In This Issue
In Memoriam Golden Blount
Summer Classics Contract Announcement
New-Home Sales Continue to Trend Relatively Flat in February.
Rising Expectations Drive...Consumer Confidence Higher

In Memoriam

Golden Blount 1928-2014


Golden Blount.

Golden Blount, of Dallas, Texas, started in the fireplace business in 1970. He began first as a manufacturers rep,working for fireplace-related companies as well many hardware and lawn and garden manufacturers. The fireplace business, though, was always his favorite. He represented many firms, including Puritan, Glofire,Hearthcraft, Thermo-rite, Seymour, Trueheat, DuraVent, Metal-fab, and Heat & Glo.


His business quicklyevolved into a distributorship as well, and in the early 1980s, he began to import toolsets and screens fromTaiwan. He developed and began importing some of the first glass doors to come from Taiwan in the late '80s,and by the early '90s, began manufacturing these products domestically in Dallas.


Today, his company is one of the topmanufacturers of gas logs and gas fireplaces in the industry, selling Golden Blount products across the U.S.,to many of the top fireplace specialty shops in the country.

Golden Blount was a hardworking, extremely competitive man, who worked with his wife, two sons and manylong-time employees right up until his death at 85 years old.


Golden Blount passed away Thursday, March 6at 8am, about an hour before his 34th HPBExpo was to open. He left behind many close friends in the industryhe loved so dearly. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Julie, his two sons, James and Steve, five grandchildren,and two dogs, Phoebe and Sarah.

Summer Classics
Appoints Quinn Decker                    



Quinn Decker.
Summer Classics is pleased to announce the appointment of Quinn Decker as vice president of Summer Classics Contract. Quinn comes to us with years of experience in the contract and hospitality business, including a stint as president of a publicly-held case goods company.

Summer Classics has experienced exponential growth in the contract business and has recently received several brand standards from major flag hotels as well as placements in major country clubs, assisted living communities and large-scale development projects.

SC plans to continue this growth with Quinn's help. Quinn will reside in Birmingham, Alabama, and work from Summer Classics' new corporate headquarters in Pelham, Alabama. Please welcome Quinn Decker to the Summer Classics Contract team!

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New-Home Sales Continue to Trend Relatively Flat in February                 



From the NAHB


Sales of newly-built, single-family homes fell 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000 units in February, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.


"There is no doubt that the persistently bad weather took a toll on sales in February," said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Wilmington, Delaware. "However, builders continued to increase their inventory of for-sale homes, indicating they still anticipate a relatively strong spring buying season."


"We still expect 2014 will be a strong year for housing," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "The first two-month average of 2014 is exactly in line with where 2013 left off. If not for the unusual weather, we would easily be ahead of last year's pace. We also continue to see household formations and pent-up demand driving sales forward."  


Regionally, new-home sales activity fell 32.4 percent in the weather-battered Northeast, 1.5 percent in the South and 15.9 percent in the West. The Midwest posted a gain of 36.7 percent, stemming from an unusually low January figure.


The inventory of new homes rose to 189,000 units in February, a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace.

Rising Expectations Drive
Consumer Confidence Higher



Consumer confidence rebounded nicely in March. The composite index rose 4.0 points to 82.3 over the month, more than reversing the dip in February when harsh winter weather battered much of the country.



The increase puts the composite index at its highest point since early 2008, although confidence remains a long way off from the levels seen over the expansion of 2001-2007.


Improving expectations about the economy drove confidence higher in March. The expectations index rose 7.0 points over the month as consumers' views of future business conditions and employment improved.


Consumers' view of present conditions worsened slightly, driving the month. The present situation index paused after advancing for four straight months, slipping 0.6 points from its post-recession high.


The overall trend, however, remains solid, having risen 21.2 points over the past year. Assessments of current business conditions were split, with the share of consumers reporting business conditions as "good" and the share reporting conditions as "bad" each rising over the month.