A new purpose for an old Menards?
Abandoned shells of big-box retailers are an unfortunate byproduct of modern commerce. What to do with them is a vexing question for town planners and business leaders. Menards has an idea.
The company is attempting to convert one of its old stores in Sheboygan, Wis., into a self-storage facility, according to the local Sheboygan Press newspaper. And it wouldn’t be the first time.
The home improvement retailer submitted an application to city officials seeking a conditional-use permit to turn a vacant store into a 362-unit Menards Self Storage center, according to the newspaper. The company vacated the property three years ago after it built a 214,000-sq.-ft. store in Sheboygan, almost double the size of the old store. Attempts to then sell the vacated store have been unsuccessful.
According to the permit application, Menards has already converted at least one former store into a storage facility in Eau Claire, Wis., where the retailer is headquartered.
Following up: A woeful year for forecasters
This is the time of year for economic forecasters to stand in front of audiences, speed through their PowerPoint presentations and forecast the macroeconomic future. Prediction: Most of the presentations will be “cautiously optimistic.”
But what ever happened to last year’s forecasts? Home Channel News editors wrote some of them down, and the results again show that 2010 was a difficult year to predict. But that’s not stopping more forecasts for 2011.
• 2010 Forecast: At last year’s International Builders’ Show in January, the National Association of Home Builders, or NAHB, forecast 697,000 total housing starts in 2010.
• 2010 Fact: If December’s data is anything like last year’s, total 2010 starts will be 590,000.
• 2011 Forecast: 708,000 starts.
• 2010 Forecast: The NAHB forecast 610,000 single-family starts.
• 2010 Fact: If December holds to form, the figure will be about 475,000.
• 2011 Forecast: 575,000 single-family starts.
• 2010 Forecast: In November 2009, the National Association of Realtors looked into 2010 and predicted existing-home sales to be 5.69 million in 2010.
• 2010 Fact: Existing-home sales will be about 4.8 million, according to the NAR’s tally.
• 2011 Forecast: The NAR forecast 5.2 million existing-home sales this year.
Orgill puts the O in Oh, Canada
Suddenly, Memphis, Tenn.-based distributor Orgill views itself as a full-blown player in the Canadian market, thanks to a partnership with Canada’s Castle Building Centres. Orgill CEO Ron Beal walked Home Channel News through some of the thought processes that led to the venture.
• The partnership
“We have had a very good working relationship with Castle Building Centres for several years. Orgill and Castle think and operate alike in many ways, especially in our total focus on providing value to the retailer. They are a very knowledgeable, highly efficient and low-cost operation. We hope the same can be said of us.”
• The service
“From a service standpoint, we are very complementary. Castle has strong relationships with very solid, competent retailers. They have excellent programs on building materials and commodity products. Our expertise is in the front of the store: broad product selection, efficient replenishment and the sales and marketing support to help move the product off the shelves.”
• The challenges
“There are significant challenges in servicing Canada from a distribution center located in the U.S. Many are compliance issues related to product: ensuring every item meets Canadian labeling requirements, have the proper code approval, have NAFTA and harmonized codes, just to mention a few. Others relate to documentation and licensing to make sure trucks can expeditiously cross the border and clear customs. None of these are trivial or easy. We have spent a great deal of time and considerable expense to make sure each of these issues has been satisfactorily addressed.”
• The market
“The recent changes in Canadian hardware distribution have made it necessary for a significant number of Canadian retailers to re-examine supplier relationships. After much analysis and consultation, we, together with the Castle management, determined that all of the key components were now in place to provide world-class distribution services to Canadian retailers.”