View in your browser

March 22, 2021 | Volume xxvii, #12



  • Big retailers look to hire for spring as home improvement sales stay strong
  • Ace Canada buys out dealer’s location, converts it to corporate store
  • Federated Co-op’s retail businesses hold steady in 2020
  • Education assumes a key role in Orgill’s virtual trade show presence

PLUS: TORBSA overhauls website, Castle’s new member in Ontario, Keith Moffatt remembered, CanWel’s Q4 revenues, AQMAT recognizes winners, new dates for spoga+gafa, IPG reports earnings, existing home sales, U.S. housing starts, and more!

Big retailers look to hire for spring as home improvement sales stay strong

Both Lowe’s Canada and Home Depot Canada have launched their spring hiring campaigns in preparation for the home improvement industry’s busiest season. For dealers of all sizes, hiring poses a big challenge and the struggle to find—and keep—staff is something that is shared by stores across the country.

Lowe’s says it aims to fill over 7,000 full- and part-time positions throughout its network of Lowe’s, RONA, and Réno-Dépôt corporate stores across Canada. At rival Home Depot Canada, the search is on for an additional 5,000-plus workers to fill full-time, part-time, and seasonal positions that include overnight associates, sales associates, cashiers, specialty staff, and department supervisors.

Lowe’s stores across the country have been holding national and regional hiring events, which will continue through next month. This year, for the first time, national events take place exclusively online, while regional events are offering candidates a hybrid formula that allows them to complete their first interview online or in person. Big box stores typically have about 150 people on staff. Some locations will look to add up to 30 percent more associates.

Lowe’s Canada continues to fill ranks corporately as well. It told La Presse recently that it’s seeking to fill 80 new jobs at its Boucherville, Que., head office. That’s in addition to some 2,000 new workers for its Quebec corporate stores. In Canada, Lowe’s has more than 26,000 associates, in addition to approximately 5,000 workers at independent affiliate dealer stores operating under the RONA banner.

Home Depot Canada, which has more than 30,000 workers in Canada, offers new hires plenty of training to get them up to speed quickly. The company says it provides more than one million hours of training programs each year.

The company prides itself on a culture whose values include respect for all people, excellent customer service, and giving back. In fact, associates contribute more than 60,000 hours each year in support of local community projects or through The Home Depot Canada Foundation, which is committed to preventing and ending youth homelessness in Canada.

Ace Canada buys out dealer’s location, converts it to corporate store

Peavey Industries, through its Ace Canada licence, has taken over the Ace Hardware in Manning, Alta. Formerly an independent dealer-owned Ace outlet with a long history in Manning, Peavey decided to turn it into a corporate store.

The location has been in operation since the 1980s, always a part of the same family of companies. It began as Macleods, transitioned to True Value in the early 1990s, and was rebranded under the TruServ banner in 2011 before its final realignment under Ace in 2015.

Peavey Industries acquired the Ace Canada brand in 2020.

Damian Zapisocky, senior vice president, corporate and strategic development with Peavey, explains that Ace Canada will work with its dealers to develop a successful outcome to their succession plans.

“We are excited to bring this store into our corporate envelope; we also welcome the opportunity to find succession solutions for any of our existing Ace dealers in need and other aligned businesses that may be interested in consulting with us as to the benefits and rewards of becoming an Ace-branded dealer.”

However, in this case, Ace Canada won’t look for a new dealer-owner for the Manning location. It will continue as a corporate store, as both ownership models, the company says, have a place in Peavey’s family of companies. Besides its Ace business, Peavey Industries owns 90 corporate stores, which operate under the Peavey Mart and MainStreet Hardware banners.

Will Pasichnuk will stay on as manager of Manning Ace Hardware. “I have been here for 20 years and a part-owner in the business for 14 of those years. This transition will provide the solid footing we need to remain the strong and valuable local resource for our customers who have relied on us for nearly 40 years,” he said about the change from independent ownership to a corporate store.

Ace Canada is looking to add more dealers across Canada, whether start-ups or as a succession alternative for an existing retailer. The company adds that it can offer leverage from the standpoint of both a dealer-owned and a corporate model. Whether someone wants to join Ace or to roll up into a corporate model, the company will work with the individual and determine what’s best for them.

Federated Co-op’s retail businesses hold steady in 2020

For the first time in its history, Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) hosted its annual meeting virtually. Nearly 300 delegates representing local co-operative associations from across Western Canada came together online to participate earlier this month.

Saskatoon-based FCL is rated by SaskBusiness Magazine as the second-largest business in Saskatchewan (and ranks in our Hardlines Top 20 list of home improvement retailers—Editor). Annual revenues reached $7.9 billion, down 13.5 percent from $9.2 billion in the previous year.

While most of its divisions saw growth, the overall drop was due to a $1.3 billion decline in energy sales. Earnings were $177 million, with $117.5 million from the profits being returned to local Co-ops and their communities in Western Canada.

FCL’s hardware and home centre business, through its Home and Building Solutions division (HABS), saw wholesale sales, or sales to its Co-op member stores, reach $363 million in fiscal 2020, up from $325 million in 2019. Profits remained steady at $12 million for 2020. The HABS team told Hardlines it remains focused on growing Co-op’s store brands.

In his address to delegates, CEO Scott Banda spoke of the resiliency of the Co-operative Retailing System (CRS) while facing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He recognized the strong results experienced in food, home and building, and agriculture, even as energy markets collapsed.

Education assumes a key role in Orgill’s virtual trade show presence

Harnessing technology to meet customer needs was  central to Orgill’s launch of its Distance Learning Series earlier this year. This three-week event led up to the hardware wholesaler’s Online Buying Event as a way to offer customers a range of learning-focused content in a virtual environment.

The Distance Learning Series offered retailers the opportunity to select from more than 30 live webinars from Orgill and industry experts during a two-week window. The online seminars are also available to customers on Orgill’s website.

“We know that our customers see a great deal of value in the seminars and learning sessions that normally take place during the live Dealer Markets,” said Jordan Hughes, Orgill’s marketing and advertising manager. “We didn’t want them to miss out on this kind of experience in between our live shows, so we launched our first Distance Learning Series.”

In total, Orgill had more than 3,000 registrations for the Distance Learning Series sessions. While the first round of Distance Learning Sessions took place in January, Orgill plans to offer these sessions each month, according to Hughes.

“We will be offering this Distance Learning Series during the last full week of each month moving forward and featuring a variety of valuable content for our customers,” he said.

While Hughes says that live seminars and learning sessions will continue to play a big part in future live Dealer Markets, the Distance Learning Series will offer access to enhanced content on an ongoing basis.

“Technology allows us to offer access to this kind of information and content on a more regular basis than just during our live Dealer Markets, so we see this as a great opportunity to share information with our customers,” he said.

People on the Move

Daniel Lampron has returned to Patrick Morin Renovation Centres, as VP and COO. Lampron previously served as the company’s managing director from 2011 to 2018. In the interval, he held leadership positions at Groupe Lou-Tec and Groupe Deschênes. Patrick Morin is now under new ownership (read that story in our Feb. 22 edition! —Editor), with a new president, Louis Turcotte. Turcotte heads up Groupe Turcotte, a network of seven Home Hardware stores that partnered with Home Hardware to acquire Patrick Morin earlier this year.

Jean Belhumeur has retired as president and COO of Leviton Canada. He started his career with Leviton in 1994 as a controller and he was promoted to his current role in 1998. Jason Prevost has succeeded Belhumeur as president and COO. He joined the company in April 2019 as vice president of distribution. After more than 31 years at Leviton, Bruce Brown, VP retail, has also retired. Julie Marineau has taken over that position. She previously held the role of sales director for Alberta and Prairies for Leviton’s distribution channel and has been part of the Leviton team for over 25 years.



... that you don’t have to wait another week to get industry news from Hardlines? Our free Daily News is an important way to keep up every single day. And it’s free. You get the deep dive on Mondays, but until then make sure you’re signed up for our free Daily News updates. (Did we mention that they’re free?)


TORBSA has overhauled its website to support its growth strategy. The site, featuring the buying group’s new visual identity, includes shareholder distribution pages, membership information and supplier information, and a profile of TORBSA’s head office team. Alongside the new features, the membership portal will continue to keep shareholders connected.

Castle Building Centres has another new member in Ontario. Peel Hardware & Supply in Caledon is a family-owned business offering building materials, hardware, and garden supplies, and provides feed to the local farming community. Owner Bill Hewson founded the store in nearby Brampton in 2013 and expanded to the 20,000-square-foot Caledon facility in 2016. His daughter, Jennifer Hewson, manages the business.


Keith Moffatt, who co-founded Moffatt & Powell in 1956 and Watford Roof Truss in 1972, died at his home on March 7 at the age of 87. In recognition of his career in the industry, Moffatt, along with partner David Powell, received a lifetime industry achievement award in 2008 from the Lumber and Building Materials Association of Ontario. He is survived by his wife, Marion (Beaumont), their two children and their spouses, Mary (David) and John (Jennifer), and two grandchildren, Andrew and Benjamin.



CanWel Building Materials Group reported that its Q4 revenues increased by 37 percent to $402 million, compared to $293.4 million in the same period in 2019. The gain was attributed to strong home improvement activity and strong housing starts. Net earnings for the quarter amounted to $15 million. Revenues for the fiscal year rose by 21 percent to $1.61 billion, from $1.33 billion in 2019, with earnings of $59.6 million.

Quebec industry association AQMAT held its annual Recognition Gala virtually this past weekend, honouring outstanding performers in the home improvement industry in Quebec. Retailers and suppliers were recognized in 16 categories.


German trade show organizer Koelnmesse has rescheduled this year’s spoga+gafa event for Aug. 8 to 10, as it works to develop digital platforms to support a hybrid format. The organizers of Europe’s garden and leisure trade show said that most exhibitors were willing to go ahead in the spring, but the public appetite for business travel remains low. August’s event will be the show’s first hybrid edition.

Intertape Polymer Group reported Q4 revenues of $344.1 million, up 18 percent thanks to higher demand for products like water-activated tape and protective packaging. Adjusted net earnings increased $18.8 million to $32.4 million primarily due to an increase in gross profit, partially offset by an increase in income tax expense. Revenues for fiscal 2020 rose by 4.7 percent to $1.2 billion, while earnings increased by $31.9 million to $89.7 million.


Sales of existing homes climbed by 6.6 percent between January and February 2021 to set another new record. The seasonally adjusted activity was running at an annualized pace of 783,636 units in February. The month-over-month increase in national sales activity from January to February was led by the Greater Toronto Area and other Ontario markets, along with Calgary and a number of markets in British Columbia. These offset a considerable decline in sales in Montreal. (Canadian Real Estate Association)

February’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts fell by 13.5 percent to 245,922 units, compared to 284,372 units in January. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 14 percent in February to 231,042 units. Multiple urban starts declined by 15.8 percent to 163,757 units while single-detached urban starts were down 9.3 percent to 67,285 units. (CMHC)

U.S. housing starts fell by 10.3 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.42 million units. Building permits dropped by 10.8 percent, offsetting January’s gains. (U.S. Commerce Dept.)

February’s U.S. retail sales were estimated at $561.7 billion, a decrease of three percent from January but 6.3 percent above February 2020. LBM and garden dealers racked up $30.3 billion in sales for the month, compared to $32.02 billion in January. (U.S. Commerce Dept.)


More than 75 percent of Home Depot Canada store managers started as hourly associates.


“The past year has inspired us to think differently and adapt quickly to ever-changing situations. The diversity of our business lines and our commitment to all work together have helped guide us through this crisis. We must continue to focus on the long-term opportunities and consider what the future looks like beyond this pandemic to serve our Western Canadian communities.”
—Scott Banda, CEO of Federated Co-op, during the company’s 92nd, and first virtual, AGM last month.



Classified Ads

Looking to post a classified ad? Email Michelle for a free quote.



Privacy Policy | HARDLINES.ca

HARDLINES is published weekly (except monthly in December and August) by HARDLINES Inc.
© 2020 by HARDLINES Inc.
HARDLINES™ the electronic newsletter www.HARDLINES.ca
Phone: 416.489.3396; Fax: 647.259.8764

Michael McLarney — President— mike@hardlines.ca
Christina Manocchio — Editor— christina@hardlines.ca
Geoff McLarney — Assistant Editor— geoff@hardlines.ca

David Chestnut — VP & Publisher— david@hardlines.ca
Michelle Porter— Marketing & Events Manager— michelle@hardlines.ca
Accounting — accounting@hardlines.ca

The HARDLINES "Fair Play" Policy: Reproduction in whole or in part is very uncool and strictly forbidden and really and truly against the law. So please, play fair! Call for information on multiple subscriptions or a site license for your company. We do want as many people as possible to read HARDLINES each week — but let us handle your internalrouting from this end!

1-3 Subscribers: $495
-6 Subscribers: $660
7 -10 Subscribers: $795
11-20 Subscribers $1,110
21-30 Subscribers $1,425

We have packages for up to 100 subscribers!

For more information call 416-489-3396 or click here
You can pay online by VISA/MC/AMEX at our secure website, by EFT, or send us money. Please make cheque payable to HARDLINES.