Executive shifts at Pro-Build. George Finkenstaedt, the company’s senior vp-supply chain, will oversee all mergers and acquisitions for the company as its new vp-corporate development. Bill Myrick, senior vp-strategic initiatives for Pro-Build, will add supply chain duties to his responsibilities. Myrick will work with Darin Hildreth, vp-supply chain, “to develop a more cost advantaged procurement and logistics process,” according to Pro-Build.
Curtailments. Toronto-based wood pulp company Fraser Papers will shut down a Juniper, New Brunswick-based mill that manufactures pulp-based supplies and lumber products for home builders. The 11-month closure will start Oct. 5. Louisiana-Pacific has ceased operations at an oriented strand board (OSB) mill in Silsbee, Texas, for an indefinite period of time. The mill has an annual production capacity of 350 million square feet. The company will also curtail OSB production at its facility in Hayward, Wis., until Oct. 31 because of poor market conditions.
Expansion plans. Southern Milling & Lumber, headquartered in Lakeland, Fla., will build a $1.2 million manufacturing facility in Calhoun County, S.C. The facility will produce specialty cut lumber and wood pallets. Southern Milling & Lumber specializes in wholesale lumber sales and lumber remanufacturing.
Lowe’s execs eye lawn care items, eco-friendly products
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs 14th Annual Global Retailing Conference, held today in New York, Patti Price, Lowe’s general merchandise manager for outdoor living, told investors and analysts what she expects will be trends to watch in the coming months.
“Because of drought [in some regions of the country], customers will be renovating their lawns,” Price predicted. Fall cleanup products and lawn care items are being promoted in Lowe’s stores, she said.
“We’ve had some real success in our holiday programs,” Price said. “We brought in John Deere. The merchants are so focused on moving the business ahead … we’re extremely well positioned for the back half of this year.”
Larry Stone, president and COO for Lowe’s, said new products that have been popular in Lowe’s stores include eco-friendly items and composite building materials.
“Something that’s really evolving, in my opinion, is all these composite products,” Stone said. “[There are] a lot of new products that customers want to use because they’re lower priced and lower maintenance.” Those products include composite siding, shutters and solid core composite flooring, he said.
Additionally, Stone said innovations in locksets, including keyless locks, have shown increased popularity in the home improvement market.
Stone spoke further on Lowe’s overall market position in the middle of a housing downturn, saying the company was “not happy with the negative 2.6 (percent) comps that we recorded” in the second quarter. He also said the company has seen weakness in big-ticket items, installed sales and special order sales.
However, Stone was optimistic about the next few years for the nation’s second largest home improvement retailer, adding, “Lowe’s will be well-positioned, once everything turns around, for further growth in the home improvement industry.”
Dave Heine joins BlueLinx
BlueLinx, one of the industry’s largest building materials distributors, has hired Dave Heine, the former vp-retail development at Do it Best. BlueLinx confirmed that Heine started this week as a senior national account executive, where he will call on Do it Best accounts and other independent dealers.
“I have worked with [Heine] for over 20 years as a customer and always admired his abilities, leadership style and integrity,” said BlueLinx president and chief operating officer George Judd.
Heine, a 28-year veteran of Do it Best, left in July after serving in a number of positions that included vp-lumber and building materials, vp-building products, vp-purchasing for pro and commercial products and manager of the lumber and commodities division.