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September 12, 2022 | Volume xxviii, #34


  • Marianne Thompson appointed chief commercial officer at Home Hardware
  • RONA’s Quebec City buying event is only one part of a three-pronged strategy
  • CertainTeed Canada names Julie Bonamy Racine as its first-ever female CEO

PLUS: Home Hardware and FlipGive, leadership shakeup at Lowe’s in the U.S., Keeling assumes his new role at Castle, Lowe’s Canada donates to SickKids, Jacques Roy’s 50 years of service, Home Hardware and Tree Canada, Herb Kohler Jr. dies, registration opens for National Hardware Show, U.S. construction, and more!

Marianne Thompson appointed chief commercial officer at Home Hardware

At Home Hardware Stores Ltd. Marianne Thompson has been appointed to the role of chief commercial officer. The position takes effect September 12.

In this newly created role, Thompson will be responsible for Home Hardware’s overall commercial strategy, which will emphasize driving business growth and expanding market share. She assumes her additional role’s duties in addition to her current responsibilities as chief merchandising officer, a position she assumed in March of this year. That means Thompson will keep her merchandising portfolio, with oversight of marketing, supply chain, and retail operations added in.

Prior to joining Home Hardware in 2019, Thompson was SVP of North American sales at JELD-WEN Windows and Doors. She will continue to report in to Kevin Macnab, Home Hardware’s president and CEO.

“With over 30 years’ experience in the home improvement industry, Marianne Thompson has the strategic vision and leadership skills needed to drive continued results for Home Hardware and the success of this great Canadian retailer,” said Macnab. “Marianne is a transformative leader who brings passion, creativity, and heart to everything she does.”

Thompson now has a number of the company’s officers reporting directly to her. They are John Dyksterhuis, chief supply chain officer; Rob Wallace, chief retail operations officer; and Laura Baker, chief marketing officer.

Her senior merchandising team will continue to report to her as well. They are Rob Szekszer, vice president, merchandise—hardlines; Carol Crystal, vice president, merchandise—LBM; Meriyem Kaf, director, merchandise strategy and execution; and Colin Lalonde, director of merchandise services.

As president and CEO, Macnab will continue to oversee finance, human resources, IT, legal, and corporate records. Besides Thompson, other people reporting to him Macnab are Sean MacCormack, chief financial officer; Scott Bryant, chief human resources officer; Gino Gualtieri, chief information officer; William Zeyl, chief legal officer and corporate secretary; and Dianne McTavish, vice president of corporate records.


RONA’s Quebec City buying event is only one part of a three-pronged strategy

Lowe’s Canada brought its affiliate dealers in from different parts of the country to participate in a new type of buying show this past weekend. The show has a new name—and not one but two new locations.

Called RONA Connexia, the new events are a complete reinvention of the traditional RONA Buying Show, Lowe’s Canada says. They are exclusively dedicated to RONA affiliate dealers.

RONA Connexia is divided into three interconnected activities spread throughout the fall. It kicked off in person last Wednesday in Quebec City and ran until Friday, Sept. 9. The next stage is from Sept. 14 to 16 in Vancouver. These two events, or rallies, will give the independent RONA dealers a chance to get face-to-face with preferred vendors.

The last live event was in 2019, when 300 RONA and Ace dealer-owners gathered at the Palais des congrès de Montréal (shown here). Since then, Lowe’s Canada has divested itself of the Ace business, focusing its wholesale distribution business solely on its RONA affiliate dealers.

This year, the in-person events in Quebec City and Vancouver aim to help RONA head office to “reconnect” with RONA dealers. “The objective of those events is to bring our network together and talk about our recent accomplishments and what’s coming for our RONA affiliated dealers,” a Lowe’s Canada spokesperson told Hardlines.

“Most of our RONA affiliated dealers will be present, which demonstrates the strength of our network.” RONA has more than 200 affiliated dealers across the country.

The new locations were part of an effort to shake things up a bit and freshen up the experience for the dealers. “After a two-year pause, we wanted an inspiring location, ideal to connect and discuss. That’s why Quebec City and Vancouver were selected this year.”

The third aspect of the combined events is a showcase that will be held in October and will take place at the Lowe’s Canada Planogram Centre in Boucherville, Que., which is near the Lowe’s Canada head office on Montreal’s south shore. All 2023 seasonal products will be presented during this face-to-face event.

And finally, RONA will host an online buying event, called “The Shopping Zone.” It will run from Oct. 31 to Dec. 6.

Will the format be repeated next year, with new locations? The company said it did not have any details for next year’s event or events.


CertainTeed Canada names Julie Bonamy Racine as its first-ever female CEO

The appointment of CertainTeed Canada’s first female CEO is the latest in a series of moves by parent company Saint-Gobain to strengthen its Canadian operations.

Last week, the company announced the appointment of Julie Bonamy Racine as CEO of CertainTeed Canada Inc., its Canadian building products subsidiary. Bonamy is CertainTeed Canada’s first female chief executive and succeeds Richard Juggery, who led the company for four years before being named CEO of Saint-Gobain Benelux in July.

Bonamy comes to her role in Canada with a strong international CV. In fact, her schooling pointed in that direction early on. She is a graduate of the Paris Institute of Political Studies and the National School of Public Administration, which led to a role as a public servant. That included a stint as an advisor for the budget and digital sector for the Office of the French Minister for the Economy.

She joined Saint-Gobain in 2017 in Paris as group vice president, strategy and planning. She eventually moved up to serve as CEO of Saint-Gobain Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Saint-Gobain acquired Malvern, Penn.-based CertainTeed in 1970. In Canada, Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed have 27 manufacturing locations and employ more than 2,200 people nationwide. Bonamy’s appointment as CEO comes after the company has taken several steps this year to strengthen both its business and sustainability profile in Canada.

Saint-Gobain is considered one of the largest building materials companies in the world. It operates in 76 countries, has 167,000 employees, and achieved sales of €44.2 billion (CAD $58 billion) in 2021. In July it finalized its acquisition of Kaycan, a family-owned manufacturer and distributor of exterior building materials, in a deal that was valued at $1.2 billion.

A month earlier, the company announced plans to invest $91 million to upgrade equipment at its CertainTeed Montreal wallboard manufacturing facility. Those upgrades include technology to reduce the plant’s carbon emissions by up to 44,000 tonnes per year, creating the first zero-carbon drywall plant in North America. The company says the upgrades will also increase the facility’s production capacity by up to 40 percent.

In March, the company announced it would install heat recovery technology at its CertainTeed gypsum manufacturing site in Vancouver, which is expected to reduce the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent and improve its energy efficiency.

Earlier this year, Saint-Gobain announced a multi-faceted partnership with Habitat for Humanity Canada to build affordable housing in several communities where the company operates. It will donate construction materials and cash to Habitat for Humanity projects across the country.



People on the Move

At the beginning of this month, Doug Keeling assumed his previously announced position as director of business development for Castle Building Centres Group. He had served as business development manager for Ontario since he joined Castle in 2016. Keeling took over from Bruce Holman, who retired from the role earlier this summer after nearly two decades in the industry.


Garant has announced the appointment of Jonathan Cole as vice‐president of sales and customer service. He was the company's national accounts manager from 2008 to 2012, returned to Garant in 2014 as sales manager and was then promoted to director in 2018.


... that the Hardlines Conference is barely a month away? That’s right, tickets are going fast for the biggest information and networking event of the season. Registration is open online for the 26th annual Hardlines Conference, Oct. 18 and 19 at the Queen’s Landing Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. Sign up now as tickets are limited for this year’s event!


Home Hardware Stores Ltd. has partnered with shopping rewards app FlipGive to launch the Play More Matching Grant. Building on the past spring’s $25,000 investment in young athletes, the program will distribute another $50,000 to local teams. “Home Hardware's dealer-owners have a long-standing history of supporting local youth-sport in the communities they serve,” CEO and president Kevin Macnab said in a release.

Through the efforts of the Children’s Miracle Network and Opération Enfant Soleil fundraising campaign, initiated back in April, Lowe’s Canada was able to donate $170,000 to the SickKids Foundation. The donation was the result of the participation of 53 RONA and Lowe’s stores that chose to support the campaign. The SickKids Foundation supports an important network of foundations, research, and hospitals whose mission is to treat sick children. The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto is the largest children’s hospital in Canada. 

J.R. Roy Inc. TIMBER MART in Saint-Léon-de-Standon, Que., celebrated last month Jacques Roy’s 50 years of service to the business. The management of neighbouring Émile Bilodeau & Fils Ltée TIMBER MART said this in a congratulatory message: “It is a privilege to have a Mr. Jacques in your company: too bad for the others, it’s us who have him!”

Crest Hardware & Urban Garden Center, in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighbourhood, attracts animal lovers. Franklin, its resident potbellied pig, is a big reason for that. “People like to shop where they feel welcome,” Joe Franquinha, co-owner of the store with his wife Liza, told The New York Times. Franklin, he adds, has “got his own weird little cult following of customers that love to come in and check in on him or ask and see how he’s doing.”

Home Hardware Stores Ltd. this month is celebrating three decades of its partnership with Tree Canada. To mark the occasion, 30 Home Hardware dealer-owners across the country are participating in this year's “Home Grown: 30 years of planting at Home” campaign.

A leadership shakeup at Lowe’s Cos. in Mooresville, N.C., first reported by CNBC, has resulted in the departure of the company’s chief marketing officer, Marisa Thalberg. The marketing team now reports to Bill Boltz, executive vice president of merchandising, the network reports. Thalberg started at Lowe’s in February 2020. She had reported directly to CEO Marvin Ellison. In other changes at Lowe’s, says CNBC, Tony Hurst, the senior vice president who oversees Lowe’s pro business, will now report to Joe McFarland, Lowe’s executive vice president of stores. He previously reported directly to Ellison. Hurst was president of Lowe’s Canada for two years in 2020 and 2021. Early in January, Tony Cioffi was moved up to replace Hurst in Canada, though he still reported into Hurst in the latter’s new role in Mooresville. Cioffi still reports into Hurst after the changes, Lowe’s Canada told Hardlines.


Registration is now open for the 2023 National Hardware Show. Register before Sept. 30 for free admission, subject to approval based on registration qualifications. NHS will occupy the South Hall and Bronze Lots at the Las Vegas Convention Center from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, 2023. Pack your walking shoes, as the show shares a badge that gains access to four others: the NAHB International Builders' Show (IBS), NKBA's Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), International Surface Event, and Las Vegas Market (Winter) show.


Investment in U.S. construction projects fell by 0.4 percent in July, following a 0.5 percent decline in June. Residential construction spending was down by 1.5 percent, with investment in the single-family segment tumbling by four percent. Rising mortgage rates and elevated housing prices both contributed to cooling demand from prospective buyers. (U.S. Commerce Dept.)


“I am delighted to welcome Marianne Thompson to the role of chief commercial officer. Home Hardware is on an exciting journey with a bright future, and I am confident Marianne will continue to bring strategic leadership and strong business acumen as we move forward.”
—Christine Hand, chair of the board of Home Hardware Stores Ltd., on the promotion of Marianne Thompson to a new role as chief commercial officer.


Herb Kohler Jr. died last weekend at the age of 83. The third generation of his family to head up the Kohler plumbing business, he was CEO for more than 40 years before serving as executive chairman. During his time at the helm, Kohler focused on expanding design options, emulating the auto industry’s offering of deluxe add-ons.


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