Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: A play in the Poconos

Pennsylvania-based Butz Building Center was riding high in 1987.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Oct. 5, 1987 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, detailed the expansion plans of Palmerton, Pa.-based Butz Building Centers, which at the time was experiencing its best year ever.

The company had just opened its fourth store — a 10,000 sq.-ft. store in Brodheadsville, near the Pocono resort town of Stroudsburg. The story under the headline “Butz opens new unit to service consumers in Pa. resort town,” explained that the area that was experiencing significant housing growth from homeowners tired of paying New York and New Jersey prices.

It also explained the pro-oriented company’s plan to expand its sales to homeowners and DIYers. To help with the effort, Butz hired Joe Nigito, a manager with experience running a Rickel’s home improvement store in New Jersey.

“We’re not trying to de-emphasize the importance of contractors to our business,” said Andrew Eckert, president of the company. “They are our bread and butter. But we just want to increase our cash and carry trade.”

The article from 1987 also explained one of the company’s previous challenges, in the words of Eckert: “We were cherry picked before [by consumers]. But this new store is a new direction in retailing for us and represents a commitment to get our retail percentage up.”

Eckert described the Pocono area as “a boom town at the moment.”

But the boom turned to bust for Butz in 1995, when the company closed all four of its locations.

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Throwback Thursday: Birth of a Station

The launch of HGTV in 1994; plus, a star is born on HCN TV in 2009.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Oct. 10, 1994 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, covered the launch of a new cable network that planned to provide 24-hour programming. The name of the network: HGTV, or the Home and Garden Television Network.

The article appeared under the headline: “DIY to flood the airwaves,” and included a quote from HGTV President Ken Lowe.

“If you look at the track record of just a few of the high profile shows, like those on PBS, they’ve had rating success and advertising support,” Lowe said.

Among the original half-hour programs were “Rooms for Improvement;” “Dream House;” and “Star Gardens.”

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BONUS THROWBACK: Check out this video of current HGTV Star David Bromstad from a 2009 interview on HCN TV, the forerunner of HBSDealer TV.


HBSDealer’s Throwback Thursday is sponsored by Schaffer Associates, a national management consulting firm specializing in executive search and organizational strategies for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As the premier management consulting firm serving the industry, we help build organizations and leadership teams that foster corporate growth and success well into the future. Contact us at SchafferAssociates.com

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Throwback Thursday: Dealers ‘Fight Back’

In 1995, the NLBMDA faced off against some big competition.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Oct. 23, 1995 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, led the issue with the headline: “Dealer group tells members: Fight back.”

The dealer group was the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, which had unveiled a plan to help independents maintain their viability in a competitive climate.

“We’ve got tough competition because we have tough customers, and the big boxes have driven that because they’ve raised the expectation,” said Ray Treen, vp-building materials purchasing for Hardware Wholesalers Inc. (the forerunner of Do it Best Corp.) “The customer no longer expects good service from you. He expects great service.”

At its annual meeting in 1995, the NLBMDA rolled out its Managing for Excellence program, a business development program created to maintain the viability and increase the competitiveness of independent dealers through the year 2000.

During a panel discussion at the 1995 meeting, Jim Wiswell of Barry County Lumber in Hastings, Mich., described how installed sales beefed up revenues to the tune of $100,000 in six months. Also, to support pros, the article reported that “Wiswell gave his main builder customers car phones and is now giving them fax machines.”

Gene McKinney, vp-purchasing at Tindell’s in Knoxville, Tenn., pointed to his company’s “recently opened millwork showroom and truss manufacturing capabilities as competitive edges.”


HBSDealer’s Throwback Thursday is sponsored by Schaffer Associates, a national management consulting firm specializing in executive search and organizational strategies for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As the premier management consulting firm serving the industry, we help build organizations and leadership teams that foster corporate growth and success well into the future. Contact us at SchafferAssociates.com

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