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UGL goes green

BY Lisa Girard

United Gilsonite Laboratories (UGL) is ramping up its partnership with International Specialty Products (ISP), a leading provider of specialty chemicals, in an effort to offer quality “green” waterproofing products to the American consumer.

UGL’s latest generation of Drylok product—called Drylok Extreme Masonry Waterproofer—is a latex-base, low-odor, VOC-compliant formula that uses ISP’s Fungitrol 720. This fungicide, part of ISP’s Clean-Guard umbrella of environmentally safe products, is said to prevent mold and mildew under extreme conditions.

“Our number one goal is to make a top quality product for the consumer and professional markets,” said Tom White, president of Scranton, Pa.-based UGL, a privately held company whose earning are estimated to be between $50 million and $100 million annually. “When we went to Drylok Extreme, we wanted to make sure we put the right product in to retard mildew growth while protecting people as much as possible. When ISP told us about this product, a light bulb went off.”

The Drylok Extreme line, first introduced in January, is available at Lowe’s and is currently being rolled out to the hardware co-ops, UGL reports.

Ray Fahmy, ISP’s manager, North American marketing, biocides, said Fungitrol 720 is the only “zero VOC-carrier” on the market. He also said that UGL is currently evaluating ISP’s latest generation of Cleanguard product—Fungitrol 920—a solvent-free water-based fungicide that he says will even better protect consumers waterproofing their basements.

“There’s a tremendous movement toward green products, and we’ve been trying to do our part to provide the right additives,” said Fahmy, whose company is headquartered in Wayne, N.J.

UGL introduced its first masonry waterproofing line in 1953 and has become a leader in this market, which the company says generates more than $250 million in sales in the United States annually. According to Joe McGraw, UGL’s director of marketing and advertising, his company has about a 60 percent share of the DIY portion of that market.

White admits UGL has been treading slowly in the area of green products. “One of our big concerns is, is the pill worse than the disease,” he said. “What happens if a product is green today, and we find out something different tomorrow? With our reputation for quality, we couldn’t rush into anything.”

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Lowe’s execs eye lawn care items, eco-friendly products

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs 14th Annual Global Retailing Conference, held today in New York, Patti Price, Lowe’s general merchandise manager for outdoor living, told investors and analysts what she expects will be trends to watch in the coming months.

“Because of drought [in some regions of the country], customers will be renovating their lawns,” Price predicted. Fall cleanup products and lawn care items are being promoted in Lowe’s stores, she said.

“We’ve had some real success in our holiday programs,” Price said. “We brought in John Deere. The merchants are so focused on moving the business ahead … we’re extremely well positioned for the back half of this year.”

Larry Stone, president and COO for Lowe’s, said new products that have been popular in Lowe’s stores include eco-friendly items and composite building materials.

“Something that’s really evolving, in my opinion, is all these composite products,” Stone said. “[There are] a lot of new products that customers want to use because they’re lower priced and lower maintenance.” Those products include composite siding, shutters and solid core composite flooring, he said.

Additionally, Stone said innovations in locksets, including keyless locks, have shown increased popularity in the home improvement market.

Stone spoke further on Lowe’s overall market position in the middle of a housing downturn, saying the company was “not happy with the negative 2.6 (percent) comps that we recorded” in the second quarter. He also said the company has seen weakness in big-ticket items, installed sales and special order sales.

However, Stone was optimistic about the next few years for the nation’s second largest home improvement retailer, adding, “Lowe’s will be well-positioned, once everything turns around, for further growth in the home improvement industry.”

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Dave Heine joins BlueLinx

BY HBSDEALER Staff

BlueLinx, one of the industry’s largest building materials distributors, has hired Dave Heine, the former vp-retail development at Do it Best. BlueLinx confirmed that Heine started this week as a senior national account executive, where he will call on Do it Best accounts and other independent dealers.

“I have worked with [Heine] for over 20 years as a customer and always admired his abilities, leadership style and integrity,” said BlueLinx president and chief operating officer George Judd.

Heine, a 28-year veteran of Do it Best, left in July after serving in a number of positions that included vp-lumber and building materials, vp-building products, vp-purchasing for pro and commercial products and manager of the lumber and commodities division.

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