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Phone: 416-489-3396 Michael McLarney, Editor & President Beverly Allen, Publisher Brady Peever, Client Services Manager John Caulfield, Contributing Editor
June 22, 2009, Volume xv, #25
In This Issue:

“Misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German author, painter, scientist, philosopher, and statesman, 1749-1832)

Castle holds capacity buying expos
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. has just completed its latest series of Regional Buying Expos. Now in its third year, this round was held in Saskatoon, Huntsville, Ont., and  St. John’s, with Castle reporting participation by a capacity number of vendors.In fact, Castle execs say the program has received an overwhelming response from the vendor community. “Castle Expos are in their third year across the country.” says James Jones, vice-president of national marketing. “We have had such an excellent response and support from the vendor community that we have to limit the number of vendor participants. They are at capacity for 2009.” Jones says the program is appealing to vendors because it lets them get face time with each one of Castle’s 226-plus members, who represent more than 240 locations nationwide. “It guarantees the vendor the opportunity to sell his advantages and specials in this tough marketplace,” says Jones. “This really helps our members solidify their position in the marketplace with the grassroots vendor support on a national basis.”


RONA puts push on Proximity Stores

BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — Last week, RONA dealers had two grand openings and one reopening, all of them in the West, and all of them different sizes.

But what they share in common is the latest in RONA’s store concepts and merchandising. In La Broquerie, Man., Farrel Rempel has renovated his 5,500-square-foot store to offer a wider range of hardware products and a new paint boutique. The aim: to provide customers with enough choices — especially in higher-end products — to keep them from making the trip to a big box in nearby Winnipeg. The other two openings are RONA’s so-called “Proximity”-style stores, which bring big-box features to a smaller-sized footprint. Features include high ceilings, high racking, and a series of boutiqued departments, while being tailored to local needs. In Grande Prairie, Alta., John Nagra, a well-known home builder in the region, decided to diversify into home building. With his wife Jas, he has opened a 62,000-square-foot store. “It’s based on RONA’s latest store concept,” says John Nagra. He points out that the expanded store now has thousands of décor and interior finishing products, plus a garden centre, while maintaining a large outside lumberyard to adequately serve the store’s important contractor customers. “RONA encourages their local owners to adapt their store designs to the local market,” Nagra says. The team at Duncan Pacific Builders Supplies, owned by brothers Grant and Wayne McKinnon, unveiled their fourth RONA store on Vancouver Island last week. Also a Proximity store, it was built with a number of energy-efficiency innovations, including a special water-retention system to prevent runoff from entering nearby roadways. The McKinnons are notable for being the only RONA dealers in the country to own Proximity stores in all three sizes. The other stores are in Duncan (60,000 sq.ft.), and Cobble Hill (22,000 sq.ft.). A fourth store, in Campbell River, is 15,000 sq.ft. and the next one scheduled to be renovated. The openings continue. This Thursday, the RONA affiliate dealer in Powell River, B.C., will have its grand reopening, as well. “Locally-owned family businesses like the McKinnons’ are the reason RONA came into existence in the first place,” says Robert Dutton, president and CEO of RONA. The company now has more than 700 corporate, franchise and affiliate stores across the country.


Home Hardware launches 45th anniversary Toyota sweepstakes
ST. JACOBS, Ont. — Home Hardware Stores Ltd. is offering customers the chance to win one of three Canadian-made 2009 Toyota RAV4’s in a new promotion called “ Drive Home a Toyota Sweepstakes”. Both Home Hardware and Toyota Canada Inc. are celebrating their 45th anniversaries, so they’ve joined forces for this promotion as part of a recently announced multi-year business relationship and many successful years of business in Canada.Through this partnership, Toyota Canada and Home Hardware are working together on marketing promotions — such as the “Drive Home a Toyota Sweepstakes” — in stores, at trade shows and in promotional materials. Both pride themselves on offering quality, value and customer service levels, making the partnership an easy fit. Toyota serves as the official vehicle of Home Hardware, while Home Hardware, in turn, is the official home improvement retailer of Toyota. As part of this celebration, a draw will be made for prizes of three fuel-efficient 2009 Toyota RAV4s. “What better way to celebrate our 45th anniversary, then to show our appreciation to our customers with this exciting contest,” says Paul Straus, vice-president and CEO of Home Hardware Stores. “With more than 1,000 stores in communities large and small across Canada, Home Hardware’s independent dealer owners know the value of their customers and are excited to thank them in such an amazing way.”


Canadian Tire opens huge Quebec distribution centre
COTEAU DU LAC, Que. — Canadian Tire Corp. opened a giant 1.5-million-square-foot distribution centre in this community about 45 minutes outside of Montreal last week. Day-to-day operation of the DC has been contracted out to GENCO Distribution Systems, a contract logistics company. In fact, the involvement of GENCO is so significant that the facility has been named the GENCO Distribution Centre.Quebec Premier Jean Charest joined Stephen Wetmore, president and CEO of Canadian Tire, and Herb Shear, president and CEO of GENCO at the grand opening event. Construction and build-up of the facility took approximately 23 months to complete. Boasting state-of-the-art technology and materials-handling systems, it is designed to sort and ship inventory arriving from more than 1,000 suppliers. Now fully operational, it has the capacity to process up to 55 million cubic feet of throughput per year and will supply 94 Canadian Tire stores in Quebec, as well as stores in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. “Canadian Tire continues to experience strong growth, creating the need for a centrally-located distribution hub that will enable us to efficiently ship products to our stores so customers can get the products they want, when they want them,” says Wetmore.


Home Hardware “passionate” about another hockey team
ST. JACOBS, Ont. — Undeterred by the latest setback in an effort to move the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team to Hamilton, Ont., Home Hardware Stores, which has signed on as a key sponsor of the initiative, says the game hockey is “one of Canada’s greatest national treasures”.“While we are disappointed by the Arizona Judge’s decision not to accept the offer by Jim Balsillie [RIM co-CEO who is leading the initiative] to purchase the Coyotes, we still think that Canada needs a seventh NHL team,” says Rob Wallace, public relations and promotional events manager for Home Hardware. He says another team just means more opportunities for Canadians who want to watch — and play — hockey. “We need to be even more vocal about trying to create more opportunities for Canada’s best players to play on their home-town ice, in front of home-town fans. “At Home Hardware, we have a long history of supporting Canada’s favorite pastime in more than 1,000 communities across Canada. We are passionate about the future of hockey in Canada and proudly support efforts to bring a seventh NHL team to our home ice,” Wallace adds.


Home Depot gets tough on inventory management
ATLANTA — Last year, Home Depot reduced the inventory in its U.S. stores by $1 billion. This year, the company wants to reduce it by another $1.2 billion. To achieve that, the company is relieving its stores of their responsibilities for managing the receipt of inventory by shifting it to the company’s network of distribution centers.Home Depot continues to consolidate the operations of its lumber/bulk and stocking DCs. And how it manages inventory and transportation in the future will depend on the efficiency of its Rapid Delivery Centers, which aggregate products into a central location and redistribute it to stores. Home Depot has opened six of these RDCs, which range in size from 450,000-675,000 square feet. More than 280 suppliers send their products to these centers, and that number is growing. One of the RDCs, in Valdosta, Ga., is completely mechanized. Home Depot intends to open five or six more RDCs this year, and have 20 opened by the end of 2010, at which point they will be servicing 100% of the company’s U.S. stores. Company officials believe that by running more of its inventory through its distribution channel, it can achieve transportation savings that would increase annual gross margins by between 0.4% and 0.8%.




A leading GTA based housewares manufacturer/distributor is seeking a sales professional responsible for all sales to retail housewares clients in Canada, supervision and development of sales personnel, and new business development.

Key competencies required are a proven ability to acquire new business, strong analytical skills, team player. Minimum qualifications for this position are: post secondary degree; experience in the housewares/tableware/glassware/cookware industry with a minimum of 15 years in retail sales and marketing - sales experience is mandatory, and some marketing education/experience required; ability to travel; MS Office Suite proficiency. Bilingual (English/French) would be an asset. Please submit your résumé via email to: Black Eagle Executive Search c/o Richard Simms at



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TORONTO — Canada’s largest flower and garden festival has moved to a new home. The 13th annual Canada Blooms event, March 13-17, 2009, will move to the Direct Energy Centre from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. “Canada Blooms as a leader in the greening of Canada is pleased to move to one of the world’s most environmentally responsible exhibition facilities,” said Canada Blooms general manager Gerry Ginsberg. The new location can accommodate 7,000 vehicles and offers convenient access from the Gardiner Expressway.TORONTO — Sears Canada Inc. has won the 2009 ENERGY STAR Retailer of the Year award, for the second year in a row, and for the third time since the awards were inaugurated in 2003. To qualify for the ENERGY STAR designation, products carried by the retailer must meet stringent specifications for energy efficiency and, depending on the product, be 10%-50% more efficient than conventional products. The ENERGY STAR program builds on the Government of Canada's plan to fight climate change, which includes achieving an absolute reduction of 20% in Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. OAK BROOK, Ill. — Ace Hardware dealers are now offering a wind turbine that can be installed onto a house’s roof. The Honeywell Wind Turbine, supplied by EarthTronics, is six feet in length, weighs 95 pounds, and can produce 2,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, or 18% of an average household’s energy needs. The product is pricey: US$4,500 plus as much as $1,500 more for installation. BOISE, Idaho — The pro dealer Building Material Holding Corp. and all of its subsidiary companies petitioned the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware on June 16 for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. BMHC has reached agreement with its secured lender group to restructure its balance sheet and provide greater financial flexibility to support its long-term business plan. Under its proposed plan, BMHC will reduce significantly its outstanding debt, establish a new revolving credit facility, and substantially lower annual interest expense. CALGARY — Thirty-six Sears National Kids Cancer Ride cyclists departed from Vancouver June 13 and arrived in Calgary a few days later at Sears Marlborough Mall. They’ll get to their final destination, Halifax, on June 24. The Sears Ride across Canada is said to be the world’s longest charitable cycling event on behalf of childhood cancer. When the cyclists — all employees of Sears Canada — arrive in Halifax, they will have covered more than 7,000 km. Last year, the Cancer Ride raised $1.1 million to fund both national and provincial pediatric hematology and oncology research programs. RALEIGH, N.C. — A U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware gave thumbs up to Stock Building Supply’s plan for reorganization, which means that the pro dealer could emerge from bankruptcy within weeks. The plan essentially recapitalizes the company and eliminates debt from Stock’s balance sheet. The Gores Group, a private equity firm that acquired a 51% stake in the pro dealer in May, is providing Stock with $75 million in new capital plus a $125 million credit facility. BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart is rebranding its small, “Marketside” convenience grocery stores. The four test stores, all in the Phoenix area, will be named Marketside by Walmart. The stores were introduced last October. The new name comes on the heels of the modification of Wal-Mart’s main banner to Walmart, and will be extended eventually to Wal-Mart’s “Neighborhood Market” stores. LONDON — Argos, the giant U.K. department store retailer, is launching a mobile store that will appear at music festivals. The first appearance will be at the famous Isle of Wight Festival, where a customized 60-foot trailer will sell stuff like camping products, barbecues, binoculars, and even clothing.


…that 10 retail companies account for almost two-thirds of all retail home improvement sales in this country? And just four top players represent more than half the industry? But there are still dozens of important players out there — and hundreds of key buyers. (Get your full list of the top retailers, buying groups, wholesalers and co-ops in the brand new edition of our Who’s Who Directory, which is just days away from going to printMichael)


The dealer development team at RONA inc. has undergone a reorganization that puts the people in charge of developing and recruiting dealers in charge of ongoing dealer service, as well. In Western Canada, regional directors Bill Cosulich, Carey Peters and Gary Allen will now report to John Penner. Directors of development Greg Kelly, Verne Green, Richard Shaw and Sean McGrath will continue to report to John Longo … In Ontario, regional directors Scott Wilson and George Wands will report to John Longo, while directors of development Glen Duczek and Frank Rizzo will continue to report to Longo, as well … In Quebec and Atlantic Canada, regional directors Robert Alberto, André Hurtubise, Gilles Parenteau, Marius de Champlain, Daniel Harvey, Patrick Junqua (Quebec) and Steve Dorcas (Atlantic Canada) will now report to René Cloutier. André Rochon, as director of development for Quebec, will also report to Cloutier, who was previously working in corporate stores operations at RONA … Christian Bélair will continue in the role of national sales director and director of dealer-owner support.Michael Goyette has joined Roxul as national accounts manager. Prior to joining Roxul, he was with Black and Decker Canada. (; 905-691-8233) Peter Clarke has joined Covertech Fabricating Inc. in Toronto. He comes over from Total Vision Marketing, which had formerly represented Covertech’s brand of RFoil Reflective Insulation in Canada. (; 416-798-1340) To place a listing in our “People on the Move” section, please send me the information, including the person’s name, title and contact email or phone number, if desired at We reserve the right to edit items for length. —Michael
“We have a very long history of partnerships in hockey at every single level,” he said. “We really saw this as a fight for Canadians to try to get more home ice — for Canada’s best players to play in front of hometown fans. We felt this was a natural fit for Home Hardware, which is a wholly owned Canadian chain.” —Rob Wallace, Public Relations & Promotional Events Manager for Home Hardware Stores Ltd. He was quoted in the Financial Post recently regarding Home’s support of an effort to get the Phoenix Coyotes relocated to Hamilton, Ont.
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