One e-zine, many products, 5 questions
Residential Building Products and Technology is the title of the latest digital venture of Lebhar-Friedman’s Residential Products Group, which also includes HCN and homechannelnews.com. RBPT editor Nigel F. Maynard is no stranger to building products. Learn more at Residentialbuildingproducts.com.
How did you get into this business?
Did construction for five years during junior and high school; covered Congress for four years after college; worked as a products editor for 14 years, dabble in renovation during the weekends. I also read every architecture magazine and watch an inordinate amount of “This Old House” and “The New Yankee Workshop.”
What’s the best new building product out there?
Tough one. I really like linear drains (which we will be covering in the first issue of the magazine), and the new high-efficiency toilets that are coming out are pretty nice. What manufacturers have been able to accomplish with toilet functionality is nothing short of amazing. I also think triple-glazed windows are cool (though pricey).
What’s the worst?
Personally, I’m not a fan of laminate flooring. I can say that because I had it in my house, and I wouldn’t do that again. I think it’s fine for a rental apartment, but there are other pretty good options out there.
What do you think builders want most out of a pro dealer?
Consistency. Expertise. Timely delivery. Efficiency. Quality products — this might be No. 1. I’m not a builder, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a yard looking for studs and can’t find a straight one in the bunch. I’m sure professional contractors hate that too.
What’s the idea behind RBPT?
You can’t have architecture without products, and you can’t have houses without products. I think building products can be just as exciting as anything else. The new magazine will prove that.
Building supply dealer Meek’s tapped for massive Pensmore project
Meek’s Lumber and Hardware has been involved in some really big jobs in its 93 years, but its work with the Pensmore Estate in Springfield, Mo. — which, at 72,000 sq. ft. will be the fourth-largest structure in the United States when completed — is the granddaddy of them all.
Meek’s, which will supply Andersen windows, roof LVL beams, shingles and other supplies, was chosen in part because of its reputation in building supply materials in Missouri, as well as the relationship it has forged with Joe Huff, owner of Huff Construction, and the brother of Pensmore owner Steve Huff.
“I’ve lived in the Springfield area most of the time since the mid-1970s and have had many business dealings with Meek’s, all favorable,” Joe Huff said. “Meek’s has the resources to invest a great deal of time sourcing many uncommon building products that can be hard to find.”
Tom Buckner, district manager for Meek’s, added: “Pensmore was looking for one company that could source the vast majority of building materials that it needed for the project, and we are known for that one-stop shop.”
Huff’s primary business dealings have been with Tom Maher, who works in Meek’s Nixa, Mo., yard. “Tom has been a very valuable asset in the construction of Pensmore,” Huff said.
The Pensmore Estate, slated for completion in 2013, is constructed largely of three ultra-strong building materials — Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs); steel beams; and Boise Cascade Versa-Lam engineered wood beams and joists, which are manufactured at the right moisture content to eliminate twisting, shrinking and splitting, according to Denny Huston, VP sales at Boise Cascade Engineered Wood Products.
The concrete structure contains millions of additional reinforcing agents, tiny “Helix” steel spirals produced by PolyTorx of Ann Arbor, Mich. The twist-shaped fibers interconnect the concrete throughout and make the building much stronger and more durable.
The site of the Pensmore Estate is 90 miles from Joplin, Mo., scene of the horrific category 5 tornado in May 2011. Pensmore had been in the planning stages long before the Joplin tornado, but is designed to withstand a storm of that magnitude, Joe Huff said.
At LMC, a billion-dollar campaign
It’s an age-old fact of business: Small companies will promote the many virtues of being small. Large companies will promote the many virtues of being large.
A new marketing campaign from Wayne, Pa.-based Lumbermens Merchandising Corp. (LMC) represents a noteworthy recent attempt to appeal to both ends of the spectrum. The effort is rooted in four words: “billion dollar buying power.”
The LBM co-op, which ranked 2nd on the HCN Top 100 Distributors Scoreboard with total two-step sales of $2.79 billion, is emphasizing its collective buying power. “LMC has always held that the dealer’s name is most important in their local market,” the company said. “’The ‘Billion Dollar Buying Power’ kit supports the dealer’s marketing efforts with tools that inform customers they are doing business with a local independent that is also a competitive force with national buying power through LMC.”
According to LMC, its 1,200-plus dealers combine for more than $8 billion in annual retail sales.
The co-op is spreading the “billion dollar” word on the sides of trucks, on brochures and anywhere the local dealer has a contact with a customer. From the new lmcbuyingpower.com website: “LMC Dealers’ Buying Power provides the quality products professionals seek at a competitive price. For quality and price, builders, remodelers and tradesmen find more value for their business with LMC dealers’ yard than at a big box.”