Strange brew in Indianapolis
Sullivan Hardware & Garden of Indianapolis is no stranger to recognition in the local media. But its latest “best of” Indianapolis title marks what might be considered a strange departure.
The store won the Indianapolis Monthly’s “Best Retro Soda Pop” award.
After discovering the niche at the Do it Best Market, and under the encouragement of the Chicago-based supplier Real Soda Midwest, store owner Pat Sullivan decided to pop the top. “The rep told us stories about a couple of other retailers who had retro soda, and so we went with it,” said Sullivan, who is also a board member of the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op.
The store’s soda revenues average about $2,500 a month, selling both cold and warm bottles of old-fashioned soda flavors, including Cheerwine Longnecks (Sullivan’s favorite) and Leninade, a lemonade derivative with a hammer-and-sickle logo, and the self-explanatory Dad’s Blue Cream Soda.
Real Soda Midwest specializes in creating a store-within-a-store old-fashioned soda niche. At Sullivan, the niche is working as planned. “Not only does it work for impulse purchases, but people come back to buy specific brands,” Sullivan said.
The margin story is also positive, he said. His cost for a bottle is $1.03, which sells for as high as $1.79 plus tax for a bottle.
One e-zine, many products, 5 questions
Residential Building Products and Technology is the title of the latest digital venture of Lebhar-Friedman’s Residential Products Group, which also includes HCN and homechannelnews.com. RBPT editor Nigel F. Maynard is no stranger to building products. Learn more at Residentialbuildingproducts.com.
How did you get into this business?
Did construction for five years during junior and high school; covered Congress for four years after college; worked as a products editor for 14 years, dabble in renovation during the weekends. I also read every architecture magazine and watch an inordinate amount of “This Old House” and “The New Yankee Workshop.”
What’s the best new building product out there?
Tough one. I really like linear drains (which we will be covering in the first issue of the magazine), and the new high-efficiency toilets that are coming out are pretty nice. What manufacturers have been able to accomplish with toilet functionality is nothing short of amazing. I also think triple-glazed windows are cool (though pricey).
What’s the worst?
Personally, I’m not a fan of laminate flooring. I can say that because I had it in my house, and I wouldn’t do that again. I think it’s fine for a rental apartment, but there are other pretty good options out there.
What do you think builders want most out of a pro dealer?
Consistency. Expertise. Timely delivery. Efficiency. Quality products — this might be No. 1. I’m not a builder, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a yard looking for studs and can’t find a straight one in the bunch. I’m sure professional contractors hate that too.
What’s the idea behind RBPT?
You can’t have architecture without products, and you can’t have houses without products. I think building products can be just as exciting as anything else. The new magazine will prove that.
Building supply dealer Meek’s tapped for massive Pensmore project
Meek’s Lumber and Hardware has been involved in some really big jobs in its 93 years, but its work with the Pensmore Estate in Springfield, Mo. — which, at 72,000 sq. ft. will be the fourth-largest structure in the United States when completed — is the granddaddy of them all.
Meek’s, which will supply Andersen windows, roof LVL beams, shingles and other supplies, was chosen in part because of its reputation in building supply materials in Missouri, as well as the relationship it has forged with Joe Huff, owner of Huff Construction, and the brother of Pensmore owner Steve Huff.
“I’ve lived in the Springfield area most of the time since the mid-1970s and have had many business dealings with Meek’s, all favorable,” Joe Huff said. “Meek’s has the resources to invest a great deal of time sourcing many uncommon building products that can be hard to find.”
Tom Buckner, district manager for Meek’s, added: “Pensmore was looking for one company that could source the vast majority of building materials that it needed for the project, and we are known for that one-stop shop.”
Huff’s primary business dealings have been with Tom Maher, who works in Meek’s Nixa, Mo., yard. “Tom has been a very valuable asset in the construction of Pensmore,” Huff said.
The Pensmore Estate, slated for completion in 2013, is constructed largely of three ultra-strong building materials — Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs); steel beams; and Boise Cascade Versa-Lam engineered wood beams and joists, which are manufactured at the right moisture content to eliminate twisting, shrinking and splitting, according to Denny Huston, VP sales at Boise Cascade Engineered Wood Products.
The concrete structure contains millions of additional reinforcing agents, tiny “Helix” steel spirals produced by PolyTorx of Ann Arbor, Mich. The twist-shaped fibers interconnect the concrete throughout and make the building much stronger and more durable.
The site of the Pensmore Estate is 90 miles from Joplin, Mo., scene of the horrific category 5 tornado in May 2011. Pensmore had been in the planning stages long before the Joplin tornado, but is designed to withstand a storm of that magnitude, Joe Huff said.