2018 Annual Hardlines Conference - Nov 13-14, 2018, Queens Landing, Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON



Opening Event
Monday, Nov 12

6:30-9:00: RONA Pub Night (Bacchus Lounge in the Queen’s Landing)

Agenda for Day 1
Tuesday, Nov 13

8:15-9:00 am: Breakfast and Registration

9:00-9:15 am: Welcome

9:15-10:00 am: Ian Madell, Level5 Strategy Group
Finding your brand voice
Ian Madell says brands are typically the most misunderstood and underused resource companies have at their fingertips. As a managing partner and president of LEVEL5 Strategy Group, he’ll tell us about how a number of retailers have successfully managed the choppy waters of the changing retail landscape and what we can learn from their efforts.

10:00-10:45 am: Peter Norman, Chief Economist at Altus Group
Tracking the market trends
Peter Norman, Vice President and Chief Economist at Altus Group, is an industry-recognized urban economist and forecaster. He’ll offer us his special take on housing, renovation, and homeowner spending trends and how they are influencing the home improvement market in his presentation on the Canadian economy.

10:45-11:15 am: Networking Break

11:15-12:00 pm: Darrin Noble, Home Hardware Stores
Private label: more than just a commodity
Darrin Noble, vice president and general manager of Home Hardware’s Beauti-Tone paint division, believes in the power of private-label brands and the need to make them relevant, engaging and memorable.  Darrin will go beyond the world of Beauti-Tone to outline how brands and experiential retail strive to create connections and evoke emotions with customers.

12:00-12:40 pm: Lunch

12:40-1:00 pm: Denis Melanson, BMCC
Industry report card
Denis Melanson, chair of the national association, BMCC, and the Atlantic dealer’s association, ABSDA, will provide our audience with an update on what his organization is doing for vendors and retailers alike.

1:00-1:45pm: Russ Jones, Owner, Coast Builders RONA
Beyond the banner: one entrepreneur’s story

Russ Jones has been a part of the RONA team for more than 30 years. After leaving his role as RONA B.C. Operations Manager in 2011, Russ and his wife Tess used their life savings to open the Coast Builders RONA Madeira Park outlet in British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast region and went on to open two more RONA stores in the following years. From his unique perspective, Russ will discuss how the power of the RONA brand stretches far beyond the banner to the store floor, to the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, back to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and beyond.

1:45-2:30 pm: Dan Tratensek, Executive VP & Publisher at North American Retail Hardware Association
Building a brand locally

NRHA’s Executive Vice President Dan Tratensek will share specific examples of how independent home improvement retailers continue to differentiate their operations by cultivating unique brands at the local level. Through these examples, Tratensek will outline the best practices these retailers use to tell the stories of their businesses and keep customers coming back.

2:30-3:00 pm: Networking Break

3:00-3:45 pm: Jules Pieri, Co-Founder & CEO, The Grommet
Become a centre for discovery
Jules Pieri, co-founder and CEO of The Grommet, focuses on launching undiscovered products. Recently acquired by Ace Hardware in the U.S., Jules will tell us about how the two companies are finding a great synergy as they work to train customers to see the difference between shopping and discovery—and how innovative, local products fit nicely into the world of hardware.

3:45-4:30 pm:
Steve Buckle, President at Sexton Group
An emphasis on the experience
As the head of Sexton Group, Steve Buckle knows that customer experience is extremely important. His members make a name for themselves based on experience—because their contractor customer base doesn’t necessarily care what brand the product they’re buying is, as long as it shows up on time. Steve will tell us about how Sexton approaches brand from a different perspective.

4:45-5:30pm: Home Hardware Industry Reception

6:00-8:30pm: Outstanding Retailer Awards*
Honouring the best retailers in the country, the Outstanding Retailer Awards (ORAs) are the industry’s only independent awards program dedicated to celebrating the achievements of hardware, home improvement and building supply dealers in Canada.
*please note, this is a separate ticketed event.

Agenda for Day 2
Wednesday, Nov 14

8:15-8:45 am: Breakfast and Registration

8:45-9:00 am: Welcome

9:00-9:45 am: Charles Valois, VP Marketing at Lowe’s Canada
Multiple brands, one purpose
It’s been two years since Lowe’s acquired RONA and its multiple banners, such as Ace and Reno-Depot. Charles Valois, vice-president of central marketing for Lowe’s Canada, will tell us how the company repositioned its banners, resulting in clear banner strategies developed according to distinct consumer segments. With distinctive and complementary banners, nearly 30,000 Lowe’s Canada employees across the country are working towards the same purpose.

9:45-10:30 am: Jillian Sexton, Hector Building Supplies & Sherwood Timber Mart
More than just business
Jillian Sexton grew up in the family business, but it wasn’t always a given that she would one day take it over. The owner of Hector Building Supplies and manager of three stores in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Jillian has worked hard to build her company’s brand in the communities it serves, while making a name for herself in this industry.

10:30-11:00 am: Networking Break

11:00-11:45 am: Anthony Stokan, Partner at Anthony Russell Inc.
The state of retail today
In this fireside chat, Anthony Stokan and Hardlines’ own Michael McLarney will reflect on how far retail has come in the last 25 years—including which threats were overblown, and which ones were underestimated. Within the context of the rise of e-commerce and social media influencers and the exit of Sears Canada, Anthony will also share where he sees retail headed and what dealers will need to do to keep up.

11:45-12:30 pm: Lunch

12:30-1:15 pm: Catherine Vaugh, Orgill
Independent, with a little support
Catherine Vaugh, the brand building manager for Orgill Canada, is here to support the independent. Orgill knows the value of letting independents build their own brands in the communities they serve, but they want to help give them the tools to accomplish that. Catherine will give us some examples of the way some of these dealers are succeeding and what we can learn from them.

1:15-2:00 pm: Robert Bigler, eBay Canada
Staying competitive in the age of e-commerce
Robert will provide an overview of the ecommerce and retail landscape and how eBay is innovating to create new, relevant buyer and seller experiences. He’ll also explore how online marketplaces play into omnichannel sales strategies for traditional retailers that are looking for a competitive edge.