Michael McLarney, President mike@hardlines.ca Beverly Allen, Publisher bev@hardlines.ca Vicky Sanderson, Editor vicky@hardlines.ca John Caulfield, Contributing Editor Phone: 416-489-3396
March 10, 2008, Vol. xiv, #10
In This Issue

“Difficulties are things that show what men are.” — Epictetus (Greek philosopher, 55-135 A.D.)

Newfoundland dealer celebrates 100 years
SPRINGDALE, NF — For a building supply company that’s been in existence since 1908, business has never been better. According to Brian Warr, general manager of Warr's Castle Building Centre, “2007 was the best year of retail sales for us.”The company was started by Brian’s great-grandfather, George Warr, in the mining community of Pilleys Island, then moved to Springdale in 1910. Brian says his great-grandfather operated the business with his wife Maryann in those days. The business was later run by Brian’s grandmother, with the help of her sons. Brian’s father was not as involved in the business because he was a master shipbuilder who spent most of his time away.Today, Brian represents the fourth generation to operate the business. It had almost $4 million in sales last year – the best on record – with a staff of 14. He plans a series of celebrations throughout the year, “about one every quarter or so, although we sort of left out the first quarter,” he notes, blaming the fierce winter. The store will hold a gala celebration toward the end of the year, as well. This year is shaping up to be a good one in more ways than one for Warr. His business will be inducted into the Newfoundland-Labrador Business Hall of Fame later this spring. “It’s a passion for me,” says Warr. “It’s a great business to be in. I’ve got a great staff and have always been strongly supported by the community.”


Boomerang Paints to collect used paint in Ontario
TORONTO — A new program developed by the Ontario government, to help homeowners either dispose of hazardous or special household waste safely or divert it from the landfill, is set to launch in Ontario on July 1.The program is expected to recover 23,000 tonnes of special waste materials in its first year. About 80% — $28 million — of the cost will be paid for by manufacturers of designated products. Municipalities will cover the balance.The diversion program is good news to Steve Blasiak, who oversees sales for Ontario and points west for Boomerang paints, a Quebec-based company that’s been manufacturing and selling recycled paint for the last 15 years. In 2007, the company collected more than three million litres of used paint in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. In Quebec, the company collects used paints and sells its recycled products at specialty stores and at big box chains such Home Depot and RONA, both of which have indicated that they would like to provide collection points in Ontario, says Blasiak. Those same retailers are expected to pick up the program when it begins in July. Depending on consumer response, Boomerang may also open a recycling facility in Ontario. “We’ll see how that goes,” says Blasiak. “It’s certainly part of our five-year business plan, but if we see the kind of growth here that we saw in Quebec, we may need it much sooner.” 


CHHMA inducts Johnstone and Lapidus to Hall of Fame

TORONTO — Al Johnstone, president of housewares supplier Salton Canada, and Leon Lapidus, president of The MIBRO Group, a hand-tools and power-tool accessories company, are the newest members of the Canadian Industry Hall of Fame. The awards are sponsored by the Canadian Hardware and Housewares Manufacturers Association.

Johnstone and Lapidus will be inducted April 1 at an Industry Gala Dinner following the CHHMA’s spring conference and AGM. The Industry Hall of Fame was established in 1984 to recognize the achievements of industry leaders and pioneers. (www.chhma.ca)


Signature acquires Bonnell Aluminum
MIAMI, FL — Bonnell Aluminum, the ladder-manufacturing company, has been bought up by U.S. interests and renamed Signature Aluminum Canada Inc. WXP Holdings, Inc., an affiliate of HIG Capital, a global private investment firm headquartered here, has completed due diligence with Tredegar Corp. in the acquisition of Bonnell Aluminum’s Canadian operations. The acquired operations comprise facilities in Pickering and Richmond Hill, ON, plus an extrusion plant in Ste-Therese, QC and a tool and die fabrication plant in Woodbridge, ON.Signature Aluminum is a vertically integrated aluminum extrusion company with four U.S. manufacturing sites: Greenville PA; Hamel, MN; Franklin Park, IL; and Lumber Bridge, NC.The purchase of Bonnell’s Canadian operations is in line with Signature Aluminum’s continued growth strategy to become the sixth-largest producer of aluminum extrusions in North America. Jon Louch, formerly sales manager for Bonnell’s ladder business, has been named business manager — ladders for Signature Aluminum Canada. (905-508-3247)


Foreclosures hit record high in the U.S.
WASHINGTON — The Mortgage Banking Association reports that the percentage of mortgages that were in foreclosure in the fourth quarter of 2007 hit a 23-year high.A record 2.04% of U.S. mortgages were somewhere in the foreclosure process at the end of the year, and a record-high 0.83% of loans entered foreclosure in the fourth quarter, according to surveys the trade group conducted. An astonishing 5.82% of loans were past due in that quarter, the highest delinquency rate since 1983. There have been several reports in recent weeks that homeowners are skipping loan payments in favor of paying off other debt — like credit cards or car loans — a nascent trend that suggests foreclosure no longer has the same stigma it once did. Doug Duncan, MBA’s chief economist, attributes the rise in foreclosure rates to declining home prices, as homeowners are unable to refinance loans that are valued for more than what their homes are now worth, and continue to have trouble selling their homes — even at discounted prices. Last month, the amount of unsold housing inventory in the U.S. reached 10.3 months’ worth.


Ace hit with air-pollution fine
SAN DIEGO — The California Air Resources Board has fined Ace Hardware Corp. $850,000 for air-quality violations stemming from the sale of windshield-wiper fluid whose emissions exceed the state’s air-quality requirements.The NBC affiliate in San Diego reports that Ace sold nearly 25,000 one-gallon containers of the fluid in the state from 2003 through 2007. The Board claims that fluid includes volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that prevent freezing in colder weather, but which also produced 20 excess tons of pollution emissions.Three years ago, Ace was cited for selling windshield-wiper fluid and settled the complaint with a $40,000 payment, according to the news station.



180, rue de Normandie Boucherville, Québec J4B 5S7 Canada

Territory Manager (Toronto/GTA)

RCR International is a leading manufacturer of complete lines of products for professionals and do-it-yourselfers. The company is recognized as a pioneer in the door and window insulation market, and is proud to expand its innovative expertise to encompass various other quality product lines. RCR International currently manufactures over 3000 products including weather-stripping, insulation components, floor protection products, screen and squeegees. Being the supplier to the most prestigious retailers in America, RCR International wants to offer the best to its customers. We have in place an effective and efficient distribution network with facilities in key regions: Montreal, Toronto and Chicago. This allows RCR International to distribute its vast array of products all over the world. We currently have an opening for a dynamic individual to join our team as a Territory Manager for the area of Toronto, Ontario (Mississauga, Brampton etc).


Under the immediate responsibility of the Western Sales Manager, the sales representative plans and organizes all activities related to the business development of his assigned territory. More specifically, he is responsible for the increase in sales and profits of his current customers and the development of additional accounts. His past history proves without a doubt that he is results oriented and capable of working with a minimum of supervision. Main Tasks: Drive sales in territory by:
  • Analyze sales reports to understand your market;
  • Visit your customers: this may require out-of-town overnight reservations
  • Take physical inventory of Company displays in stores; refilling of empty shelves;
  • Install racking and shelves in new stores and fill the shelves with Company products;
  • Set up numerous trade shows (this may require installing the booths using different power tools, putting in racking and shelves and carrying heavy cases of products);
  • Offer and demonstrate Company products during trade shows;
  • Contact your customers by telephone to offer special promotions;
  • Prepare product catalogues;
  • Transmit all orders to the order desk;
  • Write and forward weekly sales and expense reports to the office;
  • Maintain your customer files up to date and file customer invoices.
This position requires:
  • Minimum of a Junior College degree in administration;
  • A minimum of 3 to 5 years experience in a similar position;
  • Experience in the hardware industry and computer literacy are a definite asset;
  • Ability to analyze and make a diagnosis of current problems;
  • Occasional week-end availability during trade shows.

Please submit your resumé to Nathalie Charbonneau through email (n.charbonneau@rcrint.com)or fax your resumé to (450) 670-1669.

Roxul is a leading manufacturer and marketer of mineral wool insulation products in the North American marketplace with our head office in Milton and production facilities in both Milton (ON) and Grand Forks (BC). Our expanding company is a subsidiary of Rockwool International, manufacturing quality, high performance mineral wool products. We are searching for talented, energetic individuals with drive and determination to join us at our Milton facility.

Product Manager Reporting to the Marketing Manager, you will be responsible for product management and overall coordination of the product management function.You have the ability to develop detailed marketing/business plans, market analyses, competitive analyses as well as propose actions and strategies. A university degree in marketing, business or the equivalent coupled with 5-10 years’ experience including at least two years’ sales experience are essential. Excellent strategic thinking, decision-making, planning, organizational, and computer skills are also requirements. We offer a dynamic environment with significant growth potential and have an excellent benefit and remuneration package. If you feel you meet the above requirements, please apply to: Human Resources ROXUL Inc. 420 Bronte St., Suite 105 Milton , ON L9T 0H9 e-mail: jobs@roxul.com fax: (905) 878-8077  

National Account Manager

Graham & Brown Limited supplies some of the largest and most well known retailers around the world with innovative home enhancement products designed to meet our consumers' needs. In Canada, the company sells its’ Wallpaper and Art products through well recognized retailers like Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, Home Outfitters and Lowe’s.

Rapid growth in Canada requires us to seek a candidate to fill the position of National Account Manager to manage and grow several of these key National customers. This is an excellent opportunity for a highly motivated, driven and enthusiastic individual looking for career advancement in a fast paced, entrepreneurial environment.

Key Responsibilities

- Exceed sales & profit targets by growing current products & introducing new products. - Develop & implement a Business Plan for target accounts. Present to retail buyers. - Achieve results through strategic Category Management with assigned accounts. - Work  & communicate effectively with all support functions. - Monitor & report on sales & profit by account as well as forecasts & inventory. - Manage account expenses to ensure that activities are carried out on Budget. - Analyze & report on POS with customers utilizing their in-house reporting systems. Qualifications - 5+ years experience as a National Account Manager selling consumer goods to National accounts in the Hardware/Home Improvement/DIY segment - University or College graduate - A proven track record of partnering with retail buying teams to drive sales - Experience working with retailers & their POS reporting systems (i.e. Retail Link) Graham & Brown offers a competitive compensation package that consists of a base salary, bonus program, car allowance and comprehensive benefit plan. The company is located in Oakville just off the QEW at Trafalgar Rd. Interested applicants should submit their resumés along with compensation expectations to gary.gill@grahambrowncdn.ca. No phone calls please.

Territory Manager – Alberta South Freud Canada, Inc.

We are a well established & respected Canadian wholesale company with direct links to a world class European manufacturer of high quality woodworking tools. Your duties as Freud Canada’s Territory Manager for the Alberta South area will be to develop and maintain our market share. The ideal candidate will have experience calling on Hardware chains, Building Supply outlets and Big Box stores. Strong organizational skills with the ability to work independently are prerequisites for this position.

Preferably you possess a College or University degree. Frequent overnight travel will be required of this position. We offer a highly competitive performance based remuneration structure and car allowance. Please email your resume to the attention of: Mark Mossman National Sales Manager Freud Canada Inc. 7450 Pacific Circle Mississauga, Ontario L5T 2A3 mmossman@freudcanada.com

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Are you ready for 2008? Do you know the four hot trends that will help you prosper this year? How Canadian Tire infiltrated Lowe’s merchandise mix? Which pivotal events in 2007 will guide your business in the year ahead? Find out in the 1Q edition of HQR, available now!

For a free preview, click here!
BARRIE, ON — Can-Save, the specialty building materials distributor, will host its 17th Annual Summer Buying Expo on May 29, 2008. This year, the one-day buying show, to be held at the Barrie Molson Centre, will feature two “ Business Opportunities” seminars hosted by Can-Save suppliers Merillat and Baldwin. The event is known for its fun atmosphere and will close with a concert by Canadian rock and roll legends April Wine.MONTREAL — Tembec Inc., which has been struggling to refinance following a series of losses on its timber sales, has been able to complete a recapitalization transaction first outlined in December 2007. New common shares of Tembec will now be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the stock symbol “TMB”. WINNIPEG — Guertin Coatings, Sealants and Polymers Ltd. has been sold to Cloverdale Paint Inc. of Surrey, BC. Guertin, founded in 1947 by Antoine and Norbert Guertin, produces liquid and powder industrial coatings, resins, sealants and adhesives in a 78,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Cloverdale Paint operates manufacturing plants in Surrey, Portland, OR, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary. It distributes architectural and industrial coatings and related products through 107 corporate branches throughout Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest. RALEIGH, NC — Stock Building Supply, a supplier of building materials and construction services, opened its newest facility, in Yorktown, VA, last week. The 10,500-square-foot facility features local inventories of architectural doors, frames and finish hardware and a rated hollow metal shop. Stock has 299 locations in 34 states throughout the U.S. and is part of UK-based Wolseley plc. ISSAQUAH, WA — Costco Wholesale Corp. had second-quarter net sales of $6.62 billion, up 12% from $14.80 billion. Year-to-date net sales increased 12% to $32.09 billion, from $28.66 billion, while sales for February were up 11%. Same-store sales for the second quarter and the first half of the year were both up 5%. Profits for the first half were up from $486.4 million to $589.8 million. DENVER — Pro-Build Holdings, the industry’s largest pro dealer, has acquired the assets of Northeast Panel & Truss and Collins Truss Systems, component manufacturers serving New York state’s Hudson Valley region, where Pro-Build has 10 branches. Northeast, based in Kingston, NY, makes and distributes floor and roof trusses and wall panels. Its owner, Ed Collins, who also owns Collins Truss Systems, intends to leave both companies upon completion of this deal. NEW YORK — Newell Rubbermaid will acquire Technical Concepts Holdings LLC, a maker of hygiene systems for public toilets. The deal is worth about $445 million. Technical Concepts had sales last year of $147 million, and will be added to Newell Rubbermaid’s Commercial Products global unit. NEW YORK — 3M made Fortune magazine’s list of top 20 most admired companies, coming in at number 14. Last year it squeaked onto the list at number 20. Target made number 14 on the list, and Costco and Wal-Mart reached numbers 18 and 20 respectively.

People on the Move

Jerry Fairborn was appointed as national sales manager, commercial, for Moen Canada. He will work with the wholesale sales force to grow Moen's commercial business nationally. With 20 years of sales and marketing experience, Fairborn worked most recently as sales and marketing manager for eastern Canada at Dobbin Sales, a distributor for major commercial plumbing products.Sharon Mathers will join Canadian Tire Corp. on March 17 as the vice-president, corporate affairs and investor relations. Formerly senior vice-president, investor relations and external communications at MDS Inc., global health and life sciences company, she replaces Scott Bonikowsky, who left Canadian Tire to join Tim Horton’s. Ian Cheshire, the CEO of UK home improvement giant Kingfisher, is cleaning house, and the latest indication is the announced departure of George Adams, managing director of European development for the B&Q stores. Adams, 50, is also managing director of European development at European Home Centre Retail Association (EDRA).

Economic Indicators

OTTAWA — The total value of residential construction investment for 2007 reached $88.7 billion, an increase of 8.5% compared with 2006. The biggest increase was in Saskatchewan, which was up 37.5%. (Stats Canada)
This year’s CHHMA Spring Conference features an impressive lineup of speakers. It also includes HARDLINES’ own Michael McLarney, who will conduct a session entitled “Hardware and home improvement industry update”. Be sure to attend and learn the latest statistics on the size of the industry, and what’s in store for Canada’s home improvement retailers in the year ahead. (For more info on the CHHMA Spring Conference, April 1-2, click here.)