"Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art."— Andy Warhol (1927-87)

NRHA honours young Canadian retailer

ORLANDO, Fla. — The latest national convention of the North American Retail Hardware Association was held here last week, drawing some 290 people representing 160 independent retailers from across North America. The event plays host to the NRHA's annual meeting, where it was reported that 2006 saw the signing of 590 more dealers as members, allowing them to take advantage of NRHA's comprehensive online staff training programs. In 2006, almost 10,000 people took the training. The AGM was complemented by a three-day program of seminars and information sessions, mixed with recreational events for the retailers and their families. This year, the event further welcomed the involvement of HARDLINES as the representative body for the NRHA in Canada. The association's 11th annual Young Retailer of the Year Awards program was also held. This program recognizes the professional and personal achievements of a new generation of hardware and home improvement retailers by honouring six individuals under the age of 35. From Canada, Adam Busscher, a Home Hardware dealer from Picton, Ont., received the award. Busscher is shown here with Bill Ferguson, dealer support manager for Home Hardware Stores, and Michael McLarney, in his capacity as managing director of NRHA Canada. Busscher's achievements included strong double-digit sales growth in recent years, a paint department that has grown by 37% over the past two years, and plans to add a second store next year.

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TIM-BR Mart dealer gets green award

METEGHAN CENTRE, N.S. —  Marc Robichaud of U.J. Robichaud TIM-BR Mart in Meteghan Centre, N.S. was recognized by the Dalhousie Eco-Efficiency Centre for his efforts to reduce his store's ecological footprint, while improving sales. Robichaud improved energy efficiency in a number of ways, including substituting 100 incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which saved $1,400 in energy costs annually. Robichaud also added wall insulation, installed skylights to increase natural light, began using fuel additives in company trucks to decrease emissions and increase fuel efficiency, and burned old pallets and wood scraps for heat on site. Robichaud got customers involved by increasing the number of eco-friendly products he carries, and inviting them to take away free sawdust generated from woodworking operations to use as a fuel source. "There's certainly a connection between being energy efficient and the bottom line," Robichaud said. "Plus, we've found this had a positive effect on our team — we've made it a fun place to work and everyone wants to do the right thing." Earlier this month, Robichaud's store was one of several TIM-BR Marts to take part in the launch of EnerGrade, a national retail initiative to provide information to consumers about upgrading the energy efficiency of their home or navigating federal and provincial rebate and incentive programs.

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Black & Decker launches commercial security line

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Black & Decker will begin offering a premium line of door hardware to commercial and industrial customers next month. Called K2, it will include levers, deadbolts, door closers and exit devices. The line will allow the company to venture into new sales channels, according to Victor Garcia, director of sales and marketing for K2 Commercial Hardware. A website for the line will go live later this month, and will feature interactive installation instructions and training, web-based project management, product searches, customer service, bid submissions, and project specs.

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Canadians spending more on renovations

OTTAWA — Approximately 1.5 million households in 10 Canadian cities spent an average of $11,000 in 2006 in renovations, according to a study by the CMHC. More than 60% of those families updated, added value to, or prepared their homes for resale, while 33% completed repairs. The top jobs were room remodelling, painting or wallpapering, and flooring. "More than $17.3 billion was spent on renovations last year across the 10 major centres surveyed," said Bob Dugan, chief economist at CMHC. "As well, 46% of homeowners in these 10 centres surveyed indicated that they intend to spend $1,000 or more on renovations this year." Almost half of those surveyed (47%) said they remained on budget, while more than a third went over budget. Twenty-four percent were do-it-yourselfers who hired a contractor for a portion of the work, while 40% used contractors exclusively and 34% did the work themselves. Renovation intentions for 2007 are strongest in Edmonton and Winnipeg, where 51% and 50% of consumers, respectively, plan to do work that will cost $1,000 or more. Intentions are lowest in Toronto and Vancouver, where 43% of households have renovation plans. In terms of home purchasing, 8% of households across the 10 major centres surveyed intend to buy a home this year. About half of those are first-time buyers, compared to 40% last year, and most are between the ages of 25 and 34, with a household income between $80,000 and $100,000. Home buying intentions are strongest in Calgary and Edmonton, and lowest in Montréal and Québec.

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Resale housing industry fuels Canadian economy

OTTAWA — The Canadian resale housing industry generated more than 158,000 jobs and an average of $15.3 billion annually between 2004 and 2006, according to a study prepared for the Canadian Real Estate Association by Altus Clayton. The report suggests that each residential transaction generated approximately $32,200 in additional consumer spending on items such as furniture and appliances, moving costs, renovations, services, and taxes. That's up from the $24,697 per transaction yielded between 2002 and 2004. The amount spent varies regionally, from a high of $40,450 in British Columbia to $20,325 in Atlantic Canada. The figures do not include renovation by owners prior to putting a house up for resale.

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Rumours about ICI sale re-surface

LONDON, U.K.  —  Speculation about the possible takeover of ICI Paint, the maker of the Dulux and Glidden brands, continued to push up that company's stock price this week. The investment firm Merrill Lynch recently increased its target stock price for ICI after declaring that the giant Akzo Nobel could be interested in the paint maker and dealer, and has the financial wherewithal to pull off such an acquisition. The Daily Mail newspaper here also noted that ICI made itself more attractive to possible buyers when it sold off its Quest Givauden business unit last March. Since late last year, ICI's stock has been on the rise, jumping from just under $US8.89 in November to closing at US$10.66 on June 13. The company's market capitalization currently stands at US$12.77 billion.

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