LUMBERYARDS

HCN names US LBM Holdings ‘Pro Dealer of the Year’

BY HBSDEALER Staff

NEW YORK — In less than five years, Green Bay, Wis.-based US LBM Holdings has grown from a mere idea into a 55-unit pro dealer. It ranked 14th in sales on the HCN Pro Dealer Industry Scoreboard and showed year-over-year revenue growth of 15.7%.

With those numbers, and a corporate culture focused on improvement, US LBM Holdings was named HCN’s 2013 “Pro Dealer of the Year.”

The company was founded in 2009 as a federation of independent lumberyards with highly autonomous local operators building their businesses with services tailored to local markets. Among the original lumberyard players are Wisconsin Building Supply in Green Bay, Wis.; Bellevue Builders Supply in Schenectady, N.Y.; and East Haven Builders Supply in East Haven, Conn.

US LBM Holdings CEO L.T. Gibson will accept the Pro Dealer of the Year Award during the 2013 ProDealer Industry Summit Oct. 23-25 in Nashville, Tenn. The Summit is sponsored jointly by the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) and HCN.

“I am very humbled and excited for our team to be recognized by HCN as Pro Dealer of the Year,” Gibson said. “Many of our associates have devoted their entire careers to our industry. And they have made US LBM Holdings what it is today. This honor recognizes their efforts toward our goal of building one of the best companies in our industry. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far and excited for what the future holds.”

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Handy dealers meet their new CEO

BY HBSDEALER Staff

SAN ANTONIO — Doug Miller has taken the reins of Handy Hardware at a critical juncture. The last several months have seen the failure of a distribution center, bankruptcy proceedings, loss of member equity and a private equity takeover.

Into the fray jumps Miller, an executive who grew up in the hardware business (his dad owned a store) and never left it. Miller retired from Spokane, Wash.-based Jensen Distribution at the end of last year, and came out of retirement to lead Handy.

During his first Handy market last month, the new CEO described himself as excited to get to work. He hit on a number of other topics.

On the No. 1 priority:

“We’re going to get back to doing the basics right. No. 1 thing is getting the fill rate to 95% or better.”

On the distribution business:

“It’s really pretty simple. We buy in big quantities, and we ship it out in smaller quantities. We don’t want to make that a difficult process.”

On changes:

“What you will not see is a lot of big changes. What you’re going to see is better performance.”

On new ownership:

“(Greenwich, Conn.-based private equity firm) Littlejohn & Co. gave me the confidence that they’re going to let us run this business and give us the support to make it work.”

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Orgill points the way to price image

BY HBSDEALER Staff

BOSTON — When it comes to pricing, Orgill merchandising guru Paul Ohrberg has done the math, several times. And at the Memphis, Tenn.-based distributor’s Fall Market here, Orgill’s director of retail concepts shared some theories on price image.

Ohrberg’s presentation, titled “Merchandising Techniques: Increasing Your Add On & Impulse Sales,” covered a wide swath of store best practices. And it also hit on some specifics:

  • Limit product selection for temporary dump bins;
  • Choose items that can be stacked safely;
  • Display larger items at the main entrance to encourage the use of a shopping cart;
  • Use service counter displays to remind customers of something they may have forgotten;
  • Keep checkout display items generally under $5; and
  • Use endcaps to promote new items with good price value.

“If you scare them away on price with the first thing they see, they’re going to think you’re an expensive store,” he said. “Price image is key.”

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