as a network administrator, coordinating the online and live auto auction administration.

Aresident of Fort Wayne, Ind., Caldwell is currently working toward his bachelor’s degree in internet information security at ITT Technical Institute.

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