"In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed." — Ralph Waldo Emerson (American essayist and poet, 1803-82)

RONA will launch new vendor listing procedure

BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — In an effort to create a more disciplined relationship with its suppliers, RONA inc. has developed a new basket of "tools" to help its vendors be more efficient. "This is industry best practice," says Eric Cantin, the electrical merchandiser at RONA who spent the last eight months spearheading the project. "We’re going to do it with everyone." The process, a first for North America, will be available for download online by vendors beginning in April. It will lay out a series of steps by which to prepare for selling to one of the country’s largest home improvement retailers. Too often, says Cantin, vendors are ill-prepared, not knowing enough about their own category — or about RONA itself. The new program intends to change all that. It will offer a checklist of steps for preparing for a meeting with a RONA buyer, including important market information. "Do you provide EDI?" asks Cantin by way of example. "If not, go back to your office." According to Cantin, some of the inspiration for the process stemmed from his personal involvement in past buyer events, including Hardlines’ own Meet the Buyers, where vendors may have only 15 minutes to make the right impression. "But if you’re prepared, 15 minutes is plenty of time for a buyer to find out if there’s interest in your product. With this, you’re going to have everything you need to know before meeting us." (Eric Cantin will introduce this new program at our incredible Meet the Buyers seminars, March 27 in Toronto and in Montreal, in co-operation with ADMACQ, on March 29. For details, please call Isabel directly at 416-489-3396 or click here for more info.)

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Optimism overcomes bad weather at Moncton show

MONCTON, N.B. — The performance of this year’s Atlantic Building Materials Show, held March 1-3, reflects, in many ways, the performance overall of the industry down east. Although it’s still early to get feedback, says Don Sherwood, president of the Atlantic Building Supply Dealers Association, which owns the show, he takes a clue from how the exhibitors felt at the end of the show. "We had a smooth move-out, indicating that the exhibitors were in a good mood. And we had a lot of requests for additional space next year," he adds, despite the fact that the show was held at the beginning of March, instead of at the end, as in years past. "We’re hearing early reports that they like it earlier in the month." The event remains a strong selling show, as more than 1,200 dealers attended the show — despite the threat of bad weather. "The weatherman got us with all the hype on a storm in Ontario," says Sherwood. "Flights were cancelled from [Toronto International Airport] early Thursday, yet most of our delegates were in Moncton." The storm never really materialized. "We received a dusting of snow on Friday evening and the sun was shining and the snow melting by show time on Saturday. Nevertheless, many headed for home early Friday in advance of the weatherman’s predictions." As the only trade show for the industry in Atlantic Canada, it once again proved an excellent networking opportunity, with 830 people at the meet-and-greet on opening night, and 450 at the chairman’s gala. Nest year the dates are March 13-15, "and I can forecast a snow storm already," says Sherwood sardonically.

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Quebec publication celebrates anniversary with dealer draws

LONGUEUIL, Que. — Louis-Jacques Laferté, a dealer in Drummondville, Que., has won a second draw in a contest that celebrates "50 Years of Quart de Rond". The magazine is the publication of record for the Building Materials Retailers Association of Quebec, ADMACQ. A total of eight gift certificates worth $500 each are being awarded throughout the year. ADMACQ is an association of business people bringing together retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors of building materials and hardware products. Laferté himself "is a long-time member of ADMACQ and a loyal reader of Quart de Rond," says association executive vice-president and Quart de Rond editor Donald O’Hara. This draw was sponsored by Maia Home Products Inc., while other sponsors of the anniversary campaign are RDTS, AFA Forest Products Inc., and les Centres de formation en transport routier de St-Jerôme and Charlesbourg (CFTR & CFTC).

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Ides of March brings big RONA recruitment drive

BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — RONA inc. launched a recruitment campaign last week in anticipation of the coming renovation and gardening season. Candidates were sought for nearly 3,500 positions in a job fair conducted right in 200 of RONA’s own stores. RONA’s biggest recruitment needs are in Quebec, where it is the market leader. About 2,000 jobs must be filled there. In Ontario, about 300 people are needed while close to 1,000 positions are available in Western Canada. Candidates were invited to seek jobs in 72 corporately owned big boxes, which operate under the RONA L’entrepôt, RONA Le Régional, Réno-Dépôt, and RONA Home & Garden banners. More than 100 proximity stores also participated. Students, retirees, and renovation and gardening enthusiasts are being sought in the hiring spree. In fact, to assist students, RONA grants scholarships of up to $500 a year, provided the student employees meet program requirements. RONA also offers flexible working hours to allow students to continue to work when they return to school in the fall.

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Depressed lumber prices affect CanWel’s year-end

VANCOUVER — CanWel Building Materials Income Fund had fourth-quarter revenues of $192 million, down from $208 million for the same period in 2005. The results reflect lower commodity prices. "For the year, lumber prices decreased by 15% and OSB by 38%," said Tom Donaldson, president and CEO of CanWel Building Material Income Fund, in a release. "Despite 2006 being a challenging period for the Fund due to the continuing weak wood-based commodity products, we managed to maintain and, in most cases, improve our margins," he added. Gross margin during the fourth quarter of 2006 was 11.7% or $22.4 million versus 12.2% or $25.3 million in 2005. EBITDA for the quarter was $5.1 million, down from $5.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2005. For the twelve-month period ended Dec. 31, 2006, CanWel’s revenues were $911 million, compared with $1.0 billion in 2005. Gross margin for the year was $97 million, versus $102 million in the prior year. EBITDA for the period increased to $27.5 million, or 3.0% of sales, versus $26.5 million, or 2.6% of sales, in 2005.

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Sourcing show brings Asian factories to Europe

COLOGNE, Germany — Tenny Lo and Maria To have a factory in Jiangmen City, in China’s Guangdong province. They also have sales offices for their company, Lotos Enterprises Ltd., in Hong Kong. But with no customers in Europe, they decided to participate in Asia-Pacific Sourcing, a trade show held here March 4-6. Lotos sells fryer pots, barbecue grills, smokers, and patio coolers. Tenny and Maria had brought a few samples to the show, including a giant 90-litre pot, and crammed everything into a 10-foot booth. Aside from some flyers, they had no materials or signage, just a book for signing orders. When Hardlines spoke with Tenny and Maria on day one of the show, they were tentative about their prospects. Traffic was light initially, and competition was intense: more than 660 exhibitors from China — mainly China — as well as Taiwan, Korea, and India were exhibiting. But the show ended up attracting 8,300 visitors, as buyers, agents, and importers from 60 countries walked the aisles of Asia-Pacific Sourcing. "Metro and OBI — all of the big buyers are here," said Hans Kampen, project manager for APS and its big sister, Practical World, the International Hardware Fair/DIY’TEC, which returns March 9-12, 2008. He expects the show to keep growing in favour of hardlines. "For the future, we will put more emphasis on hardware, including appliances," he said. And what became of Tenny and Maria at Lotos Enterprises? On the last day of the show, Hardlines went back in hopes of seeing that their fortunes had taken a turn for the better. They were so busy, with about eight people crowded in and around their tiny booth, pens in hand, that Hardlines couldn’t even get close to them. Giving them a cheery Hardlines wave, your intrepid reporter decided instead to go and interview some German beer.

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Proposed law would ban import of illegally harvested wood

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of American congressmen introduced a bill this week that, if passed, would prohibit the United States from importing any wood products coming from timber logged illegally. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that as much as 30% of U.S. lumber imports come from either suspect or illegal sources. But the concern in Congress could be seen to be as much about foreign competition as it is about logging improprieties. ITC notes that a lot of this wood first gets funneled through China. From there, it is eventually exported to other countries. The American Forest and Paper Association, a trade group that represents U.S. forestry interests, estimates that illegal logging costs U.S. companies $1 billion in lost exports annually.

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Hardlines Marketplace

Don't miss the products and services on the Hardlines web Marketplace ( https://hardlines.ca/html/marketplace.html ) And check out Hardlines Classifieds on the web ( https://hardlines.ca/html/classifieds.html )


Supplierpipeline Inc. provides market leading and innovative products and services to Canada’s do-it-yourself hardware market.  As a globally integrated network of operations, SPI is the pipeline for its customers to a group of world-class North American and International manufacturing facilities. We are currently seeking an experienced National Account Manager to manage the relationships of our major customers and assist us in achieving our aggressive growth plans.

Major Responsibilities:

  • Manage specific national account relationships
  • Identify growth opportunities and facilitate plans to execute growth goal
  • Communicate with external sales representatives and service agents to facilitate the ongoing servicing of national accounts
  • Work with the New Product Development team on product/SKU development
  • Work with the Sales & Marketing Coordinator to facilitate the distribution of product/market information

Experience and Skills:

  • 3 - 5 years of related sales experience
  • Experience selling to national or major accounts
  • Experience selling DIY industry products would be a definite asset
  • Strong time management and organizational skills
  • Sound problem solving and analytical skills
  • Good oral, written, and presentation skills
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office
We offer competitive wages, benefits, a company-wide profit sharing program, and a great team with which to work. If your experiences match our requirements and you are up for a rewarding challenge, please submit your résumé and salary expectation to hr@supplierpipeline.com. While we appreciate submissions from all applicants, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

MARKETING CO-ORDINATOR TIM-BR MARTS Ltd is a growing, dynamic workplace serving the needs of hundreds of independent home building and home improvement retailers throughout Canada.  As we continue to develop and build our brand in a retail environment, we are looking for an individual with good organizational skills and some marketing background to join our team. The responsibilities will include:
  • Organizing and coordination of Cottage Life Show and Ontario Contractor Trade Show(s)
  • Coordination of Yellow Pages ad program
  • Administration of Air Miles loyalty program
  • Communication with TIM-BR MART Dealers on marketing programs
  • Coordination and administration of Gift Card program
  • Purchasing and inventory maintenance of POS items
  • Billing Dealers on various marketing programs
  • Liaise with ad agency and third parties to implement flyer promotions
  • Assist Marketing/Advertising manager on various marketing initiatives
Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook is a prerequisite.   Knowledge of Microsoft Access would be a definite asset. Please forward resumes by March 16 to: Marketing/Advertising Manager TIM-BR MARTS Ltd., 3405 American Drive, Unit 4 Mississauga, ON  L4V 1T6


  • 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 $2.75 per word for three weeks in the classifieds.
  • To place your ad, call isabel bisong at 416-489-3396 or email: isabel@hardlines.ca