Houzz Stat: Confidence slips for outdoor firms
Landscape and outdoor specialties see optimism dip from one year ago. Scores are up compared with the previous quarter for landscape and outdoor specialty firms, as well as specialty building and renovation firms. Landscape and outdoor specialties include landscape architects, designers and contractors; outdoor replacement trades such as pavers; and outdoor product installers, manufacturers and resellers of items such as pools and spas. But notably, the scores for these two groups are down compared with one year earlier. Weather has a much bigger effect on these two groups than on the others.
Northeast firms are feeling less buoyant. Compared with other regions, building or renovation specialty firms and outdoor or landscaping specialty firms in the Northeast are projecting weaker confidence than is typical for the beginning of the year. Other industry groups in the Northeast are also indicating relatively weaker confidence. The Houzz research team attributes the weakness to mid-March storms; bad weather can depress business activity for these specialty firms in particular.
Click here for the full Q1 2017 Houzz Renovation Barometer.
Independent We Stand picks a winner
Independent We Stand recognized MainStreet DeLand in DeLand, Fla., as the $25,000 winner of “America’s Main Streets” contest. As a top 10 finalist, Deland — population 27,031 — stood out among its fellow Main Streets after more than 300,000 total votes were cast by the public nationwide during the “America’s Main Streets” contest, according to the group.
The MainStreet DeLand Association formed in 1985, transforming a rundown, abandoned district with a more than 50% vacancy rate, to a thriving downtown area now at near 100% capacity. The association dedicates itself to continued downtown economic development while promoting and preserving DeLand’s historic roots.
“Established Main Street organizations like the one in DeLand, with strong support from their community and independent businesses, fall right in line with the mission of Independent We Stand,” said Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand. “We can’t wait to see how MainStreet DeLand Association utilizes this prize and how it will impact independent businesses and the people who support them.”
DeLand is also noteworthy as the first city in Florida to have electricity. It’s a city of firsts with a downtown area boasting dozens of independent restaurants, galleries and shops, and no big-box chains.
“For two or three — or even four or five years — we are going to benefit from winning this contest, and maybe even longer. It will bring us recognition we couldn’t put a price tag on,” said Wayne Carter, executive director of MainStreet DeLand Association. “When you come to DeLand you are going to get great food and find unique clothing, gifts and specialty items you can’t get at a big-box store.”
As part of its ongoing mission to promote small businesses, Independent We Stand created the “America’s Main Streets” contest to promote the important role Main Streets play in building economic success for their communities.
The 2017 semifinalists in alphabetical order are:
- Bridge Street — Ashtabula, Ohio
- Brookhaven Main Street — Brookhaven, Miss.
- Downtown Lee's Summit — Lee's Summit, Mo.
- Downtown Main Street — Red Wing, Minn.
- Downtown Rochester — Rochester, Mich.
- Elizabeth City Downtown — Elizabeth City, N.C.
- Hayward Main Street — Hayward, Wis.
- Historic Downtown McKinney — McKinney, Texas
- MainStreet DeLand — DeLand, Fla.
- St. John Front Street — St. John, Wash.
Stihl Inc. is the presenting sponsor of the award. Supporting sponsors are: Alignable, Do it Best Corp. NRHA, PPG Pittsburgh Paints and SnapRetail.
Product Central: Huttig Made in USA Fasteners
Here at HBSDealer, it’s more or less an annual tradition to check in with the status of the Made in USA movement — and spotlight some products that are promoting domestic manufacturing.
The momentum is there, even if the majority of retailers don’t believe it’s a total cash cow yet. (In 2014, 65% of our readers said Made in USA had a “moderate impact” on sales — if the price is close.) We’ve been asking the same question around this time every year. And in 2015, the results were much more dispersed: 38% said it had a “big” impact, 35% voted “moderate,” and 27% said “small.” Last year, in 2016, 43% said “medium,” and 42% said “mild,” with only 15% voting for “turbo-charged” — even as domestic manufacturing became a rallying cry in the presidential election.
Still, suppliers seem to be heading further in the direction of American-made products.
According to Nu-Wood, American manufacturing isn’t just sought-after because of the quality and patriotic value, but also because of the delivery timeframes. When companies don’t ship overseas, pricing and response time benefit.
Huttig also recently announced an agreement with American Fasteners Co. to produce collated fasteners here in the Southwest United States under the Huttig-Grip brand, a response to demand from its customer network.
Their offerings, among several others, are represented below in our annual roundup of Made in the USA products.
Here is a product featured in a recent issue of HBSDealer:
Huttig Made in USA Fasteners
Huttig has been around since 1885, but that hasn’t stopped it from making new moves to satisfy customer demand. The company recently teamed up with American Fasteners Co. on a line of collated fasteners produced in the Southwest U.S., including plastic-strip round-head framing nails and paper-tape metal-connector nails. (huttig.com)
Check out other products featured in the March 2017 issue of HBSDealer.