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November 9, 2020 | Volume xxvi, #42


  • Orgill to reprise virtual show in February, roll out hybrid events in 2021
  • Lowe’s Canada senior merchants share vision, new policies with vendors
  • ABSDA cancels spring show as pandemic uncertainty persists
  • Dealers: access this contact tracing app to track your customers

PLUS: Canadian Tire’s 3Q sales strong, Castle adds Quebec members, Home Depot Canada suffers data breach, Lowe’s in the U.S. adds more home products, Walmart is suing, Taiga creates Community Fund, Tando has new technology for online tool, home sales in the GTA and more!

Orgill to reprise virtual show in February, roll out hybrid events in 2021

MEMPHIS — Orgill Inc. plans to replace its in-person 2021 Spring Dealer Market in favour of what it calls a more dynamic and flexible approach to how it connects with its dealer customers and vendor partners. The show usually takes place in the third week of February.

Orgill will offer a combination of events, including physical shows like its traditional Dealer Markets, plus online-only buying events like its recent Orgill e-Volution event that was held August 24 to September 4. In future, the giant hardware wholesaler plans to round these out with virtual educational events and blended shows that merge online technology with a physical event.

“Just like the retailers we serve, this year taught us a lot about how to be agile and how to push outside our comfort zones to meet the needs of our customers,” says Boyden Moore, Orgill president and CEO. “We believe that live shows, online buying events and educational conferences should not exist in a vacuum—they should all work together in how we do business in the future.”

“The days of a stand-alone physical event are a thing of the past,” says Greg Stine, Orgill’s executive vice president of marketing and communications. “We believe that this expanded strategy will provide a platform of support for our dealers, allowing them to efficiently buy products and gain knowledge that will help them grow and strengthen their businesses.”

He adds that the company’s virtual event last summer helped his team realize that, with technology, Orgill could reach more customers than even a live event, “and offer unique and richer experiences to everyone who participates in them.”

The online event attracted nearly 10,000 retailers who interacted with the thousands of vendors and service providers participating in the show. Orgill says the event set records for retailer participation and set sales records for the company.

In addition to harnessing the best elements online and live shows offer, Orgill also looks to create a consistent cadence for these events throughout the year that allows more retailers to participate and is also more conducive to buying cycles.

Orgill plans to hold its first Online Buying Event of 2021 from February 8 to 19, with a pre-event planning period from February 1 to 7. Orgill will unveil a full schedule of online, in-person and hybrid events for the year in early 2021. The company still has its sights set on hosting a live Fall Dealer Market in Chicago in August 2021.

Lowe’s Canada senior merchants share vision, new policies with vendors

SCARBOROUGH, Ont. — A recent meeting by Lowe’s Canada executives before a virtual group of vendors was hosted recently by the Canadian Hardware and Housewares Manufacturers Association (CHHMA).

The meeting was welcomed by the suppliers, especially given the number of new faces at the retailer’s head office. Most notably, Lowe’s Canada President Tony Hurst (shown here), in place since the beginning of the year, made his first general appearance before the Canadian supplier base. Joining Hurst were Senior Vice President of Merchandising Chris West, along with Merchandising Vice Presidents Marc Gingras (building products), Oliver Horton (hardlines and seasonal) and Charles Valois (home décor).

The meeting was welcomed by Lowe’s Canada as a way to introduce the new Lowe’s Canada merchandising team’s leadership. It was restricted to vendors and manufacturers and closed to the media—including Hardlines. (We share here some top-line details, courtesy of our industry moles and some friendly fact-checking with Lowe’s Canada. —Your Diligent Editor)

Hurst and his team shared Lowe’s Canada’s vision of its interaction with the vendor community, aimed at developing relationships that are meaningful and ambitious.

The execs talked about a “reset” of vendor partnerships that would create genuine collaboration. This will require exploring new ways to connect, with more transparency and accessibility, while staying open to feedback from the vendors themselves.

The senior merchants said they had listened to the feedback from the CHHMA and its member suppliers. Acknowledging that there were areas in which they could make improvements, the team committed to simplifying their business processes to ease vendor interaction. That will reportedly include the formation of a vendor advisory board.

Vendors can also count on more harmonization of back-end programs. While the Lowe’s Canada team would not put a firm date on this process, they offered assurances that they are committed to this goal long-term.

The group also reaffirmed their stance regarding Canadian vendors, that is, when selection criteria are met, “We will always favour domestic vendors,” they were quoted as saying—a policy that they recognize has positive advantages for customers and the business overall. That support extends to the “Well made here” program, an initiative to identify and promote products made domestically.


ABSDA cancels spring show as pandemic uncertainty persists

MONCTON — Plans to hold the 2021 ABSDA Building Supply Expo as an in-person event have been cancelled, according to the show’s organizer, the Atlantic Building Supply Dealers Association.

The ABSDA board made the decision and sent out a release to the industry, signed by the association’s president, Denis Melanson, at the end of October. The show, which has been running since 1955, moved to Halifax from Moncton in 2018. It was cancelled due to the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 edition of the show was held March 11 to 12 at the Halifax Convention Centre. Already, people were expressing concerns about the rise of the pandemic and the show ended just one day before Canada began locking down in earnest. Nevertheless, the event managed to draw dealers from some 250 locations throughout Atlantic Canada.

According to Melanson, “Our 2020 Expo was a tremendous success, laying the groundwork for the future. The decision to pull back on the 2021 in-person event was arrived after many discussions with members, board deliberations and consulting with officials at the Halifax Convention Centre.”
As Melanson and his team tried to envision what the effects of the pandemic might look like five months out, safety of attendees had to be taken into consideration. The association is exploring options for connecting suppliers and dealers in 2021 and says it will announce further plans in the near future. 

Dealers: access this contact tracing app to track your customers

PICKERING, Ont. — A new platform that tracks customers and visitors to enable contact tracing is being made available at no charge.

CANATRACE offers a secure, bilingual method for businesses to collect patron information per city guidelines across Canada. It’s the brainchild of Groundlevel Insights, a company that specializes in consumer location intelligence.

Hardlines has partnered with CANATRACE to make this available to dealers and businesses in the hardware and home improvement industry. The platform helps businesses support healthy environments, whether it's a store, distribution centre, gym, school, museum or restaurant.

Patrons only have to scan a QR code posted at the front of the establishment. It takes them to a custom-designed landing page of for that business. They enter their contact info and mandatory contract tracing and screening information. A screen pops up on the patron's phone showing a green check mark, which signals to the proprietor or host that the individual is ready to enter the premises.

If a store owner gets notified that someone in their establishment has been infected, they simply contact CANATRACE, which in turn will provide the local health authorities with a list of all customers that may have been exposed.

(Any company wishing to try this out can click here to register.)


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TORONTO — Canadian Tire Corp. had a strong third quarter, with consolidated retail sales up by 13.1 percent. Excluding the petroleum business, consolidated retail sales were up 19.1 percent over the same period last year. As in the second quarter, Canadian Tire delivered strong same-store sales growth, up almost 19 percent, thanks in large part to its online business. The company’s Canadian Tire Retail division led the surge, with 25.1 percent comp sales growth. Sales of private-label products were up 28 percent. Online sales have reached $1 billion year to date, a 211 percent increase. Once again, CTR led the way, with 178 percent growth.

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Castle Building Centres has added two new members in Quebec. Matériaux M.B. Inc. is in Preissac, in the province’s Abitibi region. Under owners Bertrand Bolduc and his daughter Manon, the store provides lumber, building materials and hardware to local contractors and consumers. D.F. Rouleau, in the village of Les Hauteurs in the province’s Bas-Saint-Laurent region, has also signed. Owner Valérie Potvin took over the store, which turns 100 this year, in 2014. Today, with her partner, Samuel Labonté, Potvin has built a business that provides not just hardware and building materials, but also groceries, under the Omni banner through Sobeys.

TORONTO — The Home Depot Canada suffered a data breach last week, as personal information, including some credit card details, were inadvertently emailed out to customers. The information sent out was in the form of confirmation emails for customers awaiting online orders. The emails got sent instead to hundreds of other Home Depot Canada customers by mistake. While such breaches are often the work of hackers or online predators, this appears to have been the result of human or system error, says the company.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — As the holiday season approaches, Lowe’s in the U.S. is positioning itself as the source for a broad range of home products that will fill the bill as gifts. To support the promotion, Lowe’s has expanded its assortments to feature playing and recreation products such as exercise bikes, electric scooters and trampolines, as well as putting a big focus on kitchenwares, home styling and décor.



BURNABY, B.C. — Pledging to support customers and organizations in need through difficult times, Taiga Building Products has created the Taiga Community Fund. The charity, says the building products distributor, has “the express purpose of giving back to the communities where we live and work. We recognize the tremendous effect that COVID-19 has had on our neighbours and families, so we created a fund worth $110,000 and asked our people to build a plan to support organizations in their backyard that could use some help.”

QUEBEC CITY — Tando, a brand of Derby Building Products, has rolled out a new technology within its free online tool, My Tando Home Creator. The tool lets homeowners and contractors design projects using Tando products, including its TandoStone composite stone and its cedar shingle replacement, Beach House Shake.


Home sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) were up year over year for the fourth month in a row. Sales through the Toronto area were up 25.1 percent compared to October 2019. Condo listings more than doubled, but sales were only up by 2.2 percent. The average selling price for all home types combined was $968,318, up 13.7 percent from a year earlier. (Toronto Regional Real Estate Board)

Total construction spending in the U.S. for September was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,414 billion, up 0.3 percent from August. Year-to-date spending for the first nine months is up 4.1 percent. (U.S. Census Bureau)


“These events certainly don’t take the place of face-to-face shows, but they do offer some things a live show can’t, like the ability to get a lot done in a short window of time and eliminating the need to leave your store to travel.”
—Jeff Curler, Orgill’s senior vice president of purchasing, on the hardware wholesaler’s plans to offer a series of virtual events tied in with live experiences in 2021.




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