The evidence is only anecdotal, but we're hearing numerous reports of managers and sales reps moving from one big dealer to another these days. For instance, in early July ProBuild reportedly lured away half the installed sales department in Stock Building Supply's home market of Raleigh, N.C. And in late September, the area vice president and a number of sales reps at ProBuild's Chicago operations defected to a branch of US LBM, which itself came into being last year through the linking together of several dozen facilities that Stock was abandoning during its time in Chapter 11 bankruptcy-law reorganization.

The poaching is similar to the changes that ProSales reported on last October when we published the results of a survey (see ""This Gun's for Hire," October 2009) that found 48% of the dealers and distributors responding said they had recruited and/or hired sales reps that year. ProBuild executives in particular have made a lot of noise about the number of outside sales reps they had lured from other dealers. But as the Illinois example shows, the door is swinging both ways.