As more than half our business is centered around K-12 school facilities, the news headlines continue to be grim. Voters aren't approving bond issues, states have no money for new construction, and in fact Dodge / McGraw-Hill shows school construction down 17% in the first quarter of 2012, compared to 2011. And this is is after four straight years of significant declines. The fact is, there are a lot fewer facilities needing new seating.
BUT - we are pretty busy here at Hussey Seating! Our dealers continue to find ways to get new business. There is a lot of replacement and renovation business going on, and our model of full service dealers is the right approach to be positioned right. We are doing more service and renovation work than ever, and many schools are somehow finding money to do incremental improvements when they realize a new school is not going to be built in the near future. Our seats do last a LONG time, but even they have useful lives that end in the 20 to 30 year mark (though I have seen some over 40 years), and there are a lot of seats crying to be replaced.
Biz is holding up also as we believe we are gaining in market share. Our seating is simply the best available in the industry (sorry, not really boasting, just fact!), and we and our dealers focus on giving great service and solutions. And we are able to be competitive in public bid situations due to our high volume and our manufacturing efficiencies.
We are also seeing some good business increases in markets outside K-12. College athletic facilities are spending to make improvements, and we are seeing some good municipal activity as well.
And of course, we have diversified through our purchase of Clarin Seating, which has taken us into new markets, and definitely has our factory out straight.
So, despite still being in recession times for K-12 construction, we really don't have many complaints here at Hussey Seating. I just can't wait for the time when we REALLY start growing again!