Name change for New Jersey group
Hoping to broaden its focus, its clout and its membership, the New Jersey Lumber Dealers Association is changing its name and opening its doors to other building trades. The 123-year-old organization has dropped the word “lumber” from its title, making it the New Jersey Building Materials Dealers Association (NJBMDA). The decision was made a year ago, according to executive director Rick Alampi, but the change was formally announced on Sept. 27 at the trade group’s annual convention in Atlantic City, N.J.
“There are a number of [retailers] who don’t sell lumber but are in the construction supply business,” Alampi said, listing plumbing and electrical supply houses as examples. “Interestingly enough, these groups don’t have an association of their own.”
The NJBMDA hopes to bring the construction industry together on several areas of common interest: lien laws, transportation issues and land use restrictions that make it more difficult to build in the Garden State. “We need critical mass,” Alampi said. “We can provide a forum for them, but not if we’re [all] called lumber dealers.”
At the top of the NJBMDA list is a state bill that would make it easier for builders to gain approval from local zoning authorities for a variety of projects, especially higher-density housing. A3860, sponsored by the New Jersey Builders Association, would help increase the supply of affordable homes and slow the migration across the Delaware River, said David Guss, president of North Jersey Lumber & Millwork.
“Housing costs are really quite high, and it’s a hardship for a lot of people,” said Guss. The Bergenfield, N.J., dealer, who serves as president of the NJBMDA, said the organization hopes to speak with a louder voice once it represents other building material resellers.
The issue of a possible culture clash was discussed in Atlanta, but members decided to proceed with the changes despite differences between the trades. “You have to consider the construction industry as a whole cloth instead of just a lumber business,” Guss explained. “We felt we had to try and band together to have more clout.”
Bryan Jaeger, president of Jaeger Lumber in Union City, N.J., pointed out that “lumber is just one aspect of a home.”
“We needed to get a little more expertise from people like plumbers, who also work on our jobs,” said the NJBMDA member. “We’re all selling to the same people.”
The NJBMDA currently has 125 dealer members and 100 manufacturers, distributors and other associated members. Although enrollment is holding steady, the group’s executive director noted that acquisitions, consolidation and retirement will eventually take their toll. “There are not a whole lot of new lumberyards being established,” he acknowledged.
Other regional trade organizations have either looked at expanding their membership beyond lumber dealers or have already done so. Several years ago, the Northwestern Lumber Association considered paint and masonry retailers as possible brethren, but research showed that their legislative concerns were too different. But several members who moved into cabinetry or mill-work stayed with the organization “because they still wanted the services,” said president Paula Siewert.
Lumberyard owners in the states of Alabama and Georgia don’t have a splinter of wood in their association’s name: the Construction Suppliers’ Association. The 330-member group, which includes a couple of electrical supply houses, is about to embark on a rebranding program, according to president Jim Moody. “But our focus will be on lumberyards,” he said.
By its membership definition, the Michigan Lumber & Building Materials Association includes kitchen and bath specialty stores, home centers and any other retailer who sells building materials to contractors or end users. Although the organization doesn’t actively recruit non-lumber dealers, president Rick Seely noted that green building trends and installed services are changing the industry’s offerings.
“We used to be called the lumber and coal association,” Seely said. “[Broadening our focus] may be a conversation we have here over the next 18 to 24 months. Our dealers need to think about the business they’re in today and may be in tomorrow.”
Third-quarter earnings up at 3M
St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M had record third-quarter sales and earnings, with earnings growth of 7.4 percent to $960 million compared with $894 million in the same period last year.
The company had net sales of $6.2 billion, up 5.8 percent from $5.86 billion last year.
George Buckley, 3M’s president, chairman and CEO, said the company saw gains across all its business segments. In consumer and office products, 3M saw sales grow 5.9 percent to $898 million compared with $848 million in the same period last year. The company’s safety and security products business saw sales rise 10.9 percent to $766 million from $691 million last year.
“The strength of the 3M portfolio was evident in the third quarter as we again generated record sales,” Buckley said. “Geographic diversity was also an important factor. We continue to accelerate investment in research and development, sales and marketing and in simplification of our supply chains.”
3M has business offices globally, with operations in other industries including industrial and transportation; health care; display and graphics; and electronics and communications.
Weyerhaeuser to shutter three iLevel plants
Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser will “indefinitely curtail” operations at three iLevel building products plants because of “slow customer demand.”
The curtailments include an oriented strand board (OSB) plant in Drayton Valley, Alberta; an OSB plant in Wawa, Ontario; and a laminated strand lumber plant in Deerwood, Minn. Work will halt at the plants before the end of the year, the company said.
“The decline in North American housing starts has reduced demand for wood products, requiring us to rationalize our supply of OSB and engineered wood,” said Steven Rogel, chairman, president and CEO of Weyerhaeuser. “We remain committed to these markets. This move enables our remaining plants to better execute our customer strategies.”
The Wawa and Drayton Valley plants are two of nine OSB mills in the Weyerhaeuser system. Wawa has an annual production capacity of 470 million square feet of OSB, while Drayton Valley has a capacity of 415 million square feet annually, the company said.
The Deerwood plant can produce six million cubic feet per year of engineered strand lumber and is one of three such plants owned by Weyerhaeuser.