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United Cooperative sells hardware store

BY HBSDEALER Staff

United Cooperative, a full-service cooperative offering feed, grain, agronomy and energy products to south-central Wisconsin farmers and consumers, has sold its hardware store to a local businessman and his wife, according to an article in the Daily Citizen newspaper of Beaver Dam, Wis.

Steve and Linda Behn, who purchased Reedsburg United Cooperative Hardware Hank in Reedsburg, Wis., said they were interested in owning and operating a hardware store.

Karl Beth, United Cooperative vp and chief operating officer, said his company was not actively trying to sell the hardware store, but when approached by a realtor representing the Behns, they began to consider it. Steve Behn owned a construction business for 25 years and felt this was a good opportunity to continue serving the Reedsburg community, he said.

In addition to offering core hardware categories, the Reedsburg hardware store will continue to fill propane tanks and sell United Cooperative’s line of feed and lube oil.

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Beazer Homes names new vp and treasurer

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Atlanta-based Beazer Homes has appointed Jeffrey S. Hoza as vp and treasurer. He will be responsible for all aspects of the treasury function, including management of the company’s cash and cash equivalents and managing relationships with lenders. Hoza will also be involved in Beazer’s acquisition and disposition of land assets.

Hoza joins the company from Wachovia Securities, where he served as a director in the real estate division. Prior to Wachovia, he worked at GE Capital, where he developed lending relationships with larger home builders and developers.

“We are pleased to welcome Jeff to Beazer Homes,” said Allan P. Merrill, executive vp and chief financial officer. “His depth of experience in home building and finance, gained in a wide variety of economic climates, will be extremely valuable as we manage through the current challenges in the housing market.”

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KB Home and Martha Stewart to build active adult community

BY HBSDEALER Staff

KB Home and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia have announced their new project: an active adult community in La Quinta, Calif., projected to open in fall 2009. These new homes will represent KB Home’s first community built for adults 55 and over.

“Our business is based on understanding the preferences of home buyers in the market segments we serve, and the active adult market is no exception,” said Steve Ruffner, president of KB Home’s Southern California division. “Our collaboration with Martha Stewart brings something new and exciting to this market.”

The community will feature one-story ranch style homes, with a variety of floor plans, ranging in size from 1,300 square feet to 1,800 square feet. The homes will offer two to three bedrooms, two to three baths and two-car garages. The community will be gated with a clubhouse.

All of the homes will be Energy Star-qualified and engineered to heat and cool efficiently and use fewer energy resources. They will also include low-E windows and Energy Star-qualified appliances.

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How much credit should be given to the co-op business model for the success of the independent hardware and building supply dealer over the last half century?