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July 26, 2021 | Volume xxvii, #30



  • Hardlines Conference will offer hybrid setting with an amazing speaker lineup
  • Top retail consultant, innovative independent dealer to join Hardlines Conference
  • Lumber prices started falling, then the forest fires in B.C. complicated things
  • Technology helps Patrick Morin’s outside sales teams stay connected

PLUS: Canfor curtails production, Giant Tiger’s newest store, Tractor Supply reports Q2 net sales increase, Carlisle acquires Henry Co., Canton Fair goes hybrid, Spyder circ saw blades now at Lowe’s Canada, wooden pallet makers face lumber shortages, existing Canadian homes fall by 8.4 percent, U.S. retail sales for June, and more!

SUMMER PUBLISHING SCHEDULE: Hardlines will be published just once in August, on Aug. 9. We will resume our regular schedule with our Sept. 6 edition. But never fear—the Virtual World Headquarters remains open during this time.

Hardlines Conference will offer hybrid setting with an amazing speaker lineup

The 25th annual Hardlines Conference is ready to go live this year. The event, which was cancelled due to COVID in 2020, will return to a face-to-face setting this year, as restrictions are lifted and vaccine rollouts continue.

The conference—Canada’s only national event that welcomes all the banners and retail groups—will be held Oct. 19 and 20 at the Queen’s Landing hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., a very cool destination resort just 70 minutes from Toronto. At the end of day one of the conference, we will host the Outstanding Retailer Awards Gala, recognizing the finest retailers in the country.

While a lot can happen between now and mid-October, we are confident that enough normalcy will have been restored, with widespread vaccinations expected for all Canadians by September. However, for people who cannot join us live, the conference will feature, for the first time, a virtual component so dealers and suppliers can watch our speakers and view the Outstanding Retailer Awards Gala from the comfort of their own homes or offices.

The Hardlines Conference will play host to an incredible lineup of retail leaders:

  • Kevin Macnab, president and CEO, Home Hardware Stores
  • Doug Anderson, president and CEO, Peavey Industries
  • Jamal Hamad, senior director, contractor services sales and operations, Pro-Rental-MRO-home services at Home Depot Canada
  • Drew Green, CEO of clothing chain Indochino
  • Peter Norman, economist and VP at Altus Group
  • Plus two more speakers just added (see article below!)

With the inclusion of Home Hardware’s Macnab, Anderson from Peavey, and Hamad from Home Depot Canada, attendees are guaranteed to get insights first-hand from some of the industry’s leading home improvement retailers.

Home Depot Canada has been aggressively pursuing the contractor customer with new initiatives, programs, and financing initiatives. Jamal Hamad has headed up that growth, putting independents on alert as Home Depot continues to gain acceptance—and market share—among pros.

The addition of Drew Green to this year’s lineup ensures that the conference will once again look outward for guidance on best practices and trends in retail. Indochino is a burgeoning retailer of custom, made-to-measure suits. Green has been involved in multiple start-ups and in just the past seven years, he’s grown two businesses to over $200 million in market cap. Not to be missed!

Rounding out the Hardlines Conference, we’ll hear from our leading housing and economic advisor, Peter Norman of Altus Group.

The 25th annual Hardlines Conference will be held at the Queen’s Landing resort hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., Oct. 19 and 20. It guarantees a world-class destination to maximize networking among the retail home improvement industry’s leading dealers, retail chains, buying groups and suppliers. (Click here for more info on the conference and our amazing venue!)

Top retail consultant, innovative independent dealer to join Hardlines Conference

This year’s Hardlines Conference has just confirmed two more speakers, a virtual alpha and omega of retail experience on one stage. We already have an amazing roster of speakers lined up for you, and with the addition of two more important industry figures, we have rounded out our program.

The conference will be held Oct. 19 and 20 at the Queen’s Landing hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., a destination location just 70 minutes outside of Toronto.

Doug Stephens, of retail consultancy Retail Prophet (shown here), will kick off the 25th edition of the conference. A high-level retail consultant, author, and dynamic presenter, Stephens will share his thoughts on where retail in general—and hardware and home improvement in particular—is headed post-COVID.

Each year, we showcase one dealer to share their story from the front lines of home improvement retail. For this special edition of the conference, we are pleased to host Rob Faries, general manager of GG’s Ace Hardware & Building Centre.

The business was started by Faries’ dad in 1976 as GG’s Corner and Gift, offering grocery, confectionery, and gifts. The younger Faries, A member of the Moose Cree First Nation, was born the year after the store opened and he spent his entire life surrounded by retail. As he grew up, so did the store, adding clothing, housewares, and sporting goods. Today, GG’s has three locations in Moosonee and Moose Factory, Ont., near James Bay. Faries will talk about the challenges of working in the tough conditions—both physical and business—of northern Canada.

Stephens and Faries join an already outstanding lineup of speakers at this year’s conference. (The 25th annual Hardlines Conference will be held at the Queen’s Landing hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., Oct. 19 and 20. Click here for more info!)

Lumber prices started falling, then the forest fires in B.C. complicated things

Lumber prices have plummeted by 70 percent in just eight weeks, as the price of two-by-fours made from western spruce, pine, and fir (SPF) reached US$485 for 1,000 board feet last week. That was down from US$1,630 in mid-May.

Since reaching record highs in May, prices have been slipping. But according to Madison’s Lumber Report, the prices are not likely to drop to pre-pandemic levels. And with the epidemic of forest fires across British Columbia, supply is getting constrained again—and prices have inched back up. As of July 21, the impact of the western forest fires caused lumber futures to jump 7.7 percent on the Chicago futures market, where they were priced at $584.50.

Canfor, the giant forest products company, will begin curtailing production today, as fires wreak havoc on both supply and the ability to transport product to market. However, observers suggest the move may be partly to counteract the fall in prices.

Canadian sawmills have done a brisk trade during the pandemic, but some private owners of woodlots in New Brunswick say they’re being frozen out of the boom. Unlike other provinces, which have raised royalties for harvesting on Crown land, New Brunswick has kept its rates frozen for about six years.

“I was getting more money for my wood in the 1990s,” lot owner John Sabine told The Globe and Mail. “A lot of people aren’t bothering to harvest at all because prices are so poor. It’s not worth it.” Sabine says that stance means millions of dollars in lost revenue for both the provincial government, which owns half the commercial forestry lands in the province, and private lot owners.


Technology helps Patrick Morin’s outside sales teams stay connected

To keep its outside salespeople connected in the field, Quebec-based retailer Patrick Morin is still sending its people out to job sites for major projects. But it also supplied new laptops to its district and regional managers, who double as outside salespeople for the company’s 20 locations. The laptops let the managers communicate with their contractor customers via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other platforms without having to go onto construction areas.

“We’re trying to use the latest communications and messaging software so our people can contact customers directly, and respect social distancing protocols,” says general manager Daniel Lampron. “It’s worked pretty well so far.”

Like many dealers, Patrick Morin experienced a “huge” increase in online sales last year that has carried into 2021. Lampron observes that customers these days expect quick delivery, regardless of what they’re ordering, “so products need to be well managed.” That’s been a challenge during the pandemic, which created shortages in many commodities, most notably lumber. Patrick Morin has used electronic communications to keep customers informed about product availability or shipment delays.

Moving dealers and their customers to greater reliance on virtual communication “is a really big deal because the construction industry has been late to using technology,” says Lampron.

(This story is excerpted from a more comprehensive article in the latest issue of our sister publication, Hardlines Home Improvement Quarterly. HHIQ is a print magazine that is mailed to more than 11,000 dealers and store managers across the country. Find out more by clicking here!)

People on the Move

Darrin Noble retired last week as Home Hardware’s VP, store operations and Burford Paint and Home Products. He joined as VP and GM of Home’s paint business in 2007 and took on his current role in 2019. A longtime friend of Hardlines, he spoke to the 2018 Hardlines Conference on the importance of private label brands.



... that July’s edition of Hardlines Dealer News is out now? In this issue, read about how one dealer adapted during the pandemic, which products dealers tell us are the hottest sellers, and Castle’s member growth in the Toronto area. Hardlines Dealer News is monthly—and it’s free. Sign up here to subscribe!


The Spyder brand of circular saw blades, jigsaw blades, hole saws, Stinger spade bits, and auger bits has been introduced in Canada. The company has partnered with Lowe’s Canada to expand its offering of tool accessories for pro customers. The Lowe’s, RONA, and Réno-Dépôt banners are the exclusive building centre and big box carriers of these products in Canada.

Giant Tiger Stores Ltd. has opened a new store near Hamilton, Ont. The 18,044 square-foot store is located in Ancaster at 120 Portia Drive.

Tractor Supply Co. reported Q2 net sales of $3.6 billion, an increase of more than 13 percent from $3.2 billion a year ago. Comp sales swelled by 10.5 percent as demand remained strong for seasonal and consumable products. Profits rose by 11.3 percent to $1.3 billion, from $1.2 billion a year prior.


Carlisle Cos. Inc. has struck a deal to acquire fellow building envelope systems (BES) provider Henry Co. from a private equity firm. Under the terms of the agreement, Carlisle will purchase Henry for $1.575 billion in cash. Henry’s BES offerings control the flow of water, vapour, air, and energy in buildings.

Canfor Corp. will curtail about 115 million board feet of production capacity at its Canadian sawmills during Q3. The decision comes as wildfires in western Canada are creating significant supply chain challenges and a transportation backlog.

The 130th China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) will be held both online and in-person from Oct. 15 to Nov. 3. This edition of the fair will feature displays in 51 exhibition sections based on 16 product categories. 

Manufacturers of wooden pallets are caught between lumber shortages and unpredictability in the supply chain, The Globe and Mail reported. Between wait times for machinery and pressures on the labour market, boosting production is not an option, according to Shawn Hicks, CEO of CPS Wood Products in Cobourg, Ont. “We’ve had to turn away new opportunities from big companies—we just can’t handle the extra demand.”


Sales of existing Canadian homes fell by 8.4 percent month-over-month in June. It was the third straight monthly slowdown since activity hit an all-time record back in March. While sales are now down a cumulative 25 percent from their peak, and below every other month in the last year, June transactions still managed to set a record for that month. Sales moderated in about 80 percent of all local markets, including almost all large markets across the country. (Canadian Real Estate Association)

U.S. retail sales for June were estimated at $621.3 billion. That was a 0.6 percent increase from May, and 18 percent higher than sales for June 2020. Building and garden materials sales amounted to $45.05 billion, down slightly from $46.98 billion in May. (U.S. Census Bureau)

U.S. housing starts in June were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.643 million units. That was 6.3 percent above the previous month and 29.1 percent above the June 2020 rate. Single-family starts were up 6.3 percent from May to 1.16 million. (U.S. Census Bureau)


The annual Hardlines Retail Report is now available. This powerful set of research is a marketer’s dream. If you want to know the sales growth and market shares of all the hardware and home improvement groups in Canada, and the strategic analysis of the top players, this is the report for you. It features 190 slides and dozens of photographs and tables. (For more info and to order yours, click here!)


“We’re running flat out. We can’t cut any more lumber; we can’t produce any more product. Our costs are up on every front.”
—Shawn Hicks, CEO of CPS Wood Products in Cobourg, Ont. He was quoted in the Globe and Mail last week regarding the huge demand currently for wood pallets.




Classified Ads


If you are a highly-motivated and proactive leader with experience in construction, business, or retail operations - Payzant Building Products Ltd. is looking for you!  Over the past 55 years the company has steadily grown from 1 location to 8 locations, operating with the values of a local family business.

The COO has responsibility for over 200 employees in a fast-growing environment across all locations.  You will oversee not only retail operations, but all contractor aspects of business (pricing, policies, picking, deliveries, commission structures, and credit/collections).
Please visit for more info: https://lnkd.in/g5NSFaN.



Commodity Lumber Trader (2) BC and ON

Territory Sales Representative, Tools & Accessories – GTA

Check out our web site later next week for our new retained search for a Retail General Manager, Luxury Products!

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. www.wolfgugler.com. (888) 848-3006



Kitchen Craft is a subsidiary of MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc., an industry leader that comprises a breadth of quality cabinet brands. Elegant. Versatile. Stylish. Defining qualities of Kitchen Craft, one of MasterBrand's fine cabinet lines.

We are hiring a Territory Sales Representative for the British Columbia region.

Territory Sales Rep. (B.C) – responsible for developing and building relationships with new and existing customers to generate sales revenue. You possess the ability to achieve sales targets through effectively developing designated territory.  Your results driven sales approach will actively seek out and engage customer prospects while balancing sales and service expectations.

For more information on these positions visit https://www.kitchencraft.com/careers or apply directly to: https://smrtr.io/5QTWx

We thank all applicants for their interest, however only qualified candidates will be contacted for interviews.





As an RSOM, you will be a key business partner between Home Hardware Stores Limited and the Dealer-Owner(s) to optimize area retail sales, profits and market share through products, promotions and by sharing retail best practices to drive adoption of key enterprise programs.


Maintain and strengthen the Dealer-Owner relationship with HHSL by leveraging a portfolio of retail knowledge, skills, expertise and corporate insight.  Promote, educate and acquire Dealer-Owner adoption of HHSL’s corporate programs, systems and services.

Partner with Dealer-Owner(s) to implement category management and align Dealer-Owner(s) to achieve corporate objectives including store branding, in-store merchandising standards, and customer centric best practices.

Implement a play-book of retail actions utilizing key reporting such as financial data, POS data, and program participation reports by pre-planning informative and impactful store visits with Dealer-Owner(s) highlighting strengths and opportunities for retail excellence.

Regularly monitor sales to achieve and exceed required area goals, targets and corporate objectives.

Facilitate structured Dealer-Owner peer and performance team meetings designed to foster team work, build trust, collaboration and to share key insights and best practices.

Onboard new shareholders and develop existing Dealer-Owner(s) in your specific area in collaboration with the Retail Sales and Operations Facilitator.

Grow and maintain market share by driving Dealer expansions, relocations, banner conversions and proactively managing succession planning.  Collaborate with the Dealer Development Team to open new locations.


Diploma in Sales or Marketing preferred, with minimum five years’ business, retail, and/or wholesale experience in the Hardware industry a definite asset.

Retail experience at a supervisory or managerial level.

Ability to analyze data and financial reporting to identify opportunities for growth/improvement within a business unit.

Ability to facilitate on-going productive Dealer meetings inspiring innovation, collaboration and sharing best practices.

Ability to travel extensively and work varying hours to fulfil the requirements of the position


Krista Gromeder, Recruitment Coordinator, Human Resources  Phone: 519-664-4611

We will accommodate the needs of qualified applicants on request, under the Human Rights Code in all parts of the hiring process.

Key Account Manager

Masco Canada is looking for a new Retail Sales member with strong analytical skills to complete its team

  • Develop strategies to grow with Regional and Independent Customers.
  • Support activities on selected National Accounts.


For more information: https://masco.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/MascoCanada/job/CA---Ontario---Mississauga/Key-Account-Manager_REQ31308


Looking to post a classified ad? Email Michelle for a free quote.



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