Hardware Retailing

MAY 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | May 2018 72 Putting the 'B' in LBM Building material centers are particularly affected by natural disasters in their communities. With a storm on the radar, these retailers are relied on to have the materials needed to fortify homes and buildings. While hardware stores of all sizes are often called on to help rebuild after a destructive event, lumberyards are often key for consumers due to the increased availability of building materials such as plywood boards and common cut sizes. After the disaster has passed, homeowners and other residents looking to replace or repair damaged buildings come to these retailers to begin the process and access needed products. John Ruark, branch manager for Shell Lumber's store in Key Largo, Florida, has been with the company since 1998 after a career with big-box retailers. The Miami headquarters for the business has a 10,000-square-foot hardware store paired with 25,000 square feet of lumberyard that routinely services hundreds of area contractors, builders and homeowners. Shell Lumber also maintains a separate distribution center a few miles away from its Miami storefront, which allows for more storage potential and is a key part of its ability to maintain products and keep them in stock for potential storms and hurricanes, says Shell Lumber general manager Chuck Strong. Along with the normal supplies for high-end construction, the 2 ½-acre distribution center has evergreen supplies often in high demand and low supply during hurricanes, such as bottled water, construction-strength plastic garbage bags and fencing that is easily set up. With years of hurricane preparation under his belt, Ruark says Shell Lumber has been able to stay stocked with needed materials like plywood boards for boarding up windows and openings in a home. Yet each storm is different, he says. "Some storms, like Hurricane Katrina, you'll see a lot of rain, and that's when products like sandbags, mold removers and tarps are important to have. Hurricane Irma brought more wind damage and knocked down every fence in Miami-Dade County, so now we're selling those materials like never before," Ruark says. Supplies commonly needed during hurricanes and natural disasters are stored at Shell Lumber & Hardware's distribution center in Miami. Customers often seek products like water, heavy-duty garbage bags and ready-to-assemble fencing during storm season. " Some storms, like Hurricane Katrina, you'll see a lot of rain, and that's when products like sandbags, mold removers and tarps are important to have. " —John Ruark, Shell Lumber & Hardware

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