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STAFDA president likes Northwest metrics

BY HBSDEALER Staff

STAFDA president Eric Grabowski says the association’s distributors are regaining ground lost since the recession of 2007. 

In a column from the STAFDA Trade News newsletter, Grabowski, of Edge Construction Supply of Spokane, Washington, said construction jobs are showing growth in the Northwest.  

Housing is particularly strong in the Pacific Northwest: “In Washington state alone, the residential market has grown by 22% the past year, and is at pre-recession levels based on total dollars of construction.”

Also, he said a distributor who follows the residential market in the Pacific Northwest is celebrating the best two years of business in 2013 and 2014.

“That’s a bit of good news I wasn’t hearing four years ago,” Grabowski wrote.

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CalStar opens its second plant

BY HBSDealer Staff

Caledonia, Wisconsin-based CalStar Products has made its first expansion to a new manufacturing facility, located in Columbus, Mississippi.

The new 100,000-sq.-ft. facility expands CalStar’s geographic footprint from its existing facility in Racine, Wisconsin, located in the Golden Triangle Industrial Park near the Alabama border. The location also provides proximity to areas where brick and masonry are in-demand for residential and commercial facades, as well as raw materials for lighter color options.

At the moment, it’s running two lines using CalStar’s sustainable manufacturing process: a dry-cast line for manufacturing its Holland pavers and brick and Thru-Wall units, and a semi-automated wet cast line for its stone trim and accent pieces.

"We’re excited to welcome CalStar Products to Columbus," said Joe Max Higgins, CEO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK, the region’s economic development organization. "CalStar will bring nearly 60 jobs to the area, and we have the skilled workforce to fulfill those needs. We look forward to the continued success for both the company and the community."

New products are also expected to come out of the facility, including an Ambassador brick, Roman brick, Norman brick, King brick and more, the company said.

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AHMA survey shows healthy sales

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The American Hardware Manufacturers Association’s Home Improvement Industry Confidence Index revealed mixed results in its latest version.

“While July’s survey shows a slight decline in current sales levels from June, our members continue to report historically strong sales and a high degree of confidence in future sales,” said Timothy S. Farrell, president and CEO of the American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA). “Barring any unforeseen negative macroeconomic developments or dramatic disruptions to the global economy, we expect 2014 to continue to be a growth year for hardware manufacturers.” 

In comparing current sales levels with year-ago levels, 77% of respondents said sales were higher in July versus year-ago levels, down from 81% in June.  

For July, 18%  reported sales were even, and 5% said sales were below year-ago levels.

Looking forward six months, 73% of July respondents said they expect sales to be above current levels, up from 57% in June. In July, 23% of respondents said they expect sales to be even in six months, and 5% expect sales to be below current levels.

Looking forward one year, 82% of AHMA member-respondents project sales will be higher, up from 67% who felt that way in June. Nine percent of July respondents project sales will be even one year from now and 9% project sales will be below current levels. 

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