John Caulfield, Contributing Editor
vol. xi, #29, July 18, 2005

IN THIS ISSUE: • TruServ Canada supplies general merchandise to grocers • Rona completes expansion of HQ • Executive shuffle at Delroc • Home improvement stays strong in Quebec • Changes at Cologne Fair lure back power tool makers • NRHA incorporates Canadian arm • Universal Forest posts strong results • Japanese home improvement companies merge * * * * * *

“We would all like a reputation for generosity and we’d all like to buy it cheap.” Mignon McLaughlin (U.S. writer and humorist)
WINNIPEG TruServ Canada has struck a wholesale supply agreement with Triple 4 Advertising Ltd., a Moose Jaw, Sask.-based buying group supplying a group of independent grocery stores in Western Canada. Under the agreement, TruServ Canada will provide Triple 4 affiliated locations with general merchandise products and programs. More than 400 stores in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, and Northwestern Ontario, using the “Fine Foods” banner, are members of the Triple 4 group. Stores range from $250,000 to $14.5 million dollars in sales. TruServ is testing a similar program in Big Way Foods, a grocery retailer in Tuelon, Man. In addition, 12 of TruServ’s V&S stores in Alberta are carrying groceries, which has given TruServ a good opportunity to test its general merchandise assortments in a grocery environment. “We are very excited to leverage our general merchandise offerings to a quality organization such as Triple 4,” says Dave Leonzio, national growth manager for TruServ Canada. “We have the opportunity to service over 400 locations, providing general merchandise and hardware offerings, which fits well with our current infrastructure.” Leonzio adds that 10 Triple 4 locations have already signed on and more are being added each month. According to Leonzio, TruServ is actively pursuing other retailers outside of the hardware industry, to provide for their general merchandise needs. “We are in the process of working with a number of companies that we expect to announce in the next few months that also have a similar void for general merchandise.”
BOUCHERVILLE, Que. Rona inc. recently completed the expansion of the office space at its headquarters and distribution centre, located here. With the addition of 58,000 sq.ft. on two levels, the total area of the offices and meeting areas has swelled to 138,205 sq.ft. The expansion included adding a new 5,500-sq.ft. employee training centre and increasing the company’s day care facilities from 32 to 50 spots. The building’s total surface area, including the distribution centre, now tops 788,205 sq.ft. Rona’s president and CEO, Robert Dutton, was on hand July 8 during an official opening of the newly expanded facilities.
MONTREAL More than three-quarters of Quebecers are active DIYers, indicating a level of renovation activity that’s increased even since the beginning of this year. This is just one of the findings of a survey by the Quebec association of building materials dealers, ADMACQ. Its latest quarterly Rénovex Index reveals that 76% of Québec households state they are regularly involved in renovation or do-it-yourself projects. This figure, which represents a 3% increase over the previous month and a 6% rise over January, is also having a positive impact on the association’s independent home improvement dealers.“Never have we felt so much interest in home renovation and do-it-yourself projects,” says Donald O'Hara, President and General Manager of ADMACQ. “At ADMACQ, we've always maintained that Quebecers practically have it in their genes to handle the hammer. The proliferation and popularity of home renovation and do-it-yourself TV shows and the results of our Rénovex Index, published quarterly now over the past year, show just how accurate our intuition was.”Fixing up the home also includes decorating. According to the June Rénovex Index, more than half (52%) of the Quebec households surveyed indicate that they have done some interior decorating over the past 12 months. Another 49% intend to do so in the near future. One-fifth of respondents indicated they have done some painting this spring. With the arrival of warm summer weather, Quebecers are getting outside to enjoy the pleasures of outdoor work. In this regard, 68% of the Rénovex Survey respondents indicated that they have invested in the purchase of flowers and/or plants this spring, and a third of them have also purchased gardening tools. For more information about the Renovex study, contact, Donald O'Hara at ADMACQ: 450-646-5842,
TORONTO On the eve of its annual convention, the North American Retail Hardware Association continues to look for opportunities north of the border as it seeks more recruits for membership – and for its educational programs.Formerly the National Hardware Association, the group renamed itself – and expanded its mandate north of the border – following the demise late last year of the 99-year-old Canadian Retail Hardware Association. NRHA had always had an affiliation with its Canadian sister organization, one that included the sharing of several programs, including NRHA’s in-store training modules. In an effort to continue providing these programs – and expand NRHA’s reach – a Canadian representative was hired on. Scott Hoy, a former publisher for the trade magazine, Hardware & Home Centre, is managing director of NRHA, representing the organization to Canadian hardware groups. NRHA’s first member in Canada was Home Hardware Stores Ltd., which represents some 1,000 dealers across the country. It joined early this year, shortly after the demise of the CRHA. More recently, a group of Western Canadian hardware/home improvement dealers, members of Federated Co-operatives, have signed on. But further recruitment negotiations are afoot. “We are in serious chats with three other groups right now,” says Hoy. Although he declines to name them, he says they are “very accepting” of NRHA’s educational programs. Hoy says that ties in well with NRHA’s mandate. “Membership is our biggest drive and a lot of that is based on education.” In fact, he anticipates that NRHA’s presence in Canada can exceed even the membership levels of the former CRHA, which were estimated at around 1,500 dealers at the time of its demise. To establish more firmly operations north of the border, the NRHA has just completed incorporation of NRHA Canada. Although it will be governed by the Indianapolis-based association’s U.S. board, John Hammond, managing director of the NRHA, says the move will keep Canadian money up in Canada. NRHA is currently testing a new online training program. “We’re not trying to re-invent the wheel. We’re just trying to educate the retailers,” regardless of any existing banner affiliation they may have, Hoy says. The program will begin rolling out in earnest in August. Hammond says the program offers a comprehensive, multi-relational online tool. “It takes everything you need to know about a product and co-locates it with that product,” he says. “You can pull up streaming video and FAQs, tips on add-on sales and merchandising, and even safety tips related to that product or project. “We have driven a large number of individual memberships down here based on this program,” Hammond continues. “I think it’s going to be a great deal for all independents.” He expects the new program to be “Canadianized” in time, as well, to take into consideration differences such as metric measurement. NRHA’s annual convention and AGM starts today in Vail, Colo.
COLOGNE, Germany The home of the world’s largest hardware show, the International Hardware Fair/Practical World, has been undergoing a major renovation and expansion, one that is luring back major power tool suppliers that have been absent from the hardware show in recent years.Koelnmesse, the organization that owns both the shows and the fairgrounds they are hosted on, utilizes a vast site that sits alongside the Rhine, directly across the river from downtown Cologne. The original halls, closest to the river, called the Rhine Halls, have been sold to a giant media company, RTL. The remaining structures, called the East Halls, are being renovated. According to Martin Brüggemann, project manager at Koelnmesse for Practical World’s sister shows, gafa and Spoga, the new structure will better accommodate trade fair exhibitors, by reducing the buildings to one level with 11 metre-high ceilings. Without a second floor to hold up, the many columns that formerly hindered sight lines and booth space on the main will be eliminated. The new layout will be especially effective in accommodating shows that feature larger equipment or require larger exhibits, says Brüggemann. A furniture show being held in January 2006 will be the first event to be held in the newly renovated halls. The International Hardware Fair/Practical World, March 5-8, 2006, is already more than two-thirds sold, and exhibiting companies include 150-plus power tool suppliers, many of whom are returning to the show following an absence of several years. Brüggemann admits that the big guys – Bosch and Black & Decker – have yet to sign on. However, he says, as these companies look to expand their presence in the fast-growing Asian market, the international scope of the show will offer strong incentives for supplier involvement. (For more information on Practical World or Spoga and gafa, contact: Barbara Hills,; 416-598-3343.)
Hardlines Conference Series, Sept. 12-13; Outstanding Retailer Awards at the Hardlines Gala Dinner Sept. 12
SAINT JOHN, N.B. – J.D. Irving Ltd. is planning a major redevelopment of the former Saint John Shipyard that will include a new gypsum wallboard plant. The company has submitted two environmental registrations to the Province of New Brunswick for a “green” industrial park. The park will be anchored by a biomass energy plant that will be fueled by wood residues, capable of generating 15 mega-watts of power and more than 200,000 pounds per hour of steam. The fuel will be used to power a proposed gypsum wallboard plant that will employ up to 85 people. In addition, excess "green" steam from the biomass energy plant will be utilized by the Irving Paper plant across the road. The use of green steam will reduce heavy oil consumption by 200,000 barrels a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 110,000 tonnes per year.ATLANTA Home Depot is bolstering its partnership with national nonprofit organization KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit group that specializes in building playgrounds in underprivileged communities, by investing in the creation and refurbishing of 1,000 play spaces in 1,000 days throughout North America. Over the next three years, The Home Depot will invest $25 million and nearly one million volunteer hours in support of this program. Home Depot says the program is expected to benefit 1.5 million parents and children. The program will likely affect up to 20 sites per year in Canada.TORONTO Sears Canada is entertaining offers from potential purchasers of its credit-card business. The deal, which could reportedly net the department store retailer as much as $1 billion, is expected to close by the end of the year. WOODBRIDGE, Ont. Continuing losses and poor sales as a result of unseasonable weather have further hurt Royal Group Technologies, even as it seeks a buyer for some of its real estate assets. It may also trim manufacturing costs, as it faces another quarter of losses. Its 2Q results will be released Aug. 12. SHANGHAI Wal-Mart will open its first store here on July 28, adding to the 47 stores it already has in China. However, Shanghai is already well served by French retailer Carrefour, which has eight stores there, and by Germany’s Metro AG. MONTREAL MAAX Corp. reported net sales for the first quarter ended May 31 of $140.8 million, up 3.4% from $136.1 million for the first quarter of 2005. Operating income for the first quarter decreased by $3.6 million or 31.5% from $11.4 million to $7.8 million. Profits fell from $1.77 million to a loss of $2.34 million. TOKYO Three of Japan’s leading home improvement retailers have agreed to merge their operations under a single holding company by Sept. 1, 2006. The three dealers — Homac Corp., Kahma Cop., and Daiki Co. — operate 369 stores in 37 of the country’s 47 prefectures. Their combined annual sales for the year ended March 31 were 420 billion yen (the equivalent of US$3.78 billion, using current currency exchanges). That total represents about 10% of Japan’s retail home improvement sales and exceeds the revenue generated by Japan’s leading dealer Cainz Corp.
Terry A. Elliott has announced that he will retire as President of Dryco Building Supplies and Delroc Industries effective March 31, 2006. Elliott joined the Dryco group in 1997, and since then has successfully overseen the growth of the company from a three-branch operation to a nine branch, multi-province organization. He also served as president of Delroc and co-president of the Reliance Buying Group … Jim Ritchie, vice-president, has been appointed executive vice-president of Dryco, effective immediately and will succeed Elliott as president on April 1, 2006. Ritchie will continue as vice-president of Delroc and has been elected to the board of Reliance Buying Group … Darren Joyce, General Manager Sales – Canada, has been appointed vice-president of Dryco, effective immediately. He will report directly to Jim Ritchie.James Farrell, chairman and CEO of Illinois Tool Works Inc., will step down as CEO on Aug. 5 – several months earlier than expected. Originally, he had been scheduled to retire in May 2006, but shareholders were informed last week by post of the new timetable for his departure. However, he will continue his duties as chairman until the May ’06 date, and continue to receive his current level of pay for the rest of the year, including US$1.2 million in salary.
Housing starts jumped in June, says CMHC, rising 7.2% from May, as the seasonally adjusted annual rate reached 237,200 units, up from 221,300 units in May. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts rose 8.3% to 207,200 units in June, due mainly to an increase in multiple starts. Single starts increased 0.1% to 98,400 units, while multiple starts rebounded to 108,800 units in June, up 17.0% compared to May. The New Housing Price Index rose 0.5% in May, reports Statistics Canada, down slightly from April’s increase of 0.6%. On a 12-month basis, the rate of change for this index of contractors' selling prices was the lowest, at 4.6%, since June 2003.Investment in non-residential building construction hit a record high between April and June, says Stats Canada, due largely to strong conditions in the Western provinces. Total investment for all three sectors (commercial, institutional and industrial) hit an all-time high of $7.6 billion, up 2.6% from the first quarter. The biggest contributor was record spending in British Columbia and Alberta.

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HELP WANTED PRODUCT MANAGER McKenzie Seeds, Canada’s leading supplier of packaged seeds and related gardening products, is seeking a Product Manger to join our dynamic team in our head office, located in Brandon, Manitoba. The Product Manager will provide valuable oversight and expertise to ensure positive business results for specific product areas. This position will analyze market information and recommend initiatives to senior management for approval. Specific responsibilities include management of the development of new products that compliment our existing products, managing existing products for maximum profit and efficiency, analyzing market/product trends, costing, pricing, developing marketing material and display formats, maintain inventory control and participate in team decisions. The successful candidate will have marketing experience in a retail environment with knowledge of margins/shelf impact/creative design. The successful candidate will also have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration or related discipline, or equivalent experience. Demonstrated experience with analysis of market/products is required as is strong communication and interpersonal skills. Excellent project management skills and the ability to work with tight turnaround times; the ability to make effective decisions with multiple priorities and strong negotiation skills are critical to this position. Strong computer-based skills with an understanding of current technological tools including Microsoft office are required. The successful candidate must have the ability to travel to serve local and national clients at their sites Experience with industry software is considered an asset, as is interest in horticulture. McKenzie Seeds offers a competitive salary and exceptional benefits package. If you are interested in contributing to the continued growth of a progressive national company, please forward your resume, including 3 references, in confidence to: Kathy Johnson, by Friday, August 5, 2005 (07.18_08.02)  


SALES OPPORTUNITIES Exchange-A-Blade Ltd., is a leading Canadian distributor and manufacturer of power tools accessories with sales agents and independent distributors throughout North America. Exchange-A-Blade is looking for candidates in Ontario who have several years of sales experience in the hardware or building materials industry, who are customer relationship focused and who are well organized. Opportunities include a salary and commission based sales representative package or business investment opportunities for individuals interested in investing in their own distributorship. For further information, please see our web site at Interested candidates should send a resume and covering letter to Andy Moncrieff, Regional Sales Manager, by fax to 519-679-4917 or by email to (07.11_07.25)

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Kempston Canada Limited, a leading Canadian supplier of Router Bits and Saw Blades is looking for an established sales agency to expand our market share in the Maritime Provinces including Newfoundland. Only agents with successful experience and contacts in the Power Tool and Accessories markets need apply. If your company has the above experience and the ability to pioneer a high quality, competitively priced product please e-mail resumes to: (07.11_07.25) **********************************************************************************


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