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ABC Widgets
Beverly Allen, Publisher
| Brady Peever, Client Services | Michael McLarney, Editor | | 416-489-3396 |



March 29, 2010, Volume xvi, #13

“Something's lost but something's gained in living every day.”
—Joni Mitchell (from her song “Both Sides Now”)

In Memory of Danny Payne 1993-2010

Home Depot merchandising reorg causes vendor concern

TORONTO — The recent promotion of Home Depot Canada’s Joe Allen to the role of director, vendor services, puts him in a role that has a lot of vendors — and more importantly, their in-store service providers — really, really worried.

Hardlines has obtained a copy of a confidential letter that went out to the vendor community last month from Home Depot Canada’s vice-president merchandising, Gino DiGioacchino. The letter outlines a plan for a new structure within the merchandising division, whereby Home Depot will bring its vendor-managed in-store merchandising services in-house.

Under Allen, Home Depot will form a “key leadership team ... beginning the development of a new vendor services team”, says the letter. Home Depot is reportedly going to add up to 1,400 people to the merchandising division, creating a team that will supplant all the existing store service teams — a whole segment of the industry in Canada.

Those in-store merchandising services have historically been the role of the vendors themselves, usually through merchandising service, or detailing, companies. These companies reflect the reinvention of sales agencies to ensure that the products on the shelf remain in stock and properly merchandised. Some of these companies have up to 200 people on staff across the country, all going into stores on a regular basis.

Some vendors have expressed their concern over the efficacy of the program in America. However, DiGioacchino stresses the weight that was given to the decision to go ahead with it here after studying carefully how it performed in the U.S. “This was not an easy decision for me to make,” he says. “This was four years in the making.”

He adds that the vendors themselves play a key role in the success of Home Depot Canada. “Without our vendor partners, we cannot build our business. They are critical to our success.”

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Lowe’s deal fits Para’s rebranding strategy

BRAMPTON, Ont. — The recently announced supply deal between Para Paints and Lowe’s Canada comes amidst a major rebranding of the venerable coatings company “to reflect our Canadian heritage,” says Garry Belfall, senior brand manager, Para Paints. “We’ve been in business since 1915.”

Belfall adds that, following the success of Canadian athletes at the Olympics, being Canadian is very much in style these days. (RONA inc., the leading home improvement retailer, is a major sponsor of the Olympics, which resulted in a big boost in awareness and sales for that company.) Para is makingthe Canadian connection an important part of its new look, which gets an official relaunch on April 14. Belfall says Para will announce a partnership with a well-known Canadian interior designer at the relaunch.

Para’s “new look” reflects both the Lowe’s Canada deal and Para’s commitment to its network of independent dealers.

The 95-year-old company has gone through some changes over the years. At one point, it was purchased by Sico, Canada's largest paint company, for $16.9 million in May 2003. However, when Sico purchased ICI three years later, it was required by the Competition Bureau to divest itself of some assets so it sold off its Para and Crown Diamond brands to Vancouver-based General Paint Corp. in June, 2008. General is, in turn, owned by Comex Group, a coatings company based in Mexico City that is the largest in Mexico, and the fifth-largest in North America. (PLEASE NOTE: we incorrectly stated Para’s ownership structure in our last issue. —Michael)

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RONA’s first big box of 2010 is FSC friendly

AURORA, Ont. — RONA opens its first big box store of the year with a grand opening here on March 24. The store features 100,000 square feet of hardware, renovation and gardening products and represents an investment of more than $14 million into the local community.

Continuing its commitment to step up the presence of certified wood in its stores, the Aurora location will also carry softwood lumber from FSC-certified forests. Currently, wood from FSC-certified forests is not widely available in Canada and RONA wants to make it easier for consumers to have access to these products. The RONA Aurora store will be the sixth store in Canada and the fourth in Ontario to offer softwood lumber from FSC certified forests.

“The RONA Aurora store benefits from all the latest innovations in terms of specialized boutiques and services, including our Project Guide service as well as our installation services,” says Pierre Dandoy, executive vice-president of store operations.

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CanWel’s sales dip in 2009

VANCOUVER — CanWel Building Materials had revenues for the year ended Dec. 31 of $650 million, down from $804 million in 2008. The drop was attributed primarily to the slowdown in the Canadian economy and the continued downward price pressure in lumber and panel products.

However, CanWel’s focus remained on the sales of higher margin products, resulting in a year-over-year improvement in gross margin percentage to 12.9% ($84 million) from 12.6% ($101 million) in the prior year. And for the last quarter of the year, CanWel reported revenues of $140.2 million, down from $165.5 million. Fourth-quarter net earnings slipped to $1.7 million, from $2.5 million.

“2009 proved to be a trying period for many businesses due to the economic environment. This was not an exception for CanWel, however, given the strength of our business, we had the ability to stay focused on driving the business forward, [and] protect margins, while identifying a transformational acquisition in Broadleaf,” said Amar Doman, chairman and CEO of CanWel, referring to the purchase of rival building materials distributor Broadleaf Logistics, in a deal that was finalized at the end of January.

CanWel intends to change its name to “CanWel Building Materials Group Ltd.” following its AGM in May 2010.

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Prairie Region (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta)

 The Sexton Group, Canada’s leading Buying Group for independent building material retailers is seeking a highly motivated, sales oriented and customer focused person to fill the position of BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER for the Prairie Region. The successful applicant, reporting to the Vice President and General Manager will be responsible for developing and maintain positive working relationships with current and potential Sexton Group Members.

Key Responsibilities include:

  • Developing and implementing plans for increasing member purchases through the Sexton Group;
  • Targeting and aggressively pursuing new members; and
  • Providing excellent customer service and communication skills as you work with each of the Members to determine what their business needs are and help them understand the programs and services offered by Sexton Group.

We are looking for someone with a proven track record in sales, excellent customer follow-up skills and tenacity. The successful applicant will be able to develop and maintain effective relationships with current and future Sexton Group Members, has business acumen and is able to work independently in a team environment. If you are competitive, can be persuasive and prefer travelling to the customer rather than an office job, this position may be for you. We are looking for the right person to fill this position in Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta.

The Sexton Group offers a competitive base salary along with a comprehensive benefit package that includes health, disability, dental, vision, life insurance, pension, car allowance and profit sharing for all employees.

Interested and qualified candidates are asked to submit their resumes to: Human Resources at .



Factory Sales Representative


“Well known leading USA manufacturer of paint rollers and paint sundries with D.C. in Toronto area seeks experienced independent factory sales representative to sell their products in Canada. Must have knowledge of the paint and hardware industries, and contacts with current buyers in those categories.

Candidate will possess minimum 5 years experience in the category selling to major chains and distributors”.

Email detailed resume including other lines carried and references to with P.O. Box 12 in the subject line.



  • National Field Sales Manager with twelve plus years in power tools and hardware sales/merchandising. view this resumé Back to top
  • Business Manager with U.S. & Canadian experience with retail & industrial customers seeks a new opportunity. view this resumé Back to top
  • An experienced merchandising executive possessing passion, vision, and a strategic approach to delivering bottom-line. view this resumé Back to top
  • Results oriented sales professional with a strong record of achievement in strategic and tactical roles. view this resumé Back to top
  • Senior sales/marketing leader with experience in all classes of trade wishing new hardlines career. view this resumé Back to top
  • Very Experienced Business Unit Manager, great passion for generating sales and building relastionships.view this resumé Back to top
  • Worked through my career within the manfucaturer, wholesale and consumer goods industries. view this resumé Back to top
  • Senior Sales Manager with vast experience in retail and wholesale sales growth in Canada. view this resumé Back to top

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