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NARI honors American contractors

BY Ken Clark

In an event sponsored by Home Depot and Pella, 26 “contractors of the year” were honored for excellence.

The 2013 Evening of Excellence reception took place April 12, during a three-day event for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), which also included its Spring Business Meeting, held at the Intercontinental Kansas City at the Plaza, in Kansas City, Mo. 

This year, NARI brought the Evening of Excellence to the remodeling industry as a whole, via an online Webcast announcement that was also broadcast to those who were in attendance in person at the reception. The presentation highlighted both Regional and National winners, totaling 133 projects in 26 categories ranging from kitchens, baths, additions, exteriors, whole house and commercial remodels. The Webcast will be available for 30 days at Nari.org/eveningofexcellence. 

The Home Depot and Pella Corp. sponsored the Evening of Excellence.

Contractors from seven regions nationwide vie for the awards on an annual basis. All projects submitted for judging were an improvement or an addition to an existing structure, with the exception of one category, “Residential Exterior Specialty.” Otherwise, new construction projects were not eligible. 

An impartial panel of judges selected winners based on each entrant’s binders, which include “before and after” photography and project descriptions. Judging focused on problem solving, functionality, aesthetics, craftsmanship, innovation, degree of difficulty and entry presentation. 

Twenty-six national CotY winners were named at this year’s ceremony. 

To be considered for a CotY Award, a company must be a NARI member in good standing. The entries of this year’s competition totaled more than $71 million worth of remodeling projects. NARI members represent an elite group of the approximately 800,000 companies and individuals in the U.S. identifying themselves as remodelers.

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At Hardware Show, big brands welcomed back

BY Ken Clark

The National Hardware Show has almost 700 new exhibitors signed up for the Las Vegas event to be held May 7-9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Included in the list are some veteran big brands.

“We listened to what attendees and those in the industry wanted, and they wanted the big brands to return to the show,” said Sonya Ruff Jarvis, VP attendee programs with the National Hardware Show. “We’ve brought those brands back, but we’ve also reached out to a number of new exhibitors.”

So far, more than 98% of available space at the National Hardware Show is sold out. Products will come from a variety of categories, including Farm & Ranch; Hardware and Tools; Homewares; International Sourcing; Inventor’s Spotlight; Lawn, Garden and Outdoor Living; PDRA Paint and Accessories; Pet Products; Plumbing and Electrical; Storage and Organization; and Outdoors, Tailgate and Recreation. 

Some well-known brands that will be coming back to the show include 3M, Ames True Temper, Louisville Ladder and Intertape Polymer, among others. 

In addition, the Innovation Station will be the place for exhibitors to show off products that are brand new to the industry, with special sections for products that are environmentally friendly. The Inventor’s Spotlight area will house products that are patent-pending or just received patent approval, allowing attendees a firsthand look at the newest products on the market. International Sourcing will feature more than 500 exhibitors representing manufacturers from more than 30 countries

“We strive to make the National Hardware Show a can’t-miss event that showcases the newest, most innovative ideas throughout the industry, and we think the fact that almost 700 new exhibitors will be attending this year really speaks to that,” said Jarvis. 

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Index points to slow growth

BY Ken Clark

Arlington, Texas-based research firm Decision Analyst reported that its U.S. Economic Index moved from 99 in February 2013 to 100 in March 2013, an increase of one point.

The U.S. Economic Index has essentially been flat over the past 10 months, fluctuating in a narrow range just below 100.

This pattern is a leading indicator of slow growth for the U.S. economy during 2013 — and forecasts a continuation of the economic malaise. On the positive side, the U.S. Economic Index is not yet indicating the likelihood of outright recession in 2013 (i.e., declining GDP). The feeble growth of the U.S. economy in 2013, however, does increase the risks of a recession; that is, it would not take much in the way of negative shocks to the economy to tip the U.S. into a recession.

“The U.S. economy faces many risks in 2013, as well as some upside possibilities.,” said Jerry W. Thomas, president and CEO of Decision Analyst. “On the downside, tax increases and high gasoline prices, plus sequestration in Washington, D.C., and the recession in Europe, could create barriers to U.S. economic growth. On the positive side, the U.S. could be poised for expansion in 2013 if the price of oil falls below $85 a barrel, if natural gas prices remain below $4 a thousand cubic feet, and if Corporate America begins to make major investments for the future.”

The West South Central and the New England Census Divisions are tied for the highest Economic Index, with a score of 104. The East South Central Census Division has the lowest Economic Index at 96. (See map below.)

The Index numbers for the Census Divisions are three-month moving averages, to smooth out fluctuations due to smaller sample sizes. The reported Index number averages the current month with the previous two months.

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