LUMBERYARDS

SolarWorld to finance American-made panels for Hawaii residents

BY HBSDealer Staff

Solar manufacturer SolarWorld is rolling out its new Freedom Plan, designed to support the usage of American-made solar panels for homeowners in Hawaii.

In a nutshell, the program will allow homeowners to replace a portion of their electricity bills with a low monthly payment for solar power and guarantees the use of American-made panels. Users can receive the plan together with a complete solar-electric system from SolarWorld, which includes photovoltaic equipment, installation, monitoring services, system insurance and maintenance for up to 20 years.

“With abundant sunshine and some of the nation’s highest utility rates, Hawaii is an ideal place for homeowners to reap the financial and environmental benefits of solar,” said Rusty Pittman, director of marketing for SolarWorld Americas. “SolarWorld’s Freedom Plan makes the decision to go solar easier and more affordable for Hawaii residents.”

The Freedom Plan is provided exclusively through local distributor Inter-Island Solar Supply and offers flexible financing options which allow homeowners to minimize their upfront costs.

It is also available in six other states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachussetts and New Jersey. SolarWorld has plans to expand it further into Arizona and New York.

Installation companies in Hawaii can register to become SolarWorld Authorized Installers online.

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HCN names US LBM Holdings ‘Pro Dealer of the Year’

BY HBSDEALER Staff

NEW YORK — In less than five years, Green Bay, Wis.-based US LBM Holdings has grown from a mere idea into a 55-unit pro dealer. It ranked 14th in sales on the HCN Pro Dealer Industry Scoreboard and showed year-over-year revenue growth of 15.7%.

With those numbers, and a corporate culture focused on improvement, US LBM Holdings was named HCN’s 2013 “Pro Dealer of the Year.”

The company was founded in 2009 as a federation of independent lumberyards with highly autonomous local operators building their businesses with services tailored to local markets. Among the original lumberyard players are Wisconsin Building Supply in Green Bay, Wis.; Bellevue Builders Supply in Schenectady, N.Y.; and East Haven Builders Supply in East Haven, Conn.

US LBM Holdings CEO L.T. Gibson will accept the Pro Dealer of the Year Award during the 2013 ProDealer Industry Summit Oct. 23-25 in Nashville, Tenn. The Summit is sponsored jointly by the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) and HCN.

“I am very humbled and excited for our team to be recognized by HCN as Pro Dealer of the Year,” Gibson said. “Many of our associates have devoted their entire careers to our industry. And they have made US LBM Holdings what it is today. This honor recognizes their efforts toward our goal of building one of the best companies in our industry. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far and excited for what the future holds.”

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Handy dealers meet their new CEO

BY HBSDEALER Staff

SAN ANTONIO — Doug Miller has taken the reins of Handy Hardware at a critical juncture. The last several months have seen the failure of a distribution center, bankruptcy proceedings, loss of member equity and a private equity takeover.

Into the fray jumps Miller, an executive who grew up in the hardware business (his dad owned a store) and never left it. Miller retired from Spokane, Wash.-based Jensen Distribution at the end of last year, and came out of retirement to lead Handy.

During his first Handy market last month, the new CEO described himself as excited to get to work. He hit on a number of other topics.

On the No. 1 priority:

“We’re going to get back to doing the basics right. No. 1 thing is getting the fill rate to 95% or better.”

On the distribution business:

“It’s really pretty simple. We buy in big quantities, and we ship it out in smaller quantities. We don’t want to make that a difficult process.”

On changes:

“What you will not see is a lot of big changes. What you’re going to see is better performance.”

On new ownership:

“(Greenwich, Conn.-based private equity firm) Littlejohn & Co. gave me the confidence that they’re going to let us run this business and give us the support to make it work.”

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