UL warns of counterfeit mark
UL, the independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization, has issued a warning to consumers and retailers that certain SKUs of Silicone Rescue Tape manufactured and distributed by Harbor Products bear a counterfeit UL Mark for the United States on the product’s clamshell packaging. The Silicone Rescue Tape has not been evaluated by UL and is not authorized to bear the UL Mark. It is unknown if this Silicone Rescue Tape complies with UL’s safety requirements.
The product, which is used for emergency repairs on plumbing, hoses and electrical wires, was sold on Amazon.com and through Ace Hardware. It is packaged in yellow and orange clamshell with various colored tape (blue, red, yellow, black and white). The packaging is provided with the counterfeit UL Mark and carries the following wording:
Silicone Rescue Tape Stretch Wrap and Get Rescued 950 PSI Tensile Strength Resists 500 degrees F (260 degrees C) Insulates 8,000 Volts
UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems annually with 21 billion UL Marks appearing on 71,000 manufacturers’ products each year. UL’s worldwide family of companies and network of service providers includes 66 laboratory, testing and certification facilities serving customers in 104 countries.
Frank Filmeck, president and CEO of Busy Beaver, talks like a modern-day retailer who has been running a hardware store for several decades. But he joined the regional chain — which is marking its 50th anniversary this year — in 2002. Before that, he worked for ICI/Glidden Paint as a senior VP, handling such companies as Home Depot, Sears, Walmart and Kmart. Filmeck still remembers what it was like to sit in an airport — in this case, Cleveland — and wait for a flight that would take him to a meeting with Menards. But now he presides over a chain of 15 stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia with chairman Chuck Bender, who purchased the company in 1984 with a team of investors, and is active in strategic decisions.
You worked closely with the big boxes, and now you compete against them. Did you take away any lessons that help you now, as a retailer?
When the big boxes moved into the market, a lot of panic set in. [Independents] started putting in some things that didn’t make a lot of sense. They got away from the core DIY [assortment].
Can you give me some examples?
Towels, sheets, other domestics. It confused the customer.
Who is Busy Beaver’s main customer?
People think because our name is Busy Beaver we have this big contractor following. But our business is almost all DIY and has been for a long time.
Tell me about your remodeled store in Canton, Ohio. You’re testing out some new concepts there?
It’s a 35,000-sq.-ft. store with an outdoor lumberyard, but we noticed that we weren’t selling much lumber and building materials. So we said, ‘Let’s really make it into a hardware store.’ So we put in new fixtures and made it easier to shop. We moved lumber inside the store and de-emphasized the longer length [boards].
I noticed that the vast majority of the products in your recent circular are outdoor living.
Lawn and garden has been the fastest growing part of our business. We have a monstrous five-year plan to double it. If you don’t have that kind of plan, it won’t happen.
What kind of changes will that require?
We know it’s going to require some changes to our stores. We’ve always sold annuals and perennials, but now we’re adding shrubs, trees, big planters, soils and mulches. Commerce is our supplier for much of lawn and garden.
You’re not affiliated with any of the co-ops or buying groups.
We use Orgill and Emery-Waterhouse, and do a fair amount of importing ourselves. We have our own distribution center [in Ambridge, Pa.], which greatly enhances our buying power. But it’s not a stocking DC; things come in and get redistributed immediately.
You worked for Glidden Paint for 17 years, yet none of your stores carry the brand. Why is that?
On Glidden, we only needed one national brand in addition to our private label. We put it out for bid, and Sherwin-Williams gave us a better overall program. I still have a fondness in my heart for Glidden. We do carry Liquid Nails, which is part of the Glidden family.
Tell me about your buying staff.
We have four merchandise managers, director of purchasing Mike Slobodnik, and two re-order buyers. I make sure that our buyers understand that although we are a small regional player, we can still negotiate hard and get the best deal that we can.
What else gives you a competitive edge?
We train our people not to avoid customers, or to point to products, or ask yes or no questions. Instead they ask, ‘What are you working on today?’ It’s project selling.
How do you measure the results?
We secret shop our stores twice a month. If we have an individual who cannot or will not do these things, usually they don’t last very long. We measure customer service all the time through surveys.
What do you look for in an employee?
We use a predictive index [test] before hiring employees. It can tell us things like whether they’re shy or introverted, or willing to take risks. For example, we have floor-ready [receiving] stock. We do audits now and then, but if a company has a near 100% [accuracy] rate, they blow right through to the sales floor. All of our replenishment is automated at the point of sale.
That’s pretty sophisticated for a company of your size.
We [also] have our own loyalty card program where customers earn points and [then] rebates on purchases. I’ve signed off on $500 in rebates. Although that’s not typical, of course.
How about the company’s financial metrics?
Well, our average ticket was up 64 cents in the first quarter, and sales were up 4%.
You spoke about your five-year plan. What about the immediate future?
We’d love to expand, but that’s not in our two-year plan. But if we find the right place at the right cost in a small town where we can put a hardware store, that’s what we’ll do.
A mixed bag of merchandise
Innovation in the home improvement industry spans across categories — from lighting and kitchen appliances to tools and decking.
Compact Fluorescent Luminaire (LH-CFL1) Keyless
Allied Moulded Products, Inc., has introduced new energy-savings Compact Fluorescent Luminaire (LH-CFL1) keyless and (LH-CFL2) pull chain light fixtures that are sure to be a hit with homeowners. Designed for quick and easy installation for use in attics, basements, closets and garages, these fixtures use a GU24 base, 13-watt, squat compact fluorescent lamp with a 10,000 hour life. (alliedmoulded.com)
Klein Tools Stubby Multi-bit Screwdriver/Nut Driver
Klein Tools has extended its line of multi-bit screwdrivers with the addition of the Stubby Multi-bit Screwdriver/Nut Driver with Square Recess Bit and 1-1/4-in. shaft for access to confined places. The compact driver shaft holds four universal tips and converts to two nut driver sizes. With its cushion-grip handle, the stubby interchangeable screwdriver/nut driver product was designed with comfort and efficiency in mind. Its strong, durable tips are manufactured with square edges to fit screw openings securely. They resist slippage and provide positive turning action. The strong nut driver function improves bit-holding power. (kleintools.com)
FSI Home Products RailingWorks
FSI Home Products has introduced new offerings into its RailingWorks line of pre-built aluminum railing products. Additions include a frameless glass railing system, a privacy railing system and new picket styles. A silver powder coat color option is also now available for all RailingWorks standard railing profiles. The RailingWorks frameless glass railing system is a cost-effective glass railing product that provides a safe and secure panoramic view. The system’s powder-coated aluminum posts are maintenance-free and available in eight standard colors. The interlocking patent-pending all-aluminum RailingWorks privacy railing system makes it easy to secure a deck or other outdoor space. (fsihp.com)
Milwaukee M18 FUEL 1/4-in. Hex Impact Driver
Milwaukee Electric Tool has expanded its 18V platform with the M18 FUEL 1/4-in. Hex Impact Driver. It features Milwaukee’s combination of the PowerState Brushless Motor, RedLithium Battery Pack and RedLink Plus Electronic Intelligence to deliver up to three times longer motor life, up to 50% more runtime and 3-Mode Drive Control. The PowerState Brushless Motor converts energy into power and torque more efficiently, the PowerState Motor provides up to 1.600 in.-lbs. of torque and 0-2900 RPM, and the PowerState Motor reduces noise and cools more rapidly for years of maintenance-free performance. (milwaukeetool.com)
Porter-Cable 18-Volt Oscillating Multi-Tool
Porter-Cable has launched its new 18-Volt Oscillating Multi-Tool as a kit and bare model, both of which are built with the company’s Tool Free System blade change technology that allows for quick accessory changes without bolts or wrenches. They also offer double the runtime per charge compared with Porter-Cable’s 12V MAX oscillating multi-tool. The tool is compatible with the company’s 18V Lithium Ion and NiCD battery platforms. (portercable.com)
Whirlpool Ice Collection
Whirlpool has unveiled its Ice Collection, which the company describes as “a transformation of the classic white style to a striking, more contemporary signature design.” Black Ice features a black finish with contemporary metallic details. Both finishes are accented with stainless steel, including new user-friendly handles. Other new design elements include subtle, intuitive graphics and larger oven windows. Some of the new product offerings include Energy Star-qualified refrigerators with hidden hinges, LED lighting, and a tall water and ice dispenser; wall ovens that feature the FIT system, which ensures the unit will fit most existing cutouts; and ranges that feature the AccuBake temperature management system. (whirlpool.com)
Grime Boss Heavy Duty Hand Cleaning Wipes
Grime Boss Heavy Duty Hand Cleaning Wipes’ active ingredient is a moisturizing formula called Pro-Klean. Grime Boss is designed with a tough scrubbing side that removes stuck-on residue and a smooth gentle side for cleaning hands and arms. The “2 in 1 Action Scrub” is tough enough for big messes and can easily remove tough latex paint, adhesives, grime, gunk, oil and grease. In addition, the wipes smell of citrus, and contains Vitamin E and aloe. The resealable package has 10 wipes. (grimeboss.com)
Starborn Industries Deckfast Metal
Starborn Industries has introduced Deckfast Metal, a line of fasteners that can be used to attach every type of decking — PVC, composite, capstock and hardwood — to steel and aluminum substructures. Deckfast Metal deck screws are approved for use with Trex Elevations steel deck framing and Wahoo Decks DryJoist and DryJoistEZ systems. The fasteners are available loose and collated for use with the Muro Auto Feed Screw Driving system. (starbornindustries.com)