BUSINESS BUILDING Bruce Cazenave leads Black & Decker in new direction


Black & Decker Corp., long a big name in hardware stores and construction tools, wants to get into the decorating business.

And 36-year-old Bruce Cazenave is leading Black & Decker's charge into the 20,000 paint and decorating stores across the nation -- stores that have long ignored most of the tools and appliances the company offers.

Though construction activity -- and demand for some tools -- has fallen off during the recession, Black & Decker believes the new decorating division will be a winner. Market research shows that people are still remodeling, Mr. Cazenave says.

As U.S. director of Black & Decker's newly created decorating and specialty products group, Mr. Cazenave is developing new tools for those who want to paint bedrooms, remodel kitchens or redo bathrooms.

The division already offers two new items: the Steamworks wallpaper stripper and the Heatworks paint stripper.

Mr. Cazenave, an 11-year Black & Decker veteran, won't say exactly what products the Towson-based hardware giant might offer. But his division won't necessarily focus on power tools, which have made the company famous.

"It doesn't have to be powered," he says. "But it does have to solve a problem for the end user."

In addition, he says, he wants to specialize in products with features that can be patented, to protect the company against competition.

Some new products will probably be announced in a few months, he says.

Mr. Cazenave will try to expand Black & Decker tools' marketing beyond the traditional hardware stores, into decorating shops and paint sections of department stores.

"You can sell a lot more heat guns in the paint department than you can in the hardware department," he says.

To introduce Black & Decker tools to these new retail spots, Mr. Cazenave says he is considering offering cross promotions such as discounts on paint or other decorating products.

Mr. Cazenave says he feels comfortable with the marketing part of his new job, because he started with Black & Decker as a research manager for the division that tracked tool sales.

In 1986, after a company reorganization, he was promoted to director of marketing services, which included advertising, communications and marketing.

Mr. Cazenave, a New Orleans native who got his bachelor's degree from the Johns Hopkins University and a master's in management from George Washington University, lives in Monkton in Baltimore County with his wife, Cheryl, and 2-year-old daughter, Kristin.

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