Building a Future for Distributors and Dealers of Building Products

Volume 44,  Issue 8                                        October  2005

     In the News



Quickly known as the costliest hurricane in United States history, Hurricane Katrina came ashore in southern Florida as a Category 1 hurricane on August 25, and then crashed into the Gulf Coast on August 29 as a Category 4 storm with winds of 140 miles per hour.

However, it was the flooding that put the city of New Orleans underwater—when the force of the winds and water burst two sections of the city’s levees—that made the city largely uninhabitable. The coastal areas of Mississippi and Alabama were also heavily affected.

For hundreds of thousands of families and individuals living in hotel rooms, private homes, cruise ship staterooms and the “world’s largest homeless shelter,” the Houston Astrodome, there will be nothing to which they can return. Numerous organizations, companies and individuals have contributed to the relief effort through donations of money, food, water and other essentials, but it is evident that additional assistance will be required for months and years to come. 

The process of rebuilding is already much in discussion, as the building industry feels the effects of Hurricane Katrina. With the destruction of sawmills and plywood plants along the Gulf Coast, the loss of millions of inventoried board feet held at Gulf Coast ports and the predicted demand for building materials once rebuilding begins in cities such as New Orleans, Gulfport, Miss., and Mobile, Ala., prices for building materials have risen. In the first week of September, prices for lumber soared, reaching the maximum amount permitted by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, according to information from the Bloomberg News Service. 

Lumber prices, which had fallen to a 22-month low on August 25, increased 11 percent after the hurricane reached shore on August 29. An article from reported that prices for plywood and oriented strand board paneling rose 18 percent in the week after the hurricane hit shore. In addition, many wholesalers and retailers had previously reduced their inventories of lumber, due to a drop in prices of as much as 25 percent because of increased supply from timber companies in the United States and Canada. 

In addition to the immediate damage of inventoried products, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that imports of additional building materials will be disrupted by the damage to port facilities. According to information from the association, New Orleans was the top destination for imports of cement and a number of other building materials into the U.S. in 2004. 

To learn more about how Hurricane Katrina has impacted distributors and retailers, see page 38. 

AMD Cancels 2005 Annual Convention in New Orleans 
After reviewing all possible options regarding the rescheduling or relocation of the 2005 Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD) Annual Convention, the AMD board of directors decided to cancel the convention entirely.

The convention had been scheduled to be held in New Orleans on October 6-11, but the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina and its resulting floods have rendered the city largely uninhabitable.   

The association has reported that full refunds will be returned to exhibitors and attendees, including exhibit space fees, registration and ticketed events. AMD executive director Rosalie Leone said the association could not transfer exhibitor or attendee monies to next year’s convention, nor could it directly donate the money to hurricane relief efforts, because of the association’s non-profit status. However, information about where to donate is available from the association’s website, and the association is encouraging all those who were exhibiting or attending this year’s show to contribute to the hurricane relief effort.

For updates and information, visit

Condominium Project Turns to Contact Lumber
Clackamas, Ore.-based Contact Lumber, working in conjunction with Timbmet Silverman, a U.K.-based timber and wood products distributor, has supplied more than 75,000 board feet (three container loads) of laminated veneer lumber (LVL) door stiles and window components for Falcon Wharf, an upscale condominium project located in London on the banks of River Thames. 

The 124 condominiums designed by architect James Burland feature 360-degree views set over 17 floors of curvilinear glass, steel and timber. Its design is intended to curb such problems as noise, pollution and light, while a unique glass exterior is intended to provide permanent, passive ventilation. 

Contact Lumber’s components were used in the doors and windows covering the exterior walls of the condos, dividing the indoor space from the balcony sitting areas. The components produced by Contact Lumber consist of LVL cores laminated in pine veneer. LVL was chosen for the added dimensional stability it provides.

Jeremy Murphy, joinery director for Soundcraft Doors, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that supplied the finished doors and windows for the project, said company officials were immediately impressed with Contact’s ability to custom engineer components specific to the project requirements. 

“When Timbmet Silverman and Contact Lumber approached us about using LVL engineered door stiles we knew the product would be perfect for the Falcon Wharf project,” said Murphy. “The architect wanted a top-quality engineered product with superior construction and performance and Contact was able to supply it.”

“We’ve been at this long enough to where we can supply a wrapped or painted component to meet almost any need,” said Jim Snodgrass, Contact Lumber’s vice president for marketing and export sales. “If we’re not already making the product an OEM needs, we’ll develop one to meet their specs.”

As is often the case with Contact Lumber products, Contact made components, sold through a distributor and used by an OEM (in this case Soundcraft) to make a building product. 

“If we do our job right, you’d never know the final product contains wrapped components,” Snodgrass said.

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FrameSaver Expands to Meet Midwestern Demand
Nacogdoches, Texas-based Frame-Saver has expanded into the Midwest to meet steadily increasing demand for its rot-resistant door frame ends. FrameSaver will focus strong attention on the Midwest with heavy involvement in trade shows, sales training and support, along with increased marketing activities. Directing the Midwest sales efforts is Bill Laughlin, an experienced territory manager who took over the region in 2004. 

“With the decision to grow in the Midwest, we had two primary goals,” said Laughlin. “The first was to establish strong distributor channels. The second was to raise the level of awareness regarding the benefits of homebuilders using the FrameSaver line of products. The recent Midwest growth highlights the acceptance of FrameSaver’s ability to eliminate callbacks for the regional building professionals.”

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Klumb Forest Products of Covington, Ga., was misspelled in the September 2005 issue of SHELTER magazine. 

Dixieline Lumber Co. Opens New Distribution Facility 
Dixieline Lumber Co. has announced the opening of its new lumber distribution facility in Colton, Calif. Dixieline currently services the needs of contractors, builders and homeowners throughout San Diego County, the Inland Empire and Imperial County.

“Our Colton facility has been added to provide greater support for our customers serving this large and growing market,” said Joe Lawrence, president. 

The Colton operation is located on a 15.7 acre parcel in San Bernardino County bordering the Riverside County line. A full-range trucking fleet and seven car rail spur will enable Dixieline to ship 4 million-plus board feet of wood products weekly from an inventory of 16 million board feet. Cut packs, custom cutting and corbelling will be facilitated by a 7,500-square-foot milling facility complete with a radial arm saw, planer, corbel saw, resaw machine, rip saw, unit cutter and bandsaw. More than 50 employees will be on-site. 

An outside sales staff and estimating department will assist production and custom contractors with their design, engineering and take-off needs. 

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