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Beverly Allen, Publisher
| Brady Peever, Client Services | Michael McLarney, Editor | | 416-489-3396 |



February 22, 2010, Volume xvi, #8

“The faults of the burglar are the qualities of the financier.”
–George Bernard Shaw (Irish playwright, 1856-1950)


Independents prepare for the recovery at Dealer Conference

TORONTO — “The economy is improving as we speak.” These opening words from Scotia Bank senior economist Carlos Gomes were encouraging ones, setting the tone for two mornings of sessions for dealers and vendors at the Second Annual Johns Manville Dealer Conference presented by Hardlines. It was held last week as part of the Lumber and Building Materials Association of Ontario’s Canadian Home Improvement Show, at the Congress Centre in Toronto.

Gomes’s presentation was just one of a series dedicated to helping independent dealers run their businesses better. Under a theme of preparing for the economic recovery, the JM Hardlines Dealer Conference was presented in conjunction with the Canadian Home Improvement Show, a high-impact buying event that attracts retailers from across Ontario and beyond. There, the dealers had the chance to meet top vendors and get special buys for their stores for the year ahead.

“It’s important for our dealers to have access to the latest new product innovations. But they also need the latest information on trends,” said Gino Allegro, Manager of Canadian Sales for Johns Manville Canada, naming sponsor of the event. “This conference was a powerful resource for networking with a focused group of independents.”

Dealers gained valuable insights from the speakers. The greatest service that dealers can give their contractor customers is time, said Jon Eakes, TV, radio and online contractor and DIY guru. In his presentation, “Increase your Sales in the New Economy,” he pointed out that it’s important to understand what time means to a contractor, and do everything possible to value that time, both in-store and on the job site.

Understanding how to run the business better was addressed by a number of speakers. Al Holton, regional sales manager, and Tania Gauthier, vice-president client services, at OGC, a business solutions company, teamed up to talk about how to look at one’s business in a new light to take out redundancies and free up capital to be more successful.

Rob Wilbrink, president of BMF Merchandising, talked to dealers about “Merchandising Trends that will Drive Sales and Margins.” His no-nonsense presentation laid out the many facets of store design and how they have a direct impact on a store’s sales and profitability. “When dealers renovate a store, they can get an incredible return on investment, working with the space they have without necessarily making a huge expansion investment,” said Wilbrink.

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LBMAO show generates healthy sales amidst mixed attendance

TORONTO — Dealers were definitely in a buying mood at the latest edition of the Canadian Home Improvement Show. With signs of a recovery finally reaching Ontario, independents were expressing optimism about the coming spring season, and translating that optimism into orders.

Traffic on day one of the show, at the Toronto Congress Centre Feb. 11-12, was busy with dealers present from just about every banner in the province, while day two dropped. Dave Campbell, president of the Lumber and Building Materials Association of Ontario, adds that there was an increase this year in attendance by traditional hardware stores and specialty door, window, moulding and trim dealers.

In addition, the show remains an important forum for networking, deal-making and tire-kicking.

“Overall the atmosphere was great and the buying was strong,” says Campbell. “Certainly the dealers that were there were very optimistic. Vendors I talked to were likewise very upbeat and most of them indicated they would be back next year. While we won’t have exact numbers on attendance until later this week, we feel we’re moving in the right direction.”

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The World readies for Cologne Hardware Fair

COLOGNE , Germany — Next week, the world will converge on this city beside the Rhine to gather information about innovations and trends from approximately 2,700 suppliers from 51 countries.

“Cologne will become an international business hub for the sector by bringing together professionals from trade and industry with buyers and suppliers, enabling them to hold discussions and lay the groundwork for the coming year,” says Oliver P. Kuhrt, executive vice-president of Koelnmesse, the organization which owns and manages the show.

This year, the Fair will encompass five product segments: Tools, Industrial Supply, Fastening & Fittings, Locks & Fittings and Home Improvement. The fair’s biggest segment, Tools, will be presenting more than 2,000 companies exhibiting a comprehensive range of hand and power tools, and accessories. Industrial supplies and workshop and industrial fittings will be displayed by about 300 companies in the Industrial Supply product segment.

Visitors will also find innovations from 150 suppliers in the Fastening & Fittings segment, while products from the Locks & Fittings segment will be presented by 100 manufacturers. Fastenings and fittings from Asia will also be featured. The product range will be rounded out by exhibitors from the Home Improvement segment, where visitors will find products from the builders’ and DIY supplies segment.

The International Hardware Fair runs Feb. 28 to March 3. For more info, click here.

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C ommercial side keeps growing at Castle

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — An important, and growing, part of the membership of Castle Building Centres is the buying group’s recruitment of pro, or commercial, dealers. That division, called Commercial Builders Services (CBS), began only a few short years ago, but already has 11 members that represent a total of 27 outlets across the country.

“The commercial and specialty dealer is an important part of our plan for growth,” says Ken Jenkins, president of Castle.

But, despite the interest by dealers in Castle, the group is being selective, says Jenkins, about its recruitment process. “It’s methodical and strategic,” he says.

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RONA wants to switch vendors to collect
freight terms

BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — RONA’s latest phase of its strategic plan calls for implementing a transportation management system called TMS, something that will happen over the next two years.

This new TMS platform will facilitate a conversion of RONA’s vendors from prepaid terms to collect freight terms. According to RONA executives, who announced the new plan at an analysts’ meeting earlier this month, this move would reflect a trend among many other retailers today. The process will be a multi-year one because of the amount of negotiation to be done with the vendors to implement the switch.

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West Fraser suffers year-end loss

VANCOUVER — West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. suffered a $20 million loss on sales of $647 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. For the year, that loss deepened to $341 million on sales of $2.61 billion.

However, extraordinary items impacted the results, namely: asset impairment and restructuring charges of $49 million; a valuation allowance which decreased tax recovery by $3 million; and the translation of U.S. dollar-denominated debt that resulted in a foreign exchange gain of $6 million. Excluding these items, the company earned $12 million in the fourth quarter.

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Hardware Buyer, Surrey, BC
IRLY Distributors

This position will be responsible for the procurement of hardware inventory and maintaining pricing, quality, lead times and shipment of all hardware products and related products. Interested applicants will have working knowledge and experience within the industry and have a strong business sense of future trends and opportunities.

If you are interested in joining our fast paced and growth oriented team, send your resume and cover letter, along with salary expectations to:  NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.



Outside Sales Representative, Surrey, BC
IRLY Distributors

We are looking for an experienced Sales Representative to sell our hardware and building materials products and programs.  This position will be based in the Okanagan and will also service the east and west Kootenays.

Candidates must have previous “on the road” sales experience within the lumber, building materials and hardware industry.  Excellent customer service skills and an aptitude for building relationships is a must.

If you are interested in joining our fast paced and growth oriented team, send your resume and cover letter, along with salary expectations to:  NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.



Commodities & Building Materials Buyer
IRLY Distributors

Commodities & Building Materials Buyer Surrey, BC This position will be responsible for the procurement and negotiations of short and long term agreements, including pricing, quality, lead time and shipment of commodities, lumber, building materials and related products. Interested applicants will have working knowledge and experience within the industry and have a strong business sense of future trends and opportunities.

At IRLY Distributors, we offer a full benefit plan and compensation package. If you are interested in joining this fast paced and growth oriented team, send your resumé and cover letter, along with salary expectations to NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.



Maxtech Consumer Products Limited, in Waterloo, ON is a leading supplier of Hand Tools & Power Tool Accessories to major retailers in Canada, USA & Europe. The company has a reputation for designing new & innovative products & has nearly 100 patents. Maxtech has offices in USA, Germany, India & China. We are searching for a talented, energetic individual with drive, passion, and a proven track record, to join our growing organization as:

Manager Product Development & Quality

  • A strong strategic thinker with proven Project Management & leadership abilities.
  • Responsible for all techno-aesthetic & quality activities of the company including development of new products to meet functional & quality aspects.
  • Establish quality systems to meet Maxtech & customer requirements.
  • Must be well versed with Maxtech’s patent portfolio to incorporate them in development of new products.
  • Lead a team of engineers, designers & Quality personnel.
  • Travel within North America, Europe & Asia.
  • Product development & quality experience preferably in hardware products /retail industry.
  • Past experience working with vendor’s facilities in Asia would be an asset.
  • Must possess at least 3 years Management experience in a similar role

    Please apply by submitting your resume to



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