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Sherwin-Williams builds on pro loyalty

BY Ken Clark

As big boxes aggressively target pro paint customers, Sherwin-Williams says its seeing its market share increase.

"The data results that we’ve shared with you and the entire investment community would indicate that painting contractors continue to remain remarkably loyal to the dedicated paint store channel," said Sherwin-Williams chairman and CEO Christopher Connor. He was responding to a question from an analyst about the push from the big boxes to attract professional painters. 

During the company’s first quarter, consolidated net sales increased 1.4% to $2.17 billion due primarily to higher paint sales volume in our Paint Stores Group.

P.J. Juvekar of Citigroup pointed out that the big boxes haven’t had much success with contractors in the past, but they’re trying. For example, a new program at Lowe’s targets pros with a Valspar Pro line.

Connor said he had "tremendous respect" for the paint departments of the national home center chains. 

"They have compelling product lines and offerings and are continuing to see what we see in the market, which is that the shift toward a professional painting contractor is the primary purchase of architectural paint," Connor said. 

He pointed to market share gains during the downturn, which will help Sherwin-Williams during the upswing. He said 20 of the top 25 home builders "are good Sherwin customers. That’s a much stronger position than we were in the last time we went through one of these housing rebounds," he added. 

Home Depot and Lowe’s are not sitting still, as evidenced by the Lowe’s move with Valspar. 

"We’ll take on this next challenge as we have all the other ones over the past 20 years," Connor said.

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ROTC race gets a head start from dealer

BY Ken Clark

The West Virginia University Army ROTC “Wild Warrior Challenge” is one of those endurance test mud runs with a twist — all proceeds go to veterans organizations.

This year’s race received a boost from 84 Lumber, which provided $2,000 worth of lumber to construct the course, according to an article on WBOY.com

The Wild Warrior Challenge race takes place April 20 in Morgantown’s Mylan Park.

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CNRG embraces the farm format in Natchez

BY Ken Clark

Natchez, Miss.-based Central Network Retail Group opened a new Town & Country Farm & Hardware in Natchez yesterday. 

The 12,000-sq.-ft. store format has an emphasis on farm.

“This new format  is something I’ve thought about for a long time,” said Jimmy R. Smith, chairman of CNRG. “It is a different store from our traditional hardware stores with depth in the farm and feeds, hardware, and automotive assortments.” 

The store has a 12,000-sq.-ft. sales floor with a large assortment of hardware, feeds, pet and animal health, farm implements, automotive, fencing, electrical, plumbing, tools, lawn and garden, and home organization items.

The store is three miles south of CNRG’s Home Hardware Center in Natchez.

“We are excited about this new concept for our company, ” said Boyden Moore, president of CNRG.  “This new store gives us the opportunity to reach a customer that we haven ’t been able to serve through our other formats. ” 

CNRG currently operates 42 home center and hardware stores in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia under the Home Hardware Center, Morrison Terrebonne Lumber Center, NFL Home Center, Elliott’s Hardware, Town & Country Hardware, Habersham Hardware & Homecenter, WT Harvey Lumber, and Town & Country Farm & Hardware brands.

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