Roaming around the colossal Indianapolis Convention Center last month at the Do it Best October Market, I was amazed by the vastness of that complex, but more so by the hundreds of thousands of products and services on display.

Do it Best’s co-op members attend the market looking for product to fill their shelves and yards for the coming year. Co-op officials wouldn’t provide exact numbers, but did say that more companies showed up in October this year than had in the past several years. Not only that, but the number of employees that each member company sent to the show was also the highest in recent years.

Walking around and looking at the displays for John Deere, Husqvarna, and Black & Decker lawn equipment, DeWalt, Milwaukee, Senco, Bostitch, and other brands’ power tools, garden products, paint, flooring—you name it—I was struck by the incredible dynamism of a U.S. economy that drives so much innovation, manufacturing, and sales.

Also amazing was the cheerful goodwill expressed by nearly everyone I spoke with at the market. There seems to be a sense of cautious optimism in the wind. While no one believes we’re on the way back to the go-go days of a decade ago, LBM dealers see an industry that, despite some significant economic tailwinds, has turned the corner, and better—not the best, but better—days are here.

Another hopeful sign was the relative youth of many of the men and women at the convention center. At most gatherings of LBM folks around the country, gray and bald heads dominate. But at the October fall market (and at some other industry meetings I’ve attended during the past few months), I’ve noticed your sons, grandsons, daughters, and granddaughters coming to these events eager to learn all they can as they prepare to take the reins of their family businesses.

And finally, the innovation and creativity displayed by this year’s applicants for the 2013 ProSales Excellence Awards speaks to that same dynamism on display in Indianapolis. In the following pages, you’ll read about companies that have leveraged technology to boost sales; crafted exciting marketing plans and websites; and created beautiful, well-designed showrooms and facilities.

We’d like to send out a special thank you to all the companies that submitted entries this year. You gave the judges quite a challenge. Also, a special bid of thanks goes out to our judges Rick Davis, Joost Douwes, Alan F. Pippenger, and Chris Rader, whose insights guided the final selection process.

Be of good cheer my friends as we enter this holiday season. We live in a great country, and all you do at your stores, lumberyards, distribution centers, and manufacturing plants contributes to the greatness that is America.

—Steve Campbell is editor of ProSales. Contact him at