Volume 46, Issue 2 - March 2007

In the News
Dealer News

Builder’s Surplus Store is Transformed into a Re-Store

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore opened its doors on January 2. Located on 501 West Broadway in Minneapolis, the store carries an inventory that includes new and gently-used building materials ranging from laminate and ceramic flooring to windows, doors, hardware and tools. 

The downturn in the construction industry forced Lampert Yards Inc. to close and liquidate its Builder’s Surplus store in December. It was interesting timing for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity (TCHFH). 

During the past couple of years, TCHFH has researched and developed a business plan to launch their ReStore—a building materials retail outlet. The revenue generated would go toward building more homes, and better serving existing Habitat families. More than 400 Habitat ReStores are open throughout the United States and Canada. As one of the top-five Habitat affiliates in the nation, TCHFH felt the time was right. In the fall of 2006, the board of directors approved the business plan, hired a project manager and TCHFH was researching locations, hoping to open doors by Memorial Day 2007.

And then something unexpected happened. Lampert Yards donated its entire Builder’s Surplus business to TCHFH, including use of the building rent-free, the full stock of inventory and the store’s two employees, worth in excess of a million dollars.

“The decision to donate this business to Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, rather than close the store, felt like the right thing to do,” said Dan Fesler, Lampert Yards chief executive officer. “We realized that we could help their interest in providing quality products at a low cost through their ReStore initiative,” 

“Through this donation our Builder’s Surplus employees have continued to be employed either by Lamperts or by Habitat for Humanity,” Fesler said. 

Lamperts will cover the cost of employee wages for the first few months of the store’s operation, and TCHFH will retain their employment after the transition period.

“We couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to pilot Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore venture,” said Susan Haigh, president of TCHFH. “Lamperts has been incredibly generous during this whole process, saving us hundreds of staff hours that would have been spent were we to open up the ReStore on our own.”

“It’s amazing to stand in this store and realize that it’s our Habitat ReStore,” said Kevin Campana, ReStore project manager. “I have to pinch myself from time to time to remind myself that I’m not dreaming.”  

Materials sold by Habitat ReStores are usually donated from building supply stores, contractors, demolition crews or from manufacturers who wish to show their support for Habitat. www.tchabitat.org 

Manufacturer News

Contact Lumber Changes Name to “Contact Industries”
Contact Lumber has changed its name to Contact Industries. The new name reflects the company’s transition from a traditional millwork manufacturing organization to what has become known throughout the industry as an innovative manufacturer of customized products, a number of which no longer utilize lumber in their composition. 

“We are a different company today and need [to] be identified by the new products, services and technologies we provide to existing and potential new customers,” says Frank Pearson, president. “Our organizational focus, investment and products have changed so much over the years that the name ‘Contact Lumber’ no longer truly reflects who we are and what we produce as a company.” 

McKibbin says the company recently hit a benchmark.

“Earlier [in 2006], in response to a customer request, our manufacturing facility profile wrapped a very high-end stainable vinyl film with traditional wood print character over an all aluminum core,” McKibbin said. “That represented the first time in our company’s history that our organization produced an entirely non-wood component and it signaled a significant change in how we view ourselves.” 

The company is also focused on increasing its global competitiveness and exceeding the world’s standards for quality, controlled manufacture. Most recently, Contact’s manufacturing group, Clear Pine Mouldings, was recognized for its compliance to IS0 9001 quality system requirements. Contact will also envelop its manufacturing facility under the new name, Contact Industries. 

Contact employs some 600 people in its manufacturing division in Prineville, Ore. and has a staff of 13 at its headquarters in Clackamas, Ore. www.contactind.com

Manufacturing Plant News

Hurd’s Medford Facility Deunionized
Medford, Wis.-based Hurd Windows and Doors Inc.’s Medford facility won’t be unionized. The company says this change became effective immediately following a notice from the National Labor Relations Board stating the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners was no longer interested in representing employees at the facility. 

Hurd says the withdrawal decision came a few days before workers would vote on continued unionization. The company’s Merrill facility is still represented by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.

“This deunionization now permits us to focus on previously limited or restricted business practices in a very proactive manner,” said the company’s general manager Dominic Truniger. “Furthermore, it enables the organization to diversify in areas of production and efficiencies.” www.hurd.com 

Atrium Closes Shelton Facility
Atrium Companies Inc., a manufacturer of vinyl and aluminum windows and patio doors in Dallas, Texas, announced it is closing a 79,000 square-foot facility in Shelton, Conn., in January, and all customers serviced out of Shelton will be transitioned to its Welcome, N.C., facility.

“Market conditions in the Northeast and the capacity for additional volume in North Carolina convinced us that this is the right decision for our company,” said Bob Burns, the company’s chief operating officer.

Atrium says it has informed approximately 60 employees, as well as customers, affected by the realignment. 

“We expect this process to be seamless for our customers,” Burns said. “Although this decision is in the best interest of our operational strategy, it is regrettable any time a closing displaces a dedicated workforce.”  www.atrium.com 

Association News

AWFS Adds and Relocates
The Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers® (AWFS®) relocated its headquarters to an expanded facility located at 500 Citadel Drive, Suite 200 in Commerce, Calif. The association says its new offices offer nearly three times the operational space, are only a mile from the past headquarters and will accommodate additional staff to handle its current programs and future growth.

AWFS says it continues to develop industry membership, advocacy, educational programs and the semi-annual AWFS®Fair. It says the launch of www.WoodIndustryEd.org serves as a highlight of its innovations, offers education and training information pertinent to the woodworking and related industries, and features a searchable database of wood technology courses that are available through schools, technical centers and companies, ranging from short certificate training programs to comprehensive post-secondary programs. www.awfs.org


VSI Awards CertainTeed Color-Retention Certification
CertainTeed Corp., a Saint-Gobain company headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa., announced that its vinyl siding meets the new color-retention certification of the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI), a new program based on the performance standard for color retention, ASTM D6864. The company says in order to qualify, its siding first received certification for overall quality and performance based on the industry standard ASTM D3679, which covers criteria such as weatherability, windload and impact resistance, among others.

The VSI color-retention certification process requires a two-year, outdoor weathering study conducted for each individual color. CertainTeed said each of its certified colors demonstrated the ability to resist major changes in a variety of climates and will also undergo ongoing verification and a re-certification process for color retention, including a comprehensive outdoor weathering study, every six years. www.certainteed.com

Export News

BuildDirect Named a Top 24 Exporter
BuildDirect of Vancouver has been named a winner of the British Columbia Export Awards. The company was recognized as top exporter in the Professional and Services category and one of the top 24 exporters in B.C. The winners were announced at a gala luncheon ceremony co-hosted by Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters and the Ministry of Economic Development and attended by members of British Columbia’s business community. 

BuildDirect says it’s able to provide building supplies to 60 countries on six continents. Their current product lines of building supplies include flooring, roofing, countertops and decking.  www.builddirect.com 

Dealer Mergers and Acquisitions

SBS Acquires Arctic in Alaska
Alaskan building materials supplier Spenard Builders Supply (SBS) announced the acquisition of Arctic Builders Source, a two-location chain that operates in Anchorage and Wasilla, Alaska. SBS is a member of the Pro-Build family of companies that operates 18 stores and is based in Anchorage.

SBS says the Anchorage location will continue to operate much as it has in the past. It will serve residential builders and retail customers, but will now be identified as Spenard Builders Supply, Lake Otis branch. The company says the Wasilla location will operate as a branch of Galco Building Products, a specialized SBS facility that services applicator contractors with primarily vinyl siding, roofing, gypsum and insulation products. It also says the Wasilla location will facilitate internal distribution for the Mat-Su Valley SBS branches.

SBS says Mark Habermann, who founded Arctic Builders Source in 1991 as a one-man operation that delivered materials out of a blue Ford pick-up truck, will join the company and manage its Lake Otis branch. 

“The sale of Arctic Builders Source to SBS is a win-win-win situation,” Habermann said. He further explained, “it’s great for me and my family, our employees and Spenard Builders Supply.” www.sbsalaska.com

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