"When a man is happy, he does not hear the clock strike." – German proverb

TIM-BR MART will get first bannered store in TO-RON TO

CALGARY – TIM-BR Marts Ltd. is going to get its first bannered store in a major urban centre with the recent signing of Parliament Building Supplies in downtown Toronto. The dealer, which got new owners within the past two years, is considering using the name TIM-BR MART Toronto as its store sign. "This will be a flagship for our urban expansion," says Steve Stremecki, director of business development for the 340-member group, which is based in Calgary. While TIM-BR MART has long had dealer members in cities like Vancouver and Toronto, including Patene and Watson's in the latter centre, these are largely commercial dealers who do not go to market with any visible tie-in to their group. According to Stremecki, his dealers want to see the TIM-BR Mart banner in more urban locations. The group has been developing programs for an urban concept TIM-BR Mart store; those concepts will be ironed out at this prototype location. The new owner of Parliament Building Supplies is Atria, a family owned business that specializes in real estate and property development. Vip Jains, whose background with the company includes condominium development projects in Toronto's east end, is now heading up the building supply operations. According to Stremecki, Jains has plans for additional stores in the Greater Toronto Area over the next couple of years.

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Trailer Park Boys "rob' Piercey's store

HALIFAX – A recent episode of the cult comedy TV show "Trailer Park Boys" featured one of Atlantic Canada's leading home improvement retailers. After breaking some windows at the trailer park, one of the "boys" (Randy) heads off to a local Piercey's store on his bicycle to steal some more windows.

Randy Lahey - Trailer Park Boys

Piercey's is an independent based in Dartmouth, N.S., which has five stores. Piercey's Cole Harbour location was used for the show. But, says Peter Korecki, president and CEO of Piercey's, Bridgewater, N.S. native John Dunsworth, who plays Mr. Lehey on the show, is a regular Piercey's customer already. Korecki adds that the Piercey's clip from the show was used in a recent loss prevention seminar put on for the staff.

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Canadian Tire announces new distribution centre in Quebec

TORONTO – Canadian Tire Corp. will break ground this fall on a 1.5 million-square-foot distribution centre in Coteau du Lac, Que., about 45 minutes west of Montreal. The new DC, which will be Canadian Tire's largest to date, is being built to support the hardlines mass merchant's expansion efforts in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. Between now and 2009, that expansion will include 100 new or replacement stores. This will, says the company, significantly increase retail square footage and retail sales, especially in Quebec, which, with 93 stores, represents Canadian Tire's largest retail presence after Ontario, which has 196. According to Patrick Sinnott, senior vice-president, Supply Chain, "This distribution centre is essential to our growth. It will be the largest among Canadian Tire's distribution centres...with state-of-the-art technology and material handling systems." Construction of the facility is expected to take about 27 months to complete with a planned opening in early 2009. When fully operational, the distribution centre will employ 600 full-time and 300 part-time employees and will process over 50 million cubic feet of product for approximately 300 Canadian Tire stores in Eastern Canada. The capital investment to construct and equip the new Eastern Canada distribution centre is approximately $240 million over the life of the project. It will be operated by a third-party logistics operator. Canadian Tire Corporation currently operates more than 1,100 stores, gas bars, and car washes, including 464 stores Canadian Tire associate stores, across Canada. Sales by those dealers in 2005 topped $6.86 billion.

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Ace in discussions with PRO alliance

WINNIPEG & OAK BROOK, Ill. – The Ace Hardware banner may yet find a secure place in the Canadian retail landscape, if discussions between Ace in the U.S. and CanWel in Canada unfold successfully. CanWel inherited rights to the Ace name and programs in Canada (and the license for the PRO name here) when it purchased Sodisco-Howden Group at the end of 2004. But CanWel, desiring to keep the focus of its new business unit (now renamed CanWel, Hardware Division) squarely on distribution, sought – and found – a partner to take over management of those banners. With that partner, TruServ Canada, CanWel formed an alliance called PRO Retail Services that manages both groups' combined banners. PRO Retail Services is currently in negotiations to keep the Ace name in its fold. "Discussions are ongoing between CanWel, Hardware Division and Ace," says TruServ Canada president and CEO Bill Morrison. "Both partners have a sincere desire to get it right." Nor does Morrison see any conflict with the alliance's existing bullpen and says Ace's banner and programs would complement CanWel and TruServ's existing Pro and True Value banners. "I believe the independent needs more choice and the Ace Hardware brand would be great to offer in Canada." Murray Armstrong, president of Ace Hardware International, based out of Ace's headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., also believes there's room for Ace in Canada. Talks are continuing, he adds, and expects a positive outcome before the end of the summer.

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Weyerhaeuser fights antitrust claims

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – Weyerhaeuser will get a new day in court as it attempts to defend itself against antitrust charges. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review a $78.8 million award to Ross-Simmons Hardwood Lumber in Longview, Wash., which accused Weyerhaeuser of monopolizing the finished alder market in the Pacific Northwest by overbidding. Alder is used primarily to make furniture. A Portland jury in 2003 said Ross-Simmons, which went out of business in 2001, was entitled to compensation of more than $26 million, an amount that was tripled under federal antitrust rules. A circuit court in San Francisco had upheld a ruling against Weyerhaeuser. But several businesses – including Microsoft, Verizon and Coca-Cola – and government officials urged the Supreme Court to intercede, claiming that the ruling, if it stands, would open companies that bid aggressively for raw materials and other products to litigation. Even the Bush administration chimed in by telling justices last November that the 9th Circuit ruling "threatens to chill pro-competitive conduct by firms in a wide variety of markets." Bloomberg News reports that Weyerhaeuser has already paid $62 million to settle other alder-related antitrust claims and has put $95 million in reserve, according to regulatory filings. The lumber giant is also looking to reverse a $16 million award to rival Washington Alder of Mount Vernon and a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of purchasers of finished alder. Both cases are on hold during the Supreme Court appeal, according to Bloomberg.

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