Serving Canada's Home Improvement Industry

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


June 11, 2019

Strong Increase In April Building Permits

Canadian municipalities issued a record $9.3 billion worth of building permits in April, says Statistics Canada. The increase in the value of permits was almost entirely due to a planned change in development costs in Metro Vancouver, BC. Nationally, the value of permits was up $1.2 billion in April, the largest increase since May 2007. Although six provinces reported higher values, British Columbia accounted for most of the gain. This was due to permits being issued ahead of the development cost increase in Metro Vancouver in May, the first change in costs in that region since 1997. Meanwhile, Quebec reported the largest decline, down $147 million from March. In the residential sector, the value of permits rose 24.5 per cent to $5.9 billion in April. Municipalities in British Columbia issued $2.2 billion worth of residential permits, almost doubling the previous record set in June 2018. The value of single-family dwelling permits was up 5.1 per cent to $2.2 billion, led by Ontario. Nationally, the value of non-residential building permits rose 1.1 per cent from March to $3.4 billion in April, as higher construction intentions for industrial buildings were reported in nine provinces.

RONA Tinsco Opens Store For 30th Anniversary

Just in time for its 30th anniversary, RONA Tinsco, located in Rawdon, QC, has opened its doors at a new location with an upgraded store that doubles the size of the original. As well, the Lowe’s Canada affiliate store now offers appliances and a wider selection of seasonal products, building materials, and interior finishing products. “We took the opportunity to enhance our offering in existing categories, as well as offer brand new assortments, such as appliances. With our 40,000-square-foot lumber yard, our pro desk, and our cut shop, we also want to become a top destination for construction professionals,” says Bobby Tinkler, dealer-owner. The store has a surface area of 32,000 square feet which includes a 16,000-square-foot sales floor, a 3,000-square-foot garden centre, and a 7,000-square-foot indoor lumber yard. Over 20,000 products are available in-store.

Fastenal Hits 100,000+ Industrial Vending Milestone

Fastenal’s industrial vending program has hit a major milestone – more than 100,000 active devices at customer sites worldwide. The program started to gain traction from 2011 to 2012, when the number of devices increased from 9,000 to nearly 27,000. By the end of 2015, the company had 55,000 devices, which increased to 96,000 by the end of 2018. The technology lineup has expanded from a single model (the ‘FAST 5000’) to 23 specialized devices. The founder, Bob Kierlin, wanted to dispense fasteners from vending machines when he first started the company in 1967, but the machine design couldn’t support the volumes required by customers at that time. Fastenal says the vending devices provide customers with improved productivity, increased visibility into product usage and spend, and reduction in consumption, often in the range of 20 to 30 per cent. With roughly $4 billion in vended sales since 2008, that’s an estimated $1 to $1.7 billion in consumption savings for Fastenal’s vending customers.

SONOpan Panels Reduce Noise Pollution

MSL’s SONOpan soundproofing panels are made with NoiseStop Technology to prevent unwanted noise from traveling through walls and ceilings. The panels are lightweight and simple to install behind drywall. They absorb a wide range of frequencies and reduce the transmission of sound and vibrations. Each panel is 4- by 8-feet and ¾-inch thick. They are constructed from 100 per cent recycled wood fibre and contain no formaldehydes or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Committed to recycling and environmental protection, MSL’s mill in Louiseville, QC, operates with a completely closed loop (zero effluent) water system resulting in an efficient and ecologically responsible process. The recycled wood fibre comes from 60 per cent post-consumer and 40 per cent post-industrial (recovered from manufacturers of wood flooring, furniture, etc.)

Parrish Leads Knauf

Matthew Parrish is president and chief executive officer of Knauf Insulation, Inc., also known as Knauf Insulation North America (KINA). He joined the company in 2017 as vice-president of residential and light commercial sales. He has over 29 years of experience in the building materials industry.

June 10, 2019

GTA Transactions Increase Substantially

Greater Toronto area realtors reported 9,989 transactions through TREB’s MLS system in May. While this result represented a substantial increase of 18.9 per cent over the 15-year low in May 2018, it should be noted that the result was still below the average for month of May sales for the previous 10 years, which stands at almost 10,300. “After a sluggish start to 2019, the second quarter appears to be reflecting a positive shift in consumer sentiment toward ownership housing. Households continue to see ownership housing in the GTA as a quality long-term investment as population growth from immigration remains strong and the regional economy continues to create jobs across diversity of sectors. However, sales activity continues to be below the longer-term norm as potential home buyers come to terms with the OSFI mortgage stress test and the fact that listings continue to be constrained relative to sales,” says Garry Bhaura, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s president. The number of new listings entered into TREB’s MLS system in May was up only slightly compared to May 2018, increasing by 0.8 per cent to 19,386. Year-over-year growth in new listings was far outstripped by year-over-year growth in sales. This means that market conditions continued to tighten in favour of sellers.

Dodge Momentum Index Falls In May

The Dodge Momentum Index fell one per cent in May to 141 from the revised April reading of 142.4. The index, issued by Dodge Data & Analytics, is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for non-residential building projects in planning in the U.S., which have been shown to lead construction spending for non-residential buildings by a full year. The May decline was due entirely to a 6.9 per cent drop by its commercial component as its institutional component rose 8.1 per cent. On a year-over-year basis, the index in May was 9.2 per cent lower than a year ago, with a 16 per cent drop by its commercial component outweighing a 1.8 per cent gain by its institutional component. Although the trend for the overall index is downward, so far the pullback has been measured, suggesting that there remains enough non-residential building projects in the pipeline to support near term stability for construction activity. This is particularly true for the institutional side of non-residential building.

Loyal Consumers Will Pay More

Over half of consumers will pay more to buy from a retailer they're loyal to, indicating a significant opportunity for brands to drive long-term revenue from their loyal customer base, says a study by Yes Marketing. ‘The Retail Shopper's Journey to Loyalty’ report says that 41 per cent of consumers rank product quality/value of products as the top reason they're loyal to a retailer while 35 per cent rank price highest. The findings indicate that elements like free shipping perform well in driving purchases with new customers but are less influential for long-term loyalty. In fact, only three per cent of shoppers ranked free or expedited shipping as the top driver of loyalty. On the other hand, 40 per cent of consumers ranked it as the top convenience factor they consider before making a purchase with a new retailer. Marketers can leverage these findings to prioritize the benefits they communicate to customers at different points in their journey. In terms of rewards, 39 per cent of consumers say cash incentives make them feel most rewarded for their loyalty, followed by early access to products (23 per cent), and exclusive promotions (18 per cent). Overall, 73 per cent of consumers say they feel adequately rewarded for their loyalty.

Trex To Invest In Facilities

Railing and staging systems provider Trex Company, Inc. has implemented a capital expenditure program to increase production capacity at its Winchester, VA, and Fernley, NV, facilities. The multi-year program is projected at approximately $200 million between 2019 and 2021 and involves the construction of a decking facility at the existing Virginia site and the installation of additional production lines at the Nevada site. The additional production lines in Nevada will come online beginning in the third quarter of 2019. Additional lines will also be installed by the end of the second quarter of 2020. The Virginia capacity will begin to come online in the first quarter of 2021. The investment will allow Trex to increase production output for future projected growth related to its strategy of converting wood demand to Trex composite decking.

Watson Gloves Supports Wounded Warriors Canada

Watson Gloves is donating partial proceeds from the sale of its Shock Trooper and Commander gloves to Wounded Warrior Canada. Wounded Warriors Canada is a national mental health charity for ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans, first responders, and their families. The organization provides a wide range of programs and services for individual members and families affected by operational stress injuries.

Smyth Takes On Ontario

Perry Smyth is retail territory sales manager-Ontario with Derby Building Products Inc., manufacturer of the Novik brand of exterior cladding. He brings more than 15 years of experience in the retail sales channel to the role, having worked at companies including Nestle and Coca-Cola.

June 7, 2019

Montreal Residential Sales Continue Growth

A total of 5,607 residential sales were completed in the Montreal, QC, census metropolitan area (CMA) in May, a six per cent increase compared to May 2018, says the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB). This was the 51st consecutive monthly increase in sales. The North Shore, Laval, the South Shore, and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu areas all showed strong momentum while sales on the Island of Montreal fell slightly and sales in Vaudreuil-Soulanges decreased by 12 per cent. Sales of single-family homes increased five per cent year-over-year, condominiums increased seven per cent, and plexes increased 13 per cent. In May, there were 19,915 active residential listings in the Montreal CMA, an 18 per cent decrease compared to May of last year.

Prince George Castle Gets Orion Award

Castle Renovation Centre in Prince George, BC, was awarded the ‘2018 Retail Orion Award’ for the finishing and specialty products category in northern British Columbia. The ‘Retail Orion Awards,’ offered by the Building Supply Industry Association of BC (BSIA), recognize quality and excellence in different categories and are determined through the organization’s mystery shopper program. Brad Dixon, business development manager at Castle Building Centres Group Limited, presented the award to Everett Smeds, owner of Castle Renovation Centre. Partners With has partnered with to offers members cash back on their online purchases. Walmart, which celebrates 25 years in Canada this year, has more than 750,000 customers visit its website daily. members will have access to's latest online Rollbacks, coupons, promo codes, and free shipping on orders over $50, in addition to earning cash back.

Millennials Interest In Recreational Properties Growing

The majority of Millennials (56 per cent) are in the market to purchase a recreational property, says a RE/MAX survey. This is up 14 per cent from 2018, when just 42 per cent of Millennials were considering buying a recreational property. Baby Boomers, especially retirees, were driving the recreational market last year. The increase in buying intentions among younger buyers marks the beginning of a new trend in who will propel this segment of the property market and what they are looking to purchase. Price remains the top consideration for recreational property buyers, with 61 per cent of survey respondents naming affordability as the most important factor. However, livability also plays a crucial role in the selection process. Sixty-four per cent of Canadians enjoy recreational properties as places where they can relax and spend time with friends and family, while 58 per cent perceive them as getaway homes. Forty-three per cent say that they can partake in activities that they normally wouldn't be able to at their permanent residence, such as hiking and fishing. Thirty per cent of Canadians say they use or would use a recreational property as an investment opportunity.

Strong Growth Predicted For Modular Construction

The global modular construction market is expected to reach around US$175.15 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of 6.7 per cent between 2019 and 2025, says a report by Zion Market Research. The market is likely to experience rapid growth in the future, owing to rapid urbanization in developing countries like China, India, etc. In developed countries, modular construction is mainly done for renovating existing buildings with new ones. In North America, modular construction accounts for nearly three per cent of construction. The various benefits of the modular buildings as compared to traditional buildings are expected to positively impact market growth. Modular buildings generate less heat and temperature, which contribute less to global warming. Additionally, modular constructions are less time-consuming. Government initiatives and regulations toward sustainability and green environment will also boost this market’s growth in the upcoming years. However, the shortage of skilled labour may put a hindrance on market development in the years ahead.

Derby Adds Atlantica Colour To Shake Line

Derby Building Products has added the colour Atlantica to its Beach House Shake product line. Atlantica is a soft, silvered coastal gray tone reminiscent of cottages found in a quaint New England village. This is the fourth colour in the Beach House Shake line. Other colours include Sandcastle, the look of natural white cedar; Hatteras, a deep, rich weathered gray; and Pacifica, which looks like fresh western red cedar. Beach House Shake products feature subtle shading variations, grain textures, and saw-cuts for a look of natural cedar. However, unlike cedar shingles, Beach House Shake products are resistant to rotting, decaying, cracking, or splitting and are impervious to moisture and insects.

KNIPEX Makes Changes

Patrick Mooney is national sales manager for Canada with KNIPEX. He has had sales management roles at Ingersoll-Rand and Stanley Black & Decker. Brian Nolan is territory manager. He has more than 20 years of sales experience. Craig Kosik is account manager. He also has more than 20 years of experience in many aspects of the retail and sales industry.

WRLA Changes Show Location

The Western Retail Lumber Association (WRLA) annual show will take place in Winnipeg, MB, for 2021, 2022, and 2023, while next year’s show will be held January 22 to 24 at the BMO Centre in Calgary, AB. The show has taken place in Calgary for the past four years and the WRLA wants to expand its networking capabilities by engaging with all members from western Canada. “Strategically we want to have the show circulate in our western Canadian provinces to ensure all our member communities are reflected in the host cities for the show,” says Tom Bell, board chair. The WRLA is currently working with Economic Development Winnipeg to finalize tools and resources.

June 6, 2019

Canadians Cutting Back On Renovations

While nearly half of Canadians plan to renovate their home this year, spending on renovations continued to decline in 2019, falling to about $10,000 per renovation, the lowest in six years, says the annual ‘CIBC Home Renovations Poll.’ The average homeowner plans to spend $10,211 in 2019, down from $10,959 in 2018. As well, only 32 per cent have a detailed budget, down from 37 per cent last year. Among those who completed recent renovations, 39 per cent went over budget. Fifty-eight per cent of homeowners plan to fund their renovations with cash and savings, while 34 per cent plan to borrow the funds. Most (89 per cent) consider home renovations to be an investment. The poll says that Millennials are budgeting the most, but also overspending the most, with 50 per cent saying they exceeded the budget on their last renovation. On average, both Millennials and Gen X planning to renovate will spend more on home renovations and improvements ($11,000) than Baby Boomers will ($8,582), with basic home maintenance and landscaping at the top of their to-do list.

Campaign Seeks To Recognize Energy Efficiency Workers

Carleton University-based Efficiency Canada has launched a campaign to put energy efficiency on the map in Canada. Called ‘Our Human Energy,’ the campaign positions energy efficiency as a fast-growing, emerging sector – not only a government or utility program – by showcasing the stories of the many Canadians who are making a living doing energy efficiency work. Efficiency Canada says there are 436,000 Canadians working in the sector in jobs such as insulation installers, HVAC technicians, and construction workers. The majority of energy efficiency jobs in Canada are in construction (66 per cent), although professional and business services, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and other services also made substantial contributions to employment in the field. Retail trade was not included in the study. Across six key industries, 51,000 Canadian businesses generated an estimated $82.6 billion in energy efficiency operating revenues. ‘Our Human Energy’ seeks to increase awareness of the people working in the energy efficiency sector and to establish and grow an engaged community of workers, professionals, and industry allies.

AEP Upgrades Merrickville Facility

Atlas Engineered Products (AEP) has installed a fully automated roller gantry, customized cutter saw, and expanded pressing system at its Satellite building components facility in Merrickville, ON. Established in 1974, Satellite was acquired by AEP in 2018. It specializes in designing and supplying roof trusses and engineered floor joists throughout eastern Ontario. The upgrades to the facility will allow AEP to meet extra supply demands and offer more product lines. The 14- by 60-foot roller gantry increases assembly by as much as 60 per cent, while the linear feed custom cutter saw more than doubles cutting capacity. The 8- by 30-foot Auto 8 Pressing System allowed for the introduction of 4- by 2-foot floor trusses to its product mix.

Canfor To Permanently Close Vavenby Sawmill

Canfor Corporation will close its Vavenby, BC, sawmill this July following an orderly wind down. The company reached an agreement to sell the forest tenure associated with the Vavenby sawmill to Interfor, which is expected to close in the third quarter. The decision to close the mill was based on long-term log supply constraints in the region along with the high cost of fibre, compounded by ongoing depressed lumber markets. The sawmill has an annual production capacity of approximately 250 million board feet. Following the closure, Canfor will have 12 sawmills in Canada, with total annual capacity of approximately 3.55 billion board feet.

Sensormatic Solutions Now Available Commercially

Johnson Controls’ Sensormatic Solutions TrueVUE SaaS suite built on the Google Cloud Platform is now available commercially. This platform provides retailers with a real-time view into accurate inventory availability for unified commerce fulfillment. It can deliver actionable insights and predictive analytics to drive operational excellence and help create unique shopper experiences. Johnson Controls says cloud-based technologies are rapidly shifting the retail industry, with cloud deployment ranking as the key driver for eCommerce opportunities. The suite provides a secure global infrastructure capable of supporting massive sale and high performance standards.

Strong Growth Forecast For Wood-based Panels

The global wood-based panel market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5 per cent between 2019 and 2025, says Zion Market Research. The global market was approximately US$105.22 billion in 2018 and is expected to generate around US$174.56 billion by 2025. Wood-based panel products are sheet materials that consist of a significant amount of wood in the form of chips, strips, strands, veneers, and fibres. The rapidly growing population base is the major factor driving the growth of construction and building sectors, which, in turn, is supporting the global wood-based panel market. Increasing efficiency in manufacturing, repair, and renovation activities coupled with technological advancements is also expected to fuel the global wood-based panel market growth in the future. Based on type, the wood-based panel market includes medium-density fibreboard (MDF), particleboard, oriented strand board (OSB), and plywood. MDF held a substantial market share in 2018 due to the increasing demand for products in manufacturing cabinetry, furniture, and flooring.

ODL Names Marketing Manager

Amy Post is national marketing manager for the pro channel with ODL, Inc. Previously, she was vice-president of marketing at ManoByte, Inc.

June 5, 2019

U.S. Home Improvement Spend To Moderate

Annual gains in homeowner spending on improvements are expected to moderate across more than half of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. in 2019, says research by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. While no major metros are projected to see spending levels decline in 2019, the pace of spending by homeowners will likely slow in 29 of the 49 major metros tracked relative to their estimated 2018 gains. Indeed, annual growth in improvement expenditures is projected to fall to the lowest rate in three years in 22 of these metros. Metros with cooling home prices and sales activity are not able to sustain the same pace of investment in home improvements as in recent years.

Lowe’s Canada Stocks More CRAFTSMAN

Lowe’s Canada has added 300 products to its selection of CRAFTSMAN tools and accessories, just in time for Father's Day. The assortment of products available in stores and online at Lowe's, RONA, Reno-Depot, and Ace Canada includes a larger selection in key categories that CRAFTSMAN is known for, such as mechanic's tools, pliers and wrenches, levels and squares, hand saws, hammers and prybars, screwdrivers, electronic measuring tools and laser levels, work supports, mitre saws, and outdoor power equipment. It also includes new categories, such as garage organization, air compressors, and cordless pneumatic nailers.

West Fraser Announces Further Curtailments

West Fraser will curtail production for one week in June at five British Columbia sawmills: Chetwynd, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Smithers, and Fraser Lake. All mill activities will be curtailed. The decision to implement this temporary reduction is due to sustained weak pricing in global lumber markets and high log costs. Lumber production is anticipated to be reduced by approximately 30 million board feet. Over the previous six months including this most recent announcement, West Fraser has implemented temporary and permanent capacity curtailments of approximately 125 million and 300 million board feet respectively.

Broadview Holding Completes Formica Acquisition

Netherlands-based industrial holding company Broadview Holding has completed its acquisition of Formica Group from Fletcher Building. The sale includes Formica businesses in North America, Europe, and Asia, as well as its Homapal metal laminates business. Formica Group invented laminate in 1913 and remains a provider of branded, designed surfacing solutions for commercial and residential applications. Broadview Holding also owns Trespa (exterior HPL cladding), Arpa (surfaces), and Westag (doors and surfaces). With the acquisition of Formica Group, Broadview strengthens its position as global provider of surface materials.

LP Aquires PSPI

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation has acquired Prefinished Staining Product Incorporated, a prefinished siding company located in Green Bay, WI. PSPI has offered prefinished LP SmartSide Trim and Siding for a number of years and operates a 40,000-square-foot facility. The acquisition will allow LP to grow its siding business and increase market penetration in the segments it serves. Acquiring PSPI provides it with the facilities, capability, and expertise to enter this market and drive growth. PSPI will operate as part of LP’s siding business.

CEMEX Completes Global Deployment

CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. has completed the global deployment of its Go platform, a digital service tool for customers in the building materials industry. As part of its omnichannel strategy, the tool is now being utilized by 96 per cent of the company’s total recurring customers, with 45 per cent of total global sales processed through it. Go is a digital solution that automates order-to-cash workflows, enabling customers to purchase products, track deliveries, and manage orders seamlessly in real time.

Irick Has New Role

Jaime Irick is vice-president, architectural coatings for the U.S. and Canada with PPG. Previously, he has worked at Brunswick Corp. and General Electric Co.

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