When Hurricane Sandy slammed into the northeastern part of the United States, the level of damage was clearly devastating. It was the start of a tremendously difficult time for many residents of this highly populous region. When bad things happen, a silver lining often emerges. In this case, that is a positive impact on the home improvement industry.
When I picked up my local newspaper the other day, a headline read “Collierville’s McGinnis Hardware to close its doors after 146 years.” Clearly this isn’t the first independent store to go out of business, but it brought on feelings of nostalgia. Started in 1866 and in the same location on the picturesque Town Square since 1879, McGinnis Hardware was a fixture in the community. It stood through the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm and the Iraq War.
There is an old curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Unfortunately for the economy, the last several years have been “interesting times.” Home improvement has weathered this storm better than some areas (notably new-home construction), but the industry has clearly been impacted. Twice a year the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) publishes a detailed size-of-market forecast for home improvement product sales.