September 2018 Newsletter

September 2018 Newsletter




September 2018 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

It’s fall, y’all. I don’t know about you but I was ready for the hot, humid, and rainy summer to end. Especially the rain. Most markets in which we operate had a rainy summer and a lot of jobs have been delayed. The summer rains, followed by Hurricane Florence, wreaked havoc on the Carolina coast causing several deaths and over $1 billion in damage. Flooding also caused many SYP mills to close and also delayed rail car and truck delivery of SPF lumber from the west coast. See below for more details on this and its effect on pricing.

There were few manufacturers of construction materials we distribute that increased prices or announced future price increases in September, until President Trump announced on September 17th that his administration would impose a 10% tariff on another $200 billion worth of finished goods from China, effective September 24th, which will increase to 25% on January 1, 2019. The impact from Hurricane Florence slowed economic activity, especially in North and South Carolina, and will impact costs for lumber and other construction products.

SYP lumber prices had been rising since mid-August and prices were expected to steadily increase into October, due to strong demand. Lead times for truckload orders of some sizes of dimensional lumber were three weeks or more in late August. In anticipation of Hurricane Florence and because of mandatory and voluntary evacuations, several lumber mills were shut down in eastern NC and SC beginning the second week in September and many will not reopen for days or even weeks because of massive flooding. Prices for SYP lumber are now 5 to 6 percent higher than they were the first part of September and many analysts predict that prices will increase by 10 to 15% by the end of October. Lead times are predicted to be as much as 4 weeks on some types of lumber. We strongly urge you to buy out any requirements you have for SYP lumber as soon as possible to avoid paying higher prices in the coming weeks and to try to ensure you have the lumber onsite when needed.  

Prior to the announcement of the 10% tariff on other finished goods from China, the administration had not made clear exactly which finished goods would be subject to the tariff as it appeared that the tariff would be imposed primarily on consumer goods including the automotive industry. The list of finished products was much greater than had been expected and included many products used in the construction industry. Some but not all of the construction products that will be effected by the tariff are anchor bolts, rebar and concrete reinforcing supports, nail stakes, rod chairs, polyethylene, rebar caps, nails, collated fasteners, power tools, hand tools, aluminum products, and others. Most importers of these types of construction products announced they will increase prices by 10% on September 24th and a few as late as October 1st. Distributors of these construction products will have no other choice than to increase their prices by 10% in early October.

 Tremco Incorporated announced on September 10th that they will implement a price increase effective November 1st as follows;

Tremsil 200 and Proglaze sealants – 10%
PUMA product line – 8%
All other sealants, air barrier, and waterproofing products – 4%

Increased costs for raw materials and finished goods were cited by Tremco as the reason for their November 1st price increase. If you have any projects that specify Tremco products, you may want to buy these out in early October to avoid paying higher prices in November.

Holcim announced on September 17th that they will increase prices on their entire line of products effective April 1, 2019 as follows;

Bulk Cements – $8.00/short ton
NewCem – $8.00/ short ton
Fly Ash – $8.00/short ton
Portland Bag Products – $.40/bag
Masonry Bad Products – $.30/bag

Due to the advanced notice, Holcim will not price protect any orders shipped after March 31, 2019 including special job quotes.

As has been the case for the past few months, domestic rebar prices were unchanged in September and most analysts do not expect domestic mills to increase prices in October. Most mills rollings are sold out through mid- to late October and some mills are sold out of some of the most popular diameters until mid-November. Due to the long lead times please place any orders with your New South sales representative as early as possible, to ensure you have the rebar needed on site to meet your job schedule.

The producer price index (PPI) for final demand in August, not seasonally adjusted, decreased 0.3% from July but increased 2.8% year-over-year (y/y) from August 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on September 12. AGC posted tablesand an explanation focusing on construction prices and costs.

Click here for the latest update on the construction economy from Ken Simonson, the chief economist of the AGC.

Featured Manufacturers


Quality construction chemicals for the concrete industry (Click image for full size)


Producer of construction films – poly, vapor barriers, and liners


North America’s foremost supplier of sealant, weatherproofing, and passive fire control solutions

Associate Profile

Our associate profile this month is of Daniel Stehlar, Director of Sales and Marketing. Daniel joined us in June after a career with Home Depot and GE, among others. Daniel was born in Atlanta and grew up in Augusta. He graduated high school at the Academy of Richmond County and got his undergraduate degree at Mercer University and his Masters at Georgia State. Daniel and his wife, Stacy, enjoy travel, their three dogs, UGA football, Chelsea FC soccer, and working out. Daniel has been a welcome addition to our team.

Our management article this month is, Is Your Small Business Able to Find Top Talent?Getting and keeping top talent in this market is harder than ever. Unemployment in SC dropped to 3.4% last month, down from 3.6% in July. It used to be said that 5% unemployment was full employment as the bottom 5% can’t or won’t work. So much for that adage. I hope this article will help you in your talent quest.

In closing I want to share some great news with you. HBS (Hardware and Building Supply) Dealer magazine recently conducted an industry-wide logo contest and we were chosen as having the best dealer logo in the business. We weren’t shocked as we have felt for some time that our logo was the best in the industry but it was nice to get confirmation. See

Also, in the same month, LBM (Lumber and Building Materials) Journal did a cover story on us. See for that story.

September’s Management Article

Is Your Small Business Able to Find Top Talent?

by Lin Grensing-Pophal
Even though small businesses are a key foundation of the United States’ economic strength, they often struggle with the ability to recruit and retain the A-list talent they need to survive and thrive.

Small companies may not be able to afford the top salaries and big benefits of Fortune 100 firms, but they don’t have to. There are other ways to stand out that very large employers can’t easily replicate.

The Personal Touch
Big-time college coaches recruit A-list athletes, not through social media, LinkedIn, website recruiting or other big-business approaches, but through the personal touch. They go into recruits’ living rooms and make the case for attending their universities, said Greg Szymanski, SHRM-SCP, director of human resources at Geonerco Management, a Seattle-based company that provides accounting, finance, human resources, legal and other management services to homebuilding operations.

“We out-hustle and outwork our competitors,” he said. His company does that through career fair recruiting and information sessions, and having long-term employees share their passion for the company and describe what a great place it is to work. Geonerco also uses more traditional recruitment approaches—like social media and referrals. “Those things are the spokes in the wheel. The wheel is stronger the more spokes you can get in it.”

Deborah Sweeney is CEO of, in Calabasas, Calif., a company of about 50 employees that provides online document-filing services for people wishing to form a corporation or limited liability company. Sweeney recruits right in her community, keeping her eyes open for people—efficient Starbucks baristas, great servers at local restaurants, or students on the two campuses where she serves as a board member—who have the “great personality and strong work ethic” to fit into her firm. Sweeney says, “[I watch] how they work and act when they are not being watched by their boss; if it feels like a possible fit, I’ll approach them and talk about our business and throw out the possibility of working for us.”

Fit and Flexibility
Greg Kuchcik, SHRM-SCP, is vice president of HR with Zeeto, a data discovery platform company based in San Diego with about 70 employees and a spot on Inc. 5000’s list of fastest-growing companies in America. The firm has been able to attract candidates, said Kuchcik, by setting up “a fun, intimate, and personable culture that caters to individuals.” The firm looks for employees whose values mesh with a small-company environment by asking a simple question: “If you could have been the 10th employee at Facebook, or the 10,000th, which would you choose?” Candidates’ responses can indicate if they value the chance to “get in while we’re small, have their voices heard and, if this company blows up, be a huge part of that.”
Flexibility and the opportunity to offer “off-the-cuff perks such as ordering in ice cream for the day or having a stylist come in” also appeal to employees. They are, he said, relatively inexpensive offerings that support team-building.

Growth Opportunities
Small companies may actually have more advancement opportunities than larger firms, said Nate Masterson, HR manager for Maple Holistics, a natural beauty product firm based in Farmingdale, N.J. In larger companies, there are “so many people doing your job” and, consequently, more competition when opportunities become available. In smaller firms, he said, if you’re good at what you do and show talent and skill, you’ll be given new responsibilities [and] taught new skills and groomed, making you that much more valuable to the market.”

The “family vibe” of a small company, Masterson said, is also important and “not something that [he takes] lightly.”

Katie Barnes, director of people operations with Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG), with corporate headquarters in Davie, Fla., agreed. “When working for very large corporations with a lot of structure, you may not get the opportunity to make an impact on the business,” she said.

At Bankers, with about 360 employees in three cities, employees have that opportunity and can share feedback and ideas directly with the company owners and executive team. It’s an environment where collaboration and communication are encouraged through various means, she said. “Employees can have coffee, on BHG, with anyone they would like to get to know better or [who works in] any area of business they are interested in learning more about. We also provide networking platforms every month within one location while our ownership and leadership team are onsite for their monthly strategic meeting. This gives all associates the opportunity to get to know the leaders throughout the organization.”

That’s all for this month. As always, never hesitate to let me know how we can better serve you. Thank you for your business!

Best regards,

Jim Sobeck
President 864-263-4377
Connect with us: Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | LinkedIn

Author of The Real Business 101: Lessons From the Trenches
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