May 2006                                Volume 45,  Issue 4


      Big Box Bulletin

Lowe’s To Build Colorado Flatbed Distribution Center

Lowe’s Companies Inc. of North Wilkesboro, N.C., has announced its plans for a new flatbed distribution center in Henderson, Colo. The company will retrofit the former Transportation Management Services Inc. distribution facility. 

Retrofitting the facility represents a $10 to $15 million average investment including land, construction and equipment. The facility will supply products to more than 45 Lowe’s retail stores in the West.

The company says that construction will begin immediately and shipping operations are expected to begin in July 2006. The company says the facility will employ 35 people initially.

The flatbed center will receive rail and truck shipments of lumber and building materials from suppliers. Products will then be loaded quickly as customized orders on flatbed trucks destined for Lowe’s stores in the West. The Henderson flatbed distribution center will service Lowe’s stores in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, Idaho, Montana and New Mexico.

In other Lowe’s news, the company has received the 2006 Excellence in Energy Star® Outreach Award for its contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by marketing and promoting energy-efficient products and solutions.

This is the fourth consecutive year the company has been recognized for its efforts in championing energy-efficient products and consumer education. 

The company received the award for its comprehensive nationwide program promoting products that meet the EPA and DOE’s guidelines for energy efficiency. The month-long program was highlighted by a nationwide “Save Energy, Save Money” education day on Oct. 8, during which Lowe’s stores nationwide offered free energy-saving tips and demonstrations.

Top-Notch Customer Serice from Ace Hardware

Ace Hardware lived up to its slogan as “The Helpful Place” in 2005, receiving top honors in a customer service opinion survey for best customer service in home improvement retail category, beating out True Value, Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Corporate Research International, a market research firm specializing in mystery shopping and customer satisfaction surveys, sponsored the first “Real People Ratings Best of 2005” report. The company sent quarterly online opinion polls to its pool of mystery shoppers or auditors to gather data. The survey generated more than 24,000 responses. 

Ace Hardware ranked first in the home improvement store customer service category, topping the charts with a rating of 7.62, surpassing True Value (7.35), Lowe’s (7.33), Home Depot (7.18) Tractor Supply Co. (7.12), Menards (6.98) and 84 Lumber (6.69) for the honors.

“The results of this survey have important implications because they reflect the everyday consumer’s perception of each establishment rated,” said Mike Mallett, chief executive officer of Coprorate Research International.

“We’re proud of our 4,700 retailers who provide their customers exceptional, helpful service day-in and day-out,” said Ray Griffith, president and chief executive officer of Ace Hardware Corp.

United Building Centers to Purchase Wolohan Lumber Co.

United Building Centers (UBC) and Wolohan Lumber Co. has announced a proposed combination, in which UBC will purchase Wolohan’s lumber and building materials business and the majority of its assets. Company officials say the combination is expected to add over $140 million in sales to UBC’s existing volume of more than $1.2 billion, and it will significantly improve UBC’s market share in several key Midwestern markets including the state of Michigan.

Wolohan currently operates 18 locations in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio under both the Wolohan and Central Michigan Lumber names.

A Spring Celebration

The Home Depot® says it celebrated the arrival of Spring on March 20 with a national countdown celebration and parade in Spring, Texas, where the company unveiled its new products for the 2006 spring season. 

The promotion began with a parade featuring a marching band, lawn mowers, tractors, a synchronized “grill” team and NASCAR driver Tony Stewart’s #20 Home Depot Chevrolet. Olympic silver medalists, bobsledders Valerie Fleming and Shauna Rohbock, who work in the garden department at The Home Depot in Park City, Utah, served as the grand marshals.


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