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TruStile reimagines the modern door at the AIA National Convention

BY HBSDealer Staff

TruStile Doors will be exhibiting in full force at the American Institute of Architects National Convention in Denver June 20-22. Its Modern Door Collection aims to redefine the aesthetic and design choices of architects, builders, designers and homeowners.

The collection will reimagine traditional features for the modern 21st century home, including those with stacked rail designs.

"Today, architects and interior designers often default to flush doors for modern and contemporary interior design because there are no great modern door options," said TruStile president and CEO Scott Schmid. "The TruStile Modern Door Collection radically alters the concept of what a door can bring to today’s modern and contemporary designs."

The collection’s stacked horizontal rail designs are offered in both 9 and 13 rail options and an option to include a 1/8-in. radius reveal or a 1/4-in. kerf cut. Wood rails and panels can also be subsituted with glass, resin, metal, leather and more. TruStile is also expanding its wood offerings to include bamboo, laminated veneered lumber and wenge.

The collection will be available to dealers starting in early July.

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Down to business at Bartlett’s Lumber & Hardware

BY HBSDEALER Staff

"We like that Orgill is a private company. We don't have to buy stock, there are no national advertising minimums, and we don't face the typical corporate games you can run into with co-ops. We anticipate a long partnership with Orgill."

Terrill Bartlett, owner of Bartlett's Lumber & Hardware, which has nine locations throughout northern Texas

Bartlett's Lumber & Hardware operates nine home centers, ranging from 5,000 to 12,000 square feet, throughout the Texas Panhandle. Tom and Terrill Bartlett, sons of the original owner, William Bartlett, grew up in the business and today lead a staff of 75 employees. Bartlett's Lumber & Hardware caters to a wide customer base composed of 60 percent DIYers, 20 percent commercial customers and 20 percent industrial customers. The rural operation specializes in farm and ranch products, paint, plumbing and electrical and, of course, lumber and building materials.

 

The Right Mix

"It was a positive product reputation and diverse selection that initially attracted us to Orgill more than five years ago. When we needed to replace our paint line with a line that would resonate just as well with our customers, we knew Orgill's products would make for a flawless transition."

 

Freedom to Run Our Business

"Oftentimes co-ops tend to have the attitude that they know more about what you need than you do. Orgill offers silent support while still being competitive and attentive."

 

Margin Opportunities

"We have found great success by stocking Orgill's private label brands. The quality of the merchandise itself is great. Our customers appreciate these options, and we appreciate the margins."

 

Swift and Efficient Delivery

"We expect our wholesaler to be competitive and efficient on deliveries, and with Orgill's sophisticated network of distribution centers, they've never missed a beat."

Orgill works with us to help us do what is right for our business, in our market.

"Orgill makes it easy to do business with them. With Orgill, you get that big co-op power with an independent-company relationship."

—Terrill Bartlett

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Patently unfair

BY Ken Clark

Last month Upfront defended the Marketplace Fairness Act.

Some of you sent kind notes indicating appreciation for remarks in support of a level tax-playing field for online and brick-and-mortar retailers. In doing so, you revealed your fair-minded nature.

Not everyone agreed with every bullet point, however.

"I feel your Upfront piece in the May 2013 issue dismissed the complex issue with a toss-off answer," wrote one reader.

Upfront welcomes opposing viewpoints, and the reader above offers a legitimate and valid criticism. (Check out the full item at Homechannelnews.com.)

But let’s see if anyone disagrees with round two of Upfront’s crusade for common sense when we attack the patently unfair rules governing arcane, frivolous, disruptive and expensive patent lawsuits.

By anyone, we mean to exclude patent trolls. (More on them in a moment.)

One of my favorite examples of patent exuberance at retail involves a patent for lenticular optical display used in conjunction with stored value cards (gift cards). I have no beef with lenticular optical display — an amazing invention that allows for all kinds of sight gags. When looked at from one angle, the image is of a kitty cat. From another angle, the magic of L.O.D. converts the scene to a lunging tiger.

The inventor of such a technology deserves protection for and profits from his innovation. But a specific patent for L.O.D. on gift cards? Your honor, that’s just an excuse to try to sue somebody.

There are thousands of patents governing thousands of "inventions" even more arcane — buried deep in the products on the retailer’s shelves, maybe their packaging, or embedded in the technology at the checkout and store website.

This is the age of patent trolls. These are firms that make a living by acquiring obscure patents and threatening to sue legitimate companies — often retailers — who didn’t know there was such a thing as a patent for including a mobile link to a privacy policy posted on a website (an actual example).

Here’s how the National Retail Federation explains it: "Of cases that make it to trial, patent trolls lose 92% of the time. But the cost of defending a company against the claims is so high — the average case costs $2 million and can take 18 months — that many victims settle out of court."

By the NRF’s estimate, the activity cost legitimate businesses about $30 billion a year.

The tide appears to be turning. Earlier this month, the White House announced five executive actions and seven legislative recommendations to stem the tide of "high-tech patent issues."

One recommendation is to provide district courts with more discretion to award attorney’s fees for abusive court filings. That’s a concept that this column has promoted in the past for all kinds of lawsuits. It’s a patently simple approach to tort reform that can be boiled down to five words: If you lose, you pay.

The White House effort was quickly applauded by the NRF and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

Upfront adds its voice to the chorus.

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