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Hurricane Harvey’s onslaught continues

BY HBSDealer Staff

Hurricane Harvey is already one of the great natural disasters in American history, and the damage continues. The death toll from the storm has risen to 30, and many authorities fear that figure will rise.

Much of southeast Texas continues to struggle against floodwaters, and the hardware and building supply industry has a long, wet road ahead of it. The story of the hurricane damage is playing out in photographs on Twitter. Here are some highlights:

The storm has brought tragedy. And it also has shown the good in the hearts of many Americans who want to help.

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Throwback Thursday: Heady days at Stambaugh-Thompson

BY HBSDealer Staff

Page three of the Sept. 14, 1981 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, proclaimed: “Stambaugh-Thompson to open 1st of 9 remodels.”  

According to Don Senne, who was smiling in the photograph, the reason for the upgrade was to accommodate a new chain emphasis in four major product categories: LBM, floor and wall coverings, millwork, and kitchen and bath.

Youngstown, Ohio-based Stambaugh-Thompson grew to a peak of 17 stores. Today it no longer exists. But it was relatively easy to track down Senne, who is the president of Youngstown-based Brass Accents, purveyors of decorative brass hardware.

“Stambaugh-Thompson is still in a lot of hearts around here,” Senne told HBSDealer. “I miss those stores. We ran good hardware stores in a day when everybody was completely enamored with the contractor business.”

One of the retailer’s defining features was that it operated its own distribution system.

“We said early on that if we’re going to be successful in this business, we have to run our warehouse as efficiently as the big box warehouse,” Senne said. “We invested in all the latest conveyer systems and all the latest in scanners and POS systems when it was all relatively new.”

What happened? According to Senne, the family owned business was in good hands under Phil Thompson. But things went south after Thompson sold the retailer to some investors with experience at Kmart.

Senne still believes there’s an opportunity for businesses – like the old Westlake hardware, and like the old Stambaugh-Thompson, to compete in home improvement with their own distribution business. “If I had that company today exactly as it was then, it would be successful today.” he said. 

The 1981 article also reported this Interesting fact about Senne: he joined the retailer after he answered a want-ad to sell paint at a local store. Eight years later, he was general merchandise manager.

“Those were fun days,” Senne said. 

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Do you have memories of Stambaugh-Thompson? Let us know here.

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Houzz Stat: Outdoor specialty firms remain optimistic

BY Erin Carlyle, Houzz

Landscape and outdoor specialty firms are most optimistic overall. Landscape and outdoor specialty firms received the highest Q2 barometer score of all the professional sectors surveyed: an impressive 78. That reflects a notable rise after a weakened score during the first quarter of 2017. Landscape and outdoor specialty firms 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.

Meanwhile, building and renovation specialty companies also had a high score for the second quarter: 73. Building and renovation specialty firms include replacement contractors (for example, carpenters) and product installers, manufacturers and resellers (of cabinetry, for example).

For both of these sectors, the scores during the second quarter of 2017 are in line with those for the same period one year earlier.

Outdoor firms’ score for new inquiries dips slightly. On a year-over-year basis, the score representing the number of inquiries made to landscape and outdoor specialty firms took a small (three-point) downturn. But with scores in the high 60s and 70s across all components of the barometer, readings remain strong for both building and renovation specialty firms and landscape and outdoor specialty firms.

Catch up on the latest Barometer results here.

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