Throwback Thursday: A Long-Lewis celebration
Long-Lewis Hardware Company celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 1987, and National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, attended the party at the Birmingham Civic Center. During a 16-hour period, Long-Lewis gave away $100 every 15 minutes to dealers in attendance at its buying market. Total giveaway: $6,400.
And at a party to cap off the event, attendees consumed 600 pounds of shrimp and a four-tier cake.
It was a period of optimism for the regional hardware distributor. The company was investing heavily ($100,000) in a computerization effort, and annual sales were up a record-breaking 9% for the year to $17 million.
“In an area where Moore-Handley, Ace Hardware, and Cotter & Company all play strong roles, Long-Lewis has remained successful by carving out and maintaining a strong position as a secondary supplier,” the article wrote.
Long-Lewis was founded in 1887 in Birmingham, originally under the name Bessemer Cornice Works, changing its name after buying Lewis Hardware, a competitor,
As a hardware distributor, the company went on to celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2012, covered by HBSDealer here. But the end of the road came in November 2015, when House-Hasson completed its acquisition of the Birmingham-based company. (Long-Lewis continues to operate a highly successful Ford dealership in Alabama.)
The 1987 article closed with a comment from sales manager A.M. Curly Turner, who described hardware wholesaling as a recession-proof business: “When a man loses his job, the first thing he does is start to fix up around the house. He does it himself, so he goes to the local hardware store.”
# # #
Have you seen hardware history? Let us know at [email protected].
Foundation Building Materials scoops up American Wal-Board
Foundation Building Materials, Inc., a specialty distributor of wallboard, suspended ceiling systems and mechanical insulation, has acquired American Wal-Board, LLC.
Founded in 1995, American Wal-Board is an independent distributor of drywall, steel framing, insulation, roofing and fireplace products with two branches (one in Tennessee, and one in Mississippi).
“Today’s announcement is another strategic acquisition for FBM,” said Ruben Mendoza, FBM’s Chief Executive Officer. “By adding American Wal-Board, we gain entry into a new market in Mississippi and expand our footprint in Tennessee. FBM’s development team sourced and closed this important addition to our company, which we expect to be fully integrated into our organization within ninety days. We welcome the American Wal-Board team to the Foundation family and look forward to integrating their two branches into our company.”
FBM expects American Wal-Board’s third and fourth quarter performance to be consistent with prior years, contributing an estimated $5 million to $7 million in net sales through December 31, 2017.
Tustin, California-based Foundation Building Materials employs more than 3,500 people and operates more than 220 branches across the U.S. and Canada.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Huttig’s report reflects costs and investments
Huttig Building Products reported a slight gain in sales and a decline in net income in the second quarter, as the company pointed to investments and costs associatied with its new Huttig-Grip and Repair and Remodel growth initiatives.
The St. Louis-based company reported sales of $198.7 million, up slightly from $197.9 million in the same quarter last year. Net income was $2.2 million, down from $10. 4 million in the year-ago quarter.
“During the second quarter of 2017 we continued to make significant investments in the execution of our comprehensive strategic plan,” said Jon P. Vrabely, president and CEO of Huttig Building Products. “These investments in capital and operating expenses are required to fundamentally transform our business to consistently deliver profitable growth in the intermediate and long term.”
Operating expenses increased $5.9 million to $38.1 million in 2017, compared to $32.2 million in 2016. The increase was primarily due to higher costs as a result of hiring additional sales and warehouse personnel related to the company’s Huttig-Grip and Repair and Remodel growth initiatives.
The increase was also impacted by legal fees incurred defending our Huttig-Grip division’s right to compete in the fastener market as well as personnel and non-personnel costs. The company faces litigation from rival PrimeSource Building Products over the hiring of former high-ranking PrimeSource executives, including Mona Zinman and Robert Furio, to lead its fastener business.
Huttig operates 27 distribution centers serving 41 states.