A few quick thoughts on two markets that are providing members with opportunities but truly are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

As most members know, BC Wood has been active in the Hawaiian Islands for the last decade. Hawaii has proven to be a solid market for companies that manufacture high quality products for the resort, light commercial, and high-end residential construction sectors. In particular, companies in the timber frame, millwork, and Western Red Cedar sectors have all developed sales and market share in Hawaii.

Since all construction materials need to be shipped into Hawaii, BC manufacturers are on an equal playing field with both domestic suppliers and manufacturers from the continental US. For BC companies wanting to develop a market in Hawaii, you can sell contractor direct or to established building product distributors.

One such company who has had considerable success supplying high quality building products to contractors throughout the islands is Seattle based Pacific Source www.pacsource.com

Pacific Source was founded in 1992 by five partners who had the idea to become the top supplier of building materials to general contractors in Hawaii. Their business model was different from Hawaii based building yards in that they believed that Hawaiian builders are best served by having allied with a mainland facility near a major port (Tacoma) with easy access to shipping, mills, and manufacturers. Their model proved to be correct, as since being founded, Pacific Source has grown to having over seventy employees and annual sales of $45 million.

Pacific Source has a six acre yard and distribution facility in Snohomish, Washington and has smaller yards and showrooms on a number of the islands including Kauai, Maui, and Kailulu Kona.

If you’re looking to develop a foothold in the Hawaiian market, it may be worth your while to contact Pacific Source. The key is having a product that is both well suited to the Hawaiian market and is priced well enough that all parties can make a margin. Mark Mason, one of the original partners of the company is expected to be at the GBM next month in Whistler.

Now for the other opportunity, which by all accounts is a far cry from the exotic local of the Hawaiian Islands, is North Dakota. A while back I wrote about the building boom that is currently underway in the northwest corner of the State. Towns such as Williston, Minot, and Watford city are all experiencing extreme housing shortages as thousands of new oil field workers are flocking to the state to work in the booming oil and gas industry.

Today, North Dakota is the US’s number 2 oil producing state, having leapfrogged over Alaska and California. The discovery of vast reserves of natural gas and oil in the northern part of the state have led to a huge influx of oil industry workers moving to the region who require housing. Oil companies have tried to address the shortfall of housing by building temporary housing units known as man camps (picture below), but there remains a serious need for quality residential homes for this well paid workforce.

I will be travelling to the region over the next week to meet with builders, developers, and distributors to gauge the market opportunity for BC suppliers of prebuilt and panelized housing and related products. I will report my findings in an upcoming Wood Connections Newsletter.

For more information on either of these markets, please contact me at  dfarley@bcwood.com or on my cell at 604-728-8786.

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Last November, BC Wood, with a small group of member companies, completed a very successful trade mission to Moscow to explore opportunities for value-added wood products in the Russian market, and to participate in the Fall Holzhaus trade show.

BC Woods’ members showcased log home and timber frame structures, factory built homes, high quality millwork, and specialty Western Red Cedar building materials. Members were able to engage with industry professionals from all over Russia and surrounding countries. Developers, architects, builders, distributors, importers, and designers were all in attendance at the show, many of whom came specifically to the show to speak to the Canadian manufacturers.

Based on the success of last year’s program, BC Wood is planning to return to Moscow and the Holzhaus show this coming fall, November 1st- 4th. Space will be available for BC Wood members wanting to participate in the Holzhaus trade shows and I would encourage any companies interested in more information to contact me at bhawrysh@bcwood.com or in BC Wood’s offices at 604-882-7100.

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A reminder of BC Wood’s presence at this year’s Interior Design Show West (IDS West) – September 27-30th. Over the past couple of years, the IDS West has become the venue to see the best of international and local designs. BC Wood will bring together local companies that produce a full range of design-oriented products; everything from custom furnishings and architectural millwork, to cabinets, doors, mouldings, and flooring.

The objective will be to feature the individual companies by drawing more traffic to a centrally located “Design BC” pavilion. The pavilion will be an 1800 square foot of exhibition space, with BC Wood covering a good portion of the hard costs for this sector wide display.

If you plan to participate in the IDS West show this year, please contact me to see how we can save you money and ensure you higher visibility through the “Design BC” pavilion. Call 604-882-7100 or email me at  bhawrysh@bcwood.com.

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BC Wood will be ramping up its’ presence at the Interior Design Show West (IDS West) this coming fall September 27-30th. In an effort to bring more attention to the growing strength of wood design and manufacturing in BC, BC Wood has partnered with the show organizers of IDS West to create a high profile “Design BC” pavilion. The pavilion will showcase BC Wood members and their products, everything from custom furniture and architectural millwork, to design-inspired finished products such as kitchen cabinets, doors, flooring and paneling. The objective will be to feature the individual companies, drawing more traffic to the centrally located space. BC Wood is currently working with the IDWS West show organizers to develop promotional strategies that will highlight the companies participating in the “Design BC” pavilion and promote the strength of the growing design sector in BC.

A total of 1800 square feet of exhibition space has been set aside for the “Design BC” pavilion, with BC Wood covering a portion of the hard costs for this sector wide display. If you plan to participate in the IDS West show this year, please contact me to see how we can save you money and ensure you higher visibility through the “Design BC” pavilion. Call 604-882-7100 or email me at bhawrysh@bcwood.com

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BC Wood will once again be organizing the Canadian wood products pavilion at the annual Japan Home Show. This year the show will return to its traditional November schedule and run from the 14th through the 16th at Tokyo Big Sight.

The JHS typically attracts about 90,000 industry people ranging from importers and distributors to builders and architects and has long been the highest profile building products show in the country, particularly for imported products. This year the organizers have decided to strategically partner with JAPANTEX which is one of Japan’s largest interior trend shows for professionals. With the JHS and JAPANTEX collocated together in Big Sight’s East Hall, it is expected that JHS exhibitors will see a dramatic increase in designers working on non-residential projects.

Also, we expect positive synergies from the HOSPEX show, catering to the owners/operators of medical and elderly care facilities, which will be run concurrently by the same organizers in an adjacent hall. Elderly care facility operators have been adopting 2×4 buildings more and more in recent years because of the perceived therapeutic benefits of wood framed buildings. COFI’s Japan Office has been very active in targeting this market on the structural side and we are endeavouring to find more opportunities for value-added products on such projects.

BC Wood will also be working with the Canadian Embassy on a program timed around the show to target the reconstruction efforts in the Tohoku region. As a result, members attending the JHS will also be able to take part in some match-making activities targeting local companies working on both non-residential and residential projects in the tsunami devastated communities.

I am very excited about this year’s Japan Home Show as the housing market overall has been strong this year and the show organizers have been working hard to bring more value to exhibitors. This show offers a great opportunity for companies looking to enter the Japanese market and take advantage of the many positive trends we are seeing.  I will be booking booth space soon so for more information please e-mail me at ivanoff@canadawood.jp.

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Reform Industry Newspaper Show 2012

On July 20th, 2012, posted in: BC Wood Activities, Japan, Trade Shows by Comments Off

Over the past few years there has been a lot of interest in the “reform market” (renovation) amongst industry people in Japan. This is due to the fact that homes built since the early 1990s are quite structurally sound, but they have a reached a point where they need upgrades. In the past, 20+ year old homes would almost automatically be torn down and rebuilt, but many consumers are now comfortable with the idea of renovating over rebuilding both to save money and to reduce waste.

For these reasons, I had wanted to take space at the Reform Industry Newspaper’s annual show at Big Sight and I got the opportunity to do so this year. BC Wood exhibited on behalf of the value-added industry and used sample products ranging from doors, mouldings, windows, kitchen cabinet doors, flooring, as well as WRC furniture and fence systems in our 3m x 6m space. I also made-up picture panels of renovation projects in Canada to cover the walls.

Visitors to our booth were very impressed with the pictures of “extreme renovation” projects that doubled the floor space on homes as well as how renovating a kitchen in Canada can completely change the character of the homes main living space. In talking to the reform specialists that came by, I learned that many of them want to use more natural materials on their projects to also offer a completely new level of comfort to their clients. This is in contrast to the image of “reform” in the past when it was mainly seen as replacing worn-out kitchens and flooring with new “material” or “equipment” with little consideration for space design. I think this shift provides Canadian building products a much greater opportunity in this market.

Going forward, I will follow-up with some of the key contacts I made at the show to do more research on how BC Wood can best approach this niche market. I believe that this will be a growing market segment and that we need a sound strategy in targeting it.

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What does a trade show on the skids, mathematical equations, and NHL players loving Kelowna have in common? Read below to find out.

I was in San Francisco last week for the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC). The city was abuzz, with restaurants, car rentals, and hotels at near capacity, so I was excited hoping that the show was turning the corner after being on life support the last five years. Well, like most things, my excitement soon turned as I realized all the buzz was for the Google app conference that was happening at the same time as PCBC. In fact, Google has taken over occupying three of the four massive building that make up the conference center. As late as 2005, PCBC filled these four buildings with the latest in construction and building products supplies, now PCBC is confined to ¾ of the south hall.

That being said, PCBC this year had all the excitement of a party in a kitchen because the small size of the place seemed much busier than it actually was. Show organizers listed some 5000+ attendees at this year’s event, which provided a good venue for networking between builders, architects, and suppliers from the Northern California market. It’s too early to tell what the change in location to San Diego will do to attendance next year, but suffice it to say, the show could not survive another year in San Francisco.

Last year, I did a quick survey of members to see how their “Bid-to-Close Ratio” and see how the downturn had effected their bottom line. As discussed, the ratio last year was skewed, with members bidding on a high number of projects, but closing with far less frequency than in the past. Most blamed the market conditions at the time, as buyers were checking prices with alternative suppliers, and manufacturers were said to be “giving jobs away” just to stay in business. This time, it seems that the bid-to-close ratio is beginning to return to normal, especially with higher value manufacturers in the millwork and engineered wood products sectors. One manufacturer that I spoke commented that while they are signing more contracts, delays on project start dates have impacted the ratio. The bid-to-close ratio is a benchmark for the overall health of the industry and having this ratio gradually return to historic averages is, I believe, reflective of an improving residential and light commercial construction sector.

Finally, on the celebrity front, it seems that we have a few members who like to rub elbows with the rich, famous, and powerful.   For example, Kelowna based BC Wood member, Norelco Cabinets, has developed a niche market building custom kitchens, high-end cabinetry, and millwork for NHL hockey players including Wade Redden, Jerome Iginla, and most recently that ginger-haired grinder from Philadelphia, Scott Hartnall. It turns out that Kelowna has become a hotbed for NHL players to live and train during the summer months and a fraternity of players have built homes on Okanagan Lake over the past few years.

Also hobnobbing with the rich and famous is Judson Beaumont of Straight Line Designs. His use of beetle kill pine in recent projects creating one of kind furniture and wall panelling attracted the attention of the Minister of Tourism and Trade, the Hon Pat Bell who stopped by his shop in Vancouver this past week to view some of Jud’s latest designs. It seems that Jud has become a favorite of Victoria’s political elite as he also was commissioned to build a beetle pebble wall a few years back for former premier Gordon Campbell.

 

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Above image: Marie Khouri

For the four-day duration of the Fair, May 19-22, 145,000 square feet of the Javits Center was abuzz with more than 26,000 interior designers, architects, retailers, designers, manufacturers, representatives, distributors, and developers. On Tuesday, May 21, the ICFF opened its doors to the general public, as well.

BC Wood’s talented contingent this year included: Mario Sabjlak, Brent Comber, Marie Khouri, vin de garde cellar systems, Diamond Stairs (new member), and John Ross Design. Judson Beaumont also put in a brief appearance as he happened to be doing an installation in New York during the show. He was kind enough to stay and help us with the teardown, too!

Everyone brought something new to the show this year and many have already been picked up and blogged through various media outlets. Check out Marie Khouri’s new La Chaise launched at ICFF and picked up by http://www.interiordesign.net/slideshow/2474-ICFF_Product_Highlights.php?photoId=392796&photoUrl=/photo/392/392796-Marie_Khouri_s_La_Chaise_made_out_of_plywood_.jpg

Diamond Stairs and vin de garde are on their way to LA to participate in Dwell Magazines showcase event at the end of the month, thanks to contacts made at the show in New York. Check out these great reviews: http://www.treehugger.com/interior-design/prefabricated-cantilevered-stairs-are-minimal.html and
http://www.yourhome.ca/homes/decor/article/1193291–everything-old-is-new-again

More than 500 exhibitors from all points of the globe displayed contemporary furniture, seating, carpet and flooring, lighting, outdoor furniture, materials, wall coverings, accessories, textiles, kitchen, and bath for residential and commercial interiors. This remarkable throng of exhibitors created an unparalleled opportunity to view a broad yet highly focused selection of the world’s finest, most innovative, and original avant-garde home and contract products side-by-side, all under one roof.

Buyers and reps came from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, and U.S.

Along with BC Wood, making their yearly pilgrimage to the celebrated design hub were contingents from British European Design Group (BEDG) (our very good neighbours, incidentally), Ceramic Tiles of Italy, Furniture New York, The Furniture Society (U.S.), IDSA New York (Industrial Designers Society of America), Inside Norway, Interiors from Spain, JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) and Portugal Brands.

Above image: Diamond Stars & Vin De Garde
Below image: Brent Comber

Above image: Brent Comber & John Ross
Below image: Mario Sabljak

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By Daryl Holmes

Organized for the 35th time, TURKEYBUILD Istanbul is dubbed the biggest inter-regional building gathering that covers Turkey, Balkans, former CIS countries, North Africa, and Middle East. The exhibition was held from May 2nd to 6th, 2012 at the Tüyap Fair Centre and Congress Center, which is made up of 81,000 sq. metres and consisting of 12 exhibition halls. Attendance at this show was very high with total attendees recorded at 110,000 guests.

The following information summarizes the show and my market observations as they pertain to the value-added wood industry beginning with the core feedback that directly impacts you, the member.

BC Wood first attended Turkeybuild in the smaller market of Ankara in September, 2011 with the notion of returning for the signature event to be held in Istanbul. The valuable work undertaken in September set the stage for a very successful return to this market in early May. This show takes me back to the glory days of USA builder shows with the aisles full of qualified agents, buyers, architects, designers, developers, planners, and builders. In Turkey, industry continues to take firm steps forward. Turkey, which acts as an intercontinental bridge due to its geographical position, is an extremely important partner for BC manufacturers who wish to develop sales in this part of the world.

Where do the sales prospects lie?

At the show, four companies represented their products in the BC Wood booth space. We focused our display on products that we feel have the greatest competitive advantage in this area – Engineered Wood Products, Log Home and Timber Frame structures, PreBuilt Housing, and Remanufactured Products. Flooring and high-end furniture also received attention at this event.

During the show, we spoke to many qualified representatives of local companies who were interested in the distribution of products; these contacts were spread around Turkey and the surrounding countries. All member companies received wide spread interest in not only distribution of products, but also direct sales opportunities.

While most construction taking place in Turkey is with concrete and steel, the appetite for wood products was high. Timber and lumber comes into the country from neighbouring countries; however, the reputation of Canadian wood products as being high quality meant that we received many enquiries about project based developments and high-end building materials. So, in short, the increase in development taking place in this market indicates a growing demand for lumber and wood products overall. It was encouraging to speak to many project managers and resort developers who did not see Canada’s geographic proximity as a barrier to discussing business deals.

How do I access these opportunities?

Obtaining access to these opportunities is not easy and won’t happen overnight. The key, as always, is to get active in the market and to get connected to local industry partners. Securing strategic partnership agreements with local agents is of the utmost importance. Relying on your website and word-of-mouth will not get you access to this market. Also, once you have made contact in this area, the key is to commit to follow up, and the required amount of engagement needed to realise sales.

Either as an individual company or in partnership with BC Wood and other industry groups, you will have success showcasing your products and gaining profile in this competitive marketplace if you make the decision to invest some time in a market strategy that puts you and your products in the path of these key decision makers.

Does Turkeybuild Deliver?

This show is without a shadow of a doubt the premium show to attend in this market. This show draws attendees from all over the Middle East and the local Turkish market, as well as Russia, Ukraine, and other neighbouring markets. Follow the money – this notion is so prevalent in this marketplace and based upon our success at this show, members have already secured sales. The Europe market is mature and very competitive; however, niche areas of the world continue to show an increase in opportunity for BC’s value added industry. The Turkey marketplace falls into this category and it is my opinion that business to business sales opportunities will continue to grow in this area.

Upcoming events in the Europe market include Holzhaus, Moscow (Nov 9-13), and BAU, Germany (Jan 17-20, 2012). For more information contact Brian Hawrysh at bhawrysh@bcwood.com  or email me at dh@themataigroup.com

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Later this year in September, BC Wood will be coordinating a tandem of cost-shared trade shows for the Log and Timber Frame Home sector. Member companies are able to participate in the Log and Timber Home Show in Dallas, Texas on September 22-23rd and on the following weekend, Sept 28-29th, in Denver Colorado.

The Log & Timber Home Show – Dallas Texas – Sept 22-23, 2012
The Denver Log Home Show – Denver, Colorado – Sept 28-29, 2012

The first of the two shows scheduled for September is in Dallas. The Dallas region was identified by the industry advisory group for BC Wood’s Log and Timber Frame Home sector as a priority market for this year. The reason to focus our collective effort on Dallas was not because there were a lot of log and timber frame structures being built in Dallas, but, because there were a good number of people living in Dallas who had a desire to own a log or timber frame home and had the financial where-with-all to purchase one.

The attendees at previous Dallas shows had a very desirable demographic make-up with 85% of the attendees being couples 35+, higher education, higher income, and skewing to the outdoors. Further, 80% of the attendees plan to build their log or timber frame home within the next 3 years.

The majority of the homes built by Dallas residences were located in the surrounding states of Arkansas, New Mexico, and the Oklahoma panhandle. BC Wood will support its’ members in our first venture into what is expected to be a very lucrative market.

The second show where BC Wood will support its’ members participation is the show in Denver. Last year, six BC Wood members attended the Denver Log Home Show and expressed a strong desire to return this year. Over the years, many BC Wood members from the log and timber frame home sector have used the Denver show to establish a presence in this very strong market for recreational homes in the Rocky Mountain States region. As the economy in this region continues to build some momentum, I fully expect another strong level of participation from BC Wood’s members for the Dallas show.

Space is available for BC Wood members wanting to participate in these two up-coming shows. I would encourage any companies interested to contact me at BC Wood’s office at 604-882-7100 or at bhawrysh@bcwood.com.

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By Daryl Holmes

Over 1400 exhibitors were present at this year’s show, which continues to grow in size and attendance.  This show is a one-stop shop for anything and everything related to the sustainable construction and green building industry.  The timber zone was much larger than last year indicating that the profile of timber use in construction is becoming more and more prominent in this marketplace.  Many countries local to this market boasted large pavilions showcasing their products.  BC manufacturers were represented in collaboration with a combined Canadian Pavilion which featured companies from all across Canada.

The following information summarizes the show and my market observations as they pertain to the value added wood industry beginning with the core feedback that directly impacts you the member.

Where do the sales prospects lie?

The timber zone at the show was visited by a wide spectrum of key industry members including architects, designers, developers, planners, and builders.  Our display focused on showcasing Engineered Wood Products, Log Home and Timber Frame structures, PreBuilt Housing, and Remanufactured Products.  While these products were of primary interest to the attendees who visited us, I also received interest in high-end millwork and high-end furniture products.  Yes, distribution of some BC products is already mature and well established in the UK;  however, it was interesting to speak with a number of industry professionals who were interested in dealing direct with the manufacturer to develop project based relationships and partnerships.

Attendees from all across the UK, Ireland, and Europe were present at the show and in particular geographic areas like Eastern Europe, the Emirates, and Middle East were well represented. I spoke to a number of project managers and resort developers who were interested in making contact with Canadian companies to discuss upcoming construction plans.  On the local UK scene there remains an appetite for wood products and due to the focus of the show, there is no surprise that timber and timber products lead the pack as the first choice in construction. In this market, building industry professionals and consumers alike extol the virtues of Timber.  The viewpoint in the UK is:  Timber Products = Natural, Traditional, Sustainable, and Climate Friendly.

How do I access these opportunities?

Gaining access to these opportunities is not easy and by no means a short-term outcome.  The key to having your products and services gain profile in this competitive marketplace is to invest in a market strategy that puts you and your products in the path of these key decision makers and sales opportunities. Resources in today’s marketplace are scarce and it is difficult for local BC manufacturers to reach every offshore market. However, there are cost effective solutions that enable you to maximize your financial resources.  By participating in BC Wood programs, you will be able to gain first hand access and engagement in this marketplace.  For those of you not able to travel to the market, the most crucial component of your market access strategy is to secure local representation on the ground in this market. Whether you choose to hire a local representative or to partner with your peers, the engagement of a local industry professional is essential to getting your products exposure to the key people in Europe. Based upon the feedback and results from this show, I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. Relying on your website, word of mouth, and repeat sales alone will not enable you to expand your scope of sales opportunities in this large geographic market.

Does EcoBuild Deliver?

Attendance at trade shows is a much talked about subject amongst you and your peers. As an industry member for many years I have attended many shows of which some have been well worthwhile and others, well, let’s just say they have not lived up to the hype of the show organizers. To assist you in your efforts to make well informed decisions on how to plan your marketing strategy, I offer some feedback on this show.

The show’s reputation as a signature event on the trade exhibition calendar was evident as we hosted visitors at the booth from all over Europe.  London is a huge hub for development, design, and project planning.  Along with qualified contacts from all over the UK and Ireland, attendees from France, Germany, Norway, Estonia, Ukraine, Belgium, The Netherlands, Latvia, Austria, Finland, Spain, and Italy showed interest in products from BC’s value-added manufacturers.  As mentioned earlier, we spoke to professionals from UAE, Eastern Europe, and Middle East as well. We were busy at the show, the aisles were full and those whom we spoke to were predominantly qualified contacts.  My goal at each show is to access the gate keepers and decision makers. These individuals were at this show and were not just kicking tires.

A bonus of this show is the fact it is a 3 day event which allows you, the member, to conduct pre and post show meetings and site visits with prospective clients, and only be away from home for 7 days.  Would this be a show I would recommend?  Yes. With the right amount of planning, industry partnership, and pre-show engagement in this market, you would gain valuable business to business sales opportunities; enough for sure, to gain a return on your investment.

Upcoming events in the Europe market include TurkeyBuild (May 2-6), Holzhaus, Moscow (Nov 9-13), and BAU, Germany (Jan 17-20, 2012).  For more information, contact BC Wood or email me at dh@themataigroup.com

     

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A few ideas, comments, and suggestions that may be of interest…

This past weekend, BC Wood and member companies participated in the 2012 Anchorage Home Builders Show at the Sullivan center in Anchorage, Alaska. BC Wood returned to the show after a four year hiatus and the general consensus from members was that the event was positive. We met and spent time talking to numerous people active in the construction sector across the state, and through these discussions some interesting observations were made.

Alaska is a unique market, in part due to its geographic remoteness but also due to the independent spirit of the people who live there. Alaskans like to describe themselves as a hearty people, who believe strongly in being self-sufficient, and most importantly having government of all types stay out of their business. In speaking with a number of builders in the market, they often referred to Alaskans having a frontiersman or libertarian spirit.

The reason for discussing this is the potential effect it has on Canadian manufacturers and exporters selling into this market. With this spirit comes a strong ‘Buy American’ or even stronger ‘Buy Alaskan’ mindset from most consumers. The ironic part of this is nearly every building product in Alaska has to be imported into the market. So while Alaskans like to tout the economic benefits of buying locally, the truth is they, by necessity, are more than willing to buy from the lower 48 states and Canada as well. The key to selling into the Alaskan market is to align yourself with a good local partner, dealer, or distributor in the state so that any perceived issue around buying imported product can be nullified.

The show itself was well attended and good sales opportunities were developed for members in the prebuilt housing, interior products, and log home sectors. The attendees were a mix of consumers, builders, and general contractors who were keen to discuss upcoming projects in the residential and light commercial construction market. Due to the relatively short building season, many attendees that we spoke to were ready to make purchases in the next few months. The economic conditions in the state are improving and many builders were seeing increased activity as compared to the past few years.

According to the Alaska Home Builders Association (AHBA), the three main cities in Alaska, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Anchorage, are seeing the mainstay of construction activity with Anchorage accounting for over 60 percent of new housing starts. The renovation and remodeling market is still considerably stronger than new housing construction and the AHBA predicts that it will continue to drive construction activity for the next year.

Anecdotally, we met with a number of people who were looking to build cabins, vacation, and dream homes on property they have outside of the metropolitan areas in places like Homer and Skagway. Due to the significant challenges of building in remote areas and the with short building season, these buyers were drawn to the advantages of prebuilt and pre-constructed housing offered by members like Linwood and Pacific Homes or by Bigfoot Log Homes.

According to analysts, with the Alaska economy improving and with continued oil and gas development in the state, the outlook for Alaska is positive. Market opportunity for BC and Canadian companies wanting to sell into Alaska is favourable. As with most markets, finding a good partner in Alaska is critical to developing a long term sales into the state.

For more information on Alaska or other markets in the United States, please feel free to contact me at  dfarley@bcwood.com

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Coming next week, BC Wood will be participating for the second time at the Seoul Living Design Fair at COEX in the Korean Market. Last year, the small, but targeted exhibit showcased high-end designed furniture from British Columbia and was extremely well received. Members of Korea’s design community were very interested in the Design Canada theme and had a particular interest in the use of wood as a material. This year, we are taking a larger space and showcasing more companies and new products at Korea’s key design trade show of the year. Check back with the next issue of Wood Connections for the results of this event. For more information, contact David Pao at  dpao@bcwood.com.

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Turkeybuild, Istanbul, Turkey – May 2-6th, 2012
Brian Hawrysh

“High quality, specialty lumber and building materials such as WRC decking, siding and roofing, Log/Timberframe, and prefabricated house packages will be of interest to the Turkish lumber importers, architects, and builders.”

Despite the difficult turbulent economic conditions evident in Western Europe over the past year, a majority of the new emerging East European economies have displayed a relatively strong economic performance. The strongest of these economies has been Turkey. Turkey is the fastest growing OECD market and the region’s top performer. A study by Goldman Sachs (2009) projected that Turkey will be the ninth largest economy in the world and the third largest in Europe by 2050. Turkey also has a long history and affinity of building with wood which gave way to a focus on concrete construction in the post WWII period. With a growing affluence, Turks are rediscovering their traditional preference of wood construction in higher-end residential and recreational home construction.

For these reasons, BC Wood decided to explore opportunities for BC’s value-added sector in Turkey and started by participating in the Turkeybuild show in Ankara last September. The four BC companies and BC Wood’s representative attending the show reported that there was very strong interest shown in BC’s products and services by the local timber and building materials distributors, as well as the Turkish construction and design professionals. The products generating the most interest were WRC exterior finishing, solid wood interior millwork and flooring, prebuilt housing, and log homes. Turkish companies showed a great deal of interest in partnering with Canadian companies that produce innovative, higher quality wood products. As with all new and emerging markets, it was noted that finding the right partner is crucial in gaining market penetration.

Based on Turkey’s expected long term economic growth and the early success of BC Wood’s first entry into the market, BC Wood is planning to return to Turkey. This coming fiscal year, BC Wood will attend the Turkeybuild show in the country’s economic centre, Istanbul. Last year, the Istanbul show drew over 110,000 visitors, many of them from the neighboring Eastern European and Islamic countries. The Istanbul show is not only a much larger event than last year’s Ankara show, Istanbul itself is a much larger market and the commercial center of Turkey, providing better opportunities for BC companies.

At Turkeybuild, exhibitors can showcase a full range of building materials and systems. High quality, specialty lumber and building materials such as WRC decking, siding and roofing, and prefabricated house packages will be of interest to the Turkish lumber importers, architects, and builders.

For the 2012 Turkeybuild, BC Wood will coordinate a display of member companies and other Canadian forest products associations. For more information regarding this event, BC Wood’s participation, and costs please contact Brian Hawrysh at 604-882-7100 or by email at bhawrysh@bcwood.com

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BUILDEX Vancouver, one of Canada’s largest tradeshow/conferences, welcomed over 13,000 design, construction, and real estate management professionals on February 8th and 9th to the new Vancouver Convention Centre. Over 425 exhibitors and more than 50 educational seminars were presented to the interior design and architecture professions, property and real estate management, and the construction and renovation sectors.

BC Wood was pleased to see a 20% increase in participation over last year, with 10 members joining us from the building and finished products sectors including Structurlam, Unison Windows, Cedarland/SilvaPanel, Trout Creek, Barker Manufacturing, Daizen Joinery, Moulding & Millwork, Coulson Manufacturing, Woodtone, and Wideplank Flooring. Feedback to date has been very positive, with 50% respondents citing an expected $715,000.00 in new sales from the leads made at Buildex this year.

For the most part, we received inquiries and interest from the industry professionals looking for “new” products and ideas. From results and feedback so far, it was a great event for our participating members and we plan to be back again next year with a concerted “Wood Made in BC” presence.

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A few ideas, comments, and thoughts that may be of interest to industry…

October was an extremely busy time for BC Wood in the United States with 4 major trade events taking place in the month. Over the next few weeks, I will discuss the events and the potential market opportunities that arose from our participation.

First up was the AIA Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. BC Wood and 5 members participated in the trade event and the following mission in early October. Like most trade events that target the US residential and light commercial construction sector, this show was down in both participation and attendance. This year, 300 plus exhibitors and 1400 attendees were at the event, down by approximately 20% over previous years and is reflective of the reduced construction activity throughout the State of Hawaii. Nevertheless, this trade event still provides the single best opportunity for BC companies to network with builders, developers, and architects across the state of Hawaii and other countries including Guam, Tahiti, Micronesia, and the West Coast of the United States who have projects on the islands.

Following the event, we spent 3 days travelling between the Islands meeting with architects and builders and visiting construction sites, getting a 1st hand account of the market and potential opportunities that are available. The general consensus from builders and architects working on projects in both Maui and Kona is that the market is showing gradual improvement. Also, a belief that there is a pent up demand developing as their clients – ultra wealthy individuals, building luxury vacation homes – are tired of sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the economy to improve. As one builder described it, “the life quality ratio is starting to weigh on his clients”. Essentially, his target market is older, semi retired or retired professionals who have the financial ability to self-finance multi-million dollar construction projects. A number of his clients are weighing the consequences of waiting for the economy to improve vs. their remaining quality of life and have decided to start construction projects that were stalled after the market collapse in 2008. This is likely a problem most of us would love to have, but certainly bodes well for high-end residential construction projects to resume on the Islands.

Another observation that I found interesting, from one of the top residential and commercial builders on the Islands, was the changing demographic in the secondary vacation home market. The big Island of Kona, he suggests with the luxury resorts of Hualolai and Kukio, are where the “old school money” has vacation homes and property; think for example, Charles Schwab. The new rich, those who have made money in Silicon Valley and the Dot Com market, find these resorts stuffy and instead are investing in new developments on the Islands of Maui and Kauai. This builder is banking on the shift in wealth demographic and is expecting to focus on projects on these Islands.

Finally, most experts that we met expected to see good growth over the next few years as the economy continues to improve in the US and across the State of Hawaii. There are a number of projects that are on the drawing board and are expecting to begin construction in the Spring of 2012. I will continue to follow up with the builders and keep you informed when these projects are announced. As always if you have any questions or comments please contact me at dfarley@bcwood.com.

 

 

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BC Wood has exhibit space available at the 2011 JLC LIVE Residential Construction Show. This show provides exhibitors with a platform to position their products and services in front of 2400 residential construction professionals including builders, remodelers, and general contractors primarily from the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, including Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. In addition to the exhibit floor, the show provides over 50 unique, educational sessions covering a full range of topics from business to construction techniques by industry leaders.

Date: December 7-9, 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon

For more information, please click here or contact Dave Farley at dfarley@bcwood.com.

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For over 30 years the Japan Home & Building Show has been one of the most important events in the marketing calendar of foreign companies selling into Japan. However, this year there were many challenges facing the event, some resulting from the 3/11 earthquake while others were self-inflicted.

Several years ago the show organizers decided to change the date of the 2011 show so as to time it with the planned UIA event at Tokyo Forum. I personally expressed my concerns over this numerous times as I have seen how such date changes have hurt other shows. Especially with the JHS’ long history, everyone expects it to take place in November. However, they believed that holding it in conjunction with the UIA event would inject new energy into the show.

These plans were greatly complicated by the March earthquake. By having bumped up the show, the organizers also bumped up the recruiting period of the show to late spring, which was still the dark period when no one knew what tomorrow would bring. As a result, purse strings were tightened and I am sure the JHS had trouble signing up exhibitors.

The earthquake and the nuclear disaster also worried the expected 10,000 overseas UIA attendees. In April there was even talk of cancelling the UIA event. However, they moved ahead with it as the situation in Fukushima gradually improved.

As we set-up for the show, I wondered and worried about how it would turn out. As feared, the attendance fell dramatically, from 87,000 to 43,000. Luckily though the quality of the visitors greatly increased as many more architects came to the show for the first time. This was undoubtedly due to the cross-marketing with the UIA event. We even received many overseas guests who came for the UIA event. Overall, even though the overall numbers were down, we felt just as busy as last year since the architects were spending more time with us asking questions about products.

The other thing that I had been wondering about was how much traffic we would receive related to reconstruction efforts in the Tohoku area. Over the three days, we met with many builders, developers, and distributors from the earthquake/ tsunami affected areas and they seemed to be getting themselves prepared for the big reconstruction projects. I learned that developers from across the region and even other parts of Japan are buying up all the available elevated land near the coast for such projects. However, they are experiencing labour shortages and are thus looking at overseas suppliers that can help with packaged homes and other solutions.

Despite the drop in attendance, our members were very pleased with the results of the show. We were able to make a great number of new contacts including ones involved in the reconstruction efforts. This helps us prepare for the Nikkei Show next March where reconstruction projects will definitely be taking center stage.

For more information on the Japan market, please contact Jim Ivanoff at ivanoff@canadawood.jp

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Register now for the 28th MBC Construction Expo in Seoul, Korea, this coming January 27-30, 2012. BC Wood will be taking space at this building and construction show to exhibit member products to Korean builders, architects, distributors, and construction material importers. The four-day event is expected to attract over 150,000 attendees as well as 350 exhibitors.

This trade event offers an excellent opportunity for BC Wood members to tap into the Korean market and take advantage of our expert in-market representative. Members that would benefit from this event include manufacturers and suppliers of remanufactured lumber products, prebuilt homes, kitchen cabinets, log home and timber frame homes, and engineered wood products.

BC Wood will be coordinating space for members at the event; advertising in key industry publications; managing event logistics; and organizing business networking opportunities. Space is limited so contact David Pao ASAP at dpao@bcwood.com to register.

For more information, please click here.

 

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BUILDEX Vancouver is one of Canada’s largest trade expositions with over twelve thousand local design and construction professionals expected to attend this year. All under one roof, over 600 exhibits and more than 50 educational seminars address three distinct professional markets:

  • Interior design and architecture
  • Property and real estate management
  • Construction and renovation

The show features products and services related to the design, construction, renovation, furnishing, and operations of all types of commercial and residential buildings. Reports from all of the companies attending last year’s Buildex indicated that all of their expectations were either met or exceeded.

BC Wood will coordinate a consolidated presence of member companies exhibiting at this year’s BUILDEX show, Feb 8-9th at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For more information regarding exhibition space and costs at the show, please contact me at your earliest convenience by email at bhawrysh@bcwood.com or by phone at 604-882-7100.

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