"Winners never quit and quitters never win." Anonymous

IRLY Distributors to partner with TIM-BR MARTS

  CALGARY - IRLY Distributors Ltd., has joined TIM-BR MARTS Ltd., and will begin supplying hardware and building material products to TIM-BR Mart dealers in British Columbia early next year. The partnership will have advantages for both parties, says Garry Anderson, general manager of IRLY Distributors Ltd. "The move allows us to capitalize on the strengths of our distribution business and to increase its reach," says Anderson. IRLY's distribution arm currently supplies 43 IRLY Building Centres from its 100,000-sq-ft. warehouse, which sits on an eight-acre site in Surrey, BC, and houses about 13,000 SKUs. It also supplies products to a number of other dealers, including some TIM-BR Marts, through its Western Hardware and Building Materials division. For TIM-BR MARTS, access to the IRLY DC will enhance its ability to efficiently deliver product to dealers in British Columbia, and will play a role in the company's strategic plan to develop capacity to warehouse and distribute imported product. Anderson doesn't foresee that serving new customers will necessitate any changes to the product mix of its DC. "Whenever we deal with new customers, there can be changes," says Anderson. "But we feel that we have a good set product mix and strong relationships with suppliers we have bought from for several years." Nor does Anderson anticipate problems in markets where TIM-BR MART and IRLY Building Centres co-exist. "There are really not many areas in which that it an issue, other than perhaps the lower mainland and larger centres," says Anderson. "Overall, this is a win-win situation, and it will work out for everybody."

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Canadian Tire adds new dimensions to urban concept store

TORONTO - A Canadian Tire store that opened in Toronto's southeast end just two weeks ago is already tracking in the chain's top 10 stores for décor sales. Tailored for an inner city customer, the store has met the constraints of downtown real estate costs by building on two levels. Mike Arnett, president of Canadian Tire's Retail business, along with store manager Peter Oliver, took HARDLINES on a tour. Convenience and accessibility are key features of the new store, which has wide aisles and high ceilings. Catering to the home maintenance needs of the inner city customer, who is likely to live in a smaller home than their suburban counterpart, key departments such as kitchenwares, hardware and fasteners, and seasonal products are near the front of the store. Other categories getting special treatment include storage and organization. Customers are taking to the new format: the average basket size per customer is 35% higher than the average for Canadian Tire's stores in the Greater Toronto Area. Emphasis on the décor side of home enhancement comes at the expense of renovations. For example, the lighting department features the largest light cloud in any CT store in the country - more than 5,000 square feet. Pet food and accessories gets two 20-foot aisles plus an endcap. These new features reflect an enhancement of Canadian Tire's 20/20 store redesign program, which began under former CTR president Mark Foote. "It speaks to the continuous change that's part of this format," says Arnett, who replaced Foote last year. The lower level of the store features automotive repair for the DIY mechanic, plus tires and a 13-bay service centre. Canadian Tire's next urban store is being built in Ottawa.

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UFA launches expanded construction division

CALGARY - UFA Co-operative Ltd. has launched a new division that will deliver commercial, institutional and agricultural construction to the rural Albertan communities it serves. The company, which has 35 farm stores - plus the recently-acquired Spruceland Lumber, a building supply dealer in Ft. McMurray, AB - is hoping to capitalize on the province's booming rural construction market, which is expected to bring in about $1.62 billion this year. According to Gregg Shoemaker, general manager for UFA Construction, the move marks an expansion for the company's current business model, rather than an entirely new direction. UFA has been involved for some time in agricultural construction, he says, and has made strong connections with both contractors and consumers in local markets. The new division will leverage, for example, the core competencies from Stirdon Betker, a specialized builder for the hog and chicken industry that UFA acquired in 1998, and Bar-W Petroleum & Electric of Red Deer, a smaller electrical company acquired earlier this year that Shoemaker says will be an "enabler" to UFA's construction plans. Currently, the company is not eyeing the residential housing market, nor does it have immediate plans to acquire other players like Bar-W that might fit into its plans to expand into construction. Shoemaker believes UFA is in a better position than many competitors to launch a construction division, in part because it has already forged strong links with local contractors. Those contacts will be especially valuable in a tight labour market, says Shoemaker. "Our experience has been that we have been very successful making connections with local contractors,' he says, "and we'll continue to whatever extent we are able continue to use them." The company's strong brand with rural Albertans will add to the ability of UFA's construction arm to bring its message to the market. "We are a very trusted, 100-year-old brand," says Shoemaker. A head office for UFA Construction will open in Red Deer in March 2008. It will house about 60 employees to start - a mix of current employees and some new hires.

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Bill Wilson joins NRHA Canada as retail advisor

TORONTO - The expansion of the North American Retail Hardware Association in Canada has received an important boost with the appointment of Bill Wilson as retail advisor for NRHA Canada. Wilson has had a long career in Canada's home improvement industry, including roles as vice-president and general manager and vice-president, merchandising of the London office of the Sodisco-Howden Group. Most recently, he was at London, ON-based TSC Stores as vice-president merchandise, with responsibility for distribution, merchandise and the purchasing department. Wilson has emerged from retirement to offer his expertise to the development of NRHA Canada's training programs. "Bill Wilson is a well respected veteran of the home improvement industry," said Michael McLarney, managing director of NRHA Canada. "He understands retail - and he recognizes the value of product-knowledge training for dealers. This combination of skills and insights makes him a perfect addition to the NRHA Canada team. We are proud to have him on board." Since that organization's operations were taken over by Hardlines Inc. earlier this year, NRHA Canada's online retail product-knowledge training programs have been drawing interest from many of the industry's leading retail groups. Most recently IRLY Distributors, based in Surrey, BC, has made the training available to its 43 member dealers. It joins such existing NRHA Canada members as Home Hardware Stores Ltd. in St. Jacobs, ON, Federated Co-operatives based in Saskatoon, and Ottawa-based Preston Hardware. The centrepiece of NRHA Canada's programs is the Basic Training Course in Hardware Retailing. It contains everything hardware and home improvement retailers need to train employees to improve their skills, including interactive modules that cover product knowledge, selling tips and merchandising techniques. The course also includes testing and grading functions to ensure employees retain information. All training programs have been customized for Canadian dealers and the Lumber & Building Materials Training module will be available as part of NRHA Canada membership early in 2008.

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Conference delegates win trips

 TORONTO - For two attendees at the recent Hardlines Conference, the event meant more than two days of valuable information and networking. It has given both the chance to attend important industry events. Gary Gilchrist of Home Building Centre in Vernon, BC, has won - compliments of Koelnmesse - a trip to Practical World, the hardware show in Cologne, Germany from March 9 to 12. Germain Voyer of Roland Boulanger & Cie Ltee in Warwick, QC. has won a trip to the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, which runs from May 6 - 8 and is sponsored by Reed Exhibitions, which owns the event.

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RCR International is a prime manufacturer of complete lines of products for professionals and do-it-yourselves. The company is recognized as a pioneer in the door and window insulation market, and is proud of expanding 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 of 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 Northern of Alberta.


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 result oriented and capable of working with a minimum of supervision. Main Tasks: Drive sales in territory by: - Analyse sales reports to understand his market; - Visit his 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 his 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 his 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 sure asset; - Ability to analyze and make a diagnosis of current problems; - Excellent physical health; - Occasional week-end availability during trade shows. Please submit your resume to Nathalie Charbonneau through email or fax to 450-670-1669.


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