Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

Retailers, Wholesalers, and Manufacturers of Hardware, Building Supplies, Kitchen & Bath, Paint & Decorating, Lawn & Garden, and Other Allied Products.


October 6, 2017

Business Owners Need To Start Retirement Planning Sooner

The majority of Canadian small business owners don't have a detailed retirement plan in place despite little interest in expanding their business, says a study by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). In fact, the report shows that 78 per cent of aging business owners haven't prepared any sort of formal plan to prepare for an upcoming retirement or an unexpected emergency. These findings are surprising given that many small business owners are no longer planning to grow their business. Among these owners, 42 per cent say they’re happy with the size the business is now; 36 per cent say they plan to close, sell, or transfer the business; and three per cent say there is not enough cash flow to expand. CIBC says letting go of a business can be made difficult by tax consequences. The biggest mistake owners make is not having these conversations early enough. It’s important to involve a team of experts including lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors to achieve a higher evaluation, maximize retirement income, and reduce the overall tax bill.

Greater Montreal Real Estate Market Still Hot

The real estate market in Greater Montreal in Quebec matched September's heat wave with sales reaching an eight-year high for the month, says the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board (GMREB). It says 2,893 residential sales were completed last month, a six per cent increase from a year ago. Four of the area's five metropolitan areas sustained growth, led by a 17-per-cent jump in sales in Laval, north of Montreal. Condominiums continued to drive sales volume, rising 11 per cent overall, including a 49 per cent jump in Laval. Condo sales have been growing steadily for months while selling times are down; the condo market has returned to a balanced market with 10 months of inventories. The average price of homes grew 2.6 per cent to $364,862, which compares to $775,546 in Greater Toronto in Ontario, also up 2.6 per cent from the prior year.

Merrett Receives PR Award

Drew Merrett, dealer-owner of Merrett Home Hardware Building Centre, was awarded the 16th annual ‘Paul Straus Public Relations Award’ during Home Hardware’s fall shareholders’ meeting. The award recognizes his commitment to public relations and community service in the city of Peterborough, ON. He was recognized for his store’s efforts in fundraising and dedication to social causes. Recently, Merrett was featured on Global News in Peterborough, ON, for saving a local kitten from a tree with the store’s hydraulic lift. The store also supports numerous charitable events including serving food every Wednesday at the Lighthouse Community Centre and participating in the ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’ and ‘Run for Mental Health’ events.

Lowe’s Opens Second New Model Store

Lowe’s Canada has opened its second new model store in Canada in British Columbia. The Langford store was converted from a RONA Home and Garden and offers the “best of what both Lowe’s and RONA banners have to offer to create a new Lowe’s Big Box model,” says Guy Beaumier, interim executive vice-president, Lowe’s Canada Big Box Retail. The store underwent an extensive 16-week physical transformation from the former RONA, which involved construction, departmental sequencing of new racking and re-merchandising, branding, and IT conversion, as well as extensive training for associates focused on new product knowledge and customer service. It will offer a wider selection of seasonal products and new product categories including appliances and Lowe’s private label. It will also offer a broader fashion plumbing selection and an enhanced contractor experience. The first converted store is in Edmonton North, AB.

Hitachi Promotes Two

Joe Leffler has been promoted to senior vice-president of sales, marketing, and general management, with Hitachi Power Tools. He will also oversee Hitachi’s Canadian division. He previously served as vice-president sales and marketing. He joined Hitachi in 1994. Kristopher Miles has been promoted to vice-president of operations. Previously, he served as director of logistics and purchasing. He joined the company in 2016.

Richelieu Sales Increase

Richelieu Hardware Ltd. had consolidated sales of $253.2 million for the third quarter of 2017, an increase of 15 per cent compared to consolidated sales of $220.2 million in the third quarter of 2016. Sales for the quarter in the manufacturers market were $213.2 million compared with $186.8 million last year. Sales to hardware retailers and renovation superstores were $40 million, up by 19.8 per cent over the third quarter of 2016. In Canada, Richelieu recorded sales of $171.7 million, an increase of 17.5 per cent over the year-ago period. Third-quarter net earnings for the company were $18.3 million versus $17.5 million, a 4.9 per cent increase.

October 5, 2017

Canadian SMB Retailers Optimistic

Despite political and economic disquiet around the globe, 76 per cent of Canadian retail small and medium business (SMB) owners are optimistic about their future business prospects, up 20 per cent from last year, says the second annual ‘SMB Optimism Index’ report from eBay Canada. Three-quarters also believe that Canada is a good country in which to run their business. In fact, SMBs overall scored 75 out of a 100-point index scale ranking their level of optimism from zero (the most pessimistic) to 100 (the most optimistic) – one full point higher than last year, indicating an upward trend in optimism. Factors that continue to contribute to the optimism momentum include online and omni-channel sales strategies as SMB owners leveraging these tactics are more likely than their counterparts to be optimistic across all business performance factors measured in the report. As for challenges, those most commonly reported by Canadian SMB owners include tough domestic competition (37 per cent), low margins (36 per cent), and a small customer base in Canada (34 per cent), with more entrepreneurs reporting these challenges this year versus last year. Canadian eBay commercial sellers indexed two points higher than the average retail SMB and reported greater participation in exporting and omni-channel strategies.

Home Depot Recognizes Innovative Products

Home Depot has recognized innovative products that save customers time and money and make everyday tasks easier. The ‘Home Depot 2017 Innovation Award Winners’ first place winner is LifeProof Vinyl Plank Flooring, a vinyl flooring product with the look of hardwood. First runner-up is the Dewalt Max Flexvolt, a cordless tool system that automatically changes voltage when you change tools. Second runner-up is Ring's Floodlight Cam, a floodlight that turns on by motion sensors which also turn on a high-definition camera. Honourable mentions include the Petproof Carpet which resists stains and offers softness and extreme durability. Rio Daplendia is a drought-resistant annual bloom that originates from the mountains above Rio de Janero. Pure Safety is a certified asthma and allergy-friendly insulation that is mold and mildew resistant.

Home Hardware Truck Drivers Raise Money

Eleven truck drivers from Home Hardware Stores Limited recently participated in a truck convoy in Ontario and Nova Scotia. The ‘World's Largest Truck Convoy’ is in support of the Special Olympics. It is a one-day event where police escort a convoy of trucks through designated areas. Home Hardware truck drivers participated in two convoys. The first convoy met in Paris, ON, and were escorted on a pre-determined route before returning to the Paris Fairgrounds. The second convoy began in Shearwater, NS, and travelled through Dartmouth, Cole Harbour, and Eastern Passage before returning back to Shearwater. In total, the convoy event raised $130,000.

SOPREMA Breaks Ground On XPS Plant

SOPREMA has broken ground on a manufacturing facility in Sherbrooke, QC. The 178,000-square-foot facility will be the first SOPREMA extruded polystyrene insulation manufacturing plant in North America. Extruded polystyrene (XPS), known as rigid styrofoam, is a closed-cell foam insulation made of rigid, flat panels. It is mainly used as thermal insulation for foundation systems, parking lots, and reverse roofs, including rooftops and green roofs. The SOPREMA Group operates four industrial sites in Europe that specialize in this technology. Over the past few years, SOPREMA Canada has sought to improve its product lines and extend its expertise to areas other than waterproofing, particularly by producing high-performance energy-saving, low-environmental impact insulation. The plant should be in operation next year.

SaaS Company Offers Omni-channel Solutions

Dallas-based entrepreneur Jeff Zisk has launched a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company, Snowfall Technologies LLC. The company will offer two SaaS solutions to omni-channel retailers throughout the U.S. and Canada. One offering is Jazz Central, a distributed order management (DOM) solution built on a modern technology stack to provide retailers with a complete set of omni-channel features and functionality in a single platform. Additionally, Mia, the company’s AI middleware technology solution, is designed to enhance the customer’s shopping experience, marketing, merchandising, and operations by thinking and behaving like a human. Mia uses both structured and unstructured data to personalize the shopping experience and provides tools to intelligently target shoppers and create significant operating efficiencies.

October 4, 2017

Home Hardware Presents ‘Communities In Bloom’ Awards

Home Hardware Stores Limited awarded two recipients with the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ at the ‘23rd Edition of the Communities in Bloom National & International Awards Ceremonies.’ The village of Pugwash, NS, received the ‘Home Hardware Community Involvement Award’ and was awarded the ‘5 Blooms – Silver’ rating by Communities in Bloom. The Village of Ashcroft, BC, received the ‘Home Hardware Beauti-Tone Heritage Conservation Award’ and was honoured the ‘5 Blooms – Bronze’ rating by Communities in Bloom. For a complete list of the results, visit

CanWel Completes Honsador Acquisition

CanWel Building Materials Group Ltd. has completed its acquisition of the Honsador Building Products group of companies. The transaction has resulted in Honsador becoming an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of CanWel and Honsador's operations have been combined with CanWel's North American platform. "I am very pleased with our ability to identify and close on such a great acquisition based on the strength of the business, and the natural fit which now further strengthens and expands our presence on the west coast of the U.S.," says Amar S. Doman, CEO of CanWel. Founded in 1935, Honsador is a distributor of building products and electrical supplies.

Wolseley Acquires Tackaberry

Wolseley Canada Inc. has acquired Tackaberry Heating Supplies Limited. Tackaberry is an HVAC/R distributor and sheet metal fabricator with four locations in eastern Ontario. With the purchase, Wolseley now operates in Belleville, ON, and has an expanded presence in Brockville, Cornwall, and Kingston, ON. The Tackaberry branches will continue to operate under the Tackaberry brand for the immediate future.

Park Has New Role

Dan Park is chief operating officer of BuildDirect. Previously, he was general manager and commercial vertical leader of Amazon Business. His role will be to accelerate its transition from an eCommerce business to an AI-driven platform business (inclusive of the BuildDirect Marketplace and The Gateway Supply Chain). Jim Hourigan is chief supply chain officer and president of Gateway. He joined BuildDirect in 2009 and was, most recently, chief operating officer. Suzanne Mercier is chief legal and people officer. Previously, she was general counsel.

October 3, 2017

Sears Files To Sell Subsidiary

In addition to its September 29 request for approval from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to close stores and a fulfillment centre, Sears Canada has filed motion materials for the sale of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Corbeil Électrique Inc. Am-Cam Électroménagers Inc., the proposed buyer, intends to continue to operate the business including the franchise network of stores.

Giant Tiger Opens Ontario Distribution Centre

Giant Tiger Stores Limited has opened a state-of-the-art distribution centre in the township of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal, ON. The 600,000-square-foot facility will house warehouse and office space and will phase-in operations starting January. Design elements include lots of natural light, a gym and games room, an apple orchard, upgraded racking and machinery, and a robotic system. The company says the facility is part of its overall growth strategy and plans to have the facility fully operational by summer 2018.

3M Makes Appointments

Paul Keel is senior vice-president, business development and marketing-sales, with 3M. Previously, he was senior vice-president, supply chain. Jon Lindekugel is senior vice-president, supply chain. Before this, he was senior vice-president, business development and marketing-sales.

Retail Transformation Theme Of Conference

Navigating through modern-day retail transformation is the theme of Retail Council of Canada’s (RCC) ‘Retail West’ conference. This one-day event will address the potential impact of the proposed import duties being lobbied for in NAFTA negotiations, the importance of branding, the needs of the consumer, and emerging technologies. It takes place October 12 in Vancouver, BC. For more information, visit

October 2, 2017

Sears Canada Closing More Stores

Sears Canada Inc. will seek from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice approval of transactions in respect of 11 of its leased retail store locations, one leased fulfillment centre, one of its owned properties, and two going-concern transactions. The company has entered into a number of lease surrender agreements and a lease amending agreement that will result in the exit of the retail locations including Scarborough Town Centre, Toronto, ON; Polo Park, Winnipeg, MB; and Avalon Mall, St. John's, NL. The company will also be seeking an extension of the stay period to November 7. During the stay period, Sears Canada will continue to operate its retail stores and website as it continues its restructuring efforts. On August 31, Brandon Stranzl, executive chairman of Sears Canada 2017, put forward a potential going concern bid. Sears Canada advisors continue to engage with Stranzl with the goal of enhancing the value and reducing the conditionality of the proposed transaction.

Goulard Joins RONA Network

Goulard Building Supplies Limited has joined Lowe’s Canada’s RONA dealer network. The business has two locations in northern Ontario. The Sturgeon Falls location is the parent store and boasts 10,000 square feet of retail space as well as a 1.5-acre lumberyard. The satellite store, located in Warren, has a retail sales area of approximately 3,500 square feet and a 12,000-square-foot lumberyard. Established in 1957, Goulard Building Supplies is now in its fourth generation of Goulards, with Charles Goulard completing his succession purchase in late 2015.

Walmart Opens Supercentre In Longueuil

Walmart Canada has opened its Montérégie Supercentre in Longueuil, QC. This is the first prototype store in Quebec featuring Scan & Go and grocery pickup service. The Scan & Go technology allows customers to pick up a portable barcode scanner as soon as they enter the store. While they shop, they can scan the items they wish to purchase as they go along. An itemized receipt will be displayed on the portable scanner, allowing them to keep track of their budget. Once at the checkout, they can proceed with the payment. The grocery pickup service means customers can order groceries online and pick up the purchase at the store at their desired time slot. The groceries will be packed in advance and placed in the customer's car when they arrive. The store's design has been renewed with a modern colour palette and revised signage. Checkouts have three-way conveyor belts making it easier to fill reusable shopping bags.

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