Personnel Update:
Do it Best Corp. announced a changing of the guard as two longtime executives will retire effective June 30.  Dave Haist, Exec VP and COO, and Dave Dietz, VP Ffnance, are being replaced by Dan Starr and Doug Roth — Starr as executive VP and COO and Roth as VP Finance.
Do it Best Corp. has named Gary Furst its VP Human Resources, General Counsel and Corporate Assistant Secretary.  Furst fills the vacancy left by Dan Starr, who was promoted to Exec VP and COO, replacing the retiring Dave Haist.
Handy Hardware Wholesale President Tina Kirbie has officially retired, marking the end of a 32-year career at the company.
House-Hasson Hardware has named Don Phillips VP Operations.
Lowe’s Companies, Inc., announced that Jon Broz VP, Assistant General Counsel for Litigation has left the company to take a position at Family Dollar.
Industry Insight
Burns Hardware Do-It Center  and Triangle Ace Hardware, both independent hardware stores in Clovis, NM became one store at the Triangle location, according to both the Triangle and Burns owners.
Evans Lumber Co. in South Charleston, W. Va., closed for business at the end of March after 82 years as a family-run business. 
Fleeger’s Pro Hardware of Toledo, OHhas closed its doors permanently.  The first Fleeger’s store was opened shortly after World War II and was ultimately operated by the third generation of family ownership.
Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp. opened a new Orchard Supply Hardware store in Fresno, Calif.
Roswell Lumber Do it Center has remodeled its stores and rebranded them under a single name: Builders Do it Center.
Sears Hardware Stores plans to close ten locations for the first half of 2012.
WOLF announced that its Wolf Home Products department has also developed a new web site, www.wolfhomeproducts.com, providing product imagery, detailed descriptions, and information for consumers and builders – an effort to support the sales efforts of independent dealers.
Real Estate:
Home Depot, after pulling out of a long-planned store project in San Francisco, is looking once again at opening its first location inside the city.  The home improvement retailer has filed an application with the city to build a 120,000-sq.-ft. store on 7.9 acres in the Bayview section.  The company estimates it could have the store built and opened in 14 months if it receives approval.  Four years ago, Home Depot won approval from the San Franciscoboard of supervisors to open a new location on Bayshore Boulevard after a decade of clashing with community groups and local businesses, including independent hardware store owners. But the company dropped the project after a corporate decision to cut back on new store openings.  Lowe’smoved into the site, a former Goodman’s Lumber, instead. 
Lowe’s is moving ahead with its Canadian expansion, planning a new store for Blairmore, a city near Saskatoon.  This will be the company’s second store in Saskatchewan
Menards is looking to open as many as six stores in the Kansas Citymetro area in the next few years.  Kansas City officials said the home improvement chain has submitted initial plans for a 162,340-sq.-ft. store accompanied by eight pad sites for a large retail center that Menards would develop on vacant property.  Sources familiar with Menards’ plans said the company is actively considering locations in Liberty, Lee’s Summit, Grandview, Independence,and Overland Park.  The Kansas City metro area already has 17 Home Depot stores and 12 Lowe’s locations.

Menards plans to open a new superstore in Port Huron, Mich., putting the home-improvement retailer right on the U.S.-Canadian border. The Port Huron Area School Districtis selling the Wisconsin-based retailer a former middle school property for $3.4 million; the deal is expected to close in November.  The new store will be built as a 240,000 sq. ft. unit.  He added that the company anticipates serving Canadian as well as U.S.customers.  Some of the issues that still need to be resolved are the environmental impact of the store, rezoning the property and working with the Michigan Department of Transportation because of the site’s proximity to the expressway.

Green Initiatives/Sustainability:
Home Depot, in conjunction with The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), has launched an online green home products database. The database is a special “microsite” within homedepot.com that features products geared toward green home building, many of which may contribute toward earning LEED points and prerequisites for the LEED for Homes program, making it easier for homeowners and builders to find the products they need, according to the joint press release.  Currently, more than 2,500 products sold at The Home Depot are listed on the website.
Home Depot and Lowe’s have partnered with solar suppliers to sell solar power in their stores. That trend could play a key role in bringing cleaner energy — and energy efficiency — to mainstream consumers, which could boost the market for those who make and sell those technologies. Via the economies of scale, a larger market could — in turn — further shrink prices, especially for large commercial and industrial buyers.
Lowe’s has partnered with EcoRebates, a rebates solutions provider that focuses on incentives for eco-friendly products, to offer an online tool on Lowe’s website that lets shoppers search for utility energy rebates. The tool is positioned alongside Lowe’s existing Online Rebate Center.
Customers can use the tool to search for local utility rebates as well as lower prices, promotions, and incentives on energy-efficient appliances, light bulbs, and more. EcoRebates compiles incentives from manufacturers and merchants and combines them with over 3,800 utility and state rebate programs, which it matches to 200,000 product SKUs at the zip code level. The Rebate Centeris also integrated with Lowe’s point-of-sale system, allowing store associates to keep customers informed at checkout if their purchases qualify for rebates.