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Posts Tagged ‘Sears’

“We Have to Keep Changing Too as Retailers”

December 27th, 2018 Comments off

 

WeHavetoKeepChangingTooAsRetailersSearsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

As our recent report linked further below reminded MHProNews readers, Sears produced the precursor of the prefab home, and so much more.

 

So what doomed Sears?  An ex-Sears official in the CBS video below said, “bad leaders.

Of the 2,300 Sears locations 8 years ago, CBS says that only about 500 remain open today.

That sounds tragically like what occurred in manufactured housing (MH) retail, and in manufactured home production too.

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At least 4 of the 5 named above have readily documentable ties to Berkshire Hathaway in one or more ways.

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See article, linked here. MHI and Clayton can’t or won’t reply to the facts and evidence, other than via an attorney, so check out our publisher’s reply to their purported attorney.

 

They needed to reinvent themselves in a really disruptive way, and it just didn’t happen,” said Don Katz, author of a book on Sears.  Take Sears out, and put MH retail in, and you might get chills up your spine as you ponder this modern business morality tale.

 

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Lessons for MHVille?

The Monopolistic Housing Institute, ooops, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) keeps trying to sell industry independents on just how great everything is, and why their leadership should be trusted.

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But a quick glance at their own recent report, shown above – or MH shipment trends shown below – should be sufficient reasons inquiring and savvy manufactured home independents to consider a popular Latin phrase.  “Caveat emptor,” meaning “Let the buyer (of an MHI membership…) beware.”

 

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If MHI knows what it’s talking about, then why has the industry slid so far, while often more expensive RVs have rocketed past?

The other logical option is equally disturbing. MHI is doing what it’s doing deliberately, posturing activities that produces measurable results only for a few favored firms, vs. the majority of the industry, which is steadily being consolidated.  Take your pick, but either way, MHI has failed in their claim to represent ‘all aspects of factory built housing’ successfully, which may explain why new post-production MH trade groups have and are forming.

 

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As 2018 wraps to a close, the story of Sears is an ominous reminder of the high cost of bad leadership.  Beyond what the insightful CBS video spotlighted, is the fact that monopolistic maneuvers – which some believe include Arlington-based MHI puppet-masters in Omaha and Knoxville – can prove to be fatal to otherwise good businesses.

More than one state association executives have told MHProNews about the troubling trends they see as the numbers of independent manufactured home retailers decline.

 

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MHProNews looks at the facts, considers the sources, and follows the evidence. MHI earlier last year, and for years before, MHI routinely replied promptly to all inquiries. But since we’ve spotlighted the obvious problems, troubling trends, and vexing concerns, they’ve gone silent. Why? If the facts are on their side, why doesn’t MHI and their Berkshire Hathaway/Clayton/21st masters offer a cogent explanation?

It is worth noting that Legacy Housing, which recently went public, cited as the prime goal of their use of new capital would be to open new retail centers. For more on that, see the related report, below the byline and notices at the end of this post.

Want a brighter 2019?  Common sense says that if you keep doing the same things, the same way, you’ll get the same result.

If you really want a brighter future in 2019 and beyond, and aren’t a monopolist, then you should carefully reconsider who you support, what information sources that you trust, and what changes need to be made in order to avoid the death knell that has grabbed once giant Sears. That’s this evening’s “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News , analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

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Insider Tips – Clayton Multi-Million Dollar Plan Aims at Replacing Sales Staff? Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Kevin Clayton Meeting

Capital Pouring In, What Warren Buffett May Not Want MHVille Professionals to Know

Sears Prefab Home Initiative

 

Legacy Housing Exclusive to MHProNews on Firm’s Solid IPO, Plus MH Market Updates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manufactured Housing Institute Insider Insight, Pulling Back the Curtain on How Things Are Done at MHI

November 1st, 2018 Comments off

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For those of you who have sent news tips that have not yet been addressed, take heart.

 

Some tips are addressed rapidly, once verified.  Others ae held for an appropriate time to tackle an issue.  This is more of the latter category.

How does the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) create or devise some of its various reports?

In some cases, that work is farmed out to their parties, like Porterfield, Fettig & Sears, LLC.

Here is a specific example.  For simplicity, this will look at only the first two paragraphs of the report as shown.

 

Memorandum

To: CLIENT DISTRIBUTION
From: Porterfield, Fettig & Sears, LLC
Re: Summary of Election Results and the Financial Services Outlook for the 115th Congress
Date: November 9, 2016

Donald J. Trump (R) shocked the world and defeated Hillary Clinton (D) with an electoral college vote of at least 290-228 to become the 45th President of the U.S.1 Secretary Clinton is likely to win the popular vote. Voters turned out en masse to vote against the establishment in favor of ending the status quo. This “populist right” movement does not subscribe to traditional Republican ideology, but it helped keep Republican majorities in the House (238-193) and Senate (52-47).2 For the first time since 2001, an election provided Republicans with control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.

These election results will slow down, if not stop, a range of regulatory efforts across all sectors. The “populist right” movement believes in free enterprise, but is not blindly pro-business which they believe is rife with crony capitalism. Tax “loopholes” and special interest “benefits” are suspect. While Trump will support a pro-growth agenda of lower taxes, less regulation, energy independence and infrastructure spending, he will also frustrate Republicans with “fair trade” policies, immigration policy, and nationalism.”

That’s who this was addressed to from Porterfield, Fettig & Sears, LLC, so it wasn’t just MHI.

What follows are the first two paragraphs of what MHI published, 5 days later, and distributed to their members.

MHI NEWS & UPDATES
Nov. 14, 2016
The 2016 Election’s Expected Impact on Manufactured Housing

Last Tuesday, voters elected Donald J. Trump (R) as the 45th President of the United States. Voters turned out to vote against the establishment in favor of ending the status quo. This “populist right” movement does not subscribe to traditional Republican ideology, but it helped keep Republican majorities in the House and Senate. It is the first time since 2004 that Republicans will control the White House and both chambers of Congress.

The election results are expected to slow down, if not stop, a range of regulatory efforts across all sectors. The “populist right” movement believes in free enterprise, but is not blindly pro-business, which they believe is rife with crony capitalism. President-Elect Trump is expected to support a progrowth agenda of lower taxes, less regulation, energy independence and infrastructure spending. He will also focus on “fair trade” policies and immigration policy.”

  • Notice that much of what MHI shared is word-for-word, including the grammatical glitches, from Porterfield, Fettig & Sears, LLC (PFS)?
  • Note too that MHI doesn’t cite the source of their quotes and close paraphrases?
  • Let’s be clear. This is not illegal, because they paid for it. But isn’t it misleading, to their own members?  MHI had several highly paid staff members, then and now. In 2016, beyond rephrasing part of what PFS first published, what exactly did MHI staffers – specifically, Lesli Gooch, Ph.D. do? Because an MHI insider called precisely Gooch’s lack of transparency in this matter into question.

 

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Was this money well spent? Where is the transparency?  Accountability?

 

The two different reports are linked on their names, PFS’s at this link here, and MHI’s at this link here.

Keep in mind the principle of transparency that ELS’ late Vice Chairman, Howard Walker said was important.

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Thoughtful words, worth pondering. See the story, linked below.

 

Howard Walker, Mensch – Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), Manufactured Homes Retrospective

 

Why do some staffers at MHI, as well as a number of MHI members, complain about a lack of transparency?  There are complaints about the MHI ‘inner circle,’ that is kept in the loop, with the bulk of their own members being kept in the dark, or per sources, are misled by top MHI staff?

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This PFS example above isn’t a one-off instance of this, per our sources at MHI.

While this arguably isn’t the biggest issue facing manufactured housing, what this report does is tee up some future facts that point to a pattern identified by reports like those, linked above and further below under the related reports. MHI’s leaders, per sources, are ‘nervous’ about ‘the next shoe to drop,’ as revelations like yesterdays and others linked below pile up.  Note that to date, MHI has not even tried to publicly debunk a single such MHProNews report.  It’s a funny thing about facts, they are not easily changed.

 

Nathan Smith, SSK Communities, and Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Slam New National Manufactured Home Communities Group in Written Statement

 

Keep in mind too that MHI leaders and ‘big boys’ are backing anti-Trump candidates in key midterm battleground states. So, while the posture with industry officials at HUD and elsewhere that they embrace the Trump agenda, doesn’t their financial backing of pro-Trump candidates in key states suggest otherwise?

 

“He’s Lying,” Campaign Insider Video – “Don’t Do Politics?” Tell Jim Clayton, Phil Bredesen, and Marsha Blackburn, Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act Supporter

 

That’s MH “Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com. Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

 

 

 

Related Reports:

Following Facts, Money – Sam Zell, Warren Buffett, Tim Williams/21st Mortgage, and Manufactured Housing

 

Expose! Why Has Warren Buffett/BH Funded Anti-MHC Activists, MHAction? Why Fund Attacks on ELS, Frank Rolfe, Blackstone Group?

 

“I knew right from the beginning.” When President Trump, First Lady Melania, VP Pence Toured Manufactured Home Community

 

Manufactured Home Resident Group President Cautions Against MHAction, Surprising Background Reveal to Manufactured Housing Action

 

 

 

 

The Prefab House That Sears Built?

March 16th, 2017 Comments off
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A Sears home in Illinois. Credit: Sears.

An upcoming presentation in Sandyston, New Jersey, takes a fun and interesting look at the impact that Sears Roebuck had on prefabricated or “kit-homes” as they were called at the time.

The popular homes also, in part, inspired the Chevy Chase neighborhood just outside of Washington, D.C.

The houses that Sears built — or did they?” takes place on March 19th, and is presented by Jeff Walter, an avid genealogist and local historian. His interest in prefab homes stretches back to childhood memories of his grandparent’s lakefront property.

When his grandparents purchased the lakefront home in 1961, for $8,500, the seller informed them that the 1928 home came from Sears Roebuck.

It was obvious that everything inside was purchased by a Sears’ enthusiast. The vintage appliances in the kitchen came from Sears, the furnace came from Sears, and everything down to the doorbell came from Sears,” said Walter.

If Sears didn’t sell it my father didn’t own it. The car battery was a Sears Diehard but, unfortunately, the car was a Rambler. It there ever was a Sears Tourister Automobile my father would have owned one.

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Walter’s grandparent’s home as it was originally designed. Credit: NJ Herald.

Over time, Walter’s curiosity continued to spark.

As a genealogist, I decided to apply the same principle to researching our home as I did tracing my family’s roots. I visited the old Hall of Records in Newton and met the then-County Clerk, Honey Ackerman,” said Walter.

She proceeded to show me how to do a deed search. We started with my parents’ deed from my uncle and then back to the Bauman family. The earlier grantor was a person named Frederick W. Steadman. By coincidence, two weeks later my mother decided to remodel the kitchen. Upon pulling the wide craftsman molding from around the door, there was a discovery. Stenciled on the back of the wood was the name Frederick W. Steadman, Montclair, N.J. Branchville, N.J. Now I knew that not only did I live in Frederick Steadman’s home, but I was also sleeping in his bed. The 1946 deed stated that all furnishing in the home were to remain.

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Credit: Sears.

After this experience, Walter started to spend hours in libraries researching, and photographing different homes looking for answers, but eventually moved on.

Walter returned to the area 15 years later when his father passed away in 2008, to care for his mother. He found that the family home was suffering from years of neglect, and he instructed the contractor to take the house apart.

That’s when the true identity of their home was discovered.

When the old window casings were taken out, the bottom was marked: ‘Summer Cottage 305.’ Next the wall came out and the interior of the siding was marked ‘Gordon-Van Tine Co., Davenport, Iowa,” said Walter.

That’s how we learned that our lake front cottage was not a Sears. A catalogue of Gordon-Van-Tine homes in the 1920s revealed a summer home number 305 that showed an exact floor plan of our home.

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Walter, with his mother, outside of the remodeled home. Credit: NJ Herald.

Walter kept digging, and his research revealed that this company was one of the first to sell pre-cut or kit homes. Their roots go back to about 1865 in Davenport, Iowa. By 1923, they offered 150 different homes, and stayed in business until 1940.

When he looked into Sears Roebuck further, Walter discovered that they started selling building supplies in 1895 and, after 1900, they began selling house designs. The first Sears Modern Homes catalog appeared in 1908, offering all the parts needed to build a house.

Then, from 1916-1933, Sears offered completely prefabricated homes throughout the country. From 1911-1933, they offered mortgage loans, while from 1929-1934, Sears offered actual house construction by contracting with local carpenters,” said Walter.

Over the years, Sears sold an estimated 100,000 prefabricated homes. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and the 1929 ‘crash’ that led to the Depression, and the unpaid home mortgages led to the end of the Sears Roebuck’s prefabricated homes.

Walter says that of all the “kit homes” in existence, the Sears Roebuck ones are the hardest to identify. In addition to houses, their catalogues offered garages, barns, schools, churches and even outhouses.

When providing more details on the effects of the stock market crash on the industry, Walter shows the domino effect.

The stock market crash on Oct. 29, 1929, brought on the Great Depression and the beginning of the end of the Kit-Home era. Montgomery Ward closed its housing division in 1931. In the spring of 1933, Sears Roebuck closed its Modern Homes Division, after suffering a loss of more than $8 million in uncollectible mortgages,” said Walter.

They reopened that autumn with fewer designs and no mortgage financing. Their sales never rebounded and they closed permanently in 1940.” ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Birthday Today: Raymond Loewy, “Father of Industrial Design”

November 5th, 2013 Comments off

A regular feature on Google’s search engine page, Google Doodles celebrates anniversaries, occasions and events.

Today honors the birth in France on Nov. 5, 1893 of Raymond Loewy, designer of everything from automobiles to Coca-Cola vending machines to cigarette packaging to the Greyhound Scenicruiser, as well as logos for Shell, Exxon and TWA, prefabricated homes, farm machinery, spacecraft interiors, and the Coldspot refrigerator for Sears. He designed numerous locomotives for the Pennsylvania Railroad as well as fixtures in the stations. His company built the “Typical American House,” which was displayed at the American National Exhibition in Moscow in 1959 and served as the backdrop for the famous ‘Kitchen Debate’ between then Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, discussing the merits of capitalism versus socialism. This house was the model from which Loewy’s Leisurama series of prefab homes was designed and were sold through Macy’s Department stores in the mid 1960’s. The homes were 730 square feet to 1,200 in size and included all the appliances, furniture and housewares for $13,000 to $17,000. Two hundred of the homes were built in Montauk, New York in 1963 and 1964 and another development was built near Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Called the “Father of Industrial Design,” he died in 1986 at the age of 92. His office still operates in London, as MHProNews has learned from Wikipedia.

(Image/photo credit: Top–Raymond Loewy locomotive design with the wheels spelling ‘Google,’ mirror.co.uk; bottom, Leisurama prefab home in Montauk, NY, Wikipdeia)

Modular Homes for DIY-ers

February 21st, 2013 Comments off

The Recorder reports from Greenfield, Mass. an area builder has begun producing DIY modular eco-kits for people who want to build their own energy-efficient homes. Each Noble Home is custom designed to the owners specifications, and the kits include thick plastic foam core wall and ceiling panels, exposed beam truss ceilings using local lumber, pre-notched rafters and pine collar tie assembly, and Pella windows with insulated glass. Noting Sears & Roebuck Co. made kit homes in the early 1900’s, owner Noah Grunberg, who studied at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, says, “We mill everything we present, so it can be fit on site. About 95 percent is precut and ready to be fit.” The kits can include water cachement, solar and wind power designs, as well as root cellars and greenhouses. MHProNews has learned the modular homes cost about $50 a square foot.

(Photo credit: The Recorder/Paul Franz–Noah Grunberg in front of custom modular home.)

Historical Prefab

November 20th, 2012 Comments off

SearsHomes reminds us of their original prefabricated kit-built homes they sold 100 years ago. The Rodessa, a bungalow, had two bedrooms and just over 500 square feet, and sold for $907. in 1910, “cut and fitted” as the advertisement says. It was simple and practical and easy to produce quickly. As MHProwNews has learned, the majority of the existing Sears Homes are in the Midwest, many in very good shape.

(Image credit: SearsHomes)

Kit Homes Takes Up where Sears Stopped

May 23rd, 2012 Comments off

In 1970, 30 years after Sears ceased offering prefabricated housing, Shelter-Kit of Tilton, New Hampshire began offering small homes and cabins that could be assembled by aspiring homeowners with no construction experience. MarketWatch tells MHProNews.com customers can choose from a wide variety of options in designing their home, including drawings required for a building permit in the U. S. and Canada. The company also offers barns and garages, and the structures are designed to withstand seismic shifts and high winds.

(Photo credit: Shelter-Kit)

 

Modular House Provided for Wounded Iraqi Veteran

March 8th, 2011 Comments off

First unveiled at the International Builders Show in Orlando, Florida, Waldemar Alameda’s new home has custom features to better serve the wounded Iraqi war veteran.  Injured by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), he suffered brain and spinal damage, and has post traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain and limited mobility. As reported by TampaBayOnline.com, the modular house was designed and built by a cadre of volunteers and businesses to honor Alameda for service to the country.  It has ramps and wide doorways for him to more easily maneuver in his wheelchair, a lift to take him to the second floor, and a special hoist to get him in and out of bed and into the bathroom.  His wife and two children moved him to Tampa from Kansas for treatment at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital.  Sears funded the home, NextGen designed it and Champion Homes of Lake City built it.  Sears officials say they have plans to build 1,000 homes this year for war veterans.