January is always one of my favorite issues of PROSALES to produce because it marks the start of another exciting year and serves as the platform to announce our Dealer of the Year. And this year it's been even more rewarding than usual because in addition to announcing our 2004 Dealer of the Year, Curtis Lumber, we are also unveiling a complete redesign of our magazine. Officially announcing these two significant events in tandem gives us great momentum to start the New Year, as well as provide you with a fresh new look and outlook for the building materials supply industry in 2005.

Curtis Lumber president Jay Curtis, pictured on this month's cover, is “always on the move,” looking for new strategies to grow and improve profitability, as senior editor Chris Wood reports in our profile of Curtis Lumber. When he made the trip to visit Curtis Lumber's headquarters in Ballston Spa, N.Y., in November the thing that impressed Chris most about the company and its executives was a no-nonsense but creative business atmosphere charged with empowerment that allows all employees to become leaders and facilitate positive change—from store redesigns to acquisitions. Indeed, there are many reasons we selected Curtis Lumber as the recipient of our highest honor this year; I'm most impressed with Jay Curtis' personal drive and commitment to supporting the industry as a whole through active participation in national and regional associations and his willingness to support efforts to educate industry peers.

And at PROSALES, we've been on the move lately, too, most recently with a redesign that will enhance both the appearance and the content of the magazine. As you read the story on Curtis Lumber and our other features in this issue, which include an update on the insurance climate and a Market Matters report on the booming components manufacturing sector, you'll find the same great information as always but with new graphics, callouts, and sidebars that are easy-to-read and streamlined within the overall body of the articles. We've also updated our ProWatch format by posting a topic summary on the opening page, simplified our table of contents, positioned information about our contributing editors more prominently, and designed products pages that have more flexibility to highlight pictures and descriptions of the best new introductions from manufacturers.

Why did we decide to make all of these improvements? Dealer of the Year Jay Curtis sums it up best in this quote: “You have to be willing to look forward a little bit and pay attention to how your market is changing, if it is changing, and what the new needs are every day. Don't be afraid to cut away the old, and never discount any new idea out of hand.”

As a magazine, we've grown tremendously over the past two to three years, by changing our editorial mix to focus more on supply chain issues and downstream market intelligence, expanding our columns and product coverage, adding space for reader feedback, and broadening our scope and mission by becoming the official publication of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association. According to the reader and advisory board response we've received, these changes have had a positive impact on our ability to deliver timely and important news and information to you each month. So, with that in mind, we decided we also should heed the call to action set forth by Curtis Lumber and say out with the old, in with the new this year with this complete redesign. Happy reading!

Lisa Clift, Editor