This week I am in Nashville, TN, for the North American Building Material Distribution Association annual conference.
The mood is as it has been at other industry meetings this year - down, thanks to the recession. But I'm struck by many distributors' attitudes here. They say things are rough, and that they don't know when things will turn back up again.
But in the next sentence they are outlining how they are getting through the rough patches either by investing in higher-end markets that still have the cash to spend, focusing sales resources on government/institution spend, finding new product lines to sell, or increasing their focus on the value they can provide at every stage of a project. One said they were looking for new markets where they might not have looked before, and though they expect not to "hit a homerun," they have seen a series of singles, which in this environment is welcome.
It's encouraging to see that in an industry serving battered construction markets, some companies have avoided hunkering down and instead continue to push forward to position themselves for when recovery comes, whenever that might be.