"I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new." Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

Pro Retail Services partners with Ace to expand banner

MONTREAL - Pro Retail Services has expanded its partnership with Ace Hardware Corp. to renew the Ace brand in Canada. While the banner has been nominally in Canada for some time, it has not gained the high profile here that it already enjoys elsewhere. Ace Hardware Corp., based in Oak Brook, IL, is a retailer-owned co-operative of more than 4,600 independent stores in 50 states and 60 countries. It has 14 U.S. distribution centres and has annual sales of about $13 billion. The enhanced partnership will allow independent retailers to leverage Ace's global buying power and highly successful retail model, according to Tony DiEmanuele, vice-president business, development and growth for Pro Retail Services. "When we were looking at finding the right banner for independents, we decided that Ace is an exceptional brand with an extremely successful model for global distribution," says DiEmanuele. Official news of the company's plan will be announced at the next Pro Retail Services Show, to be held here Oct. 3-4. At that time, Ace executives, including Murray Armstrong, president and general manager of Ace International, will share details of store supports, such as Ace's flyer program, and what private label lines will be available to Canadian dealers. While Ace will be offered as a stand-alone banner, it can also be co-bannered with other brands, as it has been historically done in Canada with a limited number of LBM partners. But DiEmanuele thinks that the Ace brand may work best on its own. "One of the lessons we have learned is that for Ace to be successful it has to look like an Ace, feel like an Ace and be an Ace," he explains. While Pro Retail Services has not yet made public how many Ace-bannered stores it would like to see in Canada over the next few years, the indications are that they are putting efforts behind building a strong brand that could grow nationally. "This brand really supports the independent," says DiEmanuele. "We'll show that to independent dealers, and they'll decide for themselves. After all, that's the beauty of being an independent retailer."

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TSC moves into Manitoba

LONDON, ON - TSC will open four new stores on Oct. 19, including a replacement for its flagship store located here, which will move about three blocks east of its current site. Two others new stores are close to Ottawa; one in Rockland, which is about 25 kilometres east of the capital and one in Kemptville, about a half hour's drive south of the city. The other store is in Sault Ste. Marie. According to TSC's COO Greg Hicks, the multiple same-day openings will be "a watermark event that's unprecedented in our company". But he adds that TSC is equally excited about its first store west of Ontario, a location in a Brandon, MB that will open in the last week of November. That store will be followed by more Western openings next year, although Hicks would not comment on how many stores TSC would like to open in the next year. Each of the new stores will include approximately 18,500 square feet of retail and yards that will run from between 4,500 square feet and one acre. The flagship London store will, however, turn over about 300 linear feet of space to a "retail lab" where vendors will set up and fine-tune product displays for TSC executives before their lines are rolled out into stores. The Rockland location has been converted from a former Food Basics grocery store and marks the first time the company has retrofitted an existing building. "We morphed our strategy a bit to fit into that store, which is about 10 feet wider than our norm," says Hicks. "It's part of a strategy that allows you to get into a market a little more easily." That location will differ also from the others in that it will serve a predominately Francophone market, and will have a bilingual staff, as well as outdoor and permanent signage in both English and French. The company is also developing a bilingual flyer for that market.

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Canadian Tire to open more stores and try new formats

TORONTO - Canadian Tire has identified over 100 underserviced markets that could accommodate one of its three retail concepts, and expects to open between 60 and 70 new stores next year. Speaking last week at a seminar for investors, company executives also said CTR would open four pilot stores of between 18,000 and 20,000 square feet. Each will contain a Mark's Work Wearhouse, a petroleum bar where possible, and will have assortments tailored to the local market. Locations and schedules for the openings have not yet been announced. CTR is also experimenting with full-sized Mark's stores as specialty departments in stores in Waterdown, ON and Dartmouth, NS that are expected to open later this fall. Canadian Tire says growth will also be fuelled through an expansion of both its PartSource automotive business - as reported last week in Hardlines - and its financial services portfolio. The company expectes these moves to result in store network growth of at least 5% over five years, and retail revenue growth of between 6% and 8% over the same period. Canadian Tire plans to spend between $2.6 billion and $2.7 billion from 2008 to 2012 to fund the initiatives.

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Acquisition, sales fuel 3Q growth for Richelieu

MONTREAL - Solid performances in Canada's major geographic markets helped push Richelieu's third-quarter sales to $111.9 million, an increase of 16.3%, and its strongest sales increase since the beginning of the year. Sales to manufacturers increased by 15.8% to $94.7 million, of which 5.0% came from internal growth and 10.8% from a spate of recent acquisitions. Sales to retailers, including renovation superstores, increased by $2.8 million, up by 19.2%. Canadian sales increased by 7.3%, spurred by internal growth. In the United States, the company's sales almost doubled, with 15.5% coming from internal growth and 76.4% from four acquisitions it closed in the past 12 months.

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Canadian Gypsum Company celebrates 100 years in Canada

MISSISSAUGA, ON - CGC Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of gypsum wallboard and other products, joint compound, ceiling tile and grid, is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a promotional partnership with NASCAR. Playing on the popularity of NASCAR with its customers, the company launched a "Rock on Tour", which includes a NASCAR show car that will stop at locations in major markets before it wraps up in November. So far, more than 8,000 Canadians have seen the CGC car tour. The company has also held celebratory events for more than 1,100 employees at its mines, plants, distribution centres and offices across the country, as well as an appreciation event for major customers near the site of its origins in the Bay of Fundy.

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Home Depot tests female-friendly format

ATLANTA - Home Depot continues to look for ways to counteract what is generally considered to be one of rival Lowe's primary competitive advantages: the appeal of its cleaner, brighter stores to female shoppers. This month, Home Depot plans to open a new store format it's calling Home Depot Design Center in Concord, CA, and Charlotte, NC. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that these stores will be roughly the same size as a conventional Home Depot warehouse, but will have lower ceilings, an earthier color palette, and have numerous "project design" areas where customers can get help from design consultants. Jason Feldman, the retailer's senior director of merchandising, told the newspaper that the format would be "more like a studio environment" than a warehouse home center. "Imagine a Home Depot designed by women," he said. Home Depot Design Centers - which are located a few miles from one of the retailer's warehouses - are targeting female customers primarily, and not contractors who might shop in its traditional stores. For example, the Home Depot Design Centers won't carry lumber and building materials, or heavy-duty power tools, the Journal-Constitution reports. Instead, they will feature an upscale furniture showroom that connects with Home Decorator Collections, Home Depot's catalogue business. Home Depot Design Centers will also include expanded home organization departments, and a broader assortment of kitchen and bath products. It will get away from selling bulk quantities of soil and mulch in its nursery department, favoring instead more pottery and plants.

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Since 1959, Canadian owned Mitten Inc. has been an industry leader in quality vinyl siding exterior home products. With branches across Canada serving the siding industry and retail lumberyards, we are currently seeking a Branch Manager for our Winnipeg location. Responsible for increasing market penetration, overseeing other sales professionals, administration and warehousing activities in your branch, you will ideally be an experienced, successful sales professional with supervisory and branch management experience in a related industry. Mitten provides a positive work environment with competitive compensation and benefits. If you would like to join a Canadian success story that believes in the value of its workforce, please send your resume stating salary expectations in confidence to: Ms. Connie Barnard, Human Resources Manager, 70 Curtis Avenue North, Paris, Ontario N3L 3T2 or fax: 519-442-3214 or email: connieb@mittenvinyl.com Mitten Inc. hires on the basis of merit and we encourage all qualified persons to apply however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. No telephone calls please. Deadline for submission of resumes is October 15, 2007.


National USA Sales Director

Colonial Elegance Inc., provides Balustrade, Doors and Millwork Specialties to many Home Improvement Retailers and Big Boxes in Canada and USA. The company is looking for a highly motivated result-driven National Sales Director, based in Montreal, to complement the present sales team. The successful candidate will be bilingual, have significant retail experience in the building supply industry and excellent communication and organization skills to manage our major USA customers and develop this specific market. Responsibilities: - Manage specific USA account relationships - Identify growth opportunities and facilitate plans to execute growth goals - New business development Qualifications: - A minimum of 5 years experience in the Home Improvement industry - Excellent ability to build relationships with dealers - Comfortable with travel in the USA - Motivated and exposure to national accounts. Prior experience in US market is desirable. - Strong analytical and presentation skills with a creative mind Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. All applications will be held in the strictest of confidence. Please email your resume to bnadeau@colonialelegance.com.  

Fast. Friendly. Convenient.

Our client is a major Winnipeg success story celebrating its 80th anniversary. McDiarmid Lumber is one of the largest home improvement, building materials and lumber companies in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Northern Ontario with 13 profitable urban and rural stores. Its vision is to take its stores to the next level by embracing best practices in merchandising and store development. McDiarmid is a fast-paced, entrepreneurial, family business and it has, in addition to its retail chain, diversified into other distribution channels, and manufacturing and construction businesses.


In this new position, reporting to the Head of the Retail Division, you will lead the merchandising role (not purchasing and supply chain) and develop the merchandising vision, programs and metrics. Your role will entail such areas as data analysis, assortment planning, development of "model" stores, implementation of branding and merchandising programs; and store layout, visuals and planograms. Merchandising is second nature to you. Your experience includes a sound understanding of data analysis, assortment planning, branding, store layout and visual merchandising. You have demonstrated, through your program management experience, leadership and teamwork in developing and implementing chain-wide merchandising initiatives. Are you ready to put your career into high gear? Do you have the right background, success stories, drive and ambition to measure up to this attractive opportunity?

Please call at 206-406-6224 or reply in confidence to: Larry Sowa Executive Search Consultant Human strategies Consulting, LLC humanstrategies@comcast.net Fax: 206-274-6221


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