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Orgill pushes regional preferences at fall market

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Orgill held its fall market at McCormick Place in Chicago Aug. 14 to 16, emphasizing regional product assortments, green-friendly products and the expanding global sourcing category.

“We have regionalized our approach, focusing on regional assortments — whether it’s about code, regulations for local professionals or local preferences,” said Orgill CEO Ron Beal. “Be unique in your market. If that’s our mantra, we have to back it up.”

For instance, Stiletto hammers and Red Hot Blue Glue are very popular in California, but some customers in the Northeast and Midwest might hardly be aware of them. “We may only stock those products in the West Coast distribution center,” Beal said.

The Memphis-based distributor also emphasized niche programs that allow its variety of home center, hardware store and LBM customers to find new sources of revenue in a down market. ProSource, for example, has very focused assortments in framing, drywall, roofing and other categories aimed at the professional market.

“The ProSource set is really a wonderful asset to us. It helps people get into other categories and sell to pro customers so they don’t go to another place down the street,” said Brett Hammers, Orgill’s vp-marketing. “It helps them become a destination for that category.”

The impulse item and green friendly programs were also expanded for the market — the latter now including 1,400 product skus as well as POP kits and other supporting materials. Orgill’s rental department has also become more popular with hardware retailers, Hammers said. “Again, in a down market, you can go into this program immediately and get a leg up on the competition”

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OK Lumber declares bankruptcy

BY HBSDEALER Staff

OK Lumber, a Fairbanks, Alaska-based Ace Hardware-affiliated lumber dealer, has declared bankruptcy, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

An attorney told the newspaper that competition from big-box retailers and high utility costs led to the filing. Also, the company incurred higher costs from a leased six-acre portion of land that was used for its lumber yard.

The company has been in business since 1967.

Owner Richard Kruckenberg, who bought the business from his parents in 1996, told the newspaper in June that the business planned to downsize or move to another location to reduce costs.

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PDIS to examine ‘Supply Chain Revolution’

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Some of the industry’s most recent research on how trading partners interact in the building materials channel will be featured on Friday, Oct. 3, at the 2008 ProDealer Industry Summit in Chantilly, Va. Jointly sponsored by the National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association (NLBMDA) and Home Channel News, the “Supply Chain Revolution” will feature presentations from Ed Hudson from the NAHB Research Center and William Whiddon from Building Technology.

Hudson will share the results of his 2008 survey of U.S. home builders on how the downturn has changed their attitudes and expectations toward pricing, products and relationships with trade partners. Whiddon, working with the NLBMDA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has identified 45 supply chain processes that have, for better or worse, become a part of how manufacturers, distributors and builders do business with each other. He will reveal some of the more surprising findings of his two-year study, as well as a few recommendations.

The Supply Chain Revolution panel will also include a presentation on a value engineering pilot project being conducted at Beazer Homes to reduce costs, construction waste, trips to the job site and other redundancies. Two participants in the pilot, Tony Callahan, senior vp-national purchasing, planning and design for Beazer, and Paul Hylbert, CEO of ProBuild Holdings, will each give their perspectives on the project.

All speakers will be followed by a question and answer session with audience members.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will kick off the three-day event at the Westfields Marriott. Ivy Zelman, one of the building industry’s most widely recognized analysts, will deliver her housing outlook and also moderate a panel of industry experts.

Other educational sessions will include strategies for running a tight credit operation and “Energy Star: What’s Next?” presented by Sam Rashkin, national director of the Energy Star for Homes program. A golf tournament benefiting the City of Hope will round out the social networking events and tabletop exhibits. For more information about the conference, visit  www.prodealer.com.

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