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NLBMDA names new president

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association (NLBMDA) has announced the appointment of Diane Swenson as its new president. Swenson replaces Shawn Conrad, who left the association last October.

Swenson comes to the NLBMDA from the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, where she served as executive vp and chief operations officer. Prior to that, Swenson spent 13 years with the American Tort Reform Association, ending her tenure there as executive vp and chief financial/operational officer.

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Minding the storage

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The garage has been called the “man cave” and “the last frontier of home improvement.” Either way, garage storage and the related category of tool storage are areas of opportunity for home channel merchants.

“Garage storage is an up-and-coming category,” said Mark Delaney, NPD Group’s director of home improvement. “Whether that’s a fad or a trend, I’m not so sure the jury is in yet.”

Consumer research from the NPD group shows the big-box, warehouse home centers as the dominant channel for both tool and garage storage spending.

But the mass merchant may be the most interesting player — dollar share and unit share in the mass channel both showed increases in the first three quarters of 2007. And while the mass channel showed 10 percent dollar share in tool storage, it showed 19.3 percent unit share, reflecting lower price points. The purchase habits of 30,000 consumers from November 2006 to October 2007 make one observation clear: the garage attracts high-income shoppers.

“Garage storage is somewhat immune to the housing market,” said Delaney. “It’s not like a kitchen category. The folks who are going to go out and redo their garage will do it regardless of what the housing market is doing.”

The two related fields show dramatic demographic differences. Almost 44 percent of tool storage consumers are in the youngest 18 to 34 age bracket. But only 26.1 percent of garage storage and organization consumers are in the 18 to 34 age bracket. The portable plastic toolbox and shelving are the two product types that lead each of their respective categories.

Though still relatively small, hardware stores have the biggest impact on the “wall mount/rack” category type — with 7.2 percent.

“Storage and organization used to be merchandised only once or twice a year, for spring cleaning or after the holidays,” said Delaney. “That’s not the case anymore.”

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Jewett-Cameron earnings up in first quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lumber and metal products company Jewett-Cameron Trading reported earnings of $373,915, a 3.6 percent jump compared with last year’s first-quarter earnings of $287,883.

The North Plains, Ore.-based company reported sales of $14.3 million, down 7.7 percent from $15.5 million in the same period last year.

The company blamed the decline in sales on lower demand for industrial wood products. Products in the company’s lawn, garden and pet business segments helped offset the lower sales. Additionally, the company saw higher sales of specialty metal products, which have a more favorable overhead than wood products.

“We are pleased with our results in the quarter,” said Don Boone, CEO of Jewett-Cameron. “We are also encouraged with the continued rapid growth in demand for our specialty metal products, particularly for our gate support systems, which sell under the trade name Adjust-A-Gate.”

Jewett-Cameron Trading is a holding company that operates through subsidiary companies, including Jewett-Cameron Lumber Corp., Greenwood Products and MSI-Pro.

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