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Montana lumber mill gets alternative energy project

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Stoltze Lumber, a family-owned lumber production facility in Northwest Montana, will participate in an alternative energy project utilizing algae, wood chips and methane gas. The biomass-to-energy project will receive funding from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. The $350,000 grant originates with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Algae Aqua Culture Technologies, a partner in the project, will help build a commercial sized greenhouse system that breaks down wood waste into organic fertilizer. Methane gas will also be produced by the biomass and converted into mechanical energy to run equipment at the sawmill.

Located outside Columbia Falls, Mont., the sawmill’s main business is the production of dimensional lumber, typically Douglas fir, larch, cedar, white and ponderosa pine. The company was founded in 1912.

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84 Lumber receives $15 million loan

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Fayette County Commissioners in Fayette County, Pa., approved a $15 million loan yesterday for 84 Lumber as part of a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program aimed at maintaining and creating jobs. The company used $30 million in real estate holdings as collateral, according to spokesman Jeff Nobers.

“We’re seeking the same type of loan from Washington County, but for $5 million,” said Nobers. “That’s the next step.” The company will be submitting its application by Monday. 84 Lumber, the industry’s largest privately held pro dealer, is headquartered in Washington County, Pa.

Both loans will have much better terms than private sector financing. The Fayette County loan, for example, is a 17-year loan that would allow the company to pay interest only on the first two years for the $15 million.

The company is in the middle of refinancing $45 million it borrowed in 2008. The two HUD loans, together with $20 million in financing from Wells Fargo and $5 million from company owner Maggie Hardy Magerko, should be enough to pay off the loan, Nobers said. The current balance is $55 million, but the company expects to reduce that balance to $45 million with cash from real estate sales over the next few weeks.

“We hope to have all the [refinancing] completed by November,” Nobers said.

84 Lumber reported $1.4 billion in overall sales for 2009.

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HD selects MasterBrand to supply Martha Stewart cabinets

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Deerfield, Ill.-based Fortune brands, whose products range from whiskey to cabinets, announced its MasterBrand Cabinets have been selected as the supplier for the new Martha Stewart Living kitchens line launching at Home Depot in September.

The new Martha Stewart kitchens line will feature 11 different door styles available in a variety of both wood finishes and PureStyle colors. The company said it is currently in the process of setting up Martha Stewart Living selling centers in each of the 1,976 U.S. Home Depot stores and is expected to be complete by Sept. 1.

“MasterBrand has been a great partner with The Home Depot over the last 10 years, supplying many of our top brands of cabinets,” said Gordon Erickson, SVP decor for The Home Depot. “We are very pleased to continue the partnership with our new Martha Stewart Living kitchen line.”

“The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home,” said Robin Marino, president and CEO of merchandising at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. “Our designs are inspired by the kitchens in Martha’s homes, and the result is a mix of door and glass designs, color palettes and practical features in a wide range of styles that enable consumers to create a custom kitchen at an affordable price.”

Marino said that many of the available colors will coordinate with the finishes on other Martha Stewart products, such as pots and plates.

“The people of MasterBrand Cabinets can be proud that the selection to build Martha Stewart Living kitchen cabinetry is a testament to our passionate craftsmanship, innovation in organization solutions and customer service that’s second to none,” said Greg Stoner, president of MasterBrand Cabinets.

Stoner also said that MasterBrand Cabinets expects to add more than 300 jobs over the next three years in order to keep up with the new demand. “We’ve reconfigured our North Carolina cabinet-making facility to support this growth opportunity,” Stoner added, “and we’re particularly pleased that we’ve already been able to expand our workforce as a result of this new program.”

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