Hardlines Conference goes west in 2023

The Hardlines Conference will move away from the Greater Toronto Area for the first time in its history beginning in 2023. Next year, the conference will be held in Whistler, B.C.

The fresh location is the first step in moving the Hardlines Conference to a different destination around the country from year to year, to better serve our industry on a truly national basis. And locating it at the Chateau Whistler, a premier Fairmont hotel, will ensure it is another first-class event. It will be held Oct. 17 and 18, 2023.

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Spectrum Brands sales team sees transitions

Spectrum Brands has announced the retirement of sales director Brian Crouch (left) in July, after nearly 25 years of service to the Weiser and Pfister brands. Crouch has been a key figure of the locks and faucet industries during a career that took him to Kwikset and Black & Decker before he joined Spectrum’s hardware and home improvement business.

At the same time, Spectrum Brands is promoting AJ Bayne (right) to the role of national sales manager, traditional retail. In a statement, it said his 20-year record of leadership includes managing numerous special projects.


Napoleon CFO promoted to president

Mike Tzimas will become president of Barrie, Ont.-based barbecue maker Napoleon, effective July 11. He joined Napoleon in January 2020 as VP of finance and was promoted to CFO a year later. He succeeds Ron McArthur, who announced his intention to retire at the end of 2022. Prior to joining Napoleon, Tzimas held senior finance and manufacturing roles within the auto industry. He will report to Napoleon’s co-CEOs Chris Schroeter and Stephen Schroeter.

Quebec hardware stores spared inventory glut

While some U.S. retailers are struggling to get surplus product off the shelves, hardware stores in Quebec aren’t seeing the same trend. Patrick Delisle, who heads up marketing at Canac, told Quebec City’s Le Soleil the chain had already prepared for a sales cooldown. “We’ve done our homework and we’ve prepared our spring accordingly,” he said. “At Canac, we are more of an everyday low-price seller and promotions are rarer. We did more promotions than we are used to.”

Mathieu Longchamps, co-owner of a BMR store near Quebec City, told the paper he’s having no trouble moving product, even if demand has slowed for smaller reno projects. He said it’s “difficult to compare [current] demand to that of the last two years, because the volume and [customer] traffic were unusual”.

TIMBER MART welcomes B.C. member

TIMBER MART has announced the addition of Pemberton Valley Building Centre in Pemberton, B.C., as its newest member dealer. “Being a member of TIMBER MART provides us with access to the products a rural customer needs,” Garth Phare, VP and GM, said in a release.

Founded more than 20 years ago, the business has 36 staff across two properties. These include a 7,200-square-foot retail space in Pemberton and a four-acre lumber yard with a 24,000-square-foot storage unit for building materials a few kilometres away. By the fall of 2024, the owners, Garth and Valerie Phare, Blair Gourlay, Deborah Phare, and Jeff Clarke, plan to open a new 20,000-sqaure-foot store that will combine hardware and building material offerings in one location.

Experts forecast summer drop in lumber prices

Lumber analysts are expecting the pricing bubble to burst this summer, possibly reducing costs by as much as 50 percent. “Retail prices should drop. Absolutely,” Paul Jannke of Forest Economic Advisors told DrydenNow. “It does take about three to four months for wholesale prices to feed through to retail pricing. So, I would think sometime fairly soon over the next month or two, we should start to see lower prices at the hardware store as well. From a retail perspective, it could be August.”

Inflation, housing prices squeeze renovations

Some real estate experts are sounding a note of caution about home renovations, The Globe and Mail reports. Nasma Ali of One Group Toronto Real Estate said homeowners with significant balances on their mortgages should “be careful with renovations right now”. Not only are costs of materials and labour high, but interest rates are rising as well as a counter to mounting inflation. Meanwhile, cooling house prices mean that major renovations could add more to a homeowner’s debt than to the house’s value, Ali warned.

spoga+gafa attendance rebounds

Attendance returned to pre-pandemic levels at this year’s spoga+gafa event. The world’s largest garden trade show was held in Cologne, Germany, earlier this month, a shift from its usual fall date. Foreign participants made up 67 percent of those attending, up from 65 percent in 2019. Next year’s event will be held June 18 to 20 in Cologne, on the heels of the Global DIY Summit, which takes place in Berlin from June 14 to 16.

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Intertape Polymer cleared to go private

Intertape Polymer Group announced that its pending acquisition by Clearlake Capital Group has been approved under foreign investment regulations. As first announced in March, the California-based investment firm offered $40.50 per share to take IPG private. The companies now intend to complete the transaction this week.