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November 1, 2021 | Volume xxvii, #39



  • Hardlines Conference tackles industry issues with first-ever Hardlines Debate
  • With the signing of Gibson, Sexton Group expands significantly in Ontario
  • BMR secures spot on the ice with Ottawa Senators
  • Coming out of COVID, Peavey ties flyer program in with digital campaigns

PLUS: Lowe’s Canada Heroes campaign, Home Depot using Walmart’s delivery service, Daniel Rioux retires, National Hardware Show returns, Trex to develop new site, MoistureShield introduces contractor certification, 3M anticipates price increases, DuPont to acquire ArmorWall, new EVP at Home Depot in Atlanta, West Fraser to acquire Georgia Pacific's OSB facility, retail sales up, U.S. housing stats, and more!


Hardlines Conference tackles industry issues with first-ever Hardlines Debate

This year’s Hardlines Conference featured the inaugural round of the Hardlines Debates. The new event took the form of a dialogue between Hardlines president Michael McLarney and Bill Morrison, a veteran retail consultant who formerly oversaw the Ace banner for Lowe’s Canada.

The conference was held on Oct. 19 and 20 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. More than 150 people attended, both in person and virtually, for the conference’s 25th edition.

The Hardlines Debates were created to provide a forum for open discussion about some of the key issues confronting home improvement retailing. Morrison and McLarney found much common ground in their forecasts for the industry over the coming years, but Morrison expressed more pessimism about the trials to be endured in the medium term on the road to recovery.

Three questions were considered during the debate. The first was, “Is green growth good for our industry?” Speaking in favour, McLarney noted that this trend was cutting across all industries. “Big corporations are on board” with green renewal, he said, noting that major auto manufacturers have set cut-off dates for the sale of gas-powered cars even as they invest heavily in electric technologies.

Morrison agreed that “our planet needs to be protected: the last time I checked, we only have one.” At the same time, he argued “we need to understand what governments are actually trying to do to us.”

Allowing that there is “tremendous opportunity” for such innovations as solar panels, Morrison expressed his concern that green growth “will be very expensive, very difficult, and may accomplish very little.”

Next, the debaters discussed whether an uptick in inflation was on the horizon. Both McLarney and Morrison agreed that a major hike in interest rates was out of the question politically. As Morrison put it, “you would see mortgages go underwater.”
“Canada has a unique economy that’s somewhat disconnected from the rest of the world and that’s going to have to absorb some inflation.”

The final question was, “Are we entering the roaring ’20s?” McLarney took the “pro” side. “No matter what the macro issues are, people love their homes. They live in their homes—it seems obvious to say—and they want to make them better.”

“I think our industry is going to grow,” Morrison said, “but there is going to be more turbulence.” He pointed to “huge price increases and shortages” continuing in the medium term. “People are stressed, and our business is not immune,” he added.

“I am tremendously confident in our industry, but there are bills coming due.”


With the signing of Gibson, Sexton Group expands significantly in Ontario

Gibson Building Supplies has joined Sexton Group, effective Nov. 1. The independently owned Canadian company offers roofing and exterior building supplies through its seven locations in central and southwestern Ontario.

Gibson has its roots in Chouinard Bros., a roofing company based in Aurora, Ont., that was established in 1972. In 2001, Gibson Building Supplies was created. It specializes in roofing and related materials but also carries some hardware and safety products, including nail guns, hoists, and ladders. To this day, Chouinard Bros. remains a key account for Gibson.

Chouinard and Gibson joined Independent Lumber Dealers Co-operative in 2004, where they remained members for only a few years. A brief stint with TIMBER MART followed, but Gibson has been on its own for roughly the past decade. CEO Michelle Chouinard-Kenney explains why the company hooked up with a buying group after so many years flying solo.

With the company expanding to seven locations, she’s found the customer base has grown beyond the core roofing installer. Some of the stores are serving more general contractors, she says. As a result, “we’re looking to expand our product line and we were looking at who we could align with.” As Gibson looks to diversify, she wanted a partner that aligned with her company’s ethics and philosophy. She found many parallels with Sexton Group, whose values and roots she respects. “It was a good fit.”

Chouinard-Kenney, who grew up in the business at Chouinard Bros., has held the CEO role for the past seven years. She says Gibson Building Supplies will continue to add locations, with one—and maybe two—slated to open in 2022. These will expand the current market area that the stores serve, which stretches from Peterborough to Brantford in central and southern Ontario.

In the middle of negotiation season now, Chouinard-Kenney admits that the shortages facing the industry since 2020 have complicated the process, even as her company is adding new lines. “It’s a moving target for us.” But, she says, the alignment with Sexton is helping with these negotiations.


BMR secures spot on the ice with Ottawa Senators

BMR Group has forged a sponsorship with the Ottawa Senators hockey team for the 2021-22 season. Now the green BMR logo appears right in the ice at the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, a suburb on the west side of Ottawa.

Canadian Tire Corp. took over the naming sponsorship of the arena from Scotiabank in 2013.

According to Julie Crevier, a spokesperson for BMR, the partnership with the Ottawa Senators is for the entire 2021-22 regular season, which concludes at the end of April 2022. During that time, the BMR logo will remain on the ice at Canadian Tire Centre, close to the net.

“So when the Sens play locally, the logo will be seen on TV on all main sports channels broadcasting the matches. It is a great way for us to have our brand visible to Ontario communities,” Crevier said.

The promo is the latest move by BMR to build its presence outside its home province of Quebec. In July of this year, Simon Gouin joined the group as senior director, business development, eastern Canada. He oversees the development of the dealer network in Quebec, Ontario, and the Maritimes.


Coming out of COVID, Peavey ties flyer program in with digital campaigns

Peavey Industries is coming out of COVID, like so many retailers, looking for a new normal. That includes how it handles its flyer program.

In a new podcast from the Retail Council of Canada, Jest Sidloski, vice president of marketing, customer experience, and e-commerce, shared how the Red Deer-based retailer has re-evaluated paper flyers for its Peavey Mart stores. The new approach reflects the company’s attempt to return to some kind of normalcy with its customers, as well as a new level of digital expertise it has gained through the acquisition of the TSC Stores chain.

To determine the importance of paper flyers post lockdowns, Peavey turned to the people who shop in its stores. The result weighs on the side of the status quo. “We have to take a very cautious approach and ask and listen to our customers,” says Sidloski. “Over and over the majority of Peavey Mart customers say they still prefer the paper flyers.”

However, the company has made changes within that mandate. Sidloski admits in the podcast that Peavey had some catching up to do regarding online selling. But TSC, which was purchased by Peavey in 2016, “had a decade of expertise online,” he says.

In fact, in 2010, TSC launched a distribution arm called TSC Country Pro Services. The wholesale business provided a range of tools and hardware, with a focus on farm and ranch, to dealers throughout Ontario and Manitoba. That involved expanding its warehouse capacity, recruiting a fleet of trucks, and building up an online sales portal.

With the additional support of the TSC digital expertise, Peavey relaunched its website in April of this year, making it easier to select and purchase products. But the paper flyers have remained an important part of the mix.

Sidloski says the printed promos were reduced from 52 times a year to 36, and the page count was reduced as well. They feature what Sidloski calls “bread-and-butter products,” augmented by links to a wider array of items. Digital flyers fill in for the other weeks. “We were able to take that paper flyer and add digital pages to it for online views.”

Daniel Rioux, TIMBER MART’s regional director of member services for Quebec, has retired. Rioux has been in the building material and hardware industry since 1979. In 2008, he joined TIMBER MART and was charged with establishing the group’s office in Quebec. In 2014, he was appointed TIMBER MART’s regional director of member services for Quebec and eastern Ontario. He worked as a liaison with the vendor community and TIMBER MART head office on behalf of the members in that area. In his retirement, Rioux has achieved status as a certified personal coach.

Lindsay Barber, Masco Canada's director of product management, has been named a winner of the 2021 Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards released by Women's Executive Network. The award recognizes 100 outstanding women across Canada who advocate for workforce diversity and inspire tomorrow’s leaders. Lindsay joined Masco Canada in St. Thomas, Ont., in 2002 in the customer service department. In 2019, she was appointed director of product management in charge of Masco’s plumbing portfolio.

The Home Depot has promoted John Deaton to the role of EVP of supply chain and product development. He replaces Mark Holifield, who has moved to another company after 15 years with Home Depot in Atlanta. Deaton began his career with Home Depot in 2007 as VP of supply chain development. In 2011, he was promoted to senior VP of brand and product development. Since 2017, he has been senior VP of supply chain.


... that our recent Hardlines Conference was a huge success? Okay, we’re biased, but it was just so great to see our colleagues from across Canada join together at last! They all helped us celebrate our 25th anniversary (postponed from last year). Thanks to everyone who attended, and to our amazing sponsors, who made it a reality during these difficult times.


This year’s Lowe’s Canada Heroes campaign garnered the greatest participation to date. Eight distribution centres and 71 RONA affiliated dealer stores joined the Lowe’s, RONA, and Réno-Dépôt corporate stores. As a result, more than $1.5 million will be distributed to more than 235 charities and schools.

Home Depot is using Walmart’s GoLocal delivery service. Launched in late August, it is being tested in stores in New Mexico and will be rolled out across the country before the end of the year. GoLocal drivers can be either Walmart staff, gig workers, or even third-party delivery services, offering two-hour and next-day delivery options. Products being delivered in this fashion include paint, fasteners, and hardware items that can easily fit in a car.

Lowe’s Cos. is launching an advertising venture, One Roof Media Network, to sell ads on its website and app. It will also make its first-party data available for use in targeted ads elsewhere. Lowe’s said its website has a “big, aggregated audience” that makes it suitable for tailored ads.


The National Hardware Show returned to the Las Vegas Convention Center from Oct. 21 to 23 for its 75th edition. A new feature this year is the Habitat platform, both online and on site, which explored new ideas and technologies that are impacting the concepts of home and living. The show also unveiled NHS Backyard, an outdoor component with live demonstrations and grilling competitions.

Trex Co. plans to develop a new production site in Little Rock, Ark. The company says building a third U.S. manufacturing facility will help it keep pace with the ongoing high demand for products in outdoor living categories.

MoistureShield, a division of Oldcastle APG, has launched the MoistureShield Valued Partner (MVP) certified contractor program. The three-tiered program offers contractors additional training, support, and rewards, along with a labour warranty program for pros who regularly use MoistureShield products. Benefits include access to the MoistureShield University (MSU) online training resource.

3M Co. says it will raise prices amid inflation and supply chain difficulties. “Inflation has come in faster than anybody thought,” CFO Monish Patolawala told analysts on an earnings call. “We don't see the raw material or the inflation environment slowing down in any way.” The company will also resort to dual sourcing of raw materials.

DuPont has signed an agreement to acquire MaxLife Industries’ ArmorWall business. The transaction, slated to close in Q4, includes the ArmorWall brand, patented technology, and a manufacturing facility in Salisbury, N.C. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

West Fraser Timber has reached a deal to acquire Georgia Pacific's oriented strand board mill near Allendale, S.C. The transaction, valued at about $280 million, is expected to close after satisfying U.S. regulatory requirements. The Allendale facility, which began producing OSB in 2007, has been idle since late 2019.


Retail sales were up 2.1 percent to $57.2 billion in August. A 2.8 percent hike in LBM and garden supply sales contributed to the increase. The biggest growth was in food and beverage stores, gasoline stations, and clothing and accessories. Sales increased in nine of 11 subsectors, representing 94.6 percent of retail trade. (StatCan)

Sales of new U.S. homes rose by 14 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 800,000 units in September. That was the highest level since March. (U.S. Commerce Dept.)

Sales of existing U.S. homes in September rose by seven percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.29 million units. That was the biggest increase in a year, surpassing analyst expectations of 6.09 million units. Home resales declined by 2.3 percent on a year-over-year basis. (National Association of Realtors)


Walmart claims that about 90 percent of Americans live within 16 kilometres of one of its stores. It has about 4,700 stores in the U.S.


“We’ve once again reached a new campaign milestone in terms of the number of participating locations this year, as a record number of distribution centres and affiliated RONA dealers joined forces with our corporate stores network. We couldn’t be prouder of our 2021 results and how our teams came together under challenging conditions to support worthy causes across the country.”
—Jean-Sébastien Lamoureux, senior VP, public affairs, asset protection, and sustainable development, on the success of this year’s Lowe’s Canada Heroes campaign, which raised $1.5 million for causes across the country.





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