Dealers Gather in Orlando to Honor PROSALES Award Winners

A capacity crowd filled a banquet hall in Orlando's Peabody Hotel Thursday morning for the annual PROSALES Excellence Awards breakfast. Dealers honored were Columbus (Ohio) Wood Products and Van Millwork, Bellingham, Mass., co-winners of the Excellence Award for Showroom Design; Boone County Lumber/Boone County Millwork, Columbia, Mo., winner of the Excellence Award for Marketing/Customer Service; and M S International, Orange, Calif., and Curtis Lumber, Ballston Spa, N.Y., recipients of honorable mention citations for showroom design. The gathering also provided the opportunity to recognize Ply Mart, Norcross, Ga., for its 2006 Dealer of the Year award. See PROSALES' November issuefor write-ups on the Excellence Awards, sponsored by OSI Pro Series, and the January issue for my story on Ply Mart.

IBS Roundup: Exclusive Podcasts, Features, and Dealer News

PROSALES' coverage of the International Builders' Show entered a new dimension today with the first posting of a podcast devoted to products showcased at the show. The podcasts are hosted by PROSALES' two product mavens: managing editor Katy Tomasulo and associate editor Stephani Miller. Along with that, visit PROSALES' special page online devoted to IBS news.

Executive editor Chris Wood met up with several dealers exhibiting at the show, Pro-Build, Stock Building Supply, Carter Lumber, and Home Depot Supply. Read his report on these companies' IBS programs and future initiatives here.

Pro-Build Inches Toward a Consistent National Brand

Pro-Build borrowed a trick from the first days of the New York Mets in unveiling its new logo. Just as the Mets sought at their founding to pluck New Yorkers' heartstrings by choosing as their colors Brooklyn Dodger blue and New York Giants orange, Pro-Build's logo is taken from three of its component units. The green comes from Strober Building Supply, the brown is similar to that of Home Lumber, and the stylized tree profile harkens to the trees on Lanoga's logo. (The logo also resembles a silhouette of a house and an arrow pointing the way forward, the company said.) The logo design reflects Pro-Build's attempt to balance its desire to forge a nationwide name with the benefits it continues to reap from having so many well-known regional brands. Pro-Build CEO Paul Hylbert said the company's divisions "are now going to figure out for their locations how quickly they're going to go" and embrace the logo. Look for Strober to embrace the change relatively quickly, while units such as Dixieline Lumber and Spenard Builders Supply will take their time.

February's Cover Story Features an Old Dominion Revival

Virginia is for lovers, the slogan goes, but executive editor Chris Wood reminds us in this month's PROSALES cover story that it's also a great place for builder markets. Wood provides the story behind Smitty's Building Supply's grand re-opening this month of its flagship store in Alexandria, Va. Smitty's had considered closing the yard as it pursued production builder fever farther away from Washington, but changes inside the D.C. Beltway gave the yard a profitable new purpose. Now Smitty's has a custom shop even as it keeps an eye on the tract builders. "It is certainly our plan to become the pre-eminent dealer in Northern Virginia," Smitty's CEO Rick Smith told Wood. "There's some pretty tough competition out here, but the housing market in Northern Virginia will continue to be very strong. When you can support the likes of a Smitty's, a Roper Bros., and a TW Perry all in one market, all of us in the $100 million plus range, that's a nice place to be."

If Only Your Salespeople Were as Persistent as This Yard Pet

The third installment of our new feature on yard pets takes us to Denver, where a border collie named Telly has been greeting customers at Alpine Lumber Co.'s 5800 Pecos location for eight years. Says Alpine's Hamid Taha: "Her claim to fame is to drop a short piece of air hose at a customer's foot and paw them until they throw it for her. Once someone throws it, they're trapped into a game of fetch until they leave. Telly is known to follow customers to the door and violently shake the hose from side to side, trying to will the customer into one more throw." Does your yard have a pet? Send an electronic picture, name, and details to [email protected].

Harvard Disputes Truism That Building, Remodeling Have Ying-Yang Relationship

A new study (you'll find it here) issued Thursday that examines prospects for the remodeling market concludes, among other things, that the old notion that remodeling picks up when home building declines just isn't true. "It's definitely not countercyclical to home building," Kermit Baker of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies told me earlier this week. What actually is going on, he believes, is that remodeling activity is more consistent year to year than home building. Thus, when new construction declines, the remodeling part of the business becomes more noticeable. The study predicts that total remodeling expenditures will increase by 21 percent between 2005 and 2010 and by nearly 19 percent in 2010-2015. It also predicts that senior, minority, and non-family households -- "groups that you don't think of as being in your core remodeling audience," Baker notes -- will account for significant shares of the projected growth.