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Safe bet: Elections to boost sales

BY HBSDealer Staff

There’s something about election season that spurs large numbers of citizens to think about protecting their property. Call it the “don’t tread on me” effect. And companies that market safes and gun vaults have paid close attention.

“Elections inevitably bring change to the country, and in uncertain times, safes are a purchase homeowners make to protect the things they care about most,” said Cannon Safe marketing manager Pete Danielson.

The company’s sales spiked after the presidential election in 2012, and Cannon expects to increase production to meet demand for the 2016 election, he said.

“With every new president and Congress comes the possibility of new fireams legislation,” he said. “And we see an increase in safe sales parallel to that of the gun market.”

Citizens’ concerns over their Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms” isn’t the only motivation for buying safes. The holiday season, hunting season and tax season also spur sales.

Of course, concern over thefts and burglaries spur safe sales. And increasingly, natural disasters, such as fires, hurricanes and tornadoes, act as a trigger for a purchase, he said.

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Lowe’s goes for the pros

BY HBSDealer Staff

Mooresville, North Carolina-based Lowe's Companies has rolled out an upgraded version of its LowesForPros.com Web tool.

“This new website was designed by the Pro, for the Pro,” said Mike Horn, Lowe’s VP ProServices.

Through the upgraded site, Pro customers can make and track purchases of more than 500,000 items to run their business from a computer, tablet or smartphone. They can choose to buy online and pick-up in-store or have orders delivered directly to their business or jobsite.

It allows users to develop requisition lists, access purchase history reports and create custom catalogs. These catalogs enable customers, such as property management companies, to maintain their brand and design standards across multiple buyers and locations while saving time creating new orders. The website also allows Pro customers to manage their company spend by setting purchase approvals and providing the ability to process tax-exempt transactions, Lowe’s says.

Conrex Residential Property Group was one of the companies that provided input and feedback on the site. "The catalogs help to standardize the look of our homes throughout our footprint. Email order confirmation helps our Renovation Managers in the field to manage budgets and stay organized,” said Tyson Schuetze, director of renovations for Conrex.

The site also provides pro customers with the most relevant content, offers and industry resources to help grow their businesses, allowing Pros to take 5 percent off online purchases every day with Lowe's Business Credit and to take advantage of savings for tax-exempt purchases.

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New assault on EPA’s lead rule

BY HBSDealer Staff

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association applauded the reintroduction of legislation in the Senate reforming the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.

The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act (S. 1987) was introduced last week by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and would reduce the burdens of the rule on the home remodeling and retrofit market, while maintaining protections for pregnant women and young children from lead hazards.

"EPA's effort to expand the Lead Rule beyond its original intent and failure to approve a lead test kit meeting its own rule has been a major disappointment," said NLBMDA chairman J.D. Saunders, VP of Economy Lumber in Campbell, California. "Safety is a priority for NLBMDA, and we support protecting pregnant women and young children from lead exposure but action is needed to reduce the regulatory burden of the rule."

NLBMDA continues working with lawmakers in the House and Senate to scrutinize EPA's implementation and enforcement of the rule.

The NLBMDA — which along with HBSDealer will host the ProDealer Industry Summit Oct. 28-30 in Colorado Springs, Colorado — pointed to some background on the issue:

• In July 2010, the EPA removed the "opt-out provision" from the RRP rule that granted homeowners the right to forego the use of rigorous work practices if a pregnant woman or child under age six did not live in the home. Removing the opt-out provision increased the number of homes subject to the rule from 38 million to 79 million, and EPA estimates that it adds more than $336 million annually in compliance costs to the regulated community, including homeowners.

• EPA has also failed to approve a commercially available test kit producing no more than 10 percent false positives in violation of its own rules. The lack of EPA-compliant test kits has even resulted in homeowners paying for unnecessary work because of false positive test results.

• Among its key provisions, the legislation would restore the "opt-out" clause, suspend the rule for owner-occupied housing built between 1960 and 1977 when a young child or pregnant woman does not live in the home (if EPA cannot approve a test kit meeting its own standard for false positives), prohibit expansion of the rule to commercial buildings until EPA conducts a study demonstrating the need for such action, and provide a de minimis exemption for first-time paperwork violations. 

In addition to Sen. Inhofe, the original cosponsors of the bill are Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Thune (R-South Dakota). Earlier this year, identical legislation (H.R. 2328) was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota).

NLBMDA has made passage of S. 1987 and H.R. 2328 a top legislative priority. For more information, go to NLBMDA's Legislative Action Center.

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