In Pennsylvania, more clarity

Update: Huttig Building Products remains open for business in three Pa. locations.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The hardware and building supply industry of Pennsylvania survived the cut, amid some confusion.

In an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the commonwealth released its industry operation guidance on March 19.  Included on its lengthy list of companies that are allowed to continue physical operations are “building material and supplies dealers.”

See the full list here.

Confusingly, however, the governor’s guidance described “Lumber and other construction materials merchant wholesalers” along with companies that may not continue physical operations — a decision that clearly conflicts with the ability of dealers to operate.

St. Louis, Mo.-based Huttig Building Products said on Monday that it will remain open at its three Pennsylvania locations. This announcement reversed an earlier decision to close in Pennsylvania.

Huttig Building Products will remain open in Pa.

“After careful review, we have determined that Huttig is pat of an essential network engaged in warehousing and distribution of building materials and other suppliers for use in the construction industry and for sale in hardware and home improvement retailers,” Huttig announced March 23. “We have been notified that we are a critical asset to assist such retailers in maintaining their business and should remain open under Pennsylvania and federal guidance.”

Regarding the confusing language in the governor’s order, the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association told HBSDealer that the association is continuing to lobby for the state to give the green light to  “lumber and other construction merchant wholesalers.”

“Our members provide customers with products they need for their homes and businesses,” said Rita Ferris, president of the NRLA. “COVID-19 takes priority, but if a damaging storm should hit our region, our customers will need our products.  These wholesalers and distributors are a vital part of our supply chain.  We feel strongly they should be deemed life-sustaining alongside other wholesalers.”

General Pipe Cleaners, based near Pittsburgh, announced on Friday that it would close “By order of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.” However, the company on Monday said that after a review of the executive order, it will remain open for business.

Other types of business that were specifically not allowed to continue under the decree are “Lawn and garden equipment and supplies dealers,” sporting goods stores and hobby stores.

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The above store was edited to include the latest status of General Pipe Cleaners and Huttig Building Products.


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