53.86% is how much Home Depot’s stock declined between Jan. 7, 2000 and Jan. 8, 2010.
951,000 do-it-yourself home improvement books were recalled this month because their instructions contained potentially hazardous errors, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“I’ve noticed contractors out there—the roofers doing cement jobs, the cement guy is doing carpentry,” José Granillo, the burly, leather-handed manager of Empire Builders Supply in Santa Fe, says. “Everybody’s trying to stay busy.”
Trying is the operative word. It’s a Friday morning in January, and the slush puddles are quickly turning to snowdrifts in the deserted lumberyard behind the windowless adobe where Granillo works. Inside, the cavernous store is empty save for the leering faces of stuffed moose, ibex, water buffalo and a skinned Alaskan timber wolf. (“Purchased,” the wolf’s label reads; a salesman tells SFR the rest of the animals are relics from the owner’s game hunts.)
Granillo says the economy has hit him just as hard as anyone—especially since the construction industry bottomed out.
“Plus it’s January, and it’s snowing!” he says, chuckling. “Kind of a double hit there.”
Locally owned Empire has been in Santa Fe for 50 years, but to keep up with Lowe’s, Home Depot and even Walmart, Granillo says he has to stock a little bit of everything and be helpful enough to keep his third-generation customers.
“This is not the time to cut back on customer service,” Granillo says. “This is not like the grocery store, where people need milk [or] bread. But people do need to fix the roof and change the light bulbs.”
Granillo says he sometimes sees ambitious DIY-ers attempting to fix their own sinks but mostly, he says, only the very desperate venture in.
“Everybody’s not sure what’s going to happen, so they’re holding on to their money,” Granillo says. Of course, if Empire got desperate, it might be able to auction off its taxidermy to Ted Turner.