Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Viva NOT Vegas

Do you want to be depressed? Then hop a flight to Las Vegas as quick as you can because I have never seen this place so down. I am in town for the International Builders Show and I think we all knew the show would be down, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be as awful as it turned out. Granted these are my impressions but I have been to this event many times and I have never seen it like this. Empty aisles, empty booths, and even exhibitors trying to pull you in… at this show stuff like that has never happened. Add on to it Vegas itself… the bubble has burst here.. in fact visitation here has dipped 10% and casino revenues are down 16%. Add in the stopping of major projects and plans to not open other projects on time and you have a serious and depressing mess. It used to be Vegas was your escape from reality… now it is way too real…


-- On the show just a few notes because I am actually writing my February column for USGlass on it. (Yes for those of you blog only folks, I write a column for the industries top magazine every other month. Not sure why they let me do that but they are charitable people).

-- The window booths were pretty empty- heck Osama Bin Laden could hide in a few of these and no one would find him since no one was going in some of these!

-- The oddest booth’s were the Marble lawn statue booth… offering 10% off on all statues! Along with the Wardrobe Automation booth. Man if the wife saw that, we’d have it I am sure, but not sure there’s a ton of call for it.

-- The Vinyl Institute was there also talking about how great of a product it is… I guess the fact it’s not really recyclable and it’s made from oil is still not a deal breaker eh?

-- Bank of America and Wells Fargo were there… your bailout money at work! BOA was doing computerized horse races for prizes while at Wells Fargo you could dress up like an old time cowboy and get your picture taken! I’d rather see these guys be more serious considering the mess they (and we) are in? Horse Races? Pictures?

-- Busiest booth… this is a stunner to me… the busiest booth in the entire show was none other than LOWE’S! Yes Lowe’s the chain big box hardware store. The booth was packed and crazy- and it was the only one that was… now help me here… do people really need to come to Vegas and come to this show to see what Lowe’s has? I mean isn’t there one on every corner? Baffling.

-- NFRC was back in the news this week… they are looking for sponsors for their meetings…. that’s as comical as it gets… next thing you know the IRS will ask for sponsors for audits.

-- Also NFRC had their little newsletter out where they talked about how many people approach them to rate products… so my question is… IF SO MANY PEOPLE WANT YOU… WHY DO YOU GO AFTER PEOPLE WHO DON’T? And the answer is these other industries don’t have the financial impact that the commercial industry could have… remember it’s all about the money.

-- But speaking of CMA… the newsletter spent a ton time propping it up because I think they know this thing is DOA. The economy is a mess and there is no way people are going to go for an un-needed rating system when it’s put together with no logic or even brain capacity. The average Joe will see it for what it is- a blatant cash grab… and the Titanic will sink….

-- I think TRACO and Arcadia should sponsor the NFRC meetings so everyone can know who helped push for this debacle if it indeed happens… and hopefully the public will “reward” them if you know what I mean.

-- By the way the state of California is out of money and cannot even give tax refunds. Hmmmm maybe they should start cutting at the California Energy Commission since a few of those folks have wasted serious money over the years….

-- OK enough NFRC… between that and depressed Vegas I may have to jump…

-- Here we go Steelers… Here we go…. Had to get that in there….

-- If you are a fan of Pro Wresting and you watch the Royal Rumble this weekend, I will be there with my son, aka Triple Z. Yes his first wrestling match and rumor has it one of the industries most influential will also be at this event… we’ll have to see if we can get photographic evidence!

To the LINKS!
Only one link this week… been off the internet and I think the “link chick” was working Obama’s inauguration (she I believe is a speechwriter for him) because I have not heard from her… so hopefully they’ll all be back next week…

-- A great idea from Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley on jump started the economy. I am no economist but it sure sounds good… I fully expect someone smart like Scott Surma to jump on this one...

Video of the WEEK

For all of my Steelers friends… the hit by Ryan Clark near the end of the AFC Championship… simply amazing and brutal too.


Anonymous said...

Hi Max,
I am not so surprised that Lowes's was at the show. They are pro-active an customer friendly - at least in my area - and we could use more of that.
I was in need of some replacement windows for my house this week, the old vinyl ones had literally fell to pieces, original cost was probably $10.00 each
Any way, I wanted Pella - I was a certified installer / repair guy in a past life - an like their quality.
Botom line...all custom sizes, very educated salespeople at Lowe's and 30% off advertised price. All this I expected, the shock came when I was told they would be ready for pick-up in 2 week at the most, probably earlier. 30% discount AND 2 weeks lead time on custom sizes.....boy do I feel for the residential guys.

Commercial is (going to be) feeling that bite too, some already are....


Anonymous said...


Any updates on the marketplace regarding fabricators and their sustainability? I read that three Old Castle plants have closed and that another large player is running their plant in the NE four days a week. All that capacity can't be utilized in today's market. What do you hear? What do you know? There has to be rumors flying again. Where did the buyer for ACG go?

I'm not chasing or cheering for bad news, but there has to be some reality checks going on.

I hate to see this, but this market is going to drag down some quality players as well as some of the not-so-good guys.

Just wondering outloud.

Anonymous said...

Max. Where did you go? You usually have great response to each post, yet you have been very quiet lately. All good in your world?