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Two big western lumber producers will combine

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Bennett Forest Industries and Riley Creek Lumber, two Idaho-based forest product companies, will merge operations to help court larger retail customers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Executives from Bennett Forest Industries and Riley Creek Lumber told the Associated Press that production and delivery demands from large customers, including Home Depot and Lowe’s, made the move imperative in the midst of a lumber slump.

The move will help lead to the eventual expansion of the companies’ 550-person work force at four mills in north central and northern Idaho, according to the report.

Dick Bennett, who will remain on the combined company’s board of directors, told the AP that the move can help gain business from larger retailers, including Home Depot and Lowe’s, because those retailers “don’t want to do business with a mill only producing 100 million board feet. We’ll have enough volume where we can take on a fairly good contract with them.” Bennet Forest Industries currently produces about 185 million board feet annually, while Riley Creek produces about three times that amount.

Bennett also told the wire service that having four mills will offer an additional benefit of helping the companies cut some transportation costs.

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Niblock named chairman of RILA

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Retail Industry Leaders Association has named its board of directors for 2008, with the CEO of Lowe’s set to serve as chairman of the trade group.

Robert Niblock, chairman and CEO of Lowe’s, will head the board of the organization, which serves as an advocacy group for the retail industry.

Niblock is joined by new board members representing various retail channels, including Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores; Richard Dreiling, CEO of Dollar General Corp.; and Eric Wiseman, president and CEO of clothing company VF Corp.

Other members of the group’s board of directors for 2008 are:

• Gregg Steinhafel (vice chairman) president and CEO of Target

• William C. Rhodes (treasurer), chairman, president and CEO of AutoZone

• Brad H. Anderson (immediate past chairman) vice chairman and CEO, Best Buy

• Sally Jewell, president and CEO, Recreational Equipment

• Robert Moran, president and CEO, PetSmart

• James M. Myers, CEO of PETCO Animal Supplies

• Jeffrey A. Rein, chairman and CEO, Walgreen Co.

• Sandra L. Kennedy, president, Retail Industry Leaders Association

• Joseph W. McClanathan, president and CEO, Energizer Battery

• Michael B. Polk, president of Unilever Americas; Unilever

• Jeffrey R. Smith, global managing director, Accenture Retail Industry

• Bruce Westbrook, national managing director, consumer and industrial products, Deloitte Consulting Deloitte & Touche

• Andrea J. Ayers, business unit president, Convergys.

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Simonton names new national sales vp

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Simonton Windows, a division of housewares and building materials giant Fortune Brands, has named Tom Danisch as its new vp-national sales.

Danisch will work with Simonton’s network of national customers and assist in growing the company’s business in various market segments throughout the country, according to a statement from Simonton.

Danisch most recently served as general manager of Illinois Tool Works’ Miller business unit. He also has held spots at Andersen Windows, Azek Trimboards and flooring manufacturer Armstrong World Industries.

Simonton Windows, based in Parkersburg, W. Va., has six manufacturing facilities in the United States.

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