Builders’ Show attendees torn by technology, economy

Rising consumer skepticism despite falling interest rates, and technologies designed to help builders sell homes were the most-discussed topics at this year’s Builders’ Show, held Jan. 26-29 in Houston’s Astrodome complex.

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Despite  sluggish 1995, one builder said 1996 “started with a bang in terms of starts.” Others agreed.

“Nineteen ninety-six is a great year so far,” said Glenn T. D’Auria, manager of Southwestern Images Construction, Inc., in Tucson, AZ. D’Auria said he secured four starts and two $100,000-plus remodeling contracts before leaving for the show. Continue reading

Economy, cross-border issues dominate Canadian show

Summary

Canadian housing starts dropped 20% during 1995, in part because of low worker wages and cutbacks to the government-sponsored retirement program. The US and Canadian hardware industries are beginning to overlap, with Canadian distributors marketing their wares in US stores, and Ace Hardware Corp.’s contract to supply Canada’s Beaver Lumber. A number of new products were unveiled at the show, such as Snowbear’s personal snow plow and Noma Industries Ltd.’s heavy-duty surge protector, which works to protect equipment from power surges generated by Canada’s hydroelectric plants.

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How situation Cordless convenience attracts tool buyers

Think about that

Do you have heard the one about the maintenance supervisor who bought twenty to twenty-five cordless power tools at a time for distribution to his crew? This kind of transaction, says Jeff Watt, director of purchasing at White Cap Industries in Costa Mesa, Calif., signifies the appeal cordless driver/drills have for those who handle incidental, occasional tasks.

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Contractors, too, pay for the performance and convenience that advanced gear mechanisms and battery packs deliver, as standard, on professional-grade, 12-volt cordless tools. Other attention-getting features include the fact that the time needed to charge a battery has dropped from about an hour a few years ago to around 15 minutes today. Further, many suppliers make it even more convenient to use a cordless unit by including a second battery with each tool sold. Continue reading