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April 2, 2014

Around the globe, sellers from country A who promote their products as “Made in country A” are quick to point out that country A products are known for their quality, even by buyers from country C.

Let’s call it “the universal theory of country-of-origin quality,” and it was on full display at the recent Internationale Eisenwarenmesse (International Hardware Fair) in Cologne, Germany.

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 opened its doors.

January 27, 2014

Leviton USB Charger Devices are a smart way to help simplify today’s busy lifestyle by providing a centralized location for charging electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones and portable music players.

January 27, 2014

LO/MIT-II offers a low cost spray-applied alternative to standard foil attic barriers.

January 27, 2014

These economical and compact assortment kits are the perfect accessory for your home, garage or workshop, and they also make wonderful gifts!

January 3, 2014

New York -- Due to the holiday rush and related closings, Chain Store Age -- sister publication of Home Channel News -- has extended the deadline for its 32nd annual Retail Store of the Year Design Competition until Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014.

December 10, 2013

Have you been to a movie lately? After you buy your large tub of buttered popcorn, your tray of pretzels, cheese dip and Diet Coke (you wouldn’t want regular Coke with all its calories), the ponytailed 16-year-old behind the counter asks if you want a receipt. After you fill your tank, the pump asks: “Receipt? Yes or No.” Ditto for your ATM.

Someone, somewhere has wondered, “How much do we spend on these rolls of receipt tape?”

December 10, 2013

The stakes are high for the nation’s independent retailers. And the competition is fierce. Stores around the country are fighting for their share of the housingmarket recovery in a highly promotional shopping environment.

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.

December 6, 2013

Residential Building Products and Technology, the digital sister publication of HCN, was honored during a prestigious awards ceremony in New York City yesterday.

December 1, 2013

St. Louis-based Gardex is now offering a product for the biggest cleanup projects. The company’s Gardex Disaster Clean-Up Rake is designed to attack heavy, wet debris from hurricanes, tornadoes or flooding.

The made-in-USA rake features 22 heavy, round stiff wire tines and double-bolted construction.

For more information, visit


November 13, 2013

Andersen Windows launched a website,, for the Home Depot. The company says the site offers visualization capabilities that make it easier for customers to select Andersen windows sold through the retailer.

“The website was first launched in May 2013 and now gives The Home Depot customers the ability to easily design a window using all the exterior options offered across multiple product lines,” said Steve Mog, VP and general manager of The Home Depot Group for Andersen.

October 30, 2013

Former hedge fund manager Jeff LaCava is setting his sights on the startup realm: specifically that of the remodeling industry, where there's opportunity to bring digital tools into the contractor selection process. is an Angie's-list type website where homeowners can go to find local home contractors, share their experiences and access an online forum related to home improvement topics. The site also features a dedicated blogroll, an evolving contractor FAQ and more.

October 18, 2013

HCN has nothing but happy memories of California.

It was here in 2007, under a sunny San Diego sky, that we recognized Augie Venezia and Fairfax Lumber as the 2007 Independent Pro Dealer of the Year.

We have followed Venezia’s subsequent career with keen interest, and have applauded his handling of regulatory storm clouds. This last one is a whopper.

October 18, 2013

For many years, the U.S. Hispanic construction market was considered “nice to have” but reaching this segment had little or no impact on the marketing budgets of retailers and manufacturers. However, with the dramatic growth rates, documented industry penetration and impressive purchasing power of that segment in recent years, the U.S. Hispanic construction market has gained serious attention in marketing budgets and is now a legitimate discussion in the C-suites when considering how to achieve positive change in the bottom line.

October 4, 2013

Pat Thorne Lumber Co. of Chillicothe, Mo., will receive the 2013 Independent Pro Dealer of the Year award during the upcoming ProDealer Industry Summit in Nashville, Tenn.

The Oct. 23-25 summit is sponsored jointly by HCN and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA). 

The three-unit Pat Thorne Lumber, co-owned by Pat and Susan Thorne, is a member of the Mid-America Lumbermens Association, of which Pat Thorne is a past president. 

October 2, 2013

The Eco-friendly built in solar powered illuminating paver.

September 30, 2013

Freud America has added to its line of high-performance Diablo reciprocating saw blades with two new specialty blades: a flush cut blade and a pruning blade.

The new Diablo Flush Cut Blades are designed to handle nail-embedded wood and metal. These Bi-Metal Reciprocating Saw Blades come in 9-in. and 12-in. lengths (product numbers DS0194AFC and DS1214AFC) and feature the optimal flex body height for flush cutting. 

September 24, 2013

C-A-L Ranch Stores opened its doors in Casa Grande, Ariz., according to, an Arizona news site. 

The new store, which joins other Arizona C-A-L Ranch locations in Show Low, Prescott and Flagstaff, will operate out of a from Albertsons grocery store building.

Privately held C-A-L Ranch Stores operates 22 stores in Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Arizona.

September 23, 2013 has introduced BulbFinder, a digital tool that helps customers match bulbs to their lighting requirements.

In partnership with St. Louis-based digital agency Infuz, developed the tool in response to the wealth of new lighting technologies that enhance (and complicate) bulb selection in the 21st century. Users can shop by selecting the shape of their bulb and a handful of other selection criteria, which then narrows their search using a filtering methodology.

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 16, 2013

In light of the growing popularity of alternative energy sources, The Toro Company is offering fuel guidance to homeowners and contractors for outdoor power equipment, recommending an ethanol/gasoline blend no higher than E10 (10% ethanol).

Generally, the company confirmed that Toro lawn mowers and snowblowers were approved for said blends and are not designed to run on fuel containing more than 10% ethanol. Toro cautioned that use of E15, E20 or E85 could affect performance or damage the engine.

The company made the following additional recommendations for consumers:

September 10, 2013

FoamPRO, the innovator and leader in Foam Painting Tools, offers value-driven, high-margin foam paint rollers and trim tools that perform extremely well with modern formulated low-VOC paints. They provide excellent paint pickup, paint release and fast coverage for a 100% lint-free finish on all surfaces.

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