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 SchafferAssociates.com

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Throwback Thursday: Supreme Court Edition

In 1999, a dealer won a pretty big case in a pretty big court of law.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Oct. 10, 1994 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, proclaimed in a page 4 headline: “Dealer gets day in Supreme Court — Oregon’s A-Boy wins first battle vs. city; to sue for losses.”

Sound impressive? It is. Here’s the story:

Dan Dolan, president of 11-location (including 8 home centers) A-Boy Stores of Portland, Ore., and his mother Florence, wanted to double the size of their 9,700-sq.ft. A-Boy Electric and Plumbing Supply store in Tigard, Ore., and pave the parking lot. But the city said A-Boy was required to offset the traffic impact of the expansion by relinquishing 10% of land for a public bike path.

The Dolans sued, citing the Fifth Amendment, which bars the taking of property by government agencies without compensation for the owners.

And here’s the bottom line: On June 24, 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Dolan’s favor in a 5-4 vote.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote the majority opinion in Dolan v. City of Tigard. Of all the cases decided during that particular term, he called the case the most important of the bunch.  He wrote Tigard had not adequately demonstrated the relationship between the additional traffic and the need for a bike path. He wrote that in the future, government must prove there is a “rough proportionality” between the development’s impact on the community and the size of the requested mitigation measures.”

The landmark case has its own Wikipedia page, explaining the case’s impact on limitations to the state’s ability to compel property owners to make certain public improvements.

Dolan had the last word in the article: “{The city of Tigard] singled out my mother and me to pay the price of a bike path for the public. We’ve got to keep government from going crazy.”

A-Boy continues to operate two stores in Portland.


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: AHMA’s Monopoly

In 1997, the American Hardware Manufacturers Association rolled the dice with a playful ad.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The May 5, 1997 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, included a two-page spread promoting what was then known as International Hardware Week. To illustrate the new easy-to-navigate lakefront complex of McCormick Place in Chicago, the organizers of the International Hardware Week designed a Monopoly board with plenty of old hardware show references.

Squares were labeled: “Keynote Address,” “Opening Reception,” and “Retail Concepts Center,” among many others. Instead of the B&O Railroad, the board featured “The El,” referring (of course) to the famous elevated trains of the Chicago Loop.

The modified playing board was accompanied by the headline: “Just follow the simple directions.”

The American Hardware Manufacturers Association described the 1997 International Hardware Week in Chicago – combining the National Hardware Show and the National Building Product Exposition & Conference – as “the biggest in history.”

While the AHMA lost control of the National Hardware Show in 2005 (the AHMA dissolved  in early 2018) the National Hardware Show lives on under the management of Reed Exhibitions. This year’s show is set for May 7-9 in Las Vegas.


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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