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September 9, 2019 | Volume xxv, #33


  • Ideas and innovations abound at international lawn and garden show
  • Canadian Tire’s Party City acquisition takes Triangle Rewards to the next level
  • Digital design team helps dealers develop and deliver an online presence
  • Giant Tiger’s new head office will support its aggressive expansion strategy

PLUS: VP promotion at Home Hardware, Castle announces newest member, Lowe’s Canada’s Heroes campaign, U.S. retailers brace for Hurricane Dorian, Walmart Canada extends online grocery delivery, Globe Union buys Mexican company, Claude Dagenais remembered and more!

Ideas and innovations abound at international lawn and garden show

COLOGNE, Germany — spoga+gafa, the world’s largest trade show for gardening, outdoor furniture, equestrian and barbecues, was held last week in Cologne, Germany. The historic city’s fair complex alongside the Rhine drew 40,000 people domestically and from abroad. It featured the latest trends in outdoor living, furniture and tools, urban gardening and grilling, spread over an incredible 2.5 million square feet of exhibition space.

The show, which also included a smaller segment for equestrian products and accessories, spanned almost a dozen buildings, plus outdoor spaces that accommodate barbecue manufacturers busily grilling everything from Bratwurst and beef tenderloin to pizza and, well, more sausages.

Walking the show, one was confronted with aisle after aisle of patio furniture, gardening supplies, seeds and live goods, outdoor power equipment, pet products and landscape materials. There was no shortage of new products from vendors in every category—many seeking distribution in North America.

A major theme of this year’s show was urban gardening, the concept of providing products and garden strategies that take into consideration limited land and smaller homes. Innovations included a patio set in a box, outdoor furniture sized for children and products for creating “living walls” of plants. Two entire halls were devoted to barbecues and grilling accessories.

Another building featured the latest offerings in lawn and garden furniture from Chinese manufacturers. Elaine Hu, of Yongkang Kingmax Outdoor Product Co., echoed the opinion of other Chinese suppliers when she said that spoga+gafa is the most important show in the world for her category. Her company brings a representative range of camping and outdoor products and she is able to meet with her customers from all over the world.

Buyers from key retail groups found the same value in attending. Svetla Vaseva, purchasing manager for Megadom, a chain of seven stores in Bulgaria, has been coming to the show without fail for years. She said the show provides an important point of contact to reaffirm relationships with existing suppliers and find new products.

Canadians turned out, but not in significant numbers. One exception, however, was the barbecue category. Three major Canadian-based suppliers all had large booths: Napoleon, Broil King and Danson (with its Grill Boss and Louisiana Grill brands).

Nathan Wheeler, director of European sales for Waterloo, Ontario-based Broil King, said spoga+gafa is “the most important show in Europe.” One building away, Chris Schroeter, co-CEO of Napoleon, in Barrie, Ont., had a large contingent of salespeople at his booth, many sporting the Canadian flag on their shirts. He and his team were presenting the latest models, many already launched in Canada, which is, he said, ahead of the European market when it comes to barbecues in most instances.

Schroeter shared the consensus of both vendors and buyers interviewed in Germany last week. There was a multitude of new offerings and customers here, all good reasons for any company in the seasonal category to be at spoga+gafa.

Canadian Tire’s Party City acquisition takes Triangle Rewards to the next level

TORONTO — Canadian Tire Corp.’s decision to acquire Party City marked a key turning point for the growth of Canadian Tire’s Triangle Rewards program, executives confirmed in a conference call with analysts last month.

“You’ve caught us,” EVP Allan MacDonald said in response to a question from a Scotiabank analyst who noted the overlap between Triangle Rewards data and Party City’s client profile. MacDonald said the Party City deal was a milestone in Triangle’s material impact on the company’s strategic direction.

MacDonald hearkened back to CEO Stephen Wetmore’s remarks at Canadian Tire’s May AGM that the creation of Triangle was “the most strategic thing” the company has done under his leadership.

“And that was at the time, I think, for the most part interpreted as a rebranding exercise of the Canadian Tire Money program and really just an extension of the loyalty program,” MacDonald added. “And, in fact, what we were trying to do was create an umbrella brand that ... allowed all of our individual banners and our consumer brands to maintain their unique identity.”

MacDonald noted that the acquisition makes demographic sense based on the data Canadian Tire has collected. “Party City customers skew younger and spend 60% more at Canadian Tire than our average Triangle Rewards member each year,” he said.

“Party City is going to make Triangle Rewards more attractive to customer segments that are, frankly, very interesting to us, like young families and millennials,” he said.

Digital design team helps dealers develop and deliver an online presence

WATERLOO, Ont. — Whether it’s buying better, selling smarter, managing staff productively or wrestling with financials, dealers have to be good at a lot of things to succeed. Online smarts is often not one of those things, however. That’s why outside sources for this kind of expertise are so valuable.

Take Dan and Monica Reid, of Emerge2. The Waterloo, Ont.-based pair lead a team of tech and content providers that is focused on helping home improvement retailers. “We’re providing support for dealers online so they can continue to do what they’re good at,” says Dan.

Dealers are good at creating a relationship with their customers face to face, one on one. But those customers are engaged in an online community, one that many dealers have been slow to pursue, even as the big retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot have made these online efforts a priority.

Dan says there are ways to compete against these large retailers. “You do it by differentiating yourself.” But communicating those differences is no longer restricted to those in-store encounters. “Good service doesn’t always translate into good marketing.”

That’s where Emerge2 comes in. It offers back-office tech and marketing support to help dealers improve—or get started—on their web development. A big part of what Dan and Monica and their team do is help dealers tell their stories, working with dealer-members in various buying groups in Canada, along with a growing base of independent customers in the U.S. They are even included in the services area of Orgill’s dealer markets twice a year.

According to Dan, Emerge2 looks for ways to ensure a dealer offers value every time they send an email. That means a focus on increasing engagement with existing customers. The payoff is going to be much higher than trying to convert new customers. “The spend can be 50% to 60% more.”

He calls it a “happy marriage” of marketing and technology. “We’ve become strong advocates for these dealers to help them compete against those larger retailers.”

Giant Tiger’s new head office will support its aggressive expansion strategy

OTTAWA — Discount retailer Giant Tiger Stores Limited officially broke ground on a new headquarters and flagship store in Ottawa back in June. The company anticipates full construction starting this fall. The new store will open in fall 2020 and the office will be open by mid-winter of 2021.

The discount department store chain is known for stocking affordable home and family fashions—including a growing assortment of hardlines—plus groceries and everyday necessities at low prices. The new facility will support Giant Tiger’s growth strategy, which commits to opening 10 to 12 stores per year across Canada.

“Our new home office and flagship store on Walkley Road represent an investment in our future and will help us meet the needs of our expanding store count, while delivering even better value to our customers, vendors, and franchisees,” said Thomas Haig, president and COO at Giant Tiger.

The new head office will span some 173,800 square feet, featuring a modern, four-storey building built to LEED specifications. Construction will feature lots of glass, with plenty of light and open spaces that will include a central atrium. All workstations and meeting rooms will be equipped with the latest technology.

And it’s being built to accommodate the retailer’s anticipated growth. To keep up with that growth, Giant Tiger anticipates the employee count at its head office to grow from 400 to 700 over the next decade. In addition, the company recently moved its distribution centre from Walkley Road to a new facility in Johnstown, Ont.

The privately held company has more than 250 locations across Canada and employs approximately 9,000. Most recently, it opened an 18,130-square-foot store in Kingston, Ont., on August 24. And one month earlier, a store was opened in Halifax. 

People on the Move

At Home Hardware, Rob Wallace has been appointed to the position of vice-president, marketing. He was most recently senior director, marketing. In his new role, Wallace will be responsible for the company’s marketing strategy, leading a team to execute programs that will build brand awareness, enhance Home Hardware’s reputation and drive sales for the company. 



...that the 2019-2020 Hardlines Retail Report provides valuable forecasts for the industry for 2019 and 2020, including analysis of the strategies and performance of home improvement retailing’s top players—Home Depot Canada, Lowe’s Canada, Home Hardware and Canadian Tire Retail? With 170 PowerPoint slides and dozens of charts, graphs and photographs, it’s available now at a special rate for Hardlines Subscribers.
(For more info, click here!)



MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Castle Building Centres announced this month that its newest member dealer is Northwest Building Supplies in Ear Falls, Ont. Ricky and Krista Vincent started the business to service the LBM and hardware needs of the community, located a little less than 150 kilometres from the boundary with Manitoba.

BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — Lowe’s Canada is reprising its Heroes campaign this month. As part of this campaign, every Lowe’s, RONA and Reno-Depot corporate store in the country has chosen to support the mission or a project of a local non-profit organization or public school⁠—a hero in its community. Throughout the month, customers will be able to donate at checkout to support their local Hero organization. Lowe’s Canada will match 50% of all customer donations up to $2,000 per store.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Big box retailers in the U.S. were bracing late last week for Hurricane Dorian, as it moved up the U.S. East Coast from the Caribbean. Both Lowe’s and Home Depot have mobilized command centres to deal with the storm. Lowe’s warehouses in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida will rush supplies to Florida over the weekend to help customers prepare. The company has already shipped more than 800 truckloads of supplies to its coastal markets.

TORONTO — Hudson’s Bay Co. has reached an agreement for the sale of its Lord & Taylor banner to Le Tote, a San Francisco-based clothing rental subscription business. Under the terms of the deal, Le Tote will pay $100 million for ownership of the Lord & Taylor brand and inventory and control of its 38 stores, while HBC will retain title to the real estate and a minority equity stake in the business.

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. —Walmart Canada has extended its online grocery delivery service to the Montreal area, meaning the service is now available in markets in every province. Customers place orders on Walmart’s website or the Walmart Grocery app and can receive their purchases at home for a fee of $9.97 on orders of $50 or more.


WOODRIDGE, Ill. — Globe Union Industrial Corp. announced it is expanding its manufacturing capacity with the purchase of Namce, which is based in Mexico’s Coahuila state and produces vitreous china. Namce’s current management team will be retained, reporting to Globe Union’s North American leadership. 

SELBYVILLE, Del. — A new study says sales of leaf blowers in Canada are likely to exceed US$250 million in 2025 as the lawn care industry grows. Global Market Insights Inc. says the retirement of the baby boomer generation will be a boon to the garden equipment segment. Some three-quarters of Canadians have a lawn at home.


Claude Dagenais, former director of sales at AQMAT, passed away on August 21, at the age of 78. From 1985 until his retirement in 2015, Dagenais sold advertising and sponsorships on behalf of the Quebec association for the retail home improvement industry. He leaves behind his wife, Monique Lefebvre Dagenais, and mother, Georgette René Dagenais, as well as his children Josée (Raúl) and Francis (Janie), and his grandchildren Maude, Justin and Tristan.


The federal government has revealed details of the $1.25 billion incentive program for first-time home buyers announced in this year’s budget. First-time buyers with household incomes of less than $120,000 per year can now save some $280 each month on a $500,000 home, with no increase to their down payment. The program works as a shared equity between the buyer and the government through the latter’s mortgage insurers, including CMHC. (CMHC)


After hurricanes hit, specially trained Lowe’s associates travel to devastated areas as members of staff relief teams, providing additional customer support and backup for their colleagues while they tend to their own families and homes.


“Ottawa will always be home for Giant Tiger. We opened our first store in the ByWard Market in 1961, and our headquarters have been here on Walkley Road since 1996.”
Thomas Haig, president and COO of Giant Tiger Stores, on the groundbreaking for a new head office and flagship store earlier this year.



We are very pleased to announce Michelle Gillingham has joined Rheem in the role of Retail Sales Manager effective immediately.

Michelle is a passionate sales leader who joins Rheem after 19+ years working with both Positec and Bosch. She is highly skilled at navigating the Canadian retail landscape having driven various strategic sales initiatives.

We look forward to having Michelle on the Rheem team and we are confident that her retail channel experience, expertise & outstanding sales skills will drive further success for Rheem.

Classified Ads


 Experienced Store Manager required for large building centre with over 100 employees in Selwyn (Peterborough, On.). Please refer to www.chemonghomehardware.ca for full details. 

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




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