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June 27, 2022 | Volume xxviii, #26


  • Front-of-the-line access: tickets available next week for Hardlines Conference
  • Home Hardware’s new warehouse management system is up and running
  • BMR shuts down La Shop, its two pilot urban stores in Montreal
  • Homeowners remain positive about reno spending despite inflation

PLUS: Schell Lumber and Wiener’s Home Hardware mark 100 years, EAB recognized for recycling efforts, Cathelle’s Judy Palmer to retire, Goodfellow appoints chair, Ace store gets new owner, hires at Lixil Canada, RONA Outaouais grand opening in Buckingham, Que., retail sales increase, U.S. housing starts, and more!

Front-of-the-line access: tickets available next week for Hardlines Conference

The speaker lineup for the 26th annual Hardlines Conference has been finalized. It represents some of the brightest lights in retail—and starting next week, exclusive to Hardlines subscribers.

This year’s conference will be held at the Queen’s Landing Hotel, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., Oct. 18 and 19. It will introduce the Hardlines audience to speakers and ideas that will help them improve their own businesses and provide insights into how to grow.

The new lead merchant for one of Quebec’s leading retail groups is the latest retail executive that we’ve confirmed to take to the podium this fall. Charles Grégoire-Béliveau was recently appointed vice president, merchandising, for BMR Group, where he oversees all activities related to the merchandising and commercialization of the group’s products.

What is driving the growth of Sexton Group? What is the continued appeal of buying groups in this industry that is helping them attract new members, often from outside the traditional building centre model? What does the world look like for dealers as we come out of COVID? Eric Palmer, vice president and general manager of the group, will share how Sexton Group has found a sweet spot with independents across the country that enabled it to grow by a whopping 36 percent in 2021.

What has retail learned through COVID and what learnings and best practices do we need to maintain or expand on? What can we learn from other retail sectors moving ahead? Considered one of the world’s leading retail and consumer futurists, Doug Stephens will challenge delegates to consider these questions carefully. In a high-touch retail environment like home improvement, the in-store experience will remain important alongside digital and both should be integral parts of how any dealer goes to market.

Other speakers include Lowe’s Canada president Tony Cioffi and Dan Tratensek, COO of the NHPA.

The 26th Hardlines Conference will be held Oct. 18 and 19 at the Queen’s Landing Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. It will also be webcast virtually to delegates across the country. Hardlines subscribers who want to ensure their attendance can mark their calendars for next week to get front-of-the-line access, before tickets go on sale to the general industry. Dealers and their staff get a 30 percent discount off the in-person ticket price.

(To see the full list of speakers, please click here!)


Home Hardware’s new warehouse management system is up and running

Home Hardware Stores serves almost 1,100 dealers of all sizes, in every part of Canada. Their trucks are a familiar sight on Canadian highways. What is the engine that drives the product delivery system and keeps those trucks rolling and those store shelves filled?

Hardlines had the opportunity last week to get a first-hand look at Home Hardware’s distribution system. The company has three distribution centres, in Debert, N.S.; in Wetaskiwin, Alta.; and at its head office in St. Jacobs, Ont. That’s where we went behind the scenes to see the technologies that make up Home Hardware’s new warehouse management system.

Our guide was John Dyksterhuis, the company’s chief supply chain officer. Dyksterhuis was well known for many years as a buyer at Home Hardware, but he actually got his start with the company in distribution 36 years ago.

Inside the distribution centre, Dyksterhuis explained that Home Hardware has just finished installing and refining a warehouse management system that replaces its own Oracle system, a platform which dated back to 1990. The need for upgrades was identified in 2012, with implementation beginning two years later in the Debert DC. Home Hardware chose a system this time by Manhattan. Wetaskiwin followed, with St. Jacobs, Home’s largest DC, saved for last.

Dysksterhuis says some additional automation has been added to the St. Jacobs system, further enhancing the ability to manage supply chain and product flow. “With the automation comes the accuracy of the picking process,” he says.

The St. Jacobs DC processes orders for 130 stores on average per day, with three shifts operating daily, and two 12-hour shifts on weekends. Together, all three facilities fulfill 1,300 orders nationally per week.

Over the past two years, many Home Hardware dealers saw their delivery schedule curtailed. Deliveries that used to arrive twice a week were reduced to once a week. Dyksterhuis says this was not due to supply chain issues related to COVID. It was due to the limitations on the WMS as it was changed over to the Manhattan system.

“We’ve started to re-implement twice-a-week deliveries and we’re in phase one of that.” Stores that serve cottage markets have been among the first stores to return to full service, as they are heavily reliant on the summer business that is happening now.

Home Hardware says it’s operating at 95 percent capacity now and expects to be at full capacity by September.


BMR pulls the plug on La Shop, its urban store format in Montreal

BMR Group has closed its two La Shop locations on the island of Montreal. The smaller-format urban concept was designed to offer a more curated selection to condo dwellers in up-and-coming neighbourhoods. Hardlines was there in 2018 when BMR launched the banner’s inaugural store in Montreal’s Griffintown neighbourhood. A second location opened in the nearby town of Mount Royal, northwest of downtown Montreal, the following year.

In an email to Hardlines, Kaven Delarosbil, BMR’s director of communications and events, explained that circumstances have changed considerably since then. “The COVID-19 pandemic that has been raging since March 2020, the major repair work on Peel Street, and the construction of the Réseau express métropolitain [rapid transit system] near one of our stores have had a considerable financial impact on the operations of our two locations,” he wrote. “Conditions that were considered highly favourable in 2018 have unfortunately since dissipated.”

Delarosbil added that all affected staff members were given the opportunity to transfer their employment to other BMR locations. For their part, customers have the option of shopping at other local BMR stores or ordering online for home delivery or in-store pick-up.

The announcement comes at a time of significant challenges for urban retailers, who face mounting costs to maintain their square footage even as city centres densify with an influx of potential customers. Competition has also grown: the same year BMR opened the second La Shop location, IKEA and Walmart both announced concepts for urban proximity stores.

Homeowners remain positive about reno spending despite inflation

A new report indicates that the appetite for home improvements among Canadians remains strong. The 2022 Homestars Reno Report provides details of how Canadians have spent on renovations in their home.

HomeStars is an online marketplace connecting homeowners with home service providers. The survey was done with pollster Angus Reid.

Despite current economic conditions that include a hot national real estate market, inflation, and overall economic uncertainty, the survey revealed that, now more than ever, Canadian homeowners on average have been investing more of their cash on hand into home renovations. The report further indicates that this trend is expected to increase over the next 12 months.

Here are some highlights from the report:

  • In the past 12 months consumers spent about $13,000 on average on renovations, up from up from $8,260. In the coming year, homeowners who plan to upgrade their spaces said they’ll spend nearly double that, or an average of $25,222.
  • Forty-one percent of homeowners said they postponed planned renovations this past year due to high building materials costs, up from 35 per cent in 2021.
  • Amongst those who have completed outdoor renovations or improvements in the last 12 months, the average spend was about $6,600, an increase of nearly $2,000 from last year.

Meanwhile, the trend to DIY remains strong. When it comes to completing renovations, just over half surveyed said they attempt to complete some renovations themselves to reduce costs. Homeowners in Atlantic Canada and Alberta are most likely to be willing to complete their own renovations.

People on the Move

Judy Palmer will retire from her position as director of sales and marketing for Cathelle,  effective June 30th. She spent 10 years with the Montreal-based electrical and plumbing supplier, but her career covers a range of specialties in the hardware and home improvement industry. She got her start as a buyer at Beaver Lumber, then moved to hardware wholesaler D.H. Howden as a marketing manager and buyer. Before joining Cathelle, Palmer worked for a number of retail POS providers, including Epicor and Dimensions. Alex Spillane, who has been part of the sales and marketing team for the past four years, has been promoted to take over Palmer’s role.

At Lixil Canada, Cosimo Coffa has been named general manager, trade sales and marketing, responsible for the American Standard, DXV, and GROHE brands. Marlon Thompson is now VP, marketing for Canada. He is responsible for the Canadian integrated marketing team of product, channel, digital, and pricing. He joined Lixil in 2019.

Goodfellow Inc. has appointed Robert Hall as its chair. He is a prominent Quebec lawyer and is also currently chair of the board of Bishop’s University. Hall replaces Douglas Goodfellow.


... that Hardlines Classified Ads are an effective—and targeted—way to connect with experts in the hardware and building materials sector for your next hire? Affordable rates and a broad reach through our huge database of industry executives, managers, store owners, and operators make Hardlines Classifieds a valuable tool for finding your next key hire! Contact Michelle Porter at the Hardlines World Headquarters to get hiring today!


The RONA Outaouais store in Buckingham, Que., held a grand opening ceremony following renovations to the 18,000-square-foot location. Owners Chantal Veilleux and Claude Bélec welcomed local dignitaries and managers from the RONA Dealer Support team to the board cutting. RONA Outaouais began in 2012 with the Val-des-Monts Building Centre. Veilleux and Bélec expanded to Buckingham and Papineauville earlier this year.

Schell Lumber Home Building Centre is marking 100 years of serving the Stouffville, Ont., community. The store was founded in 1922 by Wes Schell as Stouffville Planing Mill and is currently owned by fourth-generation dealer-owner Kyle Schell and his uncle, Steve Schell. Steve has been involved with the store for almost 50 years and previously co-owned the store with Ron Schell, who died this spring.

Ace Le Centre du Bricoleur in Saint-David-de-Falardeau, Que., has a new owner. Jessy Gauthier has more than 30 years of experience in the hardware industry. Through Ace’s partnership with Sexton Group for building materials supply, Gauthier will also be a member of that group.

Wiener’s Home Hardware, a downtown Toronto hardware store, is celebrating 100 years of serving the city’s Annex community. The Wiener family started the business in 1922 and joined Home Hardware when it was founded in 1964. Currently owned by Marty Wiener, the business will eventually move to the family’s third generation as Marty’s daughter Melanie prepares to move into the role of dealer-owner.

Wolseley Canada recently celebrated the grand opening of its newest branch in Vernon, B.C. The 12,000-square-foot facility offers the full assortment of Wolseley Canada’s plumbing and HVAC products.


The Recycling Council of British Columbia presented the 2022 RCBC Environmental Awards this month. The award for the private sector, which honours “businesses with outstanding initiatives to preserve and protect our environment,” went to EAB (Exchange-A-Blade). EAB has been recycling used power tool accessories such as blades for over 40 years. It also favours paper-based packaging and maintains a dedicated fleet of 29 hybrid and electric vehicles for its sales teams.

Liz Kovach, president of the Western Retail Lumber Association was in Ottawa recently for a series of meetings with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. She also took part in direct meetings with the Canadian Real Estate Association and three MPs. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where the WRLA participated, had several meetings with officials including infrastructure minister Dominic LeBlanc and Conservative transport critic Melissa Lantsman.


Retail sales increased 0.9 percent to $60.7-billion in April. Sales were up in six of 11 subsectors, led by higher sales at general merchandise stores. The largest decline to retail sales came from building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers. The 4.3 percent decrease was the first in four months. (StatCan)

U.S. housing starts and building permits both fell by more than expected in May. Residential starts declined by 14.4 percent to an annualized pace of 1.55 million, their lowest level in more than a year. Building permits for May were down by seven percent. (U.S. Commerce Dept.)


The Building Supply Industry Association of B.C. is teaming up with HR and health and safety specialist Peninsula Canada. You can read some of Peninsula’s advice in our monthly Hardlines HR Advisor newsletter. (If you’re not already receiving this incredible HR newsletter, click here to sign up for free!)


"Sexton Group is very excited to embark on this new relationship with Mr. Gauthier. With his experience and entrepreneurial mindset, Le Centre du Bricoleur is sure to see a smooth transition into his ownership.”
—Eric Palmer, vice president and general manager of Sexton Group, welcoming Jessy Gauthier, the new owner of an Ace store which is also a member of Sexton.


Classified Ads

Home Hardware has an exciting opportunity for a driven self-starter who will be responsible for the growth of Home Hardware Market Share through the aggressive conversion of Dealer Owners from other Banners and potential Greenfield locations to Home Hardware. If you are a strong communicator and thrive in a competitive and fast paced environment, please make an application today!

This is a remote position; due to the extensive travel throughout Atlantic Canada and Quebec, there is a preference for applicants based in these areas.


  • Through existing contacts or cold calling aggressively meet with other banners promoting the Home Hardware program.
  • Present Home Hardware Systems and services and programs to all interested applicants.
  • Start and complete the Home Hardware Application Process with interested Dealers.
  • Coordinate Banner conversion change-over for a seamless transition, provide on-boarding/training for new banner conversion Home Dealers.
  • Collaborate with retail operations to drive Market growth through Banner conversions, Greenfields (New Dealer Owners).
  • Work closely with Senior Development manager to maintain a Data Base of applicants, prepare target market reports for potential new locations


  • A strong understanding of the Home Improvement Market and the strategy needed to succeed in a highly competitive market.
  • Thorough understanding of the Retail industry, LBM (Lumber and Building Materials), and basic accounting.
  • Excellent communication, oral and written, planning, organizational, negotiating and presentation skills.
  • Computer literate with strong knowledge of MS Office, Power point, Teams, outlook, Excel.
  • Bilingual (English and French) would be an asset.
  • Willingness to travel extensively throughout Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

For the full job posting, please visit our Careers page at www.homehardware.ca/en/careers

Saint-Gobain Abrasives is currently seeking candidates who are persistent, tenacious and possess a high level of energy to fulfill the DIY Retail Sales Supervisor role for their established abrasives territory, set up for significant growth opportunities.  The ideal candidate is self-motivated along with a demonstrated track record of successfully managing territory accounts. 

The Sales Supervisor position is key to providing territory coverage to the following areas:  Ontario and Western Provinces

To Apply please visit: https://careers.saint-gobain-northamerica.com/career-search/job/?id=CAN00086

Job Opportunity- Senior National Account Manager- Kidde Canada Sales 

Carrier’s Fire &  Security business develops a comprehensive product portfolio to protect buildings, people, and assets; providing innovative products that include fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide, and smoke detectors, fire suppression systems, advanced software and hardware, IP solutions, wireless communications, electronic locking systems, and mobile applications,. Among its leading brands are Kidde, LenelS2, Supra, Onity, Fenwal, and Marioff, offering robust security and life safety systems, affordable, flexible lock and key management solutions, and fire safety equipment and systems.

Kidde Canada, a division of Carrier Fire & Security,  is seeking a Senior National Sales Account Manager to lead top National Accounts in Canada with responsibilities that include working with sales and marketing groups to provide action plans for achieving price integrity, margin enhancement, and well-coordinated project execution and growth within the assigned channel. Reporting to the Vice President of Retail Sales, the Account Manager will emphasize execution of strategic sales and marketing goals at the retail level.

For more information, please click here:  Senior National Account Manager Canada at Carrier

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



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