By Paul Miller, Jr.
President, National Hardwood Magazine
The Miller Wood Trade Publications team is happy to be back on the road, reconnecting in person with our friends and colleagues in the industry. We have been particularly excited to hear from members of the Real American Hardwood Coalition (RAHC) about the progress they have made, during the COVID lockdown, to launch an industry-wide promotional effort to increase consumer awareness of the beauty, durability and value of Naturally Authentic™ Real American Hardwood™. We support the Coalition’s work 100 percent.
I would like to share why I believe it is imperative that everyone in the industry support the RAHC, through both engagement and financial support.
There was a time when the U.S. Hardwood industry was producing over 14 billion board feet of lumber annually. Today, we are producing in excess of 6 billion board feet. We have relied heavily on the strength of our export markets for our industry’s profitability, while the domestic market had, until recently, experienced challenging times.
American Hardwood products continue to lose significant market share to substitute materials, including plastics, concrete, carpeting and metals. These substitutes tend to be less expensive, perceived to be easier to care for, as well as a better value than American Hardwood products. We need to re-educate the purchasers of these materials. We need to provide an emotional connection early in the planning stages for the domestic consumer. We need to remind them that our products are the gold standard that everyone is working to imitate. Whether it be social media influencers, the big box stores like Home Depot or Lowes, home magazines or your favorite HGTV personality, we need them to get on board and drive awareness and the desire for Real American Hardwood products.
We are in competition with well-established and well-funded movements that would be happy to see the U.S. Hardwood industry disappear. Even though the trade associations that you support are funding the Coalition, they cannot do it alone. To accomplish their long-term goals, additional financial assistance is needed. I am asking you today, to financially support the Real American Hardwood campaign. Give for your family company’s legacy, for your children and grandchildren’s future; give for your employees; give because it’s your future and it is going to take each and every one of us to make this initiative successful!
The Hardwood industry needs to recognize that we are in a war; yes, a war to stay relevant in the marketplace with consumers. This is a rallying cry for everyone to get involved… from every Hardwood manufacturer, wholesaler, distribution and concentration yard operators; to secondary manufacturers, including furniture, cabinet, flooring, millwork, moulding; industrial product producers; freight forwarders; chemical and equipment manufacturers, equipment suppliers, right down to the media. It’s going to take MONEY, it’s going to take a COMMITMENT, it’s going to take ALL of us coming together to support the Real American Hardwood promotion effort to move our industry and products to the forefront.
Visit www.RealAmericanHardwood.org today to learn how you can support the effort. Any support YOU can give is appreciated and much needed!