2018 Conference

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


Here is what happened in 2018.

The Hardlines 23rd Annual Conference centred around The Power of Brand and what that entails in the ever changing retail space. We were sure to feature prominent voices from across the hardware/home improvement industry. From Canada’s top home improvement retailers to upcoming technology trends, the 2018 Hardlines Conference was a jam-packed two days of learning, insights and networking.


We want to thank the following speakers for sharing their knowledge and expertise.

 2018 Hardlines Conference Speaker Darrin Noble, Vice President and General Manager, Home Hardware's Beauti-Tone Paint Darrin Noble, Vice President and General Manager, Home Hardware’s Beauti-Tone Paint
Darrin Noble is Vice President and General Manager of Home Hardware’s Beauti-Tone Paint and Home Products Division, and is proud to have called Home his home for the past 10 years. Throughout his career, Darrin has been privileged to work with first-class retailers to champion some of the most admired paint brands in the industry. As a private label expert, Darrin believes that brands need to inspire passion in their customers to remain relevant and that marketing leaders need to invest in their brands to distinguish them in a market of almost endless choice and convenience.
Click here to see the presentation
 2018 Hardlines Conference Speaker Steve Buckle, President, Sexton Group  Steve Buckle, President, Sexton Group 
Steve Buckle is the President of Sexton Group, one of Canada’s largest buying groups for independent building materials dealers. During Steve’s 11-year tenure, the group has more than doubled its member locations and purchase volumes. Steve likes solving puzzles and the industry’s dynamism, fast pace, and complexity suit his natural curiosity and drive to find solutions. Under his leadership, Sexton Group has developed a number of innovative purchasing strategies, most notably in hardlines and commodity wood procurement, categories where independent dealers had been losing ground to larger corporate retail entities. Steve enjoys working with Sexton’s over 400 Members, 260 vendors, and team of 18 bright and motivated people to help carve out a bright future for independently owned building materials retailers.Click here to see his presentation
 2018 Hardlines Conference Speaker Anthony Stokan, Partner, Anthony Russell Anthony Stokan, Partner, Anthony Russell and Associates
Anthony Stokan is a leading retail, shopping centre, and consumer authority. For more than three decades, his Toronto-based boutique strategic consulting firm, Anthony Russell and Associates, has worked with diverse clients across all spheres of retail. He’s developed an enviable reputation as a speaker on consumer behaviour and retail trends at conferences, management meetings, and think tanks around the world. In recent years, Anthony and his partner, Russell, have worked with clients across the country, as well as, New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Barcelona and Dubai. During the past three decades, his involvement in branding, marketing, research, teaching and consulting have contributed to his unique perspective on consumer expectations. Anthony maintains that consumer behaviour remains one of the great mysteries in the ever-changing dynamic of retail.
2018 Hardlines Conference Speaker Dan Tratensek, Vice President/Publisher, NRHA/Hardware Retailing Dan Tratensek, Vice President/Publisher, NRHA/Hardware Retailing
Dan Tratensek is a Vice President with the North American Retail Hardware Association and Publisher of Hardware Retailing magazine. In his position at NRHA and Hardware Retailing, Dan has the opportunity to visit with independent retailers of all types and sizes and shape the editorial direction of the magazine to meet the needs of the independent retailing market. This monthly, how-to management magazine is circulated to more than 34,000 hardware stores, home centres, and lumberyards throughout the United States. The publication’s mission is to provide information to its readers that will help them become better and more profitable merchants. In addition to his role on Hardware Retailing, Dan also oversees NRHA’s research, communications, marketing, and education and training services.Click here to see his presentation 
 2018 Hardlines Conference Speaker Catherine Vaugh, Brand Building Manager for Canada, Orgill, Inc. Catherine Vaugh, Brand Building Manager for Canada, Orgill, Inc.
Catherine Vaugh is the Brand Building Manager for Canada with Orgill, Inc. Before joining the Orgill Brand Building team in 2015 as part of the Chalifour Canada acquisition, Catherine was the Senior Category Manager overseeing the merchandising and procurement team based in the London, Ont., office. Catherine started her career with Chalifour Canada in May 2011 as an Inventory Planning Agent and became the Paint & Decor Category Manager in June 2012. Catherine has been working for or with retailers and has had some level of involvement with retail strategies for 15-plus years. She has worked for large companies like Walmart and Reebok, and also for smaller retailers like Flags Unlimited, Danier Leather, Northern Getaway and Paulmac’s Pet Food. Click here to see her presentation
  Peter Norman, Vice President & Chief Economist, Altus Group
Peter Norman is a well-known professional land economist and forecaster and is Vice President and Chief Economist at Altus Group. Widely quoted in the Canadian media, Peter is a frequent expert witness on economic matters and leads a national team of economic consultants advising private and public sector organizations across Canada, providing economic intelligence and strategic information. He has sat on the Executive Committee of the Toronto Association of Business and Economics, the Economic Research Committee of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, and is a member of both the Association of Ontario Land Economists and Lambda Alpha International, an Honourary Society for the Advancement of Land Economics.Click here to see his presentation
 2018 Hardlines Conference Speaker Charles Valois, Vice-President, Central Marketing, Lowe’s Canada Charles Valois, Vice-President, Central Marketing, Lowe’s Canada
A seasoned professional with more than 20 years of marketing experience in the Canadian retail industry, Charles Valois joined Lowe’s Canada in 2016 as Vice President, Marketing for the Reno-Depot banner. In January 2018, he was promoted to Vice President, Central Marketing, with the mandate to support the organization’s strategic initiatives and enrich the company’s marketing vision. Prior to joining Lowe’s Canada, Charles held several marketing positions with increasing responsibilities within Loblaws Companies and its affiliated banners. More recently, he was a member of the Loblaw Quebec board of directors from 2008 to 2016, and served as Vice-President, Format Pricing and Promotions for Provigo-Loblaw, in the last four years.
2018 Hardlines Conference Speaker Jillian Sexton, Chief Operating Officer, Hector Building Supplies and Owner of Sherwood TIMBER MART Jillian Sexton, Chief Operating Officer, Hector Building Supplies and Owner of Sherwood TIMBER MART
Jillian Sexton began working for the family business—sweeping floors and cleaning—when she was 15 years old, and since then has worked in almost every area of the business. By 2014, she assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer of Hector Building Supplies, which has two locations in Pictou and Stellarton, N.S. In May 2017, she opened Sherwood TIMBER MART in Charlottetown, P.E.I.—and she now oversees the management of all three locations. Jillian sits on the boards of TIMBER MART’s charitable foundation, Timberkids, the Tearmann Society for Abused Women and Children, and the Pictou County Regional Enterprise Network. She’s an active member of TIMBER MART’s Emerging Leaders and National Retail Committees, the ABSDA Show Planning Committee, the P.E.I. Business Women’s Association, and works closely with children as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County. Sexton is a strong advocate of workplace equality.
2018 Hardlines Speaker Ian Madell, Managing Partner and President, LEVEL5 Strategy Group Ian Madell, Managing Partner and President, LEVEL5 Strategy Group
Ian Madell is the Managing Partner and President of LEVEL5 Strategy Group, one of Canada’s leading boutique strategy firms. LEVEL5 counts Canadian Tire, Live Nation, Canada Post, Canada Goose, 3M, Rogers Communications, Loblaws, and Pearson Airport among its clients. In addition to advising CEOs and other senior executives concerning their business strategy, Ian is responsible for the management and operations of LEVEL5. Prior to joining the firm, he was the Senior Vice President of Marketing & Design at Teknion—one of the world’s leading office furniture manufacturers. He also has experience with post-merger integration practices and broad business transformation assignments. He’s an accomplished and admired leader whose approach to business has continually driven positive business results.Click here to see the presentation
 2018 Hardlines Speaker Jules Pieri, Co-founder and CEO, The Grommet Jules Pieri, Co-founder and CEO, The Grommet
Jules Pieri is co-founder & CEO of the The Grommet, a site which has launched more than 2,800 consumer products since 2008. The company’s Citizen Commerce movement is reshaping how products are discovered, shared and bought. Jules started her career as an industrial designer for technology companies and was a senior executive at Keds, Stride Rite, and Playskool. In 2014, Jules was invited to the White House Maker Faire to launch The Grommet Wholesale. This extension of the Grommet business connects Makers with Main Street Retailers by bridging the gap between the two. In 2017, Ace Hardware acquired a majority stake in The Grommet.Click here to see her presentation
  Robert Bigler, COO, eBay Canada
As Chief Operating Officer of eBay Canada, Rob Bigler leads strategy and execution of Canadian experience for one of the world’s largest online marketplaces. In this role, Rob oversees product development, content, localization, shipping, customer service, display advertising, legal and finance. Rob was most recently Senior Vice President of Digital Transformation at Holt Renfrew, which included responsibility for the Information Technology teams and building a personalized omnichannel customer experience across the business. He has also held senior roles in multiple markets around the world with The Selfridges Group, Wittington Investments, Sears Canada, Associated British Foods and Bain & Company.Click here to see his presentation
Russ Jones, Owner, Coast Builders RONA
Russ Jones has spent the majority of his 33-year career in the home improvement industry at various RONA locations in Western Canada. In 2003, he completed the Executive Management Development Program at Simon Fraser University and went on to complete the RONA Altitude Program at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business. In 2011, he and his family moved to the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia to open the Coast Builders RONA Madeira Park store. In the following years, he opened a Coast Builders RONA in Sechelt, and recently opened a RONA Appliance and Design Showroom in Gibsons, B.C. Russ has also been an active volunteer in his community with North Shore Search and Rescue and has served on several boards of organizations including Habitat for Humanity and the Coast Community Builders Association.