John Caulfield, Contributing Editor
vol. xi, #2, January 10, 2005

IN THIS ISSUE: •Home Depot expands supply side in Canada •Western Tool's Canadian takeover goes smoothly •Lowe's opens new DC •Wintermans gone from Sodisco-Howden •New Canadian hardware show heavy on décor •Vet gets leg up from True Value dealer •Lowe's targeted by crooks •Sears acquires appliance buying group

* * * * * * NOTE: Dollar amounts are stated in the currency of the country from which the story originates. — Michael McLarney, Editor & Publisher * * * * * *
"It's better to burn out, than it is to rust." — Neil Young (from "Rust Never Sleeps")
MONTREAL — With the recently announced acquisition of a national commercial lighting distributor, Home Depot Canada is aggressively moving its sights to the huge commercial and institutional market in Canada, considered a natural extension of its growing business with contractors.Montreal-based Litemor, which has 11 distribution centers in Canada and two in the U.S. (Boston and New York), was acquired last week by Canada's largest home improvement retailer, and will become part of Home Depot Supply Canada. The company expects the Litemor deal to be just one of many more to come, says Home Depot Canada prez Annette Verschuren. Leading the division here is a veteran of Home Depot Supply in the States, Ron Turk. In Quebec, the division is called Home Depot Commercial Direct.Commercial, institutional and property management customers can order from Home Depot by phone, fax or email, through a centralized call center located in the U.S. "But we're looking into that up here in Canada," says Turk. "It's the beginning of a strategy to expand Home Depot Supply in Canada," says Verschuren. The potential is huge, she adds, for all sectors of C/I service. The commercial lighting side alone offers a $10 billion opportunity in the near term, she says Home Depot Supply in the U.S. has been expanding aggressively through a series of acquisitions in recent years, and now it's Canada's turn. "We're a little behind, frankly, and we want to catch up," says Verschuren. That catch-up should happen fast, suggests Turk. Thanks to the expertise acquired in the U.S., he says growth here will be accelerated. Verschuren wouldn't disclose how much the Litemor acquisition will add to Home Depot Canada's sales, nor would she reveal Home Depot's sales in Canada, but we estimate them to come in at least $5 billion in 2004.
CALGARY — Western Tool Supply's plan for blending its corporate culture with that of House of Tools, which it acquired in May of 2004, is progressing well, according to Steve Hunter, CFO for House of Tools and Western Tools.Hunter is part of the transition team overseeing the consolidation between Western Tool and the nine-store chain House of Tools, which has enjoyed great success selling power tools through its on-line presence and in its retail locations in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.The transition so far, he says, has been very smooth. "I think that's partly because we recognize that when you enter into a situation where there is a cultural change, the first thing you do is to build trust," says Hunter, "We are spending time doing that." One of the changes that Hunter hopes will become apparent to customers is better pricing. With increased buying power from Western Tools, which has 51 stores stateside, customers should begin to notice even more competitive pricing, especially if the Canadian dollar remains strong.
PLAINFIELD, Conn. — Lowe's Cos. opened its 1.36 million-sq.ft. distribution center here on January 3, with about 400 of the 700 employees who will eventually staff this facility when it's fully operational in March.The $90 million DC, built to serve Lowe's stores in New England and New York, will eventually receive product through 250 loading bays. The complex has parking for 732 18-wheel trucks, according to Eric Reed, the facility's human resource manager, who was quoted in The Day of Greenwich, Conn.The construction of this DC embroiled Lowe's in some controversy last year because the retailer received $20 million in tax abatements from the city to place the warehouse in Plainfield. To assuage local residents who opposed this project and have complained about noise from the construction and trucks, Lowe's has pledged to help pay for a barrier to separate the DC from surrounding homes.
MONTREAL — Changes are already afoot at Sodisco-Howden Group, following the purchase of 83% of its common shares in a friendly takeover by CanWel Building Materials. Tom Donaldson, president and CEO of CanWel Building Materials Ltd., is now president of Sodisco-Howden Group. Amar Doman, chairman of CanWel, is also chairman of Sodisco-Howden.Gone is former president and CEO Jos Wintermans, who cannily maintained Sodisco-Howden's fortunes amidst a fiercely competitive business environment and an ever-narrowing customer base. Also gone is CFO James Shannon.While a purge was expected, the new organization is at odds with Donaldson's previous assertion to Hardlines that the two businesses will be run separately. That separation is being watched carefully by many existing CanWel customers that are competitors to Sodisco-Howden. Both Home Hardware and Rona, which together account for at least $200 million of CanWel's $540 million in sales, have said they will take a wait-and-see approach to the takeover before making any decisions about its LBM sourcing. Calls to CanWel were not returned, but I'll let you know more as details are forthcoming.
ATLANTA — The newly reformed Canadian Hardware Show is getting closer to its "launch" date under a new name and owner. Now called H2X, it's being held in conjunction with the Paint and Decorating Retailers Association's own convention and show, now called D2X. It will be held February 19-22 at the Congress Centre, near the Toronto Airport.The combined event, owned and organized by Messe Frankfurt, the international trade show company with North American headquarters here in Atlanta, so far has 142 exhibitors representing more than 200 companies. About 125 of those exhibitors represent paint and décor related companies.Only two months ago, PDRA had only 26 exhibitors signed up. According to Kathy Witmeyer, director of membership, education and trade shows at the PDRA, the boost in exhibitors came within the past few weeks, with "lots of last-minute calling" and promotions. Daniel McKinnon, director of North American trade shows for Messe Frankfurt, admits that getting this one off the ground has been "challenging." But despite the exhibitor numbers, he remains optimistic. "A lot of bigger [companies] we were counting on to support the show are still in, including Rona and Home Hardware, which both have large booths," says McKinnon. Messe Frankfurt's goal was to reach 200 exhibitors; McKinnon is confident the final tally will be close, estimating a total of 180-plus when the show doors open. In a separate interview, Roland Bleinroth, president of Messe Frankfurt North America, insisted his company is prepared to make an investment in the Canadian show, even if it means taking a loss on it in the first year. The show will maintain a seminar program. Although they're mainly certificate courses geared for the paint and décor delegates within the PDRA, eight seminars will be offered that have wider appeal for hardlines delegates. Topics include competing against big boxes, succession planning, and effective PR. The show will feature two keynote speakers. On Monday, Robert Dutton, president and CEO of Rona inc., will speak, and on Tuesday, Bill Morrison, president and CEO of TruServ Canada, will take the podium.
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, Fla. — Keystone Building Center, a member of the True Value hardware co-op (formerly TruServ), joined forces with A&E's "At Home With the Brave" program to give a surprise home makeover to local hero, Sergeant First Class Scott Hall. "At Home With the Brave" is a one-hour special on A&E that aired last month, celebrating small-town heroes returning from Iraq and reuniting with their families for the holidays.Sergeant Hall has served in the military for 14 years including operations Just Cause (Panama), Desert Storm, and now Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also plans on serving in Afghanistan next year. His wife Pam volunteers at Camp Blanding for Family Readiness, which helps military families prepare for separation. She also home schools their son, who suffers from Tourette Syndrome, while also documenting missed moments for her husband of their two-year-old daughter's "firsts." The Hall family was struck with devastation when Scott was hit with shrapnel from a bomb that struck his face in Iraq. While back in Florida, the Hall's home was ravaged by Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne.A&E's "At Home With the Brave" selected the Hall family and requested assistance from local merchants. Keystone Building Center donated approximately $10,000 in product donations such as wood, concrete and tools.
TORONTO — Sears Canada Inc. has agreed to acquire Cantrex Group Inc. from a Canadian subsidiary of General Electric Capital Corp. Cantrex is Canada's largest buying group representing independent merchants of furniture, appliances, electronics, photography equipment and floor coverings. The acquisition also includes Corbeil Electrique, a wholly owned Cantrex subsidiary based in Montreal with 27 appliance stores mainly in Quebec.Cantrex has 1,300 independent retailers, with names like Mattress World and Furniture Plus, that sell furniture, electronics and appliances. The deal will give Sears Canada more points of sale throughout the country, and allow it to beef up its volumes through the Sears distribution and logistics system, which is already adept at shipping products to just about anywhere in the country. Cantrex will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears.Sears Canada already works with more than 200 independent retailers, including Sears Dealer stores and Floor Covering Centres, plus more than 2,200 catalogue agents. "Our experience in these businesses has helped us to understand the unique and important role that local owner/managers bring to their customers, said Brent Hollister, president and CEO of Sears Canada, in a prepared statement. "Acquiring Cantrex provides these merchants with the advantages of a major retailer."
SPECIAL REPORT — Home improvement and hardlines dealers unfortunately fall victim to shoplifters and scam artists every day. But over the past few weeks, Lowe's Cos., the industry's second-largest retailer, has been mentioned prominently in news reports about criminal activities that involved several of its stores:• In Jackson County, Mich., investigators for Lowe's and Blackmun Township in Michigan nabbed a suspect who allegedly ran up over $50,000 in fraudulent credit card purchases in four counties. The Jackson County Citizen-Patriot reported that the suspect was detained when he arrived at a Lowe's store to pick up a refrigerator/freezer and range valued at $1,500.• A U.S. district judge in Charlotte, N.C., sentenced one of three Michigan men who tried to hack into Lowe's information technology system to a nine-year prison sentence. This term is reportedly the longest sentence ever handed out for a hacking offence in U.S. history. Another co-conspirator was sentenced to 26 months in federal prison. The accused had pleaded guilty to the crimes in August. • A man sitting in his car near the loading dock of Lowe's store in Winchester, Ky., was fatally shot on Dec. 27. The police have no suspects, and the victim had not been identified by authorities at press time.
TOANO, Va. — Lumber Liquidators, the largest hardware flooring specialty dealer in the U.S., has negotiated $35 million in new financing through an investment made in the company by TA Associates, one of the country's largest private equity and buyout firms. The company says the financing will be used to expand the company, which currently operates 60 stores. As for Boston-based TA, it is investing in what its managing director, Richard Tadler, called "the stand-alone leader in hardwood flooring," a market that grew by 6% to $2 billion in 2003. Lumber Liquidators operates a 360,000-sq.ft. distribution center in Virginia, and operates stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia.BOLTON, Ont. — TORBSA Ltd., the LBM buying group serving specialty dealers in Ontario, has added two new members: Hewson Brothers Supply Ltd. and Pro Con Building Supplies Ltd., both of Brampton, Ont. Both companies have been supplying the GSD trade for more than two decades, serving primarily new residential construction. Along with the addition of Ottawa-based Morin Bros. Building Supplies, which joined TORBSA in September 2004, total membership in the group is now 28.ST. JACOBS, Ont. — Home Hardware Stores presented a cheque for a whopping $250,000 to the relief efforts coordinated by the Red Cross for areas severely hit by the earthquake and tsunami in South East Asia. Funds were raised from donations that poured in from Home hardware dealers across Canada to provide immediate relief and basic assistance to the people affected by the tropical disaster. Home Hardware's corporate goal is to raise a total of $500,000. MONTREAL — Sodisco-Howden Group refinanced its line of credit last week, in its new status as a subsidiary of CanWel Building Materials Ltd. It renewed and increased its stand-alone credit facilities to a maximum of $75,000,000, with Congress Financial Corp. (Canada). The facilities' rates are floating based on prime, and are for a term ending September 30, 2007. Congress is the lead bank of Sodisco-Howden's parent, CanWel. CanWel owns 83% of Sodisco-Howden's common shares. TORONTO — Just in case you missed this, Home Depot Canada has moved its head office from the Ellesmere store in Scarborough to: 1 Concorde Gate, Suite 900, Toronto, Ont. M3C 4H9. Easy to find — it's only about 10 minutes east of the World Headquarters of Hardlines. Phone numbers stay the same. FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Do it Best Corp. recently expanded its online order fulfillment capabilities so that products are now shipped from six of its retail service centers across the U.S. The co-op expects that this change will result in faster delivery to online customers, as well as overall improved efficiencies. Prior to September 2004, all online orders originated from the co-op's RSC in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Now, online orders wil also be shipped from its RSCs in Montgomery, N.Y., Dixon, Ill., Woodburn, Ore., Lexington, S.C. and Waco, Tex. Two more RSCs will be added by the first quarter of 2006. NEW YORK — Rayovac Corp. is going to buy United Industries Corp., a St. Louis, Mo.-based maker of lawn and garden products. The number-three battery maker is looking to diversify beyond its core business, and will pay about $476 million in cash and stock, and assume about $880 million in debt for a cash tax benefit of about $140 million. United's brand names include Spectracide and Cutter. NORWALK, Conn. — City of Hope, a world-renowned cancer center and popular home improvement industry charity, will host its annual Spirit of Life Award event this year in conjunction with the 2005 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. City of Hope is an innovative biomedical research, treatment and educational institution. Located near Los Angeles, City of Hope is dedicated to the prevention and cure of cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and other life-threatening diseases. Each year, it honors industry leaders for notable contributions to both their community and profession. The 2005 award dinner will take place May 18, 2005. This year, Paul Hylbert, president and CEO of Lanoga Corp., will be honored for his outstanding business and philanthropic leadership. HONG KONG — Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd. was ranked among the top three best-managed companies in Asia, and came in second as best-managed company in Hong Kong. The list was compiled by Asiamoney, a financial magazine covering corporate Asia, based on votes submitted by fund-management firms and brokerages in the Asia-Pacific region. Founded in 1985, TTI employs more than 20,000 worldwide and represents a global brand portfolio that includes Ryobi, Milwaukee and AEG. CHICAGO — As baby boomers get older, they are less inclined to do it themselves. That's why big boxes are counting on installed sales for big growth. Lowe's expects installed sales to reach $2 billion at the end of the current year, up from $1.5 billion, accounting for about 5% of revenue. MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Wal-Mart Canada has been ranked the country's best retailer to work for in Canada. This according to the annual "50 Best Employers in Canada" list just published by Report on Business magazine. It's the third time in four years that Wal-Mart has been named the best place to work in the Canadian retail industry. It was also ranked the eighth-best company overall to work for in Canada, up from its ranking last year as number 14 overall.
Jay Gregg has joined Supplierpipeline Inc. as Director of Sales for Supplierpipeline Inc., a company that owns LITE ladder, and sells Jackall jacks and Jacmorr brackets and work stands. He was formerly with Loglac Industries as director of sales and marketing. (1-800-567-0864)
TORONTO — Canadians are turning to internet shopping in a big way and retailers such as Canadian Tire are making big gains, says the latest comScore survey. Traffic at Canadian Tire's website was up 37% over the previous year and Chapters-Indigo was up 52%. In addition, Ikea was up 56%; Rona, up 43%; Sears, up 6%; and Hudson's Bay Co. had a 17% increase.

****HARDLINES MARKETPLACE**** Don't miss the products and services on the Hardlines web Marketplace: And check out Hardlines Classifieds on the web: HELP WANTED

TSC STORES LTD. is a Canadian owned company with 25 retail stores in Ontario and a distribution center located in London, Ontario. We have been in the hardware, automotive and farm supply retail sector for over 35 years in Canada and have an aggressive plan for future growth.

We are currently looking for a Chief Financial Officer at our Corporate Office in London, Ontario. The Chief Financial Officer is responsible for accurate and timely financial reporting, budgeting, investment management and debt management. Responsible for all areas of finance within a chain of retail stores that are corporately owned. The Chief Financial Officer holds full collaborative authority and accountability for all decisions made and is accountable for the complete execution of company policies, practices and plans. The CFO would be the liaison with external auditors and banking institutions, and would negotiate and execute contracts, drafts and loan agreements. This person would provide direction and leadership to an accounting department of six. The ideal candidate must possess 8 to 10 years management experience with an extensive, multi-unit progressive retailer. Must have CA designation. Must have superior communication and presentation skills and the ability to effectively communicate with all levels of management and across all functional areas. Must possess strong computer skills (MS Office – Excel, Word). We offer a competitive salary and benefit package. Please apply by January 17th to: TSC Stores Ltd. 1950 Oxford Street E. London, Ontario N5V 2Z8 Fax: 519-451-1235 e-mail: (



This well-established home improvements company has built their success on top quality service for window, door and siding products and recently added the Owens-Corning basement finishing system to their portfolio. Business growth requires the addition of a Marketing Manager to complement their existing management team. Reporting to the President, he/she will operate and manage all marketing staff and programs to obtain leads for their inside and outside sales forces. Consumer marketing areas include marketing collateral development, direct mail programs, media buys, referral programs development, community relations, trade show involvement and market trend analysis. Currently a US-based Manager, others would typify you as the “lead generation guru” in a home improvement firm that knows how to get the most out of your staff. Open and forthright, you’re good at developing two-way communication channels throughout your company and managing by example. Home improvement company experience is essential. Located in central Pennsylvania with Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia all in relative proximity, Harrisburg is a family-friendly community that recently ranked as America’s #2 least-stressful city. To inquire further about this opportunity, please contact Wolf Gugler in strict confidence, quoting Direct Marketing Manager-PA. Wolf Gugler & Associates Limited, 1000 West Wilshire, Oklahoma City, OK 73116. (405) 848-3006 email: Web site:



Our client a tier one supplier to the “Big Box Stores” is expanding again. Working from the client’s Toronto GTA office the National Account Manager will be responsible for consumer hardware head office accounts. The idea candidate will have a proven record a proven record of sales to head offices like Home Depot and Rona. You will be computer literate and have a record of achievement. Please apply in confidence to Rick Harrison at A.E. Harrison & Partners Inc. ( by email address

********************************************************************************** NATIONAL ACCOUNTS MANAGER

Reporting to the GM, a leading manufacturer is seeking a National Account Manager in Mississauga. You will be responsible for major accounts in Ontario and eastern Canada (Wal-Mart experience essential). A hands-on and innovative professional who interacts at all levels; you will prepare proposals, quotations, promotional offerings, plan, budget, and organize promotional advertising, participate in trade shows, demos, and forecast sales volumes. Customer focused and an excellent communicator, you have 5 years' related experience and a Business/Economics degree. You are computer literate and bilingual (French & English) and are able to travel as required. The Company offers a competitive salary and benefits program along with a good working environment. Please submit your confidential resume outlining accomplishments, objectives, and salary expectations along with a cover letter describing how your background fits the position to P.O. Box 335.  

********************************************************************************** AGENTS AND FULL TIME SALES REPS

ARE YOU A TOOL FOOL? We are looking for agents in BC, Alberta, and the Maritimes to sell a line of quality tools. Experience in tools an absolute necessity. Also seeking a full time sales rep to do the same in Ontario. Company is a mid-sized tool importer selling to the retail, industrial and electrical markets. Send resume and/or line card to, P.O. Box 435.

********************************************************************************** SERVICES OFFERED

EXPERIENCED REP AGENCY SEEKS ESTABLISHED LINES Experienced Rep Agency seeks established lines to represent to the Hardware, Building Materials, and Industrial Supply Industry. We can offer both sales, and detail services to the Ontario market. As a small, focused agency, our committment is to higher service levels, strong product knowledge, and 110% customer satisfaction. For details, please contact Shawn Hamill, at Indusport Agencies, (519)239-3534, or ( **********************************************************************************


Sterling CommerceUCCnet services compliance is being strongly encouraged by retailers from Wal-Mart® to The Home Depot® because it makes supply chains more efficient. But implementation can be challenging. Sterling Commerce will guide you through every step. To find out more, click here for a free copy of, "Data Synchronization: From Compliance to Collaboration." ********************************************************************************** Your products deserve the best representation they can get. NORAL MARKETING knows the Canadian retail customer. Don't settle for anything less! Contact Dave Leslie at 905-702-9443, to find out how Noral can boost your sales in Canada.   **********************************************************************************


I will help you express yourself perfectly, with handpicked custom gift arrangements. Expressions by Ty specializes in creating unique corporate and personal gift ideas. From baskets filled with European delights and table arrangements for weddings and special events, to anniversary gifts of custom designed jewellery and other luxurious treats. An Expressions by Ty gift stands above all others. Any season, any occasion... It's how you express yourself. © For all your gifting needs contact myself, Ty Ottey: by email at or by telephone at 905.209.0079 ext. 2

Expressions by Ty is a division of Integrated OmniMedia.




Manchester Tank NORTH AMERICA'S "PREMIER MANUFACTURER" of Propane Cylinders

NOW available in Canada


(5 lb. through 420 lb. propane cylinders available)

. Recognized Market Leader . . Unsurpassed Quality . . Reliable Delivery . . Outstanding Customer Service . Contact us today for more Information
Hardlines is published weekly (except monthly in December and August) by McLARNEYCOM 542 Mount Pleasant Rd., Suite 302, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4S 2M7 � 2004 by Michael McLarney. HARDLINES™ the electronic newsletter Phone: 416.489.3396; Fax: 416.489.6154 Michael McLarney, Editor & Publisher: Beverly Allen, Director of Sales & Marketing: Nancy Wright, Circulation Manager: Phyllis Nowell, Sales Manager: ______________________________________________ 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 internal routing from this end! ______________________________________________ Subscription: $229 (Canadian subscribers add $16.03 GST = $245.03 per year/ GST #13987 0398 RT). Secondary subscriptions at the same office are only $36 (Canadian subscribers add $2.52 GST = $38.52). Ask about our reduced rate for branch offices. You can pay online by VISA at our secure website or send us money. Please make cheque payable to Hardlines/McLarneyCom.