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True Value launches new retail paint strategy

BY HBSDEALER Staff

True Value has announced it is partnering with Dutch Boy and Pratt & Lambert in the launch of a new retail paint strategy designed to offer consumers a wider selection of nationally branded paint products.

These brands — along with True Value’s EasyCare and Weatherall proprietary brands — are part of the co-op’s “Color Center,” a specially designed paint inspiration center and a major component in the heavily promoted Destination True Value retail format.

“True Value will become the paint destination that DIY enthusiasts want to shop,” said Carol Wentworth, vp-marketing. “Most consumers cite selecting color as the most challenging part of a paint project, and the new Color Centers help make that process easier and more enjoyable.”

To meet market needs, True Value offers two Color Center size options — an eight-foot center or 12-foot center that includes idea and trend cards. More than 600 True Value retailers already have Color Centers in their stores, a number the co-op estimates will grow to 1,000 by the middle of this summer.

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ProBuild acquires Khempco Building Supply

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Denver-based ProBuild Holdings has announced the acquisition of Columbus, Ohio-based Khempco Building Supply.

The acquisition includes a lumberyard and truss facility in Delaware, Ohio; a truss plant in Dry Ridge, Ky.; and a commercial door facility in Columbus, Ohio. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to welcome the employees of Khempco to ProBuild,” said Dale Kukowski, president of ProBuild North Region. “The addition of Khempco fortifies ProBuild’s position in the Ohio market while strengthening our manufacturing and installed sales capability.”

Paul Hylbert, CEO of ProBuild, added, “Growth through acquisitions remains an important element of our corporate strategy.”

Khempco Building Supply was founded in 1977.

ProBuild Holdings currently operates more than 560 lumber and building product distribution, manufacturing and assembly centers serving 42 U.S. states.

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K/BIS to kick off next week in Chicago

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (K/BIS) will kick off next week in Chicago, from April 11 to 13 at McCormick Place. The event includes a conference starting one day earlier on April 10.

The show has seen an upswing in certain exhibitors, including cabinet-makers, stone surface manufacturers and tile manufacturers, according to show organizers, because of new exhibits planned in those areas. The show this year includes a cabinetry pavilion and a “Natural Stone and Tile Pavilion.”

Major retailers are homing in on kitchen and bath categories for the new year, particularly with the new interest in do-it-for-me projects. Craig Menear, executive vp-merchandising for Home Depot told company investors Feb. 26 that the company would be focusing on kitchens and bath fixtures as two categories where the company would like to build share in 2008.

At Lowe’s, the past year saw some strength in the kitchen and bath categories. President and COO Larry Stone said in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call that, “In rough plumbing we had success with our clean air and water filtration programs.”

Additionally, Bob Hull, executive vp and CFO at Lowe’s said the company saw strength in fashion plumbing and appliances — two categories that performed above average in 2007.

“Although the slowdown has affected many of the manufacturers who are deriving much of their sales from new housing, we have found that highlighted the remodeling sector has a more promising outlook,” explained show director Cory Smith, vp-kitchen and bath for Nielsen.

Smith pointed to a market research study conducted for K/BIS that highlights the do-it-for-me category as a source of new strength. While bathroom remodeling projects are projected to fall by 14 percent in 2008, bathroom do-it-for-me projects are expected to grow by 22 percent, he said. In all, kitchen and bath do-it-for-me projects are expected to rise by 12 percent in the next year.

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