John Caulfield, Contributing Editor
 vol. ix, #24 June 16, 2003

* Sodisco-Howden asks Do-it dealers to switch to Ace * Howden's Bill Wilson announces retirement * Home Depot adopts data sync standard * TruServ reconsiders LBM business * Rona breaks ground on two sites in Alberta * Lowe's extends brands

"Do not assume that the other fellow has intelligence to match yours. He may have more." — Terry Thomas (British comedian )
Montreal, QC In its effort to keep rationalizing its banner count, Sodisco-Howden Group has elected to wind down its Do-it center banner. The move was spurred by Sodisco-Howden's purchase of the assets of Ace Hardware in Canada, which effectively added a strong, comparable program to Sodisco-Howden's signature banner, Pro. According to Jos Wintermans, president and CEO of Sodisco-Howden, the move to switch the existing Do-it center dealers is being handled by the hardware distributor's field reps. "The strategy here is to encourage the Do-it center dealers to convert to the Ace Building Centre banner," Wintermans says. This, he adds, will increase the presence of a brand that is already well known in North America. Ace dealers in Canada will benefit from sophisticated store programs out of the U.S. and an extensive line of private label products. "There are a number of reasons why someone might want to be an Ace dealer," Wintermans says. Do-it, on the other hand, doesn't have the critical mass in Canada. (About 60 Do-it center dealers are strung across the country.) The banner started out as a DIY-focused home centre package developed for HWI (now Do-it Best Corp.), based in Indianapolis, IN. The program, characterized by upper and lower-case serif letters against an orange background, was developed by the Watt Group in Toronto. Watt used a similar approach, with only with upper case letters, when developing a look for Home Depot in 1978. For now, Do-it dealers are taking a "wait-and-see" attitude. Jason Yates of McMunn & Yates Do-it center in Dauphin, MB says the dealers haven't seen the full Ace program yet, leaving them feeling uncertain about which way to go. Yates isn't averse to the change; he admits the Do-it banner just didn't have adequate market acceptance because of the limited number of stores and is keen to see what Ace has to offer. Steve Lundon, owner of Northern Do-it center in Fort Frances, ON, is a bit more wary of the proposed change. "We'll look at it seriously, but who's going to pay for the retrofit?" he wonders. Lundon expresses his concern about the Sodisco Howden service levels over the last few months, but recognizes they're the only independent full line hardware wholesaler left. Do-it Best is part of Alliance International LLC, whose Canadian members, Rona Inc. and Home Hardware Stores Ltd., are major competitors to Sodisco-Howden. Wintermans would not comment on whether his company was compelled in any way by Do-it Best in the U.S. to wind down the orange banner in Canada.
Calgary & Edmonton, AB Robert Dutton, president and CEO of Rona Inc., did double duty in the Wild Rose Province for two groundbreaking ceremonies last Thursday. First stop was Calgary, where the planned construction of a new Western distribution centre was made official. The distribution centre, located at 2015 60th Street, S.E., is a key part of Rona's attempts to increase its presence and assert its commitment in Western Canada. The 300,000-sq.ft. facility will cost about $30 million and create up to 80 jobs. Later in the day, Dutton was up in Edmonton for the ground breaking on a new Rona Home & Garden big box. The 140,000-sq.ft. store will include a 4,000-sq.ft. greenhouse next to a 29,850-sq.ft. garden centre and a big seasonal section. It will also be about 20,000 sq.ft. larger than another store, in Kingston, ON, which broke ground on May 13. The Kingston store is slightly smaller in part because the Rona Cashway in town will remain, servicing contractor and heavy DIY customers. As a result, the new big box will have a slightly smaller lumber and building materials section. Nor can Rona's third big box in Edmonton open with anything less than the big guns: Home Depot just opened a sixth store here last week, in the Sherwood Park area. The newest Rona big box stores will continue to expand on the concept inaugurated in Mississauga, ON last spring. This includes more of a mix of Rona Regional and Rona big box elements, with emphasis on boutiqued departments, including paint and décor, door and window (new!) and lighting. Both stores are expected to open within a couple of weeks of each other in late October of this year.

Mississauga, ON The Canadian Hardware and Building Materials Show is touting its next installment as the 100th, but the show is reaching back to its pre-history to do the math.

A century of shows would put its start date at 1905. In fact, the Canadian Retail Hardware Association, which owns the show, was not formed until a year later. On Good Friday, 1906, the Retail Hardware and Stove Dealers Association of Ontario was founded, which would later become the CRHA. Yet another year would pass before the association added a "trade show" component, when Guelph Stove Works became the sole exhibitor at the association's 1907 annual general meeting. "According to all of the history that anyone [at CRHA] has found, 1905 has been accepted for the past 99 years as the year the first "hardware show" was held in Canada. That history includes many, many photos and references in trade media to 1905 as being the first show," explains Bob Elliott, executive director of the CRHA. "At that 1905 Canadian National Exhibition, we do know from Hardware & Metal magazine that there was an exhibition of hardware products for "hardware merchants," he continues. "They didn't seem to make the same distinction between "trade" shows and "consumer" shows back then as we do now. Therefore, it seems that the first show may indeed have had members of the general public in attendance along with dealers." Wherein lies the confusion? The aforementioned copy of Hardware and Metal (the early name of present-day publication Hardware Merchandising) from September 1905 features a cover story encouraging dealers to attend that year's Canadian National Exhibition. A large group of hardware and stove companies did indeed display their wares to Canadian families - alongside piano makers, tea companies, perfume makers, and sellers of canned preserves. These exhibitors included the aforementioned Guelph Stove Works, which baked cookies that attracted the attention of many of the women visiting the fair, reported the editors of Hardware and Metal magazine at the time. In fact, hardware companies had been involved in the CNE as far back as the public exhibition's inception in 1879 and Hardware and Metal reported on these events regularly. "Regardless, we consider this as the 100th show of the industry, no matter where the first one was held or who organized it. All those who came before us recognized it as such and we believe that history speaks for itself," Elliott says. Obviously, the hardware industry's show business roots date back at least 100 years, and CHS follows in that strong tradition. Like any fine old lady, her exact age can remain a mystery. Hardlines will certainly be at the next birthday party, whatever the age of the show.
Hoffman Estates, IL Sears Roebuck and Co. has retained the investment firms Merrill Lynch and Citigroup to seek buyers for, respectively, its 82-unit Orchard Supply Hardware and its 225-unit National Tire & Battery, with the goal of raising at least US$500 million from their sales. Crain's Chicago Business, quoting unnamed sources, reported last week that Sears wanted to dispose of these assets to shore up its sagging balance sheet and to provide capital for a new strip-mall supercenter venture. The San Jose, CA-based Orchard, a 72-year-old retailer that Sears acquired in 1996 for more than $300 million, operates stores that average 45,000 sq.ft. Last year, Orchard generated US$820 million in revenue, but has been plagued by profit woes, according to Crain's. Originally, Sears bought a profitable Orchard to give some merchandising and store design direction to its Sears Hardware Stores division, which at the time was foundering. However, the marriage never coalesced to Sears's satisfaction. Attempts to duplicate Orchard's format in the eastern U.S. have been erratic, at best, resulting in 2001 in a 55,000-sq.ft. prototype that has been rolled out to only a handful of markets. It's worth noting that Alan Lacy, Sears's chairman, has all but stopped the expansion of the retailer's other home improvement enterprise, The Great Indoors, a home furnishings retail format that at one time Sears envisioned expanding into a 150-unit operation. At the conclusion of 2002, only 13 Great Indoors had been opened. The Orchard chain is expected to fetch US$300 million for Sears.
Atlanta, GA In an effort to reduce supply-chain errors and inefficiencies, Home Depot has signed on to participate in the data registration and synchronization programs established by UCCnet, and is urging its suppliers to subscribe to UCCnet's services, too. Home Depot becomes the second major home improvement-related company to embrace UCCnet's services. Last year, Ace Hardware began registering its data with this organization. In a prepared statement, Lawrenceville, NJ-based UCCnet pointed to a study conducted by the research firm A.T. Kearney which estimated that US$40 billion, or 3.5%, of total sales lost each year are due to supply-chain information inefficiencies. The study showed that 30% of items in retail catalogues have data errors, 60% of all invoices generated errors and 43% of all invoices resulted in deductions. Home Depot and participating suppliers can register data into UCCnet's industry-supported repository for standardized item, location and trading partner data. This system checks the data for compliance to industry standards, and will allow the retailer to synchronize its own data with its suppliers', thereby ensuring that everyone is using identical standards-compliant information.
Chicago, IL TruServ Corp. could be preparing to jump back into building materials distribution. How and when, though, are still unknown. Within its first-quarter 2003 report submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, TruServ revealed that, effective April 21, it had terminated its non-compete, cooperation, and trademark and license agreements with Builder Marts of America. On Dec. 29, 2000 TruServ sold its lumber and building materials business, consisting primarily of intangibles and inventory, to BMA, the South Carolina-based dealer services division of Guardian Building Products. At the time, TruServ explained that it had made this decision because it had concluded that BMA could provide lumber and building materials to the co-op's members at lower cost. LBM had traditionally been a low-margin business for TruServ. What prompted TruServ's change of heart, and how it plans to move forward, are not clear. Bruce Schneider, BMA's senior vp-operations, told Hardlines recently that BMA has been exploring getting into light manufacturing and installed sales, two areas that could, theoretically at least, be in conflict with the interests of TruServ's dealer-members. Hardlines was not able to reach Terry Watson, BMA's vp-marketing, for comment. Nor did it receive a response to an email sent to TruServ's president and CEO Pamela Forbes Lieberman.
Santa Fe, NM Home Depot has had a few bad weeks on the legal front, and it didn't get any better last Tuesday when a New Mexico state judge ruled that a now-defunct shutter maker, which went out of business in 2000 after Home Depot stopped buying from it, is entitled to US$2.8 million in attorney fees. In January, District Judge Carol Vigil ruled in favour of Santa Fe Custom Shutters and Doors and ordered Home Depot to pay US$11.99 million in damages. According to the Associated Press, Vigil stated in her first ruling that Home Depot had broken its contract by failing to expand Home Depot's market for Santa Fe Shutters' products. She called the retailer's conduct "malicious, reckless, wanton, oppressive and fraudulent." The supplement fees were awarded to the shutter manufacturer to cover the "risk" its attorneys took representing a company in precarious financial straits. In recent weeks, Home Depot has been showing up as often on police blotters and court dockets as on the business pages: oA former employee in Oklahoma was charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise using numbers from customers' credit cards; oAn investigation in Texas exonerated the company of criminal wrongdoing after a five-year-old boy was crushed to death by falling patio doors in the aisles of one of its stores in the Lone Star State; oSix former and current employees in Indianapolis have filed a federal lawsuit against the retailer charging they had been discriminated against because they are African American; oThe company paid US$300,000 to settle a suit filed by a Pennsylvania employee who alleged discrimination by Home Depot because she was pregnant; oIn New Jersey, the chain agreed to pay fines of US$510,000 to settle a complaint filed by that state's attorney general, whose office had investigated the chain's practices concerning installation, advertising, refunds and delivery. The retailer participated in that investigation and, as part of its agreement, said it would revise its business practices to ensure its compliance with state consumer protection laws.
Canadian Tire 37.29 26.80 35.23
Canfor 11.70 6.83 7.77
Costco 41.35 27.00 34.87
Goodfellow 13.99 9.75 10.00
Home Depot 39.15 20.10 33.56
Hudson's Bay 14.20 5.87 9.75
Lowe's Cos. 48.00 32.50 44.15
Rona Inc. 19.40 11.75 19.00
Sears Canada 24.25 13.60 17.03
Sodisco-Howden 1.90 1.06 1.69
Taiga Forest 7.30 5.85 7.15
Wal-Mart 58.88 43.72 54.08
West Fraser 39.46 26.27 32.60
St. John, NB Kent Building Supplies has bought up a former Rona dealer in the Campbellton, NB suburb of Atholville. Apart from putting up the Kent banner, the store was not changed significantly. This brings the total number of Kent stores in Atlantic Canada to 23, of which seven are big boxes. Irving, TX Réno-Dépôt has licensed the forecasting and scheduling modules of the Timera Enterprise Workforce Management system for all company retailing operations. Réno-Dépôt had been using a manual approach to building schedules prior to hooking up with Timera. Toronto, ON Home Depot Canada has chosen Philips Lighting Canada as its exclusive supplier of branded light bulbs. The deal follows a similar agreement announced in the U.S. one year ago between Home Depot and Royal Philips Electronics. Wilkesboro, NC Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse has added three well-known national brands to its inventory. The Charlotte Business Journal reports that Lowe's stores now stock a full assortment of portable and benchtop tools made by Hitachi, the Japan-based supplier. The retailer is expanding into food processors, mixers, coffee makers and juicers branded by Bosch. Also exclusive to Lowe's is a floorcovering line called Premier developed by Living Mohawk Carpet. Huntersville, NC Irwin Industrial Tools announced last week a new global brand strategy to unite its contractor-grade hand tools and power tool accessories under the Irwin name. Irwin will be positioned as the primary brand for seven sub-brands: Vise-Grip wrenches, Marathon saw blades, Quick-Grip clamps, Speedbor wood boring bits, Strait-Line, Unibit step drill bits and Hanson taps, dies and extractors. Each of Irwin's sub-brands will retain its name while sharing a common Irwin identity and endorsement.
Some changes at Sears Canada: Jill Brown, formerly outdoor power equipment buyer, has moved over to fitness equipment … Rick Ranta replaces Brown as outdoor power equipment buyer. He was formerly category business manager for furniture … Bob Masich leaves his duties as power tool buyer to become sourcing manager for Sears's import department … Masich is being replaced by Mike Higgins, who moves into power tool buying from sewing machines and vacuum cleaners. (416-362-1711) Bill Wilson has announced his retirement from Sodisco-Howden Group. Wilson spent 32 years with the Howden Division (formerly D.H. Howden & Co.). He got his start as a Pro Hardware dealer in Toronto, but after six years sold his store to take a job with Howden in London, ON as a sales rep. Through the years he held several titles, and for the past two years served as director of national accounts, dealing with the buying groups and key national accounts (519-686-2200)Mag Kassis has joined Sodisco-Howden Group as vice-president of sales. Working out of the Montreal head office, he will be responsible for increasing sales and improving dealer relations. He will also deal with key accounts and the buying groups, taking over from Bill Wilson, who had handled the job from Sodisco-Howden's London office. Kassis moves to Sodisco-Howden from Fishery Products International, where he served as vice-president. (514-286-8986) IRLY Distributors has announced its new board of directors for 2003-2004: Andy Anderson of Ashcroft has been elected president … Rex Millard of Vanderhoof has been named vice-president … the secretary is Jeff Davie of Kelso … additional directors are Carole Hamanishi (and past president) of Aldergrove, Eric Hodson of Prince Rupert, Gus MacLellan of Kelowna and Brian Tancock of Sicamous, BC. Chicago-based TruServ Corp. has named Mimi Apelqvist director of international, reporting to Brian Kiernan, TruServ's vice-president of retail development. Prior to joining TruServ, Apelqvist worked at Fellowes Manufacturing for six years.
The 7c0000 grew by 2.4% annually in the first quarter, but economists are warning that "significant headwinds" will be felt as the effects of SARS, a stronger dollar and the discovery of mad-cow disease are felt. The latest performance by the Canadian economy paints a familiar picture of growth in this country - one of solid domestic demand offset by weaker exports as a result of a weaker global situation. The economy lost jobs for the second consecutive month in May as the national jobless rate rose to 7.8% from 7.5% in April. Employment across the country dipped by 13,100, although that figure includes a loss of 19,600 full-time jobs and a gain of 6,500 part-time positions, Statistics Canada said Friday. Sales by merchant wholesalers in the U.S., after adjustment for seasonal variations, were US$235.7 billion in April, down 2% from the revised March level, says the U.S. Census Department. However, the rate is up 3.8% from April, 2002. Within the durable goods sector, sales of motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies decreased 1.8% from last month, while sales of non-durable goods decreased 3.6% last month, but were up 6.8% from the same month last year. Hardware, plumbing and heating equipment and supplies were down 0.6% from March, but up 5.7% from April 2002.
Join the Women's Consumer Products Network at Caledon Woods Golf & Country Club for their 2003 Annual Golf Tournament on Tuesday June 24, 2003. For information or to register, contact Janet Oh, WCPN Events Chair, at 416.208.0688, or click here to register on-line.

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INACCURATE PRODUCT INFORMATION NOW A KEY ISSUE Inaccurate product information is a now key issue in the CPG industry. Find out how UCCnet is tackling the problem in our FREE White Paper: CPG Item Data Synchronization.Click here to find out more.

CANADIAN PATENT CONFIRMED FOR THE DRICORE® SUBFLOOR SYSTEM The Canadian Intellectual Office of Industry Canada confirmed that, effective May 13, 2003, the DRIcore Division of Longlac Wood Industries has been awarded a patent for its free-floating sub-floor panel. The DRIcore subfloor system is designed as the first step to a successful finished basement. Since Dricore panels are raised off the porous concrete floor on polyethylene cleats it works to mitigate the transfer of cold and dampness and helps prevent the formation of mold and mildew. The result is a subfloor that installs faster and performs better than conventional subfloors and provides a comfortable, durable platform for most finished floors. For more information visit or call 1 866-976-6374. ANNOUNCING THE DRICORE SALES & MARKETING TEAM Sam Mowat, General Manager, Sales & Marketing, Longlac Wood Industries is pleased to announce the reorganization of the sales and marketing team at the DRIcore Division to better service its customers. Dave Murray, Director of Marketing, brings to Dricore his versatile marketing experience with Canadian manufacturers of home improvement products, most notably, Premdor Inc. (now Masonite International). Grant Cowx, Sales Manager - North America joins DRIcore after sales and marketing assignments at Scott Paper Ltd and Duracell Canada Inc. Kim Laurienzo, Trade Services Marketing Manager, provides DRIcore with her proven skills in trade marketing in the retail box store environment after her tenure at Bailey Metal Products Limited. Gilles Quirion, Sales Representative, brings his enthusiastic energy to DRIcore as one of the original sales team when Longlac Wood Industries established the DRIcore Division in Mississauga in 1999. For more information call Sam Mowat at 888-566-4522, ext 224 ********************************************************************************** REPS/AGENTS WANTED G. A. I. M. Engineering Inc. This Illinois based recycling firm manufactures both the "TOTASAK" and the "HANDLR". These products are ergonomically designed to hold grocery and retail bags. Each product is made from recycled polymers and can ease the pain of carrying those many bags, making it the one trip wonder! Typical end-users include grocery and hardware chains. G. A. I. M. is seeking retailers, wholesalers, distributors and sales agencies in Canada to market the "TOTASAK" and the "HANDLR". These unique items are ideal for private label and in-store promotions. You can learn more by visiting '' or contacting Jeffrey Johnson at the State of Illinois Canada Office in Toronto at (416) 695-9888 or ''.  


GREENHOUSE-IN-A-BAG Illinois manufacturer of portable greenhouses seeks landscape distributors and mail order houses to market their product in Canada. Greenhouse-in-a-Bag™ is made of ½" PVC pipe and fittings with an 8 mil UV-inhibited polyethylene greenhouse film. To learn more, visit ''. Dave and Carol Williams, the owners of Greenhouse-in-a-Bag™, will be in the Toronto vicinity the week of June 23rd, 2003. If you would like to meet with them, please contact Maria A. Arbulu, State of Illinois Canada Office, One Eva Road, Suite 301, Toronto, Ontario M9C 4Z5, T. (416) 695-9888, F. (416) 695-9891, Email: ********************************************************************************** SERVICES OFFERED RETAIL IS DETAIL. Let Noral Instore, a national service company, handle your service requirements in Canada. Noral serves some of America's leading manufacturers, managing their lines for Canada's top hardware retailers, big boxes and mass merchandisers. Contact Al Vanderveen at 519-439-6800, ext. 201, to find out how Noral can boost your sales in Canada. ********************************************************************************** SELL YOUR COMPANY - OR BUY ONE - WITH HARDLINES CLASSIFIEDS! DO YOUR EXECUTIVE SEARCH, FIND NEW LINES OR GET NEW REPS IN THE HARDLINES MARKETPLACE. ONLY $2.50 PER WORD FOR THREE WEEKS IN THE CLASSIFIEDS. TO PLACE YOUR AD, CALL PHYLLIS NOWELL AT 416-489-3396 OR EMAIL:
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