Stihl Hardware All Stars: Mich., Minn., N.C.
From old-time, traditional hardware stores to modern building supply dealers, the 2017 class of Stihl Hardware All Stars takes all kinds. If a store connects with the community, evolves with the customer and engages with the industry — then there is all-star material at work.
The following three honorees are a representative sample of the wide range of All Star players across the country. HBSDealer selected one retailer from each state: Here are Michigan, Minnesota and North Carolina:
Zeeland Lumber and Supply
This Zeeland, Mich.-based company earned industry accolades in 2006 as Independent Pro Dealer of the Year. And as evidence of its All-Star approach, the company never stopped growing, changing and adapting. First came a new slogan: “Build. Trust.” Then diversification into six business units, including concept showroom and truss. And expansion has been a steady, continuous story — most recently in Mishawaka, facility number seven. “It’s amazing how much we’ve changed since 2006, and we’re still growing,” CEO Mike Dykstra said.
Carlson Do it Best Hardware
Serving the community of Nisswa, in central Minnesota, Greg and Kari Carlson’s store caters to cabin dwellers and lake lovers. Top sellers at Carlson Do it Best include insect repellent and propane. Customer service is a natural for the Carlsons. “We’re just always here for the people in the cabins and the people who enjoy the lake,” Greg Carlson said. The Carlsons were recently recognized by the local school district as “Volunteers of the Year.”
Burney True Value
Best known as purveyors of hard-to-find items, this landmark institution in Aberdeen has nearly completed a five-year plan to renovate and expand its business, growing from 12,000 to 13,500 sq. ft. in the primary retail area, plus an addition that connects the shop to a nearby 10,000-sq.-ft. building. The store includes refinished floors that resemble marble, and a relocated counter custom-built with reclaimed heart pinewood from an old train depot in Goldsboro. “We wanted to be an old-time traditional hardware store,” co-owner Jim Ransdell said.
More jobs in June
The unemployment rate held steady in the jobs report for June, clocking in at 4.4%. That compares to 4.3% in the previous month, according to data released Friday morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The other big number: 220,000 new jobs (the increase in total nonfarm payroll employment.
The numbers were stronger than analysts had expected.
Employment in construction and the retail trade were flat, according to the report.
The hot areas of growth were health care, social assistance, financial activities and mining. Employment growth has averaged 180,000 per month so far in 2017. That’s in line with the average monthly gain of 187,000 in 2016.
Health cared added 37,000 jobs in the month. Mining employment grew by 8,000, with most of the growth in support activities for mining.
The labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, changed little in June and has shown no clear trend over the past year.
Top outdoor trends from Europe
Play along with the quiz. Spoga+Gafa is: a) the European Champions league football runners-up. b) a controversial point of contention at this week’s G-20 Summit in Brussels; or c.) The name of the world’s largest garden fair.
The answer is c.) and it’s coming to Cologne, Germany’s massive Koelnmesse exhibit hall Sept. 3-5, 2017. Around 2,000 exhibitors will demonstrate all of the trends and innovations for the outdoor season.
Organizers have produced the following list of top outdoor trends.
• Edible urban gardening. According to a representative GfK survey carried out on behalf of "Apotheken Umschau" (pharmacy publication), 39% of the consumers, who own a balcony or garden, use them for growing fruit, vegetables and herbs for their dinner table.
• The sophistication of the city space. The sophisticated balcony world is rounded off by compact sunshades, carpets and lamps as well as plant systems and gardening equipment for urban gardening that allow small areas to be optimally utilized.
• Multifunction is the trump card. At the flick of a wrist a lounger becomes a bench or a daybed becomes a sofa with a table. Stools can also be used as a side table, sunshades offer light and heating functions and plant pots provide additional storage space. The barbecue manufacturers are leading the charge. Their models can smoke, roast and bake as well as offering special features such as LED lamps and power bank compatibility.
•Things are getting comfortable. According to the experts, every second Euro spent in Germany is spent by someone over 50. Hence, at the moment high-quality furniture that excels with comfort-providing aspects is conquering the outdoor stage.
• Color trend: Green. No explanation needed.
• To the stoves. An old tradition is being rediscovered: Plank grilling. Here, fish, meat and vegetables are cooked on planks made of special woods (i.e. alder, hickory or cedar), which produces a special smoking aroma. Also available: Versions made of salt.
• Intelligent equipment. Robot lawn mowers and battery-powered devices are part of the story. Also, raised flowerbeds and window boxes that score points with their convenient features (i.e. water reservoir). Protection systems for the garden are also gaining in popularity.