LUMBERYARDS

LBM trade group honors Minnesota dealer

BY Brae Canlen

Hilltop Lumber Co., a four-unit LBM chain based in Alexandria, Minn., has been named the Minnesota Lumber and Building Material Dealer of the Year by the Northwestern Lumber Association.

Owners Paul and Brian Klimek, father and son, accepted at the 2013 Northwestern Building Products EXPO held in St. Cloud, Minn.

Paul Klimek grew up following his father into construction business. In 1987, after learning that a closed lumberyard in Glenwood was for sale, Klimek decided to reopen it in 1988. In 1994 he built a yard in Alexandria, and then bought two closed yards — one in Parkers Prairie in 2000 and the other in Brandon in 2004. The Klimeks also did a major addition to their Alexandria store in 2005. 

Alexandria became the company’s hub of operation and the site of the Do it Best dealer’s “Idea House,” where customers can see actual products installed in a house-like setting. Said Brian Klimek: “People need to see, touch and feel the product to decide what they like. This is especially helpful for the women who come to make their selections.” 

Brian Klimek joined his father in 1999 and has been responsible for continuing education for employees and IT functions, such as computerized estimating and design software, boom trucks, piggybacks and computers. Brian is has also developed the company’s online presence, including a Facebook page utilized by vacationers who own second homes in Hilltop’s markets. The company also supports local nonprofits and sports teams, such as the Beetles baseball team and Blizzard hockey team.

Founded in 1890, the Northwestern Lumber Association is a trade organization headquartered in Minneapolis which represents 725 independent lumber and building material retailers and their suppliers in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. 

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NLBMDA releases policy agenda

BY Brae Canlen

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) has released its national legislative and regulatory policy agenda for 2013, which will serve as a guideline for meetings with members of Congress and key administration officials on March 18 to 20.

"Our industry was hit hard by the recession, but our members have rebounded with lessons about what needs to be done to set the housing industry on the path to economic growth,” said NLBMDA chair Chuck Bankston, president of Bankston Lumber in Barnesville, Ga. “We need policymakers to focus on eliminating unnecessary regulatory burdens, creating sound fiscal policies, and reforming our tax code in a way that will aid in the fledging economic recovery." 

As part of its 2013 mandate, the NLBMDA will continue to advance pro-growth policies that will strengthen small businesses and protect the many multi-generational family-owned businesses in the industry. The association’s agenda includes positions on: housing and construction; tax and economic policy; legal reform and consumer protection; workforce policy; the environment, health and safety; product supply  trade; energy policy; transportation policy; and highway safety.

NLBMDA’s 2013 National Policy Agenda will be the focus of the organization’s Spring Meeting and Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. To read a copy of the agenda, click here

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84 Lumber exec retires

BY Brae Canlen

Jim McCorkle, a 35-year veteran of 84 Lumber, will retire on Jan. 18. McCorkle began his career as a manager trainee at the West Mifflin Junction in 1978. (Junctions were stand-alone home centers that were next to 84 Lumber stores.) A year later, he became co-manager in Canonsburg, Pa. McCorkle then moved to the Murrysville, Pa., location, serving in the same position. In 1984, he became store manager at Butler, Pa.

In 1997, looking for a new challenge, McCorkle moved to 84 Lumber headquarters and served as a credit manager. A year later, he was promoted to his current position of collections manager.

“Jim’s warm personality and sense of humor have made him very popular with associates in the field and at team headquarters,” said 84 Lumber president and owner Maggie Hardy Magerko. “Jim’s integrity and work ethic have made the company a better place and he has certainly earned his well-deserved retirement.”

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