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Weiman cleans up nicely

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A proliferation of specialty surfaces in the house — from stainless steel appliances to granite countertops to any number of glowing rectangles — means one thing: more specialty cleaners.

That’s the attitude at Gurnee, Ill.-based Weiman Products, which last month acquired several brands formerly in The Homax Group.

Mass merchants dominate cleaning product sales, but home improvement stores have an opportunity in the cleaning aisle, especially as the products continue to specialize, according to Weiman CEO Carl DeMasi.

“The overall market continues to grow, particularly the specialty cleaning sector,” he said. “Consumers are looking for advice, and the hardware store can provide that.”

Under the deal, Goo Gone, Magic, Stone Care International, OOPS! Paint Remover and Gonzo join the Weiman family of products, including the market-leading Weiman Cook Top Cleaner.

The company declined to reveal the terms of the deal. But DeMasi was open about the selling proposition of a specialty cleaning product. “They have to work,” he said. “Quality is No. 1. You need innovation. Not just another ‘me, too.’ ”

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Cold: It’s for the birds

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The recent cold snap (is it over yet?) led to a 55% increase in sales of wild bird seed, according to Global Harvest Foods, manufacturer of Audubon Park wild bird products.

It goes to show that seasonality is a big driver of seed and feed. “When temperatures become extreme, consumers get concerned about the ability of our wild animals to find food and shelter,” said Ed Mills, Global Harvest co-founder and president.

According to the Wild Bird Feed Industry Research Foundation’s latest study, 40.5 million U.S. households buy wild bird seed. And according to a Wild Bird Feeding Industry Research Foundation survey of 3,200 consumers, home improvement stores (including big boxes and independents) rank second in channel share.

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With analysts, Valspar applies an extra coat of Ace

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware was mentioned 28 times during Valspar Corp.’s latest earnings call. Longtime partner Lowe’s was mentioned only 22 times.

Maybe that’s a hidden indicator. Probably not. But Valspar is certainly looking for its summer relationship with the Oak Brook, Ill.- based co-op to blossom into something beautiful, and profitable.

“We continue to expect to have over 3,000 stores redesigned and reset before the summer painting season,” said Valspar CEO Gary Hendrickson. That’s up from about 1,500 currently.

Valspar since last year has been making all of Ace’s private-label paints — including Clark & Kensington. And its private-label and branded paint sales at Ace stores were a “key driver” of the company’s 9% sales gain in the first quarter of 2014, the company said.

Lowe’s, the world’s second-largest home center, factors heavily in the growth plans, also — especially its Professional Paint program. “This program significantly enhances our ability to serve the large professional paint market,” Hendrickson said.

For those keeping track: the Valspar call’s third-most-oft-mentioned retailer — B&Q, with 11.

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