View in your browser

November 2, 2020 | Volume xxvi, #41


  • Castle partners with platform to connect pros and homeowners
  • Canac plans more stores, another expansion of Drummondville DC
  • Home Hardware’s merch teams bring new strategies to vendor relations
  • Saskatchewan’s reno tax credit kicks in following re-election of Scott Moe

PLUS: Home Hardware sponsors Environment Conference, BSIA of B.C. honours industry, Walmart files a suit against U.S. government, CHHMA hosts speaker series, Sobeys will likely demand higher fees from suppliers, Renin acquires Colonial Elegance,  3M posts Q3 earnings, Masco reports Q3 sales, U.S. housing starts and more!

Castle partners with platform to connect pros and homeowners

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. has forged an exclusive partnership with an online platform for homeowners to source renovations and repairs. Rendoodle is a virtual marketplace that connects retailers and industry experts with consumers to help them plan and execute their home improvement projects.

Under President Ken Jenkins, Castle represents independent lumber, building materials and hardware dealers in more than 300 locations across Canada, so this partnership will give Rendoodle access to a national network of local businesses. The platform provides consumers with tools to turn their home renovation concepts, or “doodles,” into reality by connecting them to contractors and to products through a local Castle location.

Rendoodle, based in Vaughan, Ont., was co-founded by Jenkins’s son, Lucas Jenkins, who is also president of the online company. He believes a tool like the one his company offers can give independents more ways to compete effectively. “We see Rendoodle as a way to really level the playing field with the big box retailers and create a stronger competitive advantage,” says the younger Jenkins.

Castle’s partnership with Rendoodle gives Castle members the opportunity to be home improvement retailers of choice for the platform. Together with Rendoodle, Castle intends to build a sustainable online community of Castle retailers, leading manufacturers and reputable certified contractors. The marketplace offers member benefits such as access to project leads, increased sales potential and access to a certified installer listing.

“Our deal with Castle as a whole will allow for all of their retail locations across Canada to be a part of the program,” Lucas Jenkins continues. “The onboarding process is one that is simple and efficient.”

The partnership with Rendoodle will connect those dealers to the consumers. Customers using the platform can get their projects completed with products from a reliable retail source by pros who are monitored to ensure they meet stringent certifying criteria.

Some of the benefits being touted for vendors include assurance that their products are being installed by trained contractors, while enjoying opportunities to showcase products to consumers and drive retailers to stock their products.

Home Hardware’s merch teams bring new strategies to vendor relations

ST. JACOBS, Ont. — The changing lineup of buyers at Home Hardware Stores Limited includes a brand-new role, one that has been filled by a veteran of retail with grocery experience domestically as well at superstores in Europe.

According to Marianne Thompson, SVP merchandise for Home Hardware, the addition of Meriyem Kaf (shown here) to her merchandise team reflects the added complexity of the new processes being created for the category review process. Those processes are driven, in turn, by Home Hardware’s efforts to re-imagine itself, not as simply a hardware distributor, but more sharply focused on the retail customer—“to support our strategic transformation from a wholesaler to becoming that dealer-owned retailer,” says Thompson.

Kaf has been appointed to fill the newly created role of director, merchandise strategy and execution. Her background includes Carrefour in France and Sobeys in Canada. At Home Hardware, one of her key responsibilities is the design of Home Hardware’s category management capability. “She will develop, build and deploy a capability roadmap to support the overall category growth strategy. This includes defining the people, process and technology requirements,” Thompson says. “She brings a category management process.”

Kaf will also lead the development of a private-brand strategy. Thompson says this will drive “above-average growth and profitability within private brands” and include responsibility for building and implementing a global import sourcing strategy. Kaf will determine assortments and supplier matrix, which countries to tap for production and financial targets.

With more emphasis on private label, what will this mean for Home’s traditional vendors?

“Home Hardware is on a journey of growth and we’re building all the growth strategies to support that,” Thompson says. Her teams are now holding supplier partnership meetings with vendors—something new for the company. “This is really to ensure that our suppliers are aware of our journey, ensuring that we have alignment with our suppliers. Our success is dependent on our supplier partners and their support.”

She adds that, as Home Hardware grows, those suppliers are growing with them. However, as category reviews are held, some SKU counts are changing. “We are moving away from one-off product additions and building powerful strategic assortments, guided by a longer-term category plan,” she says.

Thompson stresses however that “it’s not a strategy to reduce SKUs and it’s not a strategy to reduce suppliers." But, she adds, “there will be a dramatic reduction in individual item additions to the assortment outside of the line review cycle, in favour of building powerful merchandise programs. Our new assortments will leverage Home Hardware’s strengths and will enhance competitive long-term positioning.”

Canac plans more stores, another expansion of Drummondville DC

QUEBEC CITY — One of Quebec’s fastest growing retail chains has more expansion planned. Canac has 30 stores, of which 13 are in the Quebec City area. The company has been adding stores over the past decade at a rate of about one per year on average, moving farther east and south with each new site.

Canac’s latest focus of growth has been the Montreal area, where the company set up stores in May 2019 in Notre-Dame-des-Prairies and in Prévost, in the Laurentides region, in February of this year. Now, says President and General Manager Pierre Laberge, more are in the works.

The next store will open in La Prairie, on the south shore of Montreal in February 2021. That location will consist of just over 40,000 square feet of retail space, with a 23,792-square-foot warehouse. It will also be Canac’s 31st location, making the firm one of the largest privately-owned home improvement chains, not just in Quebec, but in the country.

That opening will be followed by another store before the end of 2021. Laberge says there are other sites in the works, but the exact location will be determined by the how quickly permits can be secured for each site.

Canac still has its sights set on expansion into neighbouring Ontario. Land has been purchased in the Eastern Ontario town of Hawkesbury and is awaiting development. The planned store is part of a major redevelopment of a former Amoco oil plant. Laberge expects it to be up and running there within two years—if not sooner.

To support this growth, another expansion is planned for the company’s distribution centre in Drummondville, Que. This latest construction represents phase three for the site, which was acquired in 2015 and now holds a 500,000-square-foot hardware DC.

Laberge says the new LBM facility will replace two existing warehouses that can no longer handle the volume. One is in Beauport, serving Canac stores in the Quebec City market, while the other is part of a store in Rock Forest (a former Gaston Coté location).

Laberge says his team is awaiting further permits and approvals, but he expects the new addition be completed by the beginning of 2022.

Saskatchewan’s reno tax credit kicks in following re-election of Scott Moe

WINNIPEG — Liz Kovach is hailing it as a victory, not just for the province, but for the retail home improvement industry.

With the return of Premier Scott Moe’s Saskatchewan Party to government in that province’s election last week, the Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC) is now in effect. The centre-right party, formed in 1997 by majorities from the provincial Liberal and PC parties as a united front against the NDP, has governed Saskatchewan since 2007.

The Western Retail Lumber Association, headed by Kovach (shown here, with Premier Scott Moe), welcomed the fulfillment of Moe’s re-election pledge, which is backdated to October 1 and runs through to December 31, 2022.

The tax credit has been a major lobbying initiative for Kovach and the WRLA, which sent letters to political leaders in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Dealers in many of these markets were already struggling before the pandemic hit. Her office has been pushing for the tax credit for months.

With Saskatchewan’s HRTC, homeowners will be able to claim a 10.5% credit on up to $20,000 in eligible home renovation expenses incurred during the period, for savings of up to $2,100. Eligible expenses will include permanent additions to the home but not include items such as furniture, appliances, hot tubs, tools or maintenance.

People on the Move

Elkay Manufacturing has announced new roles in its Elkay International Systems (EIS) division. Tony Lutz has been named SVP for EIS. Lutz has led Interior Systems since 1987. Mia Nicolaisen has been promoted to VP, EIS North America. In this expanded role, she will be responsible for the entire EIS North America business. Most recently, she headed up EIS's North American Operations. Rod Krings has been promoted to general manager, EIS North America.


... that we don’t always know? We rely on you, our Faithful Readers, for input and feedback—especially during these tough times. Can you help us improve what we do? Please take two minutes (really, it’s quick!) to fill out this survey and let us know what you think about the Hardlines weekly newsletter.


ST. JACOBS, Ont. — Home Hardware and Beauti-Tone were sponsors of the LivABLE Environment Conference, billed as “a three-day virtual event on residential design and how accessibility, living in place and wellness in the home can be enhanced.” The conference was held last week. Home Hardware and Beauti-Tone were among 30 companies participating in the event.

SURREY, B.C. — Thomas Foreman, president of the Building Supply Industry Association of B.C., visited TIMBER MART’s Langley, B.C., LBM distribution centre recently to present the business with the 2020 Orion Supplier of Year Award. Warehouse supervisor Alex Stanculescu received the award on TIMBER MART’s behalf and was also personally presented with the Customer Service award. TIMBER MART members also took three out of four prizes in the retail category, while the award for Building Supply Centre (Mini-Box) went to Ladysmith Home Hardware in Ladysmith, B.C.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — In anticipation of an opioid-related civil lawsuit from the federal government, Walmart has filed a suit of its own against the feds. According to the Wall Street Journal, Walmart is claiming that the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration are trying to make the retailer, particular its 5,000-plus pharmacies, a "scapegoat" for the opioid crisis in that country. Walmart says it is being blamed for filling problematic prescriptions, even though the doctors who wrote them were practicing legally.

STELLARTON, N.S. — Analysts are noting that Sobeys will likely follow Loblaw and Metro in demanding higher fees from suppliers, raising concerns the move would drive competition down and prices up. Loblaw wrote to suppliers last week saying that its business has become “more challenging and costly to operate” and that it will charge more to carry products beginning in January.


TORONTO — The Canadian Hardware & Housewares Manufacturers Association is hosting a series of online educational events every Tuesday and Thursday in November. Topics range from cybersecurity to the post-pandemic economy and artificial intelligence. Click here for more info.

TUPELO, Miss. — BBC Capital, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Renin Holdings, has acquired Montreal-based Colonial Elegance. The company supplies and distributes building products, including barn doors, closet doors and stair parts, to big boxes in the U.S. and Canada.

MINNEAPOLIS — 3M Co. posted Q3 earnings of $1.4 billion, down from $1.6 billion last year. Strong sales in the health care segment, which grew by 25 percent, partially offset the decline. Revenues increased to $8.35 billion, compared to $8 billion a year ago.

LIVONIA, Mich. — Masco Corp. reported that Q3 sales rose 16 percent to $2 billion. Operating profit for the quarter increased 47 percent to $424 million; adjusted operating profit increased 43 percent to $425 million.

CLEVELAND — Sherwin-Williams reported Q3 earnings of $705.8 billion or $7.66 per share, $0.39 higher than estimates. Comparable sales in Canada and the U.S. rose by 3.1 percent for the quarter.


Sales of existing U.S. homes rose by 9.4 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million units. On an annual basis, sales were up by 20.9 percent. September’s pace is the strongest since 2006. (National Association of Realtors)

U.S. housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.42 million in September, up 1.9 percent from August’s activity. The growth was driven by an 8.5 percent rise in single-family starts, particularly in the Northeast, as multi-family starts declined. (U.S. Census Bureau)


Canadians are planning to spend about 18 percent less than usual during this holiday season, according to the 2020 Holiday Retail Outlook report from Deloitte. Online shopping, however, is “gaining traction at an exponential speed,” with Amazon standing to gain the lion’s share. About one in three consumers (35 percent) plan to reduce overall expenditures for the season while increasing spending at restaurants and cannabis stores.


“We are proud to collaborate with the LivABLE Conference Environment on the creation of barrier-free living and accessibility in residential homes. It’s important that, as Canadians, we are part of the global conversation around ways we can improve residential design and make a lasting impact within our industry.”
—Home Hardware President and CEO Kevin Macnab on his company’s sponsorship of a forum dealing with better accessibility, living in place and wellness in residential design.



Classified Ads

What Do We Do?

We provide retainer-based talent recruitment services for hardware and housewares retailers and their suppliers throughout North America and the Caribbean. We also provide individual, tailored outplacement services for displaced employees.

Career Opportunities Available!

Looking to kick start your career? Check out these excellent positions with both notable and entrepreneurial employers on the Jobs page of our web site,

  • Director, National Accounts – US (remote)
  • Key Accounts Manager – Ontario
  • Inventory Analyst (Chicagoland)

Recently completed searches:

  • Technical Sales Representative
  • Director, Marketing
  • Senior Director, Operations

For a confidential exchange of information, call Wolf at 888-848-3006 or email him at Wolf Gugler Executive Search, offices in Canada and the US.
(All applicants are considered for employment without attention to race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status)

Sales Representative Alberta

Regal Ideas, the leading manufacturer of innovative Aluminum railings and outdoor living products requires a seasoned professional sales representative to manage our successful Alberta territory. The winning candidate will have a proven track record of managing a distribution network of Retail and Distribution customers in the Building Materials industry in Alberta.

Strong leadership and motivational capabilities are key. Must be able to work collaboratively with Management team and be able to execute corporate mandates and business plans to achieve goals.

Send resume and salary expectations to  Only successful candidates will be contacted. University education an asset but not a requirement. 

Can do attitude is what we are looking for!


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



Privacy Policy |

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

Michael McLarney — President—
Geoff McLarney — Assistant Editor—

David Chestnut — VP & Publisher—
Michelle Porter— Marketing & Events Manager—
Accounting —

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: $455
4-6 Subscribers: $615
7-10: Subscribers: $750
After initial 10 subscribers, blocks of 10 are $285.
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.