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November 15, 2021 | Volume xxvii, #42



  • Baldessari’s hire will help TIMBER MART increase focus on commodities
  • Federated Co-op hosts successful second virtual Buymart tradeshow
  • Conference delegates hear about Home Depot’s pro strategy in the digital era
  • Lowe’s Canada woos contractors with Black Friday sales events

PLUS: Taiga’s Trent Balog wins WRLA’s Industry Achievement Award, BMR’s annual trade show, Castle adds Quebec dealer,Lowe’s Canada holds first Vendor Forum, deadline today for WRLA show pre-reg, Ikea Canada invests, Canadian Tire results, Walmart using driverless trucks, construction spending, Hardwoods Distribution reports Q3 sales, businesses falling behind on sales taxes, and more!


Baldessari’s hire will help TIMBER MART increase focus on commodities

TIMBER MART has appointed Bruno Baldessari as the group’s new vice president of forest products trading, effective Nov. 15. Baldessari will be responsible for leading and managing TIMBER MART’s national lumber trading division.

As a member of TIMBER MART’s senior leadership team, he will report directly to the buying group’s president and CEO, Bernie Owens. That group is one of the largest national member-owned buying groups in Canada, representing hundreds of dealers in every province across the country.

The group is also working on growing its presence in Quebec. Baldessari will make a valuable addition to the TIMBER MART team as it ramps up its efforts in that province. In taking over the lumber trading role, he relieves John Morrissey, the TIMBER MART vice president based in Halifax, who is in charge of the group’s presence in Atlantic Canada.

With responsibility exclusively for lumber trading, Baldessari will work to increase the group’s focus on commodity trading. Morrissey will continue to oversee distribution for TIMBER MART down east.

“Bruno will be accountable for growing the lumber trading unit of our group with new products and services in support of our members’ evolving business needs and long-term success,” Owens said in a release.

Baldessari brings over 30 years of experience in the building materials industry in a variety of senior leadership positions in building materials procurement, marketing, retail operations, and sales. He was most recently at BMR Group, where he spent 15 years, most recently as group VP of merchandising and vendor relations.

Before his stint at BMR, Baldessari worked at RONA and Cameron Ashley Building Products.


Federated Co-op hosts successful second virtual Buymart tradeshow

Federated Co-operatives Ltd. successfully hosted its second virtual Buymart tradeshow on Oct. 18 and 19. The event hosted over 190 vendors and attracted 600 local Co-op associates, who connected online to discuss product and program opportunities for 2022.

The first day opened with a welcome from Cody Smith, director of the co-op’s Home and Building Solutions business. He congratulated the Co-op Home Centres on their successful sales and operational performance over the past year. Smith then highlighted key initiatives, projects in development, and future opportunities designed to position the Co-op Retail System for continued growth.

Category manager informational sessions were hosted on day one, outlining strategic program opportunities for the upcoming year for Co-op associates. In addition, the retail delegates could connect with vendors at Buymart through chat and video to explore and review product offerings.

Event organizers report that response during the show from vendor partners and the local Co-op associates was enthusiastic; all appreciated the opportunity the virtual Buymart provided to let delegates collaborate and reconnect with peers across the home improvement industry.



Conference delegates hear about Home Depot’s pro strategy in the digital era

The contractor customer is evolving, and Home Depot Canada is adapting its offerings to keep up. That was Jamal Hamad’s message to the delegates at the 2021 Hardlines Conference.

Hamad heads up the retailer’s contractor services and pro rentals division. He spoke to about 150 people, a mixed live and virtual audience, about how the digital revolution continues to drive change as the giant retailer fine-tunes its offering to its trade customers.

“Data has become king. We have always said the customer is king, and they certainly are, but what a difference it has made to really understand what data can do for you!”

Consumer behaviours have also changed, and contractors are no exception. Hamad remarked that, had he been told 15 years ago that pros would be choosing to make certain purchases online, he wouldn’t have believed it.

Today, he said, “we know how our pros shop, what they shop for online versus what they come into the store for.”

“Cultivating our relationships is still a big deal,” Hamad stressed, citing the importance of Home Depot Canada’s inside and outside sales teams in catering to pros. “We’re investing to meet the changing delivery needs of our DIY and pro customers.”

Those investments included the opening of two new direct fulfilment centres in 2020, advances in low-cost, same-day delivery, and a loyalty program dedicated to pro customers. Expanded product offerings, including rentals for a new generation of space-crunched contractors, are also part of the effort.

Critical to Home Depot Canada’s contractor strategy is its Local Pros platform, which Hamad calls “a game changer.” It connects homeowners with participating Home Depot pro customers who can complete their desired projects. The business generated for that pro customer is an added value, “and we don’t charge a damn thing!” he added. “We want to ensure that we reward our pros and thank them every single day for shopping at Home Depot.”


Lowe’s Canada woos contractors with Black Friday sales events

As retailers scramble to meet the challenge of standing out during the Black Friday promotions that dominate in November, Lowe’s Canada has developed a program that targets its growing contractor customer base. Called “PROvember,” the campaign aims to boost sales and strengthen the retailer’s position as a destination for contractors and pros.

Right through to Dec. 1, pro customers will be celebrated and rewarded through a mix of in-store activities and media investments. The company’s corporate Lowe’s, Réno-Dépôt, and RONA stores are involved. In addition, 77 of its RONA affiliated dealers that offer Lowe’s Canada’s existing VIPpro loyalty program are participating.

VIPpro is designed to offer pro customers an improved and integrated purchasing experience with the use of an associated app. With VIPpro, contractors can keep track of their purchases and access discounts of five percent on all purchases and 10 percent on paint. The program, which was introduced in September 2020, has had a series of upgrades and the introduction of a dedicated web portal.

The current PROvember campaign has two themes to benefit contractors. One is featured products and the other is the chance to win prizes. Weekly offers highlight “Pro Worthy” products chosen for their innovative features. A series of games and contests are also being featured in-store.

The pursuit of the contractor customer is supported by a new survey conducted by Lowe’s head office in Mooresville, N.C. Called the Pro Pulse Survey, it reveals that more than 70 percent of pros surveyed expect to be busier than ever this winter. Pros reported an average of nearly 11 projects per month in 2021 and expect that number to increase by 45 percent in 2022, with the number-one project expected to be updates for energy efficiency.

The Western Retail Lumber Association has named Trent Balog, co-CEO of Taiga Building Products, as the winner of the association’s 2021 Industry Achievement Award. The award recognizes someone who has contributed to their business, the building supply industry, the WRLA, and the communities in which they live. Balog has been an active member of the building supply industry for nearly 40 years. He started his career at MacMillan Bloedel, where he worked as a sales rep. He moved to Taiga in 1995. Balog, who retires at the end of the year, will be awarded at the awards night on January 20, 2022, during the WRLA Building & Hardware Showcase in Winnipeg.


... that we have the marketing backup you need to plan for 2022? If you want to know how big your retail customers are, what their sales are in each province, and who the top 20 retail home improvement players are, check out the Hardlines Retail Report and the Hardlines Market Share Report. This exclusive info is just not available anywhere else but at Hardlines. We even have special pricing if you buy both reports together. Let us help you get ready for the year ahead!


BMR Group’s annual trade show, under the theme More heart per square foot, concluded last week. Dealers got to discover product offerings and new additions for the coming year and learn about BMR Group’s vision, all under a mostly virtual format. The webinars were presented in three separate phases: Sept. 20 and 21, Oct. 19 and 19, and Nov. 8 and 9.

Canadian Tire Corp. reported Q3 earnings of $3.97 per share, down from $4.84 a year earlier. Net income attributable to shareholders was C$243.7 million, compared to $296.3 million in 2020. Revenues declined to $3.91 billion from $3.99 billion. Retail sales however rose to $4.6 billion from $4.41 billion. Comp sales in the Canadian Tire Retail division grew by 1.4 percent, following the 25.1 percent surge from the lockdown effect in Q3 of 2020.

Castle’s newest member has been signed in the province of Quebec. Monsieur Debeaunavet is a building centre in Val D’Or. The business was founded two decades ago by Serge Bourgault and includes a garden centre. Bourgault has brought on two partners, Alex Gobeil and David Boutin, to help expand product lines and underwrite future expansion.

Lowe’s Canada held its first Vendor Forum for the Lowe’s, RONA, and Réno-Dépôt banners. It brought together over 600 participants from some 225 partner companies. The event let the Lowe’s Canada buying team share their goals and vision with vendors and discuss next steps to increase collaboration. Three vendor partners were honoured as Vendors of the Year during the event: Chervon in the Hardlines category, Samsung in Home Décor and Appliances, and Waterline in LBM. The Lowe’s Canada Foundation presented both Opération Enfant Soleil and Children’s Miracle Network with a cheque for $360,000, thanks to the generosity of vendor partners.

Toronto-based Bolt Logistics, which specializes in last-mile fulfilment of e-retail orders of large items, has raised $115 million for expansion. Founded in 2017 as Second Closet and renamed last summer, the company more than quadrupled its sales in 2021. It has landed Ikea Canada as both a client and an investor.

Walmart has paired up with Silicon Valley start-up Gatik to fulfil online grocery orders using driverless trucks. Since August, the companies have been operating a pair of autonomous box trucks on a seven-mile loop for 12 hours daily.


The Western Retail Lumber Association is gearing up for its first live show since COVID hit. The WRLA’s Building & Hardware Showcase will be held in Winnipeg at the RBC Convention Centre, from Jan. 19 to 21. Early bird registration is available until Nov 15 (that’s today! —your time-managing editor). The organizers promise two days of new product launches, the latest tech, trends, and hot topics. For more information, contact Myriah at the WRLA today.

Hardwoods Distribution Inc. reported that Q3 sales grew 99.1 percent to $471.7 million, a year-over-year increase of $234.7 million. Sales in Canada rose to $56.7 million from $36.6 million a year ago. Profit per share soared by 327 percent to a record $1.58, from $0.37 in Q2 of 2020.


Investment in building construction declined 0.7 percent to $17.5 billion in September, continuing a downward trend that started in May. A decrease in the residential sector, which was down 1.6 percent, was partially offset by a small increase in the non-residential sector. Despite the month-over-month drop, investment in residential construction was still up 21.6 percent over pre-pandemic levels in February 2020. (StatCan)


According to the Canada Revenue Agency, businesses are falling behind on remitting sales taxes, the Globe and Mail reports. The agency has calculated that the total GST and HST debt owed the federal government was $14.3 billion in September. That was up by 24 percent from $11.5 billion at the outbreak of the pandemic in March of 2020.


“We welcome Bruno to the TIMBER MART team and look forward to seeing our group and members across Canada benefit from his visionary leadership and years of experience in our industry.”
—Bernie Owens, president and CEO of TIMBER MART, on the group’s recruitment of Bruno Baldessari after many years at BMR Group.





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