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Archive for October 2015

John Thomas furniture to expand finishing program, add 40 jobs

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John Thomas Furniture plans to acquire a vacant 40,000 sq. ft. facility in High Point, North Carolina and add 40 jobs in an expansion of its custom finish program.

Bryan Sprinkle, John Thomas’ national sales manager, said he expects the deal to close within the next 30 to 45 days on the bank-owned property formerly occupied Arpel Leather at 1004 Old Thomasville Road. He did not have information on the expected purchase price.

It will be the company’s fifth property. John Thomas Furniture’s headquarters is in Thomasville, where the firm also has two warehouses, Sprinkle said. A third warehouse is in High Point.

The purpose of the facility will be finishing work, which is the “driving force of the business,” Sprinkle said.

“We import unfinished components from overseas,” he said, “and when they arrive here we build it and finish it per the customer’s request.”

With the new facility, John Thomas Furniture will be able to “consistently offer 30-day turnaround on orders,” Sprinkle said.

The new facility is expected to be operational within about eight months. It will expand with new jobs in stages.

“We’ll probably look to bring on the first 15 or 20 within the next four months,” he said.

See the full BizJournals story here: http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/news/2015/10/16/thomasville-company-to-acquire-high-point-facility.html.

www.johnthomasfurniture.com

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October 30, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Survey finds friendliest cities for contractors

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Thumbtack Journal, an agency that finds the right professionals for any job, has released findings of its Small Business Friendliness Survey, which asked 18,000 small business owners – including 3,578 contractors – to rate their local state and city government policies toward small business.

Americans paid nearly $130 billion to work on 30 million home improvement projects in 2013, according to the Census Bureau. For many of those projects, a huge stack of rules govern what work can be done when and by whom.

From electrical codes to plumbing inspections to lead removal standards, the rules that govern home improvement are enforced by local government.

So which cities are doing relatively well according to the survey? Thumbtack took the responses received from 3,578 contractors across the country and looked at cities where contractors rated their local government as being friendlier than professionals in other categories. The cities were then ranked by the spread between the reported contractor score and the overall score for that city.

The survey found that the top ten cities for general contractors are:

  1. Greenville, South Carolina
  2. New Haven, Connecticut
  3. Albany, New York
  4. Tampa, Florida
  5. Port St. Lucie, Florida
  6. Asheville, North Carolina
  7. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  8. Cincinnati, Ohio
  9. Dallas, Texas
  10. New Orleans, Louisiana

See the full report here.

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October 30, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Festool celebrates 90 years with big giveaway

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The limited edition Festool 90 Years CXS drill.

Festool celebrates 90 years with big giveaway

Festool’s 90th anniversary is approaching, and with it, comes the 90 tools for 90 years giveaway. This year, for the company’s e-newsletter subscribers, ten special edition CXS drills are up for grabs. Sign up for the newsletter here.

Follow Festool on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to see the company’s storied history via photos and content.

Click here for the full contest rules.

www.festoolusa.com

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October 30, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Home renovation industry confidence remains high

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Houzz, a leading platform for home remodeling and design, released the Q3 2015 Houzz Renovation Barometer, which tracks confidence in the home renovation market among industry professionals. The Q3 2015 Barometer revealed that optimism in quarter-over-quarter market improvements remains high across industry professionals, with high index scores of 65* or higher in market confidence. However, readings for Q3 of 2015 are 6 to 11 percent lower than readings from Q2 across all industry groups. Landscape specialty firms are the exception, having reported a decrease of 21 percent, likely due to seasonal patterns.

Hiring remains a top challenge for renovation professionals across industry sectors in Q3. General contractors (GCs), remodelers and design-build firms report that carpenters are in the shortest supply across the U.S. (cited by 45 percent of firms), followed by framers (25 percent), tile (22 percent) and drywall specialists (21 percent). Interestingly, more than one in five architects and interior designers report shortages of general contractors (24 percent and 21 percent respectively). Labor shortages are reported to be most prevalent in the Midwest and least severe in the Northeast.

“Barometer readings consistently show year-over-year gains in the past three quarters of 2015, pointing to healthy improvements in the remodeling industry in 2015 over 2014,” said Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. “The headwinds slowing overall industry performance are widespread labor shortages, particularly in the Midwest.”

Additional findings from the Q3 2015 Houzz Barometer include:

  • Widespread New Business Growth: Firms report growth across the number of new business inquiries, and the number and size of new projects in Q3 (Barometer readings of 63-74, 66-74, and 60-69, respectively). Readings are down slightly from Q2 across all three leading new business indicators, likely due to the start of a seasonal slowdown, as well as the backlog of projects from the spring months, among other factors.
  • Year-Over-Year Gains Continue: Widespread year-over-year improvements continued across all industry groups in Q3 2015, relative to the same period in 2014. The Barometer posted readings of 74-79, largely in line with Q2 scores (75-83). Readings in excess of 70 points for all three quarters of 2015 point to strong industry confidence in renovation market improvements in 2015 relative to 2014.
  • Outdoor Specialty Confidence Varied by Region: While outdoor specialty firms are feeling the seasonal slowdown earlier than other industry groups, Northeastern and Midwestern outdoor firms are hit the hardest, as reflected by the 36 percent and 30 percent quarter-over-quarter decreases in Barometer scores for the third quarter, respectively. Meanwhile, outdoor firms in the South and West saw significantly lower decreases (21 percent and 10 percent respectively).

The full Houzz Renovation Barometer Q3 2015 report can be found here.

*The greater the index value relative to 50, the greater the proportion of firms reporting increases in quarterly business activity than those reporting decreases.

www.houzz.com

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October 30, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Industry 4.0 drives success for Homag and Holzma Treff

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Attendees of Holzma Treff, an in-house exhibition of Homag and Holzma held September 22-25 in Germany, experienced innovation and intelligent solutions, and received the latest information about Industry 4.0 and networked production.

Around 2,800 visitors from all over the world were welcomed, from countries including China, Russia, USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Spain, Portugal, Finland, and Denmark. The program of presentations by customers and Homag experts was well-attended, as were workshops on topics such as “networked production — from sales to machine”.

Ulrich Schmitz, managing director at HOMAG, commented on the show’s success.

“The new Surface Competence Center in Schopfloch (Germany), the extraordinary special options for edge processing and the various automation solutions in the CNC area convinced our customers, from the carpentry trade to industry, of our capabilities in terms of innovation and performance once again.”

“The feedback from our customers on the topic of ‘Industry 4.0 and networked production’ was particularly positive,” continued Schmitz.

www.homag-group.com

www.holzma.com

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October 29, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Smart home revenue to reach $100 billion by 2020

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New data from Juniper Research has found that consumer spend on smart home services, including entertainment, health, energy and home automation will reach $100 billion by 2020, well over twice the estimated spend for this year, at $43 billion.

Entertainment services such as Netflix and Spotify are playing a key role in boosting the smart home market size, driven by a universal appeal, and the low cost of services. However, emerging smart home segments, such as home automation, are expected to begin catching up, driven by falling hardware costs and increased consumer awareness.

The research forecasts that the number of connected appliances in smart homes will rise to over 20 million by 2020. The market will continue to be characterized by high prices and a low value in connectivity. Consequently, while Samsung expects 100 percent of its portfolio to be connectable by 2020, the amount of consumers actually using these features is expected to remain relatively low.

Check out the full release here.

www.juniperresearch.com

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October 29, 2015 at 7:00 am

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CMA members gather in Northeast

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CMA members attending the CMA Northeast regional event listen to Frank Morales talk about the Sandler System sales training at Millwork & More, a shop owned by Sean Benetin in Riverdale, New Jersey. <!–
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Although it was a billed as regional, the Cabinet Maker Association’s three-day event October 14-16 in the Northeast attracted members from as far away as Tennessee, Georgia, Indiana, and Missouri. They and more local members were all treated to a packed schedule of workshops plus visits to shops and showrooms in New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York City.

Hosted by former CMA president Sean Benetin at his shop, Millwork and More, in Riverdale, New Jersey, the sessions began with an in-depth discussion of pricing and estimating presented by Benetin. He used detailed spreadsheets to help shop owners better calculate their true costs of doing business and to more accurately price their work.

Benetin’s presentation was followed by a talk titled “Be Profitable in a Rapidly Changing Market” presented by Eric Lehman, a long-time CMA shop owner from Long Island. Lehman emphasized the value of outsourcing and how many little things can add up to big costs. “Every step costs you a dollar,” he said.

After Lehman’s talk, participants boarded a van to visit Hall’s Edge, a CNC shop in Stamford, Connecticut, operated by Dave Hall, a long-time CMA member. The shop consists of five employees, a Thermwood CNC router, a Holz-Her edgebander, and a fork lift. Hall and his crew do no assembly work, simply cutting and edgebanding parts, strapping them to pallets and shipping them out the door. While CMA members watched, Hall finished up a job for Benetin’s shop, cutting out giant letters out of foam core panels for use as signage at a TEDx event in Morristown, New Jersey. (For more about Hall’s Edge, check out this story from several years ago that we did on the operation: http://www.fdmcdigital.com/Nothing_but_nesting.html.)

There was also a surprise visitor at Hall’s Edge. Legendary woodworking craftsman and designer Ian Kirby dropped in to visit and chat with the CMA members, one of whom, David Buchsbaum, was an old student of Kirby’s.

On Thursday, CMA members returned to Benetin’s shop for an all-day intensive introduction to the Sandler System of sales training. Presented by Frank Morales, the workshop delved into tools for qualifying customers and making sales closings easier. Morales talked extensively about how to use questioning techniques to better understand what customers want and target sales efforts more effectively.

Friday was devoted to a trip to New York City and visits to two showrooms. The first was a showroom for transFORM, a manufacturer of high-end closet systems and other built-ins. Their showroom in the Design Center in New York City was packed with intriguing installations and decorated with lots of original art that was also for sale. Andreas Mesis, transFORM’s co-founder, explained how the company works with its production shop in New Rochelle, New York, and its showroom in Manhattan. Donovan Malloy, the company’s marketing director, gave a presentation on how the company uses the Internet and social media for effective marketing.

After that, the CMA members hiked over to the Hafele showroom to join in an Oktoberfest event there and learn about the latest hardware offerings from the company.

Comments from attendees after the intensive three days were uniformly positive. “This was worth the time and expense plus the annual membership dues many times over,” said David Buchsbaum, who traveled from Atlanta, Georgia, to attend the event.

The CMA’s next regional event will be in Chicago November 4-6. For more information on that event or the Cabinet Makers Association in general, visit www.cabinetmakers.org.

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October 29, 2015 at 7:00 am

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