View in your browser

December 21, 2020 | Volume xxvi, #46


This is our last issue of 2020. The Virtual World Headquarters remains open until noon on December 22. We look forward to rejoining you on January 4 with our first blazing issue of the New Year. Until then, we wish you all, our Faithful Readers, a very safe and happy holiday. We hope you can hug the people in your bubble and share your love with those outside of it. Stay safe, get some rest, and we’ll see you in 2021!
—Geoffrey, Christina, Michelle, David & Michael



  • Home Depot Canada campaign steps up during COVID to help at-risk youth
  • Electronic shelf tags rolling out in Lowe’s Canada corporate stores
  • Peavey works with Ace to provide private labels to Canadian dealers
  • At Home Hardware, product trends under COVID mean new opportunities

PLUS: Home Hardware introduces B2B gift card, Lowe’s Canada brings toys to underprivileged kids, Stephany Robinson promoted at BMR, Cologne cancels International Hardware Show, Castle adds dealer, Rockwool sets carbon reduction goals, Fenplast acquires Fenêtres Drummond, Brian Straus joins RTS, Willmar founder among appointees, TORBSA takes on Monarch, Canac’s 32nd expected and more!

Home Depot Canada campaign steps up during COVID to help at-risk youth

TORONTO — The Home Depot Foundation Canada has wrapped up this year’s Orange Door Project fundraiser. Home Depot customers who donated to the campaign will support housing and programs for at-risk and homeless youth across Canada.

Through the Orange Door Project, The Home Depot Canada Foundation supports 125 organizations fighting youth homelessness. The Home Depot Canada will also donate $364,000, or $2,000 on behalf of each of its 182 stores, to help charitable organizations address the impact of COVID-19.

“This pandemic has been devastating for our partners and the youth they support, and while we continue to support them during this time, youth are facing more barriers to access than ever before,” said Pamela O’Rourke, who is VP of merchandising at The Home Depot Canada and chair of The Home Depot Canada Foundation’s board.

All stores have been participating in the Orange Door Project since the beginning of December, with the funds raised by each location staying within their local communities. Since the program’s inception in 2009, Home Depot has raised $13 million.

The roots of the Foundation’s chosen cause go right back to the wishes of Home Depot workers themselves. When polled some years ago to determine which charities or causes to support, the associates felt strongly about the fact that upwards of 6,000 young people can be without a place to sleep every night. Investing in this younger generation emerged as the cause of choice for the Foundation.

Home Depot’s charity partners have seen an increase in demand for their services since COVID-19 hit. And with the added costs and stresses under the pandemic, many benefactors have pulled back their support.

“Home Depot was the first to step up and say, we’ll continue to provide for people in need,” says Michael Braithwaite, CEO of Blue Door, an organization that provides emergency housing for homeless youth in the York Region north of Toronto.

Braithwaite notes the local Home Depot store stays connected with his organization beyond the Christmas campaign. That includes materials and volunteer labour from store associates. “The relationship continues and the store helps year-round for our other efforts,” he adds. “There’s a pride of community for that store.”

Electronic shelf tags rolling out in Lowe’s Canada corporate stores

MONTREAL — Lowe’s completed the rollout of Solum electronic shelf labels (ESL) in all U.S. stores and has begun installing them in select Canadian Lowe’s locations, beginning with the appliance department through last month.

Richard Emery, president of Self Edge Solutions, Solum’s premier distributor in Canada, did not share what categories are next, or when they would be implemented. Lowe’s Canada did confirm it is currently working with Solum for a nationwide rollout of ESL in its corporate stores. After the initial rollout in the appliance departments of its Lowe’s stores, the technology will be extended to other departments later in 2021. Deployment in select RONA corporate stores will take place in January 2021, and select Réno-Dépôt stores through March and April 2021.

However, Solum faces an incumbent in its expansion efforts. JRTech Solutions is a Montreal-based company that is the preferred partner in Canada for its Pricer digital price tags. It has been rolling out the electronic label technology to stores in Eastern Canada for years. Already, its ESL is in some 400 hardware and building supply locations in this country. About half of those stores are BMR dealers, firmly establishing JRTech’s presence in the province of Quebec. But the company also has dealers in Ontario and the Maritimes using its technology.

According to Diego Mazzone, president and CEO of JRTech Solutions, JRTech is also in Lowe’s Canada stores, having been there since 2014. These are former RONA affiliate stores, in Blainville and Ste-Thérèse, that were part of the later buyout by Lowe’s Canada. The JRTech system in those stores will not be changed out, Lowe’s confirms.

Mazzone says his company has begun installing its labels in Canadian Tire as well. Its Pricer labels are in 60 Canadian Tire stores already and another 100 to 200 are expected to be added through 2021.

Mazzone has seen acceptance among larger chains, such as Patrick Morin, which has two dozen stores in Quebec, as well as Home Hardware stores and other independents. Most recently, JRTech finished a rollout in the three stores in the Laferté chain just before Christmas. Laferté is a member of Independent Lumber Dealers Co-operative.

Smaller dealers are seeing the value of investing in ESL, he says, especially as interconnected selling through both online and bricks-and-mortar channels has accelerated during COVID. Dealers who wish to change their pricing in response to lower prices that appear online have the capability with ESL.

“ESL can digitize a dealer’s products in real-time to compete with the dynamic pricing online,” Mazzone says. “This is changing the paradigm of retail.”


Peavey works with U.S. to provide Ace-branded products to Canadian dealers

RED DEER — Since taking over the licence for Ace Hardware in Canada last spring, Peavey Industries has been working to bring the full force of that brand to bear for its Ace-bannered dealers.

That includes providing Ace-branded products for the stores, to round out their assortments with pricing that can help them compete with larger chains. The Ace name is especially strong in tools, a category Peavey wants to exploit. The deal with Ace falls under the Ace International division, so Peavey has access to products coming directly out of Ace’s factories in Asia.

Another important brand for Ace is Craftsman. “We’re going to maintain that brand,” says Scott Bennett, senior vice president of merchandising for Ace Canada. “We wanted to make sure we protected the dealer with any of the big national brands already in place.” Craftsman will remain exclusive for the Ace dealers under Peavey.

But, Bennett adds, Peavey has some of its own private brands. The brands are licensed under Mid-States Distributing Company, a buying group representing 36 farm and ranch retailers, of which Peavey is the only Canadian member. Bennett says four brands in particular are popular at Peavey: Wildology, a premium pet food line; Harvest King, which includes motor oils and additives; heavy equipment under the Black Diamond name, which includes products like log splitters and 60-gallon compressors; and Noble Outfitters.

Peavey also has a range of brands of its own that includes consumables such as fertilizer and grass seed, as well as dog and cat food lines. Those products, already in Peavey Mart stores and MainStreet Hardware outlets, will be made available to Ace dealers as well. “We work hard on our private labels. We’re trying to bring good value to the Ace dealers,” Scott adds.

Peavey held its first-ever buying show for the Ace dealers at the end of September last year. The two-day virtual event brought more than 150 vendors together with almost 100 Ace dealers.

At Home Hardware, product trends under COVID mean new opportunities

ST. JACOBS, Ont. — Consumer demand has changed a lot under COVID, and product assortments have changed to match those expectations. At Home Hardware Stores Ltd., the company worked hard over the past several months to keep pace with surges in demand, complicated by supply chain disruptions that caused ongoing product shortages.

According to Marianne Thompson, SVP merchandise at Home Hardware, demand was high across a range of categories, with a surge through the spring and summer in forest products, flooring, seasonal, yard maintenance, and canning. Products that lent themselves to easy fixups and cosmetic enhancements by DIYers, such as paint and stain, were especially strong categories, says Thompson.

Flooring also ended up taking off as well. “It’s a category that is both DIY and pro and we’ve definitely seen a real pickup in what we call DIY flooring.”

Looking long term, she says, products that reflect Home Hardware dealers’ growing sales with the contractor segment are gaining momentum.

“Lumber and building materials have, for us, continued to grow. Our dealer-owners have such strong relationships with the pros in each of their communities,” Thompson says. “We help build homes across the country and, regardless of the pandemic, that business has been growing.”

When asked what lessons she’s learned under COVID, Thompson noted the importance of getting people what they want amidst disruption. This has resulted in Home Hardware being able to “double-down on the e-commerce side of the business,” she says. “Through the pandemic, we’ve learned a lot about consumer behaviour and for us, it’s about providing the customers what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. So obviously we’re investing heavily in e-commerce.

“We’re investing in making sure that we have the best assortment online that reflects what our dealers have in their stores.”

People on the Move

Brian Straus has joined RTS Companies Inc. in St. Clements, Ont., as RTS corporate sales and marketing. Formerly director, merchandise hardlines at Home Hardware Stores Ltd., he spent a total of 26 years there, mainly in merchandise roles.

Willmar Windows founder Bill Fast is among the latest appointees to the Order of Canada, with the rank of Member. Fast got his start in the window business working for his father-in-law at Allmar Distributors. He and his wife Margaret bought Allmar’s window division in 1970, renaming it Willmar. Jeld-Wen bought the business in 1997 and continues to manufacture the Willmar Collection of windows.

BMR Group has named Stephany Robinson as advisor, strategy and dealer integration. She has been part of BMR’s business development team for the past four years.


... that the 25th annual Hardlines Conference is a go for 2021? That’s right, the conference will be held on October 19 and 20 at the Queen’s Landing in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. It’s Canada’s only national event for all banners and vendors in the retail home improvement industry, so you won’t want to miss it!


BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — More than 400 associates of Lowe’s Canada took part this month in the 2020 Opération Père Noël campaign. Some 900 gifts will be distributed throughout Montreal’s South Shore and elsewhere in Quebec. This year both affiliate dealers and members of the corporate head office participated. A total of 17 corporate and affiliated stores served as drop-off points to collect gifts from the community.

ST. JACOBS, Ont. — Home Hardware Stores Ltd. has launched a corporate bulk e-gift card program. The program allows corporate clients to purchase digital gift cards in any denomination between $5 and $2,000 by filling out an online form at Bulk orders receive a discount, which is applied at the time of payment, and customers have the option to include a personalized message.

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Castle Building Centres has added Hayduk Lumber & Hardware Ltd. in Calmar, Alta., is its newest member-dealer. Brent Hayduk, whose father established the business nearly 90 years ago, took ownership 40 years ago.

BOLTON, Ont. — Alberta’s Monarch Centres is the newest shareholder member of TORBSA. With locations are Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Red Deer, and Acheson, Monarch has provided building materials to the Alberta marketplace for more than 20 years.

QUEBEC CITY — The Cité 3000 project in Contrecœur, Que., will break ground in 2021 with the construction of a Canac warehouse and store, the city and its partners have announced. The Cité 3000 commercial hub is part of Quebec's maritime strategy, which calls for the development of the Contrecœur-Varennes industrial port zone. Construction of Canac's 32nd branch is expected to start next summer.


COLOGNE, Germany — Trade show organizer Koelnmesse has cancelled the 2021 edition of Eisenwarenmesse, the International Hardware Show, which was planned for Feb. 21 to 24. The hybrid event was already postponed from 2020.

COPENHAGEN — Rockwool Group has unveiled its new carbon emissions reduction goals, which amount to a one-third decrease in its life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by 2034. The plan has been verified by the Science Based Targets Initiative, a joint project of organizations including the UN Global Compact and the World Wildlife Fund.

CANDIAC, Que. — Fenplast has acquired all shares of Fenêtres Drummond of Drummondville, Que., including its manufacturing business, Fenêtres Contemporaines. Fenplast was founded in 1989 and today unites more than 80 independent dealers of doors and windows. Fenêtres Drummond has been owned by Isabelle and Michael Bahl for the past 40 years.


Retail sales rose 1.1 percent to $53.9 billion in September, the fifth consecutive monthly increase since the record decline in April. Sales of building materials and garden equipment and supplies came to $3.82 billion, an increase of 0.9 percent from August and up 19.5 percent from September 2019. (StatCan)


Sales of existing homes in Canada edged down by 1.6 percent monthly in November, yet continued to run well above historical levels. Activity was up 32.1 percent year-over-year, matching October’s gain. For the fifth straight month, year-over-year sales activity was up in almost all Canadian housing markets. (Canadian Real Estate Association)

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in Canada was 246,033 units in November, up 14.4 percent from 215,134 units in October. The SAAR of urban starts for the month rose by 15 percent. Multiple urban starts increased by 22.5 percent, while single-detached urban starts decreased by 3.8 percent. (CMHC)


The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has estimated that 225,000 Canadian businesses may permanently close due to COVID-19.


“If you are in bricks-and-mortar, you have to look at all your outlets for selling. You have to be fluid.”
—Diego Mazzone, CEO of JRTech Solutions, on the value of dealers adopting electronic shelf tags to maintain dynamic pricing in their stores as a way to compete more effectively against online sales.


Classified Ads


Looking to post a classified ad? Email Michelle for a free quote.



Privacy Policy |

HARDLINES is published weekly (except monthly in December and August) by HARDLINES Inc.
© 2020 by HARDLINES Inc.
HARDLINES™ the electronic newsletter
Phone: 416.489.3396; Fax: 647.259.8764

Michael McLarney — President—
Christina Manocchio — Editor—
Geoff McLarney — Assistant Editor—

David Chestnut — VP & Publisher—
Michelle Porter— Marketing & Events Manager—
Accounting —

The HARDLINES "Fair Play" Policy: Reproduction in whole or in part is very uncool and strictly forbidden and really and truly against the law. So please, play fair! Call for information on multiple subscriptions or a site license for your company. We do want as many people as possible to read HARDLINES each week — but let us handle your internalrouting from this end!
1-3 Subscribers: $455
4-6 Subscribers: $615
7-10: Subscribers: $750
After initial 10 subscribers, blocks of 10 are $285.
For more information call 416-489-3396 or click here
You can pay online by VISA/MC/AMEX at our secure website, by EFT, or send us money. Please make cheque payable to HARDLINES.