Hardlines Weekly Newsletter

Click here for the blackberry or printable edition

Beverly Allen, Publisher
| Brady Peever, Client Services | Michael McLarney, Editor | admin@hardlines.ca | 416-489-3396 | hardlines.ca



July 26, 2010, Volume xvi, #30

“The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows.” —Aristotle Onassis (Greek shipping tycoon, 1906-1975)


RONA’s “Imagine” program to include power tools

BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — RONA inc. continues to widen its in-store service and merchandising program to include new categories, most recently tools.

A letter received last week by its hand and power tool vendors requested they fax back their consent to abide by the program, which turns over in-store servicing of their lines to a third-party agency in partnership with RONA.

Home Depot Canada is about to roll out its own in-house Merchandising Excellence Team (MET) overseen by Joe Allen, Home Depot’s Director, Vendor Services. However, RONA has contracted an outside agency, RDTS, to manage the service on RONA’s behalf “for all Rona banners including all Rona big box stores across Canada, Réno-Dépôt, Lansing, Home Centres and Western dealers,” according to the letter to vendors, which was signed by Jean Lamarche, RONA’s director for hardware, tools and furniture.

RONA has been rolling out its Imagine program since the beginning of January 2009, when the lighting and electrical, seasonal and RONA house brands were put under RDTS’s aegis.

“The Imagine program is in line with our important initiative for more innovative merchandising to enhance our customer shopping experience," says Julie Seidel, Director, External Communications for RONA. “It has been designed to provide a better merchandising service to our suppliers at a better cost.”

She adds that the vendors have received ongoing communication about the program and its objectives. “We expect and are expected to make proactive changes in merchandising, and have designed a program to be co-ordinated rapidly with our partners. We have full confidence in the capacity of our partners to react promptly to such an initiative.”

back to top Back to top


Newest Castle members must meet tough financial criteria

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — The addition of another six members to its ranks (see the July 12 issue of HARDLINES—Michael) reflects the ongoing growth strategy of Castle Building Centres Group, which seeks not only to increase the sales of its existing members, but to find new members that fit Castle’s independent mould.

But regardless of their specialty (the latest recruits include a door and window dealer and a dock supplier) or their location (according to the Hardlines Market Share Report, the buying group has members as far flung as N.W.T. and Nunavut), each dealer must meet “stringent” credit criteria, says Castle President Ken Jenkins.

“We’ve got the toughest credit criteria in the industry,” he stresses. And those rules of engagement are no less stringent for the specialty dealers that join Castle.

Jenkins says the group’s ability to offer a solution to independents, whether they are traditional LBM dealers or specialty businesses, has been generating a lot of interest in the group over the last couple of years.

back to top Back to top


Ontario government pulls eco fees after just three weeks

TORONTO — Just three weeks after the launch of an “eco fees” program to pay for diversion of waste to the province’s landfills, the Ontario government says it will temporarily suspend the program while looking for ways to revamp it.

A major problem with the program was the July 1 launch date, which was the same day as the introduction of the HST. In addition, awareness of the program before the launch was not strong. When Canadian Tire Corp., the country’s largest hard goods retailer, announced its withdrawal from the program, the government of Ontario decided to go back to the drawing board for 90 days to give Stewardship Ontario time to “retool” the program.

The program is now being reconsidered to ensure it is rolled out properly next time around.
(Click here to join the discussion on Michael’s latest Blog post!)

back to top Back to top


Canadian dealer wins North American Award

SAVANNAH, Ga. — The focal point of the Annual Convention & All-Industry Conference of the North American Retail Hardware Association is the Young Retailer of the Year Awards. At this year’s convention, held here last week, a Canadian, Patrick Guilbert, was one of the winners in the category of stores under $2 million in sales.

Since leaving Winnipeg and returning to his home town of Neepawa to become a Home Hardware dealer in 2008, he has made strides in developing the business, starting with an expansion and facelift to the store. In fact, from day one he’s been setting himself apart – on opening day April 2, 2008, he sold an incredible 720 gallons of paint from the 8,000-square-foot location.

Sales in the paint and sundries department continued to grow – by a whopping 35% by the end of the first year – and within two years overall sales were up by $300,000.

“My philosophy has always been to empower my staff to be better sales people, but also better human beings,” Guilbert said when accepting the award.

back to top Back to top


Dealers share ideas at NRHA annual convention

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Independent retailers from across North America gathered here last week to participate in the Annual Convention & All-Industry Conference of the North American Retail Hardware Association. They learned from industry experts, economists and each other during a series of seminars and breakouts.

One panel discussed how dealers can move forward. David Dishke, owner of Grand River Home Hardware in Caledonia, Ont., said his father told him to invest $25,000 back into the business for each $1 million you earn in sales annually. Another dictum he has learned to live by: “Finding out what the customer wants and then giving them what they want is most important.”

Another panel of award-winning dealers discussed the new sense of frugality pervading the shopping habits of today’s consumer. While this trend is more marked in the U.S., Canadians too are watching their spending as equity in their homes shrinks due to high levels of borrowing.

Sarah Rurka, one of the owners of the Home Hardware Building Centre in Lloydminster, Alta., observed that her customers are becoming more involved in gardening, adding that sales of seeds for vegetable gardens are really taking off. “That’s a big category for us.”

back to top Back to top


GP’s latest OSB acquisition a “big one”

ATLANTA — The recent acquisition of Grant Forest Products’ OSB facilities in Canada and the U.S. was a major one for Georgia Pacific, and one that expands the forest products company’s production capacity geographically.

The Grant mills are in Allendale and Clarendon, S.C., and Englehart and Earlton, Ont. Previously, the farthest north that GP had mills was in West Virginia, says Jeff Key, Marketing Communications Manager at Georgia-Pacific Wood Products LLC. “So this acquisition is expected to open up the Canadian and Northeast [U.S.] markets.”

Will there be more acquisitions from GP? “I don’t know,” Key says. “But a big one like this doesn’t come along very often.”

back to top Back to top




CONAIR , a global leader in personal care and small kitchen appliance products, located in Woodbridge, Ontario, is seeking a NATIONAL SALES MANAGER to oversee the sales department of the Canadian Personal Care Appliance Division.

Attractive compensation package – salary, performance bonus, car allowance, benefits.


  • Overall management of the company’s major retail customer relationships.
  • Sales focused, entrepreneurial
  • Excellent negotiation skills
  • Customer service oriented
  • Able to seek out new opportunities and new channels of distribution.
  • Manage all sales employees as well as sales agents.
  • Team Builder - must be a good motivator
  • Ability to provide mentorship and leadership and make key decisions
  • Meeting growth objectives and managing a budget
  • Effective communicator both internally and externally.
  • Very detail oriented, organized and disciplined, attention to accuracy
  • Excellent analytical ability
  • Able to work to deadlines and schedules
  • Self starter – able to work with little supervision


  • Minimum 10-15 years experience including 5 years in a senior sales management capacity
  • Knowledge and experience in the consumer goods industry
  • Extensive sales experience with National Retailers
  • Post secondary undergraduate diploma/degree in business or equivalent
  • Proficient in MS Office including Excel, Word & PowerPoint

Please submit résumé via email to:
Black Eagle Executive Search
c/o Richard Simms at rsimms@blackeagle.ca



  • A conscientious, highly motivated manager with a results-oriented track record in developing new business. view this resumé Back to top
  • A goal oriented sales director that has superior management skills, customer oriented, with in depth knowledge of the industry and the ability to achieve results. view this resumé Back to top
  • National Field Sales Manager with twelve plus years in power tools and hardware sales/merchandising. view this resumé Back to top
  • Business Manager with U.S. & Canadian experience with retail & industrial customers seeks a new opportunity. view this resumé Back to top
  • An experienced merchandising executive possessing passion, vision, and a strategic approach to delivering bottom-line. view this resumé Back to top
  • Results oriented sales professional with a strong record of achievement in strategic and tactical roles. view this resumé Back to top
  • Senior sales/marketing leader with experience in all classes of trade wishing new HARDLINES career. view this resumé Back to top
  • Very Experienced Business Unit Manager, great passion for generating sales and building relastionships.view this resumé Back to top
  • Worked through my career within the manfucaturer, wholesale and consumer goods industries. view this resumé Back to top
  • Senior Sales Manager with vast experience in retail and wholesale sales growth in Canada. view this resumé Back to top

Connect with us!