Content about Opinion

January 31, 2014

First rule: plan ahead. Does your approach to buying markets and trade shows jibe with our readers’ approach? 

A recent HCN Daily asked: “A busy month for co-op and distributor markets is just around the corner. How do you plan to make the most of the markets?” 

One reader responded with several key concepts:

• “Planning, budget and time allocation is most important.”

January 29, 2014

Sales are up. Is it time to expand? The answer is not as easy as you think. Here are some points to consider on some of the most common ways to expand:

Expanding product lines/service offerings

January 29, 2014

You meet some interesting people in the home improvement industry. Here’s another one: Jared Littmann, the 41-year-old youth sports coach; lawyer; Annapolis, Md., assemblyman; owner of K&B True Value in Annapolis; and — most recently — True Value board member.

Littmann spoke to HCN just before the K&B True Value Hardware Art Show (see it at homechannelnews.com) opened its doors.

December 12, 2013

The American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA) surveyed members on two hot topic questions. 

As sales of existing-homes fell in October for the second consecutive month, the AHMA asked: “Is a strong housing market important to the success of your business?”

Ninety percent responded “Yes,” and 10% responded “No.”

December 10, 2013

Why is it taking so long for the Commerce Department to estimate housing starts?

Here we are in December, and the latest available stats date all the way back to August, when the Bureau’s estimate for total housing starts came in at a disappointing seasonally adjusted annual rate of 883,000.

September 23, 2013

As summer comes to a close, our industry welcomes good news and confronts bad news. The good: Companies are fighting their way out of the recession through ingenuity, superior product development and clever marketing strategies. The bad: Skilled talent is in short supply. In fact, the old adage “finding good help is hard these days” has never been truer than it is today. As companies fight to emerge from the recession and begin the long process of hiring top talent, they are discovering a shortage of skilled (and experienced) individuals.

September 10, 2013

Two-step distribution is riding a housing recovery for both LBM and hardware.

Sales gains and growth were the major themes of the HCN Top 300 Retailer and Top 200 Pro Dealer Scoreboards released earlier this year.

So it’s only logical that the HCN Top 100 Distributor Scoreboard shares in that growth, fueled by rising prices on certain products and a long awaited — though staggering and somewhat unreliable — housing market recovery.

September 9, 2013

As the living-wage bill makes the rounds in Washington, D.C., HCN readers embrace a right-to-work attitude.

The mayor of Washington, D.C., is considering a proposal that hike the miminum wage in the district for big retailers. 

The plan calls for a $12.50 minimum wage – well above the current $8.25 – for employees of companies with $1 billion or more in sales and stores measuring at least 75,000 square feet. 

September 6, 2013

The mayor of Washington, D.C., is considering a proposal that hike the miminum wage in the district for big retailers. 

The plan calls for a $12.50 minimum wage – well above the current $8.25 – for employees of companies with $1 billion or more in sales and stores measuring at least 75,000 square feet. 

Here’s how HCN readers weighed in:

June 27, 2013

The article "Home Depot drops Paula Deen" generated several reader comments.

June 19, 2013

Last month Upfront defended the Marketplace Fairness Act.

Some of you sent kind notes indicating appreciation for remarks in support of a level tax-playing field for online and brick-and-mortar retailers. In doing so, you revealed your fair-minded nature.

Not everyone agreed with every bullet point, however.

"I feel your Upfront piece in the May 2013 issue dismissed the complex issue with a toss-off answer," wrote one reader.

June 3, 2013

Here's the situation when I was on the ladder.

• The ground under the garage gutter sloped hard from right to left.

• Plants prevented ideal positioning of the wobbly painter's ladder.

• And I was already tired from cleaning the gutters in the front of the house.

All the conditions were present for a classic weekend DIY accident.

May 23, 2013

Perspectives on promotion and pricing of U.S.-made building products

May 7, 2013

The following letters were in response to an article about reform of the EPA’s Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.

Lead paint rule and the opt-out provision:

April 8, 2013

The great H.L. Mencken wrote: "A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar."

Is he right? I don't know, but it seems as if Washington, D.C., is quite a mess these days, with a mounting deficit and acrimonious factions.

Still, one of the highlights on the HCN calendar is the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. This year's event, in addition to several rounds of strategizing and lobbying, featured presentations from not one, but two politicians.

February 1, 2013

With California’s controversial “lumber assessment” now being assessed on most lumber products sold in the state under so-called “emergency” regulations from the state’s tax collection agency, the State Board of Equalization (BOE), the next process for the state agency is to develop permanent rules including a permanent retailer set-up reimbursement.

November 30, 2012

While politicians attempt to balance budgets, the mortgage interest tax deduction is again in the news. Readers respond here.

"There could be nothing worse our government could do than discourage the ownership of a home. I would like to think that our elected officials are at least smart enough to realize that!" — Bruce M. Currie President C.A. Niece Lumber Co. Lambertville, N.J.

November 16, 2012

HCN Thursday raised the question: Is it wise to rebuild damaged or destroyed beachfront houses, in the face of unrelenting natural forces that are likely to reshape the coastline in coming years or decades?

HCN readers offered the following responses:

November 15, 2012

A post-hurricane opinion piece, titled "We need to retreat from the beach," appeared in the Thursday New York Times. In it, a Duke University professor argues, "We should strongly discourage the reconstruction of destroyed or badly damaged beachfront homes in New Jersey and New York."

What do you think? Let us know here.

October 23, 2012

A manufacturer weighs in on the paint-and-primer-in-one trend. He asks: “Don’t customers deserve a clear message?” 

"After reading the above noted article, I am compelled to relay the truth as a manufacturer for honesty to independents and to keep industry media current on technology.

October 9, 2012

Several readers responded with incredulity to the data in the article titled, “Unemployment rate declines to 7.8%.”

They are not alone.

September 18, 2012

Remember the slogan “Fix housing first? The Federal Reserve might have finally caught on and is hoping to boost home sales and home refinances by buying billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities. 

We asked readers if this was a good idea. Here’s what we heard.

August 28, 2012

An article in HCN Monday about the coach-only travel policy at Tractor Supply led to unanimous support for the coach class cabin for business trips.

“We have never flown first class unless we were bumped up. Never paid for it in 41 years.” — George A. Pattee Chairman and CEO Parksite

August 24, 2012

Disputes over dumping -- selling products in the U.S. market at prices below the cost of production or for less than what the products are sold in the home market -- are a major thorn in the side of companies wanting to do business internationally. The United States enacted the antidumping law to protect U.S. manufacturing companies from “unfair” imports, but the real impact of the law is to bankrupt legitimate U.S. companies and destroy U.S. jobs.

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