The remodeling market is strong and getting stronger, according to a presentation during the Remodeling Show, held Nov. 7–9 in Chicago. “Remodeling Industry Futures and Forecasts” was presented by Kermit Baker, senior research fellow for Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, Dave Seiders, chief economist for the NAHB, and Sal Alfano, editor in chief of REMODELING magazine, a sister publication of PROSALES.

According to Baker, the remodeling market hit $235 billion in 2003 and will reach the quarter-trillion mark by the end of this year or in 2005. He says that recent trends point to a slower but healthy growth rate of the market at about 5 percent annually. Indeed, “The equity is there and it's going to continue to grow,” Seiders said, telling the group of remodelers: “You guys are holding all the cards.”

But remodelers also will be facing some challenges, Alfano said, including growing concerns over insurance and labor. “There's a pressure in the industry to educate the installers, remodelers, and homeowners on [regulation] issues,” he noted. For dealers primed to service the remodeling market, such issues can be a great opportunity for them to support remodeling customers by offering training sessions and value-added services like installed sales.

Alfano also reported that manufacturers are paying closer attention to the market. “Now, manufacturers see that there's money to be made in the remodeling industry,” some of which may be attributed to increased attention being paid to remodelers by The Home Depot and Lowe's. Alfano pointed out that while remodelers are often wary of big boxes, the retailers are here to stay and remodelers must learn to work with them. Sounds like a good argument for dealers to keep paying attention to this profitable market segment and find ways to accommodate their needs.

Dunn Lumber Celebrates 100 Years Last month, Daytona Beach, Fla.–based dealer Dunn Lumber ( kicked off its 100th anniversary year-long celebration, which will end next November, 100 years after the company's founding in 1905. According to Sam Dunn, Dunn Lumber president and current NLBMDA chairman, the company was founded by his great-grandfather and his three sons as a hardware and crockery business in downtown Daytona Beach. The company remained hardware-centric until 1950, when the family began to shift the business toward lumber. Today, its three locations in central Florida focus almost entirely on lumber and building materials.

Despite the significance of the milestone, Dunn is quick to share the spotlight with others in the industry. “One hundred years is young to some businesses that are out there. I feel proud, but I join a group of distinguished businesses,” he says. “It's a real exhilarating feeling to be 100 years old. …You just can't help but feel that way.”

Of the landmarks along the way, perhaps one of the most significant happened just over a month ago, when the company announced that it will initiate an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), essentially turning this family-owned business over to its employee family.

The company will celebrate throughout the year with events for employees—past and present—and customers, culminating with a banquet next November.

The Home Depot Donates 250,000 Volunteer Hours to Celebrate 25th Anniversary The Home Depot celebrated its 25th anniversary by donating more than 250,000 volunteer hours during the week of Sept. 27–Oct. 2. In coalition with nonprofit organizations Hands On Network and KaBoom, more than 1,000 projects were completed throughout the United States, Mexico, and China during its week of service. “At The Home Depot, our core purpose is to improve everything we touch,” said Bob Nardelli, chairman, president, and CEO of The Home Depot, in a recent company release. “For 25 years, we have been actively involved in improving communities through volunteerism and will continue to help our neighbors for many years to come.” The Home Depot invited more than 300,000 of its associates from its 1,810 stores to contribute to the effort.

Founded in 1978, The Home Depot ( had 2003 fiscal sales of $64.8 billion.