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Marcus on the soapbox

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Bernie Marcus, a small-business folk hero? That’s right.

Before The Home Depot was a 320,000-employee enterprise, it was a very small business, and the co-founder expressed solidarity with American entrepreneurs during a recent on-air with CNBC. Much was made of Marcus’ tongue-in-cheek idea for a reality-show in which Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would try to run a small business. But Marcus’ 18-minute riff touched a variety show of hot points:

On his roots: “The truth is, I was a small businessman,” he said. “I remember how difficult it was getting up in the morning and not knowing whether you’re going to make the payroll.”

On 1099 filings: “I said to [a small business owner]: ‘How are you going to deal with this new thing, the Obama care, when you’re going to have to file a 1099 for everybody who does $600 worth?’ He just looked at me and said, ‘You’ve got to be freaking crazy.’ ”

On Home Depot CEO Frank Blake: “Frank Blake…really is a small businessman. I mean, Frank is in the stores constantly. Frank is out there talking to customers and people. He’s not sitting on the 22nd floor.”

On the regulatory environment: “Nobody has a clue of what’s going to come out of Washington.”

On politics: “Small businessmen have got to go out and get involved in the political process.”

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Inside the home

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Consumer research from The NPD Group connects the dots of appliance ownership in its most recent report, “Inside the Home: Appliances We Own & Use.”

According to the report, ownership in the major appliance category over-indexes among those who also own their home. However, homeownership does not fully predict who owns these products, nor who has recently purchased them. While one in four homeowners indicate having purchased a major appliance in the past 12 months, one in five renters have as well.

Here are some of the key findings: 

• Small kitchen electrics: The most owned and purchased products are often considered traditional countertop appliances, such as toasters, coffee makers, electric can openers and toaster ovens.

• Home environment appliances: The products used most often are those within the water filtration category, followed by upright vacuums. Close to half of upright vacuum owners are using their product once a week or more often.

• Hair appliances: Hair straightener owners are most likely to own other hair care appliances. Three-quarters of hair straighteners owners also own a curling iron or brush. The likelihood of a curling iron/brush owner to own a straightener is far less likely at 46%, however, a significant figure.   • Americans who have a refrigeration filtration system are least likely to own a pitcher, pour-through water filtration, or a faucet-mount device — just 18% and 15%, respectively.

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True Temper sale completed

BY HBSDEALER Staff

New York-based Castle Harlan announced it has completed the sale of Ames True Temper to Griffon Corp. for $542 million.

“Our five-year plan for Ames True Temper Inc. was to expand the business, increase market share in the U.S., create international exposure and broaden product lines for distribution through our pipeline. We have done that and are pleased with the results. We wish the company continued success as part of the Griffon family,” said Castle Harlan co-president William Pruellage.

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