"Zeal is a volcano, the peak of which the grass of indecisiveness does not grow." – Kahlil Gibrain

Hardlines Conference speakers offer insight, experience

TORONTO—Speakers for sector-specific breakout sessions for the Hardlines Conference in October will feature some of North America's most experienced industry watchers. Highly respected hardware and home improvement journalist John Caulfield (and contributing editor to HARDLINES) will present the latest trends and information about the red-hot pro sector and share the latest tips and strategies for growing contractor business. Also on the roster is Richard Simms, president of Black Eagle Consulting. Simms has wide-ranging experience with the home improvement, resource, transportation, media and printing industries, and has garnered extensive insight into how companies position themselves for success. Keynote speakers will include Doug Robinson, president of the newly formed Lowe's Cos. Canada, who will give participants a look at how the company will fit into the Canadian retail landscape. Roger Plamondon, vice-president of Canada East for Home Depot, will also speak. Tom Donaldson, president and CEO of CanWel Distribution, the country's biggest distributor of building materials, will discuss the effect of two-step distribution on the independent dealer. For more information, click here.

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RONA builds on Réno-Dépôt brand in Quebec

BOUCHERVILLE, Que.—While other store formats acquired by RONA, such as Lansing and Cashway, incorporated the company's name, Rˆ©no-Dˆ©pˆ¥t will remain a unique format in Quebec. That, says Sylvain Morissette, director of communications for RONA, is because Réno-Dépôt has remained a strong format in that province, especially for the contractor. "It becomes another way for RONA to go to market and to leverage a very strong brand," says Morissette. But the format will be tweaked to create a smaller, more pro-oriented store that can move into smaller markets. "The level of awareness of Réno-Dépôt is very high in Quebec, especially in major areas like Montreal and Quebec City, There it's well recognized, but we thought it would be important to provide this to more areas besides the large marketS," says Morissette. A similar strategy will be applied to the Totem brand in Alberta, which RONA acquired in 2004. The layout of the Réno-Dépôt warehouse will be redrawn to make it even more appealing to heavy DIYers and pros, the customers who form the backbone of the home renovation market. But the company will also respond to the objections pros often have to big box shopping by enlarging LBM and garden areas, making signage easier to read, and creating separate entrances for pros that open early. The garden centres will be further enhanced to cater to pro landscapers. The initiative will cost RONA $10 million. The first new-format store will open in Rimouski in the fall, and five more stores will open over the next three to five years. In the meantime, all 14 existing Réno-Dépôt stores will be upgraded over the next five years to appeal more strongly to pro customers.

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At 40, TORBSA defines its niche with commercial dealers

BOLTON, Ont.—With 28 members representing about $350 million in combined sales, TORBSA may be Canada's smallest building materials buying group. But as it celebrates its 40th year, it fills an important role serving a select group of Ontario dealers. The dealers, who represent 46 stores, are strictly commercial operations, specializing in everything from gypsum supply to brick and stone. But as some other groups move to consolidate their operations, TORBSA relies on its small size to distinguish itself. Says TORBSA's general manager, Bob Holmes: "We have a uniqueness in the marketplace." Those stores, which operate in both urban and rural markets throughout Ontario, rely on new housing construction, as well as supplying commercial infrastructure building projects such as hospitals, power centres or schools. "They serve a different market," says Holmes, "as the box store is more residential and renovation oriented." Because of their proximity and similarities, most, if not all members, can meet on a regular basis to learn from each other. "As a regional group, we have a lot more opportunities to share that knowledge—and that has value," says Holmes. "That's really how we're different." Despite its strict focus on commercial dealers, and its regional focus on Ontario, TORBSA gets the benefit of programs and purchasing power on a national level through its membership in the umbrella organization, the Reliance Buying Group. "Reliance enables us to compete in the marketplace. It gives us national exposure while TORBSA operates regionally."

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Weyerhaeuser commits to reduce greenhouse gases

FEDERAL WAY, Wash.—Weyerhaeuser Co., the giant lumber supplier, said it would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by two-fifths by the year 2020. The company has also pledged to reduce its use of fossil fuels by recycling biomass—such as bark and other wood fibres—from its paper and pulp operations as energy. The news of this announcement was first reported on the website Renewable Energy Access, which notes that Weyerhaeuser's plants already generate 72% of their energy from biomass. The company claims that its pulp mills have the capacity to become energy self-sufficient. A 40% reduction in annual greenhouse gases is the equivalent of taking 700,000 vehicles off the road for one year. "What Weyerhaeuser has done is exemplary," Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute, is quoted in a statement prepared by the company. "Not only is the reduction of 40% one of the largest in the private sector, it is global in scope. As important, Weyerhaeuser is doing this in a way that makes a permanent difference — making changes in how their facilities operate."

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Increased energy prices fuel garden growth

Increased fuel prices will encourage consumers to spend more time–and money–on their gardens this year, according to the Garden Writers Association's 2006 Summer Gardening Trends Research Report. Almost half, (47%) of American households polled plan to decrease summer travel and spend more time on home and garden projects. The report also showed that interest in organic pest control method is on the rise, up by 10% over 2005. Fewer than 30% plan to use chemicals to control weeds, while 54% say they'll weed by hand.

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Changes make garden and leisure fair easier to attend, navigate

More than 2,500 garden and leisure suppliers from 60 countries will meet in Cologne from September 3-5 for spoga+gafa 2006, the International Trade Fair for Sport, Camping and Garden Lifestyle and the International Garden Trade Fair. To encourage strong attendance, the event organizers have launched a number of innovations, which include the purchase of tickets online at www.spogagafa.com, daily news and updates in both English and German, and a new structure for the product groups will trade halls more accessible and easier to navigate.

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Hardlines Marketplace

Don't miss the products and services on the Hardlines web Marketplace ( https://hardlines.ca/html/marketplace.html ) And check out Hardlines Classifieds on the web ( https://hardlines.ca/html/classifieds.html )




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