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January 31, 2022 | Volume xxviii, #5


  • Home Hardware garners recognition as top employer, top hardware retailer
  • Canac expands its distribution facilities, continues to add new stores
  • The latest edition of HR Advisor examines what’s ahead for recruitment
  • ‘We hire the best’: trained staff are key to customer service

PLUS: Richelieu Hardware reports Q4 results, Home Depot names Decker CEO, retail sales edge up, 3M Co. reports strong Q4 earnings, Derek Matysik joins Footprint Products, Western Forest Products reaches accord with Vancouver Island First Nations, Tractor Supply’s year-end, retail sales, and more!

Home Hardware garners recognition as top employer, top hardware retailer

For the third year in a row, Home Hardware Stores Ltd. has made Forbes’ list of Canada’s Best Employers, compiled in association with Statista Inc.

The list is based on a survey of more than 10,000 Canadian employees working for companies employing at least 500 people in Canada. Home Hardware landed in number 227. “Being recognized by Forbes speaks to Home Hardware’s culture and our commitment to providing a welcoming environment where everyone feels valued and supported,” Scott Bryant, VP for human resources, said in a release.

The recognition follows closely on another, more industry-specific, kudos received by the company just one week earlier. It was named the No. 1 hardware retailer in Leger’s 2021 Ontario WOW study. Leger, the largest Canadian-owned market research firm, surveyed more than 13,000 shoppers across the province.

“We are honoured to be recognized for best in-store experience in the hardware category and flattered to be chosen by our valued customers,” CEO and president Kevin Macnab said in a release.

In partnership with the Retail Council of Canada, Leger evaluated the performance of 153 Ontario retailers in 20 different sectors. Customers were surveyed on 20 key dimensions, such as staff courtesy, competency and attentiveness, efficiency at checkout, and store layout and ambiance.


Canac expands its distribution facilities, continues to add new stores

Canac is investing $30 million in the construction of a store and fulfilment centre in Lévis, on the south shore of Quebec City.

The privately-owned chain of building centres acquired two lots in December, one with an area of more than 600,000 square feet. The delivery station will comprise more than 100,000 square feet of warehouse space, while the store will open on a neighbouring property at a date to be determined.

The distribution centre is the priority for the company, says Canac’s marketing director, Patrick Delisle. He expects that facility to be operational by the end of 2022 or early 2023. “As for the store that is planned to go with it, it will probably take a few years. We already have Contrecœur near Montreal planned out for the end of 2022.”

The new delivery centre will enable Canac to take the pressure off its already overburdened delivery centre on the north shore, where Canac’s head offices are located.

“For many years now the old delivery centre hasn’t been able to keep up with our growth,” Delisle told Hardlines. The new location responds to a need to shorten delivery distances and overcome the increased volume of traffic over the two bridges that span the river at Quebec City. “Now with DCs on both sides of the St. Lawrence River, we can serve more clients and go a little farther.”

The latest expansion efforts tied in with the completion of a second building at Canac’s Drummondville, Que., distribution centre. The 432,000-square-foot structure is geared toward seasonal products and building materials. It sits on a million-square-foot lot that Canac purchased in 2019, situated in an industrial park opposite a DC Canac already has there.

The company continues to add stores as well. The planned opening of the store in the city of Contrecœur, which began construction last summer, follows the opening in the spring of 2021 of Canac’s 31st store, in La Prairie, Que. The 40,000-square-foot store has a 10,000-square-foot outdoor garden centre and a 24,000-square-foot lumber yard. According to Delisle, that store has been “a great success.”


The latest edition of HR Advisor examines what’s ahead for recruitment

The latest issue of our sister publication, Hardlines HR Advisor, came out last week. In this issue, we look at recruitment trends, prioritizing mental health in the workplace, and planning for staff reductions. To help companies shape their expectations for hiring in the year ahead, we spoke with some of this industry’s top executive search specialists.

Wolf Gugler of Wolf Gugler Executive Search has experienced a strong start to the year. He’s conducted searches on behalf of his home improvement customers in the roles of sales, operations, and sales leadership.

But despite the apparent buoyancy in the marketplace, one headhunter, Stephen Borer, partner at DMC Recruitment Group, warns that the climate is “challenging,” and “the most difficult recruitment market for an employer that I've ever seen in 25 years.”

Matt Frost, a recruitment consultant at Lock Search Group, adds that the velocity of hiring has increased as well. Companies looking for top people will have to move fast to secure them before they get taken by another company—or even another sector. “If you have a candidate that meets all of your requirements, the recommended approach is to not waste time getting to the offer stage.”

Another topic examined in the latest edition of Hardlines HR Advisor is the importance of mental health awareness and supports within your company. Regardless of size, many companies can show flexibility and empathy towards employees struggling with mental illness symptoms—without sacrificing profits, says retail marketing consultant Sonya Ruff Jarvis.

“Company profits can be maintained by acting on this shift in the workplace,” she says. “Those profits diminish with low productivity, poor quality of work, job dissatisfaction, and low loyalty, which can all result in critical negative profit measurements such as high absenteeism and turnover.”

The people side of the business has become more important than ever under COVID. Hardlines HR Advisor offers support for your company’s HR needs every single month.

(If you’re not already receiving HR Advisor, click here to sign up for free!)

‘We hire the best’: trained staff are key to customer service

RONA Home & Garden in Kelowna serves a population of nearly 250,000 in and around British Columbia’s fastest-growing municipality. It was the area’s first home improvement big box when it opened in 1995 under the Revy banner.

Last fall, it was recognized with its second Outstanding Retailer Award and third nomination. Matt Wachter, store manager of RONA Kelowna, accepted the ORA for Best Large Surface Retailer at the 25th Hardlines Conference, held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Since the store first won that award in 2016, its growth has continued relentlessly. It has posted double-digit sales increases for the past nine consecutive years.

While a family-owned retail operation must overcome its challenges, Wachter’s store requires him to oversee a small army of staff. He credits the 200-plus people who work at the store with making it possible for the location to thrive in a competitive environment that includes four other big boxes within a 10 km radius, along with a lumberyard across the street and various local independents.

“We hire the best, invest in their skills, and we want them to stay with us for many years,” says Wachter. It’s a strategy that’s paid off: the average employee has been with the store for 15 years. Customers’ testimonials rave about the personalized service they have received there.

Staff training is a particular area of focus at the store. Instead of being relegated to a quarterly or even a monthly event, it takes place every week, usually in the form of online orientation in product knowledge.

Along with independent dealer-owners, managers of corporate stores like Wachter’s comprise one of the two main groups of retailers in the industry Hardlines serves. In addition to recognizing their achievements through the Outstanding Retailer Awards, Hardlines tells their stories through our network of publications. The latest edition of our print magazine, Hardlines Home Improvement Quarterly, examines the best practices of all our Outstanding Retailer Award winners for 2021.

(HHIQ is free to dealers, managers, and their staff! Suppliers can subscribe for just $90 per year!)



People on the Move

The Home Depot has announced the appointment of Edward (Ted) Decker to succeed Craig Menear as CEO, and his election to its board of directors, both effective March 1. Decker, who joined the company in 2000, assumed the newly created role of COO in October 2020, at which time he took over as president from Menear, who continues as chair of the board.

Derek Matysik has joined Footprint Products Ltd. as vice president of sales and marketing. He brings 29 years of experience in the hardware and home improvement industry to his new role. His previous roles include stints at Black & Decker, Campbell Hausfeld, and most recently ShopVac.



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U.S. farm and ranch retailer Tractor Supply Co. reported that its Q4 sales increased 15.3 percent to $3.32 billion from $2.88 billion a year prior. Comp sales rose 12.7 percent, compared with a 27.3 percent hike in the previous Q4. Net income soared by 62.9 percent to $221.3 million from $135.9 million. Diluted earnings per share increased 67.8 percent to $1.93 from $1.15 in the comparable period of 2021.


Richelieu Hardware reported Q4 sales of $398.2 million, compared with $319 million from a year prior, an increase of $79.2 million, or 24.8 percent. In Canada, sales amounted to $260.1 million, an increase of $45.1 million, or 21 percent, compared to Q4 of 2020. Sales to hardware and home improvement retailers reached $45.1 million, up 10 percent. Net earnings were $0.79 per share, a 64.6 percent surge from 2020.

3M Co. reported Q4 earnings of $1.34 billion, or $2.31 per share, down from $1.41 billion (or $2.41 per share) in the comparable period of 2020. Net sales saw a 0.3 percent uptick amid high demand for products such as N95 masks, of which 3M is the largest U.S. manufacturer.

Western Forest Products has reached an accord with four Vancouver Island First Nations that will see logging deferred on 2,500 hectares of old-growth forest in the area. Na̲nwaḵolas Council, which consists of the Tlowitsis, K’ómoks, Wei Wai Kum, and We Wai Kai nations, signed a “joint planning and reconciliation agreement” with WFP under British Columbia’s logging deferral plan, announced in November 2021.


Retail sales were up 0.7 percent to $58.1 billion in November. The increase was led by higher sales at gasoline stations, up 4.9 percent, and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, which were up three percent. Food and beverage stores gained by one percent. Given the rapidly evolving economic situation, StatCan is providing an advance estimate of retail sales which suggests that sales will have decreased by 2.1 percent in December. (StatCan)

Sales of new U.S. homes rose in December by 11.9 percent to an annualized rate of 811,000 units. That was their highest level since March 2021. November’s sales rate was revised downward to 725,000 units, from the initial estimate of 744,000 units. A boom in sales in the South and Midwest in December more than compensated for a slide in the Northeast. (U.S. Commerce Dept.)


Quebecers must now show proof of vaccination to enter large-surface retail stores. Those retailers are concerned that the mandate will aggravate staff shortages and create competition that favours smaller retailers. Hardware stores were previously included in essential business exemptions throughout the pandemic.


“We’re not going to ask someone who’s dealing with water damage [in their home] if they’re vaccinated or not. It’s really frustrating to have to manage clients’ living situations like that. It’s not our job.”
—Patrick Delisle, head of marketing at Canac, as told to Radio-Canada, reflecting the Quebec industry’s frustration over the requirement in that province that large-footprint stores demand proof of vaccination from their customers.


Classified Ads



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Referral reward! Refer someone who is hired by our Client, and we’ll donate $500 on your behalf to your charity of choice!

Looking to make a career move? Send your resume to Wolf Gugler in complete confidence. Video cover letters are welcomed.

Wolf Gugler Executive Search, offices in Canada and the US. (888) 848-3006


Founded in 1953, we are a family-run company and strive to be a staple in our local communities.  We have grown to 11 retail locations and five specialty divisions across southern Ontario.  With close to 300 employees, we have employment opportunities at many levels, including Estimator/Account Managers, Truss Engineered Floor Truss Designer and Estimator, Yard Manager, Production positions, and Retail positions.

Please visit our Indeed or LinkedIn pages for all available opportunities:

Indeed Job Ads
LinkedIn Job Ads

Resumes, referrals, and questions can be sent directly to hr@turkstralumber.com




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