"You may delay, but time will not." Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)

Lowe's Canada confirms Canadian opening dates

MOORESVILLE, NC - The first three Lowe's Canada stores, slated for opening in the second week of December, are right on schedule, according to chairman and CEO Robert Niblock, who met last week with Canadian business reporters at the company's 300-acre head office here. "We said we would open in the second half of 2007," said Niblock, brushing aside the suggestion that the company's entry into Canada had been slower than anticipated. But during a store tour later in the day, president and COO Larry Stone said that Lowe's "target was probably about a month earlier". The company chose the setting to announce that stores in Hamilton, Brampton and Brantford, ON will open the week of Dec. 10. If Don Stallings, who recently replaced Doug Robinson as president of Lowe's Canada, has his way, all three will open on the same day. Openings are typically on a Thursday in the U.S., which would make the date Dec. 13, 2007. (Those three won't be enough to beat Stallings' record, though. As regional vice-present for Lowe's a decade ago, he oversaw the opening of six stores in one day in Dallas.) Three more stores will open before Lowe's fiscal year end of Jan. 31, 2008: the previously announced location in northwest Toronto (Castlefield and Caledonia Rds.), plus two others in north Brampton and East Gwillimbury, about 30 minutes north of Toronto. The initial flurry will be followed by a seventh store opening in Maple, ON, although no official date has yet been announced for that location, and 18 more sites are in the pipeline. Beyond that, said Niblock, the company expects to open between eight and 15 stores annually for the next several years. The initial push beyond the Ontario market will be westward, and should happen within three to four years. At that point, the company will probably split its distribution between a third-party DC in Toronto and one or more other providers. Niblock and other executives at the meeting - including president and COO Larry Stone, executive v-p of business development Greg Bridgeford, and Stallings, who recently replaced Doug Robinson as president of Lowe's Canada - all stressed that Lowe's focus is on launching strong stores into the Canadian marketplace, rather than rolling out "red-hot" openings. During the store tour, Stone explained that while the initial stores will all have grand openings and will be supported by a heavy print and electronic media campaign, future stores may have soft openings a few months ahead of formal openings.

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RONA acquires three new stores in BC

BURNABY, BC - RONA inc. continues to increase its presence in British Columbia with the acquisition of Dick's Lumber. Dick's is a family-owned private company with three contractor-oriented stores in the Lower Mainland that generated more than $100 million in sales over the past 12 months. Dick's, founded in 1964 by Dick and Delma Alexander, is still operated by Delma, along with her children David and Karen. It comprises two 60,000-square-foot stores - one in Burnaby and the other one in Surrey - plus one 32,000-square-foot outlet in North Vancouver. Collectively, they have another 22 acres of yard space. The transaction has been finalized pending the usual conditions and regulatory approvals and will be financed through RONA's existing credit facilities. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2007. The Dick's Lumber acquisition follows the 2006 takeovers of Curtis Lumber and Mountain Building Supplies in British Columbia, plus acquisitions and the addition of 14 stores in the province over the past two years. RONA will now have 54 stores in B.C. and plans to keep opening both big-box and proximity stores there.

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Home Hardware launches commercial program

ST. JACOB'S, ON - Home Hardware rolled out new marketing support and advertising collateral for its line of professional supply products at its latest dealer market, held here last week. The program, which is managed by Jason Hamburger, includes flyers and employee training in both product knowledge and sales of the line, which ranges from janitorial supplies, paints and coatings to safety accessories. While the commercial pro assortment has been available for some time, "Home Hardware doesn't yet show up on the map," said Hamburger. It's a category that he says is full of opportunity, and estimates is worth about $14 billion in commercial cleaning products, $600 million in both safety and commercial paints, and $500 million in builder's hardware. Hamburger adds that Home Hardware stores are ideally suited to provide customers with these kinds of products, especially in rural markets. "A lot of times, small business owners will go into a Home Hardware for something else," he explains. "They might not be aware of the commercial lines we offer. This program will help dealers change that."

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Home Depot to shut down Landscape Supply business

ATLANTA - Home Depot is walking away from another of its specialty-store experiments. The Associated Press and Atlanta Journal-Constitution report that the home improvement retail giant will close its 11 Landscape Supply outlets, which cater primarily to professional and commercial customers. There are five Landscape Supply units in Atlanta and six in Dallas that employ 380 people, AP reports. They will close within the next two months. The closing of Landscape Supply is part of Home Depot's larger strategy to rededicate itself to its core retail business. To that end, the company recently completed the $8 billion sale of its HD Supply business unit to a group of investors. Home Depot's website states that it opened the first Landscape Supply outlets in 2002. The facilities, on five to seven acres, include a 12,000-square foot greenhouse, another 25,000 square feet of covered selling space, and 10,000 products.

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Hardlines Marketplace

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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

Atlantic Canada Dealer Development Manager Employment Opportunity

TIM-BR MARTS Ltd., Canada's largest dealer owned building materials buying co-operative, representing over $2 billion in annual purchases, $3.4 billion in retail sales and 600 locations, is seeking a Dealer Development Manager to provide support to our dealer network in Atlantic Canada. The successful candidate will be bilingual, have significant retail experience in the building supply industry and excellent communication, computer and organization skills. Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. Please email your resume and cover letter to jobs@timbrmart.ca. Please include your salary expectations in the cover letter and "Atlantic Dealer Development Manager" in the subject line of your email. All applications will be held in the strictest of confidence. TIM-BR MART is an equal opportunity employer. We thank all applicants for their interest, but only those selected for an interview will be contacted.


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