Throwback Thursday

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


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