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Holiday tradition continues for Gerstein

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home improvement industry veteran Mel Gerstein, co-owner of Mahwah, N.J.-based Thermwell Products, is at it again. His holiday cards containing his unique brand of political humor are hitting mailboxes all across the country. 

Gerstein estimates thousands of people are on his holiday card list, including the office of Home Channel News, which received its card earlier this week. What makes Gerstein tradition unusual is that he draws his own card, and he’s been doing it since the mid-1960s.

"You have to realize that this is my hobby," Gerstein said. "People I don’t even know call and ask if I could send them one. And I do it for them."

The 2011 card features all the most familiar political figures in the United States (Obama, Boehner), and even a couple from Europe (Sarkozky, Merkel). The cartoon, depicts a roller coaster heading down, indicating a wild ride. The cartoon includes Santa Claus in the distance and Occupy Wall Street protesters in the foreground.

"I usually try to encompass everything that happened during the year," he said.  

Gerstein declined to tell a reporter his age ("that’s my secret," he said), but he did share his first-ever holiday card creation from more than four decades ago, when bomb shelters were gaining popularity in the suburbs. "It shows Santa trying to enter one of these shelters," he said. "But the person inside is aiming a gun at him."

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Getting the lead out: Simonton brings message to YouTube

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Columbus, Ohio-based vinyl window and patio door manufacturer Simonton Windows published a YouTube video to educate homeowners on the dangers of lead-based paint, especially in homes built prior to 1978. 

The one-minute video is related to the new Lead RRP (Renovation, Repair and Painting) regulations affecting homes built prior to 1978.

“An estimated 30 million homes in the United States today still contain lead-based paint, which can be extremely harmful especially to children,” said Gary Pember, VP marketing for Simonton Windows. “The friction created by opening and closing windows and doors coated in lead-based paint can generate lead dust, which contaminates the household. This harmful dust can be inhaled and inadvertently spread to other areas of the home.”

The awareness video was posted to educate homeowners and encourage them to review their homes for lead paint issues, the company said. Simonton also offers free materials and more information on lead safe issues at its website at simonton.com/leadsafe

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Natural Marketing Institute offers sustainability insights

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Natural Marketing Institute’s (NMI) new white paper, "Is Sustainability Sustainable?" contains insights from the group’s consumer trends study.

Written by Frank J. Lampe and Monica Emerich, Ph.D., the white paper on green attitudes is available here.

In the white paper’s introduction, the authors ask: "What’s working and what’s not in the arena of sustainability?"

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