HIR 29.02

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ISSUE 29.02 www.hirmagazine.com PM NO. 40008000 DECKING TRENDS THE ANNUAL SPECIAL REPORT Build Business Businesses Make Changes To Reduce Risk Manager's Mind The Future Of Work Calls For A New Kind Of Leader ALSO CANADA'S TOP RETAILERS Contractor Business Aging In Place Provides Sales Opportunities
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A KM Business Information Canada publication

ISSUE 29.02


Dante Piccinin


Michael Hughes


Joe Hornyak


Nienke Hinton


Dante Piccinin

Mike Hughes

Doris Holinaty


Brian Thibodeau


Dana Hill


D. Brian McKerchar


Catherine J. McKerchar


Kristyn Dougall

HOME IMPROVEMENT RETAILING is published 6 times yearly by KM Business Information Canada Ltd, 317 Adelaide Street West, Suite 910, Toronto, Ontario M5V 1P9, Canada. Telephone: (416) 644-8740, Fax: (416) 2039083, e-mail: enquiry@keymedia.com. Advertising and Editorial inquiries should be made to the above address. Yearly subscription rates: Canada: $80 plus HST*; U.S. and other: $115/yr. Single Copy prices: Canada: $15 plus HST* prepaid; U.S. and other: $30 prepaid. HOME IMPROVEMENT

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PUBLICATIONS MAIL PRODUCT SALES AGREEMENT NO. 40008000 *Harmonized Sales Tax Registration Number R131006876. ISSN: 1204-3044 Home Improvement Retailing is printed on paper that is PEFC* Chain of Custody Certification. 100% of the electricity used to manufacture this paper is Green-e* certified renewable energy. Printed with vegetable-based inks that have a minimum 65% bio-based renewable content. www.hirmagazine.com DECKING TRENDS THE ANNUAL SPECIAL REPORT Build Business Businesses Make Changes To Reduce Risk Manager's Mind A New Kind Of Leader ALSO CANADA'S TOP RETAILERS Contractor Business Aging In Place Provides Sales Opportunities 8 12 13 28 DEPARTMENTS CONTENTS 13 HIR On Deck 2023 Outdoor Living - A 2023 Evolution 20 Annual Report: Canada’s Top Retailers Passion And Good Attitude Drive Success 28 Contractor Business Aging In Place Provides Sales Opportunities 5 Editor’s View Use Employer Branding In War For Talent 6 Industry Update 7 In Store 8 Build Business Businesses Make Changes To Reduce Risk 9 Build Business Why Innovation Should Be More Like Easter Eggs 10 Focus On Customers Consumers Prioritize Essential Shopping 11 Earnings 12 Manager's Mind The Future Of Work Calls For A New Kind Of Leader 30 Publisher's Perspective Optimize What You Do Best FEATURES AAM PUBLISHER MEMBER THE SPECIAL EDITION Cover Photo: TREX Transcend® Lineage™ collection

Our Promise to You.

Our strength as a buying group is built on four major advantages: We’re a dedicated team of industry professionals focused on your success. We negotiate competitive programs and leverage our strong relationships with vendors to resolve any issues quickly for you. We have a first-class accounting team that promptly delivers accurate rebate payments as promised.

Hear about our story at 1. 800.665.9209 Learn about our story at sextongroup.com Driven by our desire to see every member succeed Putting our members first in everything we do. Sexton has been great for us. Our Business Development Manager saw my vision for expanding the business from day one. With the group’s support and volume pricing, we had the opportunity to branch out and get into new product lines that created a path of growth and expansion within our business.”

Use Employer Branding In War For Talent

Businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, can increase their employer attractiveness through employer branding, differentiate themselves from competitors, and stand out from larger employers, says research from Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW, kununu, and XING E-Recruiting.

Due to the increasing shortage of skilled workers and the high willingness of companies to hire, potential employees are being courted intensively. While employer branding has been a corporate strategy for large organizations for a number of years, it is not something that is being embraced and used by small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The research shows that this strategy does not necessarily require extensive or costly marketing campaigns. Rather, it is possible to strengthen an employer brand even through simple measures and processes.

Essence Of Values

In typical corporate branding, an organization’s brand is the essence of the values it provides customers. Employer branding requires an authentic employer positioning that signals to current and future employees what principles and values a company stands for as an employer. While corporate branding is designed to sell more goods and services to customers, the goal of employer branding is to position a company as a great place to work with existing and pro-

spective employees. An employer brand can also help attract the type of candidates a company desires. Companies that invest in employer branding are more likely to attract the candidates who not only have the right skills and experience, but fit best with a company’s culture and values. An employer brand will establish:

• Who the company is and what they do,

• What kind of people work at the company,

• What it’s like to work in the company, and

• What a worker receives when they are hired.

A study by McKinsey and Company says superior talent is 400 per cent more productive than average employees. There’s an inaccurate belief in business that more lower-paying workers equal higher efficiency and more profits, but the McKinsey study says this isn’t the case.

Employer branding can achieve:

• Lower cost per hire

• Faster hire times

• Better retention/lower turnover rates

• Savings on salaries

• Increased sales

• Increased productivity

• Better customer service

• Visibility

• Trust

Creating an employer brand comprises three essential phases – developing employer brand, identifying the target employee group and competitor employers, and brand implementation.

Perhaps the most challenging phase is

to develop an employer brand. Put simply, the retailer should communicate the key messages it wants to share with its target group. It comes down to this: what is the purpose of the business and how do its culture, principles, and values contribute to that purpose? Once identified, these factors should be shared through every touchpoint with the public. They should be part of the public relations strategy at every level and obvious within the store and among existing employees.

Due to the increasing shortage of skilled workers and the high willingness of companies to hire, potential employees are being courted intensively.
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Saint-Gobain North America, through its building products subsidiary CertainTeed Roofing, has acquired the rights to technology from recycling partner Asphaltica that will allow the company to recycle asphalt shingle waste, diverting it from landfill and furthering the company’s commitment to creating a circular economy in its production of roofing shingles. This process creates pellets out of ground shingles that blend well in hot mix asphalt and are an ideal component in an asphalt paving mix. In addition, the pellets are water resistant and can be used in variable climate conditions.

AD Canada

AD Canada has launched a LinkedIn page which will serve as the dedicated source for news, updates, and events for AD divisions operating north of the border. The page will offer stories and updates from members and suppliers as well as from the company’s Mississauga, ON-based warehouse operations.


Roofing manufacturer IKO will construct two manufacturing sites in Chester County, NC. One facility will become a fiberglass manufacturing plant and the other will use the output of the first plant to manufacture fiberglass mat. Glass mat is a vital component in asphalt shingle production and the mat plant will supply IKO's growing network of shingle manufacturing sites across the U.S. The company expects to complete construction of the facilities and commence production by late 2025.


A selection of Hauslane products is now available in Canada. The company manufactures island, wallmount, built-in, and under-cabinet range hoods. The products available to the Canadian market include the Chef Series Under Cabinet Range Hood, the Modern Series Wall Mounted Range Hood, and the Convertible Built-In Range Hood. The hoods are available in 30- to 36-inch sizes, with varying venting systems. Hauslane was founded in 2018 with a digital-first sales model and now has a presence in showrooms across the United States and Canada.

Fenestration Canada/WDMA

Fenestration Canada (FenCan) and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) have joined forces. They will develop their shared goal of promoting, protecting, and advancing the window, door, and skylight industry in North America. They will collaborate on cross-border policy issues to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome for members. “By working together, we can better overcome challenges, drive innovation, and promote the interests of manufacturers and stakeholders across the fenestration sector,” says Stéphane Labelle, Fenestration Canada’s executive director.


Peter Ferreira is vice-president, distribution, at Home Hardware Stores Limited. Previously, he oversaw national distribution operations for PepsiCo Canada.

Jaana Reinikka is business development manager for the British Columbia and Alberta regions with Castle Building Centres Group Limited She joins the group with over 20 years of experience in the lumber and building materials industry.

Eric Palmer has been promoted to president of Sexton Group Ltd. He has been with the group for more than eight years and worked, most recently, as vice-president and general manager.

Doug Nowlin is provincial sales manager – western Canada at JELD-WEN Windows & Doors Canada. Previously, he was regional sales manager – direct sales in western Canada.

Dan Worley is vice-president, environment, health, and safety, at Beacon. Previously, he was regional vice-president, mid-Atlantic.

Mike Olosky is chief executive officer at Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc. Previously, he was president and chief operating officer.

Murray Finkbiner is senior advisor with Gillfor Distribution Inc. Previously, he was managing partner with AFA Forest Products Inc. Gillfor acquired AFA in 2022.

Andrew G. Polanco is vice-president, manufacturing for RPM International, Inc. Previously, he was vice-president, operations for the RPM Consumer Group.

Ferreira Reinikka Nowlin Palmer Worley
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TIMBER MART’s National Buying Show attracted 1,000 dealers and vendors to the two-day event. This was the group’s first hybrid event with the virtual cloud-based tradeshow platform taking place at the same time as the inperson event. In addition, a show app was introduced this year to communicate pertinent show information, allow for online chat between attendees, and schedule appointments between dealers and vendors.


Rénocentre RDB in Chicoutimi, QC, has joined Castle Building Centres Ltd. The independent LBM dealer has served its community for more than 40 years and is a major industry player in the Saguenay region. The Blanchette family, the store owners, determined that it was time to join a strong buying group that would help their business continue to flourish.


RONA inc. has re-established itself as an independent company following its acquisition by Sycamore Partners from Lowe’s Companies, Inc. It will continue to operate and service a network of approximately 450 corporate and affiliated dealer stores across Canada under its RONA, Lowe’s, Réno-Dépôt, and Dick’s Lumber banners. However, Lowe’s stores in Canada will be converted to the RONA banner over time. Moffatt and Powell, a family-owned building materials and retail supplier and RONA member, has acquired its 10th Ontario store in Grand Bend, ON. The retailer will redesign the store, which offers a sales floor of 6,000 square feet with 5,000 square feet of warehouse space. It plans an expansion of

10,000 square feet for the outdoor lumberyard and will add 1,000 additional SKUs, mostly in the lumber and building materials category. Blake and Bret Drew, owners of hardware stores in Tilbury and Comber, ON, have joined the RONA banner. Their stores will be renovated and an outdoor lumberyard will be added to the Tilbury store to offer lumber and building material products. RONA Tilbury has an 11,125-squarefoot retail space and the lumberyard will be 45,000 square feet. Quebec-based Ducharme et Frere Inc., a RONA affiliated dealer owned by Philippe Mayrand, has acquired its third store ‒ RONA Farnham located in Monteregie, QC. Well-established in the community since 1905 with the opening of its first store in Saint-Cesaire, QC, the team at Ducharme et Frere are committed to serving their customers at the new store with the same high standards and offering them all the products they need to complete their home improvement projects. The RONA affiliated dealer network will hold its second edition of ‘Connexia.’ The series of three events from last year will be renewed. The ‘Rally’ will take place on September 13 and 14 in Tremblant, QC. The ‘Showcase’ will follow in October to present all 2024 season products. The date is to be determined. Finally, the ‘Deals’ event will take place in November and will allow dealers to shop for their 2024 spring-summer and core product assortment 100 per cent online.


Peavey Industries LP is opening a Peavey Mart in Steinbach, MB. The location includes a 28,800-square-foot building and a 1,440-square-foot greenhouse. The store is scheduled to open in spring 2024.

BMR Group

Centre de rénovation Senneterre has joined BMR Group. Based in Senneterre, QC, the retailer serves the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region. The retailer was founded in the 1960s and is owned by the Allaire family, who purchased the business in 2013. They joined BMR in order to improve their service offering and benefit from the group’s expertise.


Wolseley Canada and GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions now offer a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) line of products in the Canadian market. The residential ducted HVAC line-up includes furnaces, air conditioners, air handlers, heat pumps, evaporator coils, and package units. The products are available at Wolseley stores across Canada. Assembled in North America, all products come with a 10-year warranty and are compatible with a conventional 24V thermostat.


Heading into 2023, Orgill is improving its service levels and capacity to serve the growth of its customers, says Boyden Moore, its president and chief executive officer. Speaking at his ‘Orgill Annual Update,’ he said the company is focusing on reviewing product assortment and pricing and returning to promotions. As well, Orgill sees opportunities to recover sales with improvements in its supply chain. It is currently replacing its oldest distribution centre in Tifton, GA, with a larger facility and will implement robots for the first time in a goods-to-person picking system that will drive efficiency and cost reduction. Orgill welcomed thousands of retailers to New Orleans, LA, for its 2023 Spring Dealer Market. The event brought together retailers from across the United States, Canada, and around the world to browse more than 900,000 square feet of exhibits from vendors, interact with Orgill team members, shop for products, and attend a range of educational sessions. The market featured more than 1,000 vendor booths representing the industry’s biggest brands from across the entire spectrum of categories.

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Businesses Make Changes To Reduce Risk

Most companies – 96 per cent – are making changes to their supply chains due to geopolitical events with more than half reshoring operations to mitigate against potential global disruptions, says DP World, an Emirati multinational logistics company, and Economist Impact, a think tank specializing in sustainability, healthcare, and new globalization.

Their study, ‘Trade in Transition,’ says these changes have been swift as businesses try to reduce the costs and risks of disruption. However, the shifts are not even. While 27 per cent of companies are decreasing the length of their supply chains due to geopolitical events such as the war in Ukraine, another 33 per cent plan to expand into more stable and transparent markets.

The persistent threat of inflation, cited by 30 per cent of executives, will have the most significant negative impact on trade over the next two years. Inflationary pressures are seen in input costs from supply shortages and transport costs through high energy rates and shipping capacity constraints.

Businesses also say the fragmentation of the world into trade blocs is limiting the growth of international trade. Additionally, beyond the war in Ukraine, U.S.-China tensions and cyber warfare

are preventing the efficient functioning of economies worldwide. This is leading to increasingly protectionist policies which aim to incentivize and prioritize U.S. and North American manufacturing. The report says similar protectionist policies are popping up all over the world, leading to further fragmentation of the global trade system.

Businesses Respond And Grow

However, businesses are finding ways to respond and grow. They are altering supply chains either through diversification, regionalization, or reshoring to build resilience.

The adoption of technology is another way businesses are building flexibility into their supply chain, says the study. Roughly 35 per cent of respondents are implementing internet of things (IoT) solutions to facilitate the tracking and monitoring of cargo, while another 32 per cent are adopting digital platforms to enable direct business with customers or suppliers.

The adoption of digital tools for inventory management and increasing co-ordination with suppliers are cited as the two most effective supply-side resilience strategies as businesses prioritize longterm survival and success over short-term profitability.

“The report is tangible evidence of how globalization is changing as companies are forced to adapt to new challenges,” says Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chief executive officer at DP World Group. “By bringing production closer to the final customer, firms can reduce the number of touchpoints involved in the supply chain and build greater resilience into the flow of cargo around the world. But the trade environment is always changing. The next challenge that will alter these trends is an economic slowdown looming over regional markets. Agility, real-time visibility, and end-to-end supply chain capabilities will be critical to ensuring companies can continue to find new efficiencies in an increasingly challenging environment.”

The shift to regionalization and reshoring has been sharp, but unsurprising given the triple threat of higher costs, increased risks, and government incentives or requirements to do so, says John Ferguson, practice lead for new globalization at Economist Impact. “Businesses in previous decades have only had to focus on the economic aspects of trade, being price, quality, and delivery. Now they have to account for other non-economic factors such as resilience and sustainability, all of which is having a drastic shift in supply chains.”

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Why Innovation Should Be More Like Easter Eggs

Every year in the spring, Amy B., a buyer for a large retail chain store, hosts an Easter egg decorating teambuilding party where she and a bunch of her suppliers spend an entire afternoon colouring and bedazzling hard-boiled eggs. None of them bring their kids ‒ they do this for the sheer pleasure of out-of-the office bonding, creating interesting and attractive objects. The group is always amazed at the creativity of the resulting eggs. And in case you’re wondering, no, none of them are artists.

So why, as adults, don’t people exercise their inner child-like creativity more often? And what is it about the Easter egg party that allows them to so freely generate and express such range and diversity of ideas? There are several factors ‒ all of which also apply to innovation:

• Each egg represents a very low commitment.

It is cheap in both time and materials to try any idea they think of, so they try lots of ideas. If one doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter ‒it’s just one egg.

Similarly, in your innovation work, you need to consider and try out many ideas, to ensure that only the best ones move forward. As innovation projects proceed through a company, they get more expensive ‒ in money, time, and labour ‒ at each successive phase. Developing ‘Fail Fast, Fail Cheap’ methodologies allows you to try out lots of ideas early on, while it’s still cheap.

• They leverage not only individual creativity, but also use the power of the group.

Someone will think of an idea to try, and then toss it out to the group. Then everyone contributes ideas for how best to accomplish it. No one ever says, ‘Yes, but that won’t work.’ Everyone just thinks of ways to help make it better. The resulting final solutions are nearly always significantly better than what the person would have tried originally.

In many companies, the ‘Yes, But’

phenomenon is all too common, and can be very damaging to creativity and innovation. Most ideas aren’t perfect when they’re first conceived, but teams act like they should be. They point out all the problems in an emerging idea before they ever attempt to find out if there’s anything good about it. For innovation and creative problem solving to thrive, it’s critical to create an environment that nurtures ideas rather than stifles them, so you get the benefit of the best thinking of the entire team.

• They are willing to start over when something clearly isn’t working.

One woman brought eggs that were not naturally white; instead, they were brown. It wasn’t clear that dyeing them would work very well, if at all. And, in fact, the first few attempts didn’t work. So, she scraped off all the colour on her unsuccessful eggs several times. But when she chose red, yellow, and orange colours and left them in the dye bath long enough, she got some of the most uniquely rich and vividly coloured eggs anyone had ever seen.

Unfortunately, in large organizations, too many innovation projects that aren’t quite hitting the mark proceed too far. It’s important to recognize when an idea isn’t working, and then be willing to start again when you need to.

• Reframing the goal results in more divergent ideas.

The woman with the brown eggs also tried other methods of decorating the eggs, not just colouring them with dye. Once she reframed the problem from colouring eggs to decorating eggs, everyone else also began creating the most innovative and unusual eggs of all.

This reframing of the problem is a critical step in effective problem-solving and innovation. This is because the way a problem is stated affects the potential solutions you will think of. So when addressing any obstacle, it’s a good idea to question the way the challenge or problem is worded, to see if you can reframe it to get to different and better solutions.

So the next time you find yourself with eggs to decorate ‒ or a challenge to meet ‒ keep these tips in mind to help you think more creatively and come up with more innovative solutions:

• Fail fast, fail cheap. Test many possible ideas.

• Leverage individual and group creativity; ‘Yes, and’ instead of ‘Yes, but.’

• Be willing to start over when the idea isn’t working.

• Reframe the opportunity to expand your thinking.

Susan Robertson is a creative thinking expert with over 20 years of experience speaking and coaching in Fortune 500 companies. SusanRobertsonSpeaker.com

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Consumers Prioritize Essential Shopping C

onsumers are spending more on priority expenses such as auto and shopping purchases over non-essential purchases, such as entertainment, gym memberships, and beauty purchases, says a consumer trend report from Gravy Analytics.

It found that foot traffic increased at automobile, shopping, banking, and finance venues. However, it decreased significantly within the restaurant, entertainment, and transportation categories. The data indicates that consumers are being selective about which purchases to prioritize over others.

Auto purchases are a key focus for American consumers as many returned to work last year and reprioritized automotive spending that was put on hold previously. Foot traffic in the automobile category was 17 per cent higher in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the year-ago period, while auto part stores (25 per cent), used car dealerships (18 per cent), and new car dealerships (17 per cent) saw the largest consumer foot traffic increases of the category during this period.

With many people returning to work, car maintenance that was put on hold during the pandemic also became a priority. The overall jump in consumer foot traffic in the auto category also suggests that supply chains are slowly beginning to recover and that consumer demand is no longer outpacing supply as it was in previous quarters.

As well, starting in the fourth quarter of last year, brick-and-mortar stores regained popularity as foot traffic was nine per cent higher than the same period in 2021. However, some shopping destinations fared better than others.

Consumers are placing a premium on necessity and value, making stores that sell daily needs at a reasonable cost – like home improvement supplies and groceries – the retail winners of late.

Home building (41 per cent), wholesale (32 per cent), food (22 per cent), pet supplies and services (10 per cent), and discount stores (eight per cent) all saw higher foot traffic in the fourth quarter of 2022. Meanwhile, visits to sporting goods stores (-22 per cent), gift stores (-28 per cent), and department stores (-37 per cent) declined over that time. Visits to grocery stores remained strong for most brands, as consumers were likely to shift to preparing meals at home as a way to reduce costs. Among grocery store chains, discount grocers are finding favour over higher-end brands that saw less foot traffic in comparison.

The report reveals that non-essential businesses like restaurants, business venues, and entertainment destinations ended the year with lower foot traffic due to rising ticket prices and overall increased costs of these activities.

Entertainment Spend Declines

The general entertainment category saw a decline of 26 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2022 compared to the prioryear period. Visits to most restaurant types in the category were down during the same period, with fast food as the one exception. These outlets saw a two per cent increase. Visits to venues in the services industry like gyms and beauty-related services also saw heavy declines of over 20 per cent during the quarter as consumers dialed back on discretionary spending for

non-essential services.

The transportation category also saw lower foot traffic with bus stations, airports, and train stations all seeing declines from 2021’s fourth quarter. The one bright spot for transportation was rental car locations as lower gas prices, rising airfare, and the inconsistency of air travel caused more people to opt for a road trip. Visits to these increased 10 per cent.

“Based on our findings, we predict that discretionary purchasing activity will not recover anytime soon given the current economic climate. Insights from our report show that consumers are making careful decisions about their spending and are looking for value much more now than they were a year ago,” says Jeff White, founder and chief executive officer of Gravy Analytics.

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Lowe's Lowe's Companies, Inc. had US$22.4 billion in sales for the fourth quarter of 2022, a 5.2 per cent decrease compared to $21.3 billion in the prior-year period. The fourth quarter of fiscal 2022 consisted of 14 weeks, compared with 13 weeks for the prior year. The extra week added $1.4 billion in sales for the quarter. Net earnings were $957 million, a drop of 20.6 per cent versus $1.2 billion in the year-ago period. Gross profit was $7.3 billion with a gross margin of 32.3 per cent. This compares to $7 billion in gross profits with a gross margin of 32.9 per cent from fourth quarter 2021.

Home Depot

The Home Depot Inc. had $35.83 billion in sales for the fourth quarter of 2022, an increase of 0.3 per cent compared to $35.72 billion in the year-ago period. Gross profit was $11.92 billion for the reporting period, a drop of 0.51 per cent compared to $11.86 billion in the prior-year period. Net earnings were $3.36 billion, a rise of 0.3 per cent versus $3.35 billion year over year. Customer transactions totalled $378.5 million, a six per cent decline from $402.5 million in the year-ago period.

Canadian Tire Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited’s consolidated retail sales were $5,729.4 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022, up 1.2 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2021, and up 17.6 per cent on a three-year stacked basis. Retail sales excluding petroleum were up 0.2 per cent year-over-year. Revenue for the quarter was $5,340.4 million, up 3.9 per cent year-over-year. Retail revenue was $4,990.9 million, an increase of 3.3 per cent compared to the prior year. Excluding petroleum, retail revenue increased 2.3 per cent.


Spectrum Brands Holdings had net sales of $713.3 million for the first quarter of 2023, down 5.8 per cent compared to $757.2 million in the year-ago period. Net sales declined due to lower replenishment orders from retailers' focus on inventory reduction and slower holiday retail sales. Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes were $39.8

million, a loss of 19.3 per cent versus $49.3 million in the year-ago period. Home and personal care sector net sales declined four per cent year over year and home and garden sector sales declined 5.2 per cent.


Newell Brands had net sales of $2.3 billion for the fourth quarter of 2022, down 18.5 per cent compared to $2.8 billion from the prioryear period. Net sales for the commercial solutions sector were $355 million, a drop of 29.4 per cent compared to $503 million in fourth quarter 2021. Gross profit for the quarter was $600 million, a decline of 28.3 per cent versus $837 million last year.


Masco Corporation had net sales of $1.92 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022, down five per cent compared to net sales of $2.02 billion from the prior-year period. The North American segment had net sales of $1.5 million, a decline of five per cent versus $1.6 million, year over year. Earnings before

interest and taxes were $173 million, a loss of 4.4 per cent compared to $181 million in the prior-year period.


Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc. had net sales of $475.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2022, up 13.6 per cent over net sales of $418.6 million, year over year. Net sales for the North American segment were $368.1 million, a decline of 1.4 per cent compared to $373.2 million from the prior-year period. The wood construction segment had $403.5 million in net sales, a decline of 10.6 per cent and $364.9 million from the year-ago period.


W.W. Grainger Inc. had net sales of $3.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022, up 13.2 per cent compared to $3.6 billion from the prior-year period. Net income was $384 million, up 36 per cent from the year-ago period. Operating margin was 14.3 per cent, a 190basis point increase over the fourth quarter of 2021.

COMPANY SYMBOL OPEN HIGH/LOW 52-WEEK INDEX Canadian Tire Corp. CTC.a 183.31 185.89 – 139.24 TSX Doman DBM 6.23 7.71 – 5.30 TSX Dow Chemical Co. DOW 54.46 70.78 – 42.91 NYSE Fastenal Co. FAST 54.60 57.70 – 43.73 NASDAQ General Electric GE 101.95 102.00 – 46.78 NYSE Home Depot HD 301.50 347.25 – 264.51 NYSE Louisiana-Pacific LPX 60.50 78.09 – 48.20 NYSE Lowes Cos LOW 210.99 223.31 – 170.12 NYSE Masco Corp. MAS 50.99 58.18 – 42.33 NYSE Newell Brands NWL 12.11 24.70 – 11.25 NYSE Owens Corning OC 100.49 105.62 – 72.97 NYSE Richelieu RCH 40.17 42.16 – 32.35 TSX Sherwin-Williams Co. SHW 238.08 285.00 – 195.24 NYSE Stanley Black & Decker SWK 79.25 142.08 – 70.24 NYSE Trex TREX 54.93 67.78 – 38.68 NYSE Wal-Mart WMT 153.29 158.13 – 117.27 NYSE WD 40 WDFC 195.55 209.64 – 145.16 NASDAQ As of April 25, 2023
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The Future Of Work Calls For A New Kind Of Leader

“Nice guys finish last.”

“Check your emotions at the door.”

“Suck it up, buttercup.”

All of these well-trotted out expressions speak to an outdated model of leadership. In a world turned upside down by the pandemic and with the workplace redefining itself, this model no longer holds ‒ especially when it comes to our mental health, just look at the stats:

• Rates of depression have tripled for Americans

• Levels of loneliness have skyrocketed, especially for young people

• Rates of suicide are on the rise (again)

Mental health is an issue for everyone ‒ even at the highest levels. A Deloitte report found that 70 per cent of top leaders are seriously considering quitting for mental health reasons. While it’s affecting everyone to some degree, some people are more affected than others. Factors such as gender and line of work are leading to a disproportionate impact. Construction workers, for example, have the second highest risk for suicide, second only to veterans. And, while more women suffer from depression and are more likely to

contemplate suicide, men are three times more likely to die by suicide.

Having worked with over 200 organizations and trained over 15,000 managers and leaders, I see a clear pattern: The organizations and industries that need this new kind of leadership most are often the ones who resist it the most.

Case in point: I recently delivered a keynote speech to a group of (mostly male) leaders, all working in the construction industry. The moment I stepped on to the stage ‒ with the title ‘Mental Health at Work: Who’s Responsible?’ beaming out over the audience ‒ the resistance was palpable. Most of my audience of burly guys were leaning back, arms folded, shifting in their seats, and ready to end the conversation before we had even started. The intransigence then blossomed into a fullout rebellion when I asked my audience to respond to a series of prompts as a way of driving home the point that leaders hold responsibility for addressing the growing mental health crisis. Most refused to take the bait. After the talk, my host kindly assured me that, “Some of them got it and over time, others will too.”

Unmistakable Link

Even if they’re not ‘getting it,’ there is an unmistakable link between leadership

and well-being. For example, longstanding research from Gallup shows that managers alone account for 70 per cent of the variance of team members’ engagement with both their work and well-being. The impact is so deep, it can be deadly. A frightening Swedish study found that those who have a toxic boss are at greater risk of suffering a heart attack ‒ today and 10 years out.

But, a recent study has added a new twist to this conversation. Specific styles of leadership make a difference – for better or for worse. This means that it’s not just a matter of weeding out the bad eggs, leaders need to be explicitly trained on different leadership styles.

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If you’re a leader, the time is now to lead differently. As one manager put it: “To be honest, before ‘Managers on the Move,’ I never really thought about incorporating well-being into my leadership style. Now I can’t imagine not doing so.”

It’s less about the programs and more about the way the work gets done ‒ which is largely a matter of leadership. Therefore, every leader needs to seriously consider their leadership style and whether it is one that is lifting their people up or one that is having the opposite effect, pushing their people down.

Here are leadership traits that are associated with generating positive mental well-being for team members:

• Inspiring team members through vision

• Encouraging team members to engage in creative thinking

• Considering the needs of each team member

• Showing respectful and supportive behaviours toward team members

• Building trust within the team

• Clearly defining goals and work tasks

Here are leadership traits that are associated with generating negative mental well-being for team members:

• Neglecting team members

• Being absent

• Exhibiting aggressive behaviours

• Mocking or teasing in a way that stings

• Telling offensive jokes

• Texting during meetings

• Making people feel small

To generate positive returns, the future of work calls for a new kind of leader, one who is a coach, a teacher, and a friend.

• Coach

Michael Gervais, former sports psychologist with the Seattle Seahawks, opened every conversation with the question: “What’s possible?” Then, he worked with each player to apply mindfulness as a tool in moving them closer to their vision. In other words, he acted as a coach who inspired and then supported.

Charlie Patillo, vice-president at Shaw Corporation, exemplifies ‘Leader as Coach.’ He inspires and then he follows up by equipping team members with a tool, which is a weekly touchpoint. Every Friday, he sets aside 90 minutes for oneon-one time with every team member.

During this weekly meeting, he poses two simple questions: “What are you working on? How can I help?” This simple ritual has opened communication and built trust within his team. Moreover, it has created a ripple effect. Now, his team members are having more regular and open dialogue with their team members. Patillo estimates that these kinds of conversations have doubled across these multiple teams, beginning only a couple of months ago when he first initiated these scheduled conversations.

ed. They understand that getting ahead and accelerating performance happens by being a nice guy, not a jerk. And, they foster friendships within the team, leveraging Gallup research showing that those who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be highly engaged in their work.

‘Leader as Friend’ is also one that keeps an open door in inviting conversation about emotions, something that a growing number of employees are craving, especially younger workers. A recent Monster Intelligence survey found that a whopping 91 per cent of Gen Z workers want to be able to talk about their mental health with their boss.

‘Leader as Friend’ is transparent about their own mental health and their own well-being. Take Dan Conrad, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield North Dakota, who recently shared in a company-wide ‘Message from Dan:’

• Teacher

After another one of my talks, a senior manager approached me and shared, “You know what a great manager is? A great manager is a teacher.” Just like a great teacher, the new kind of leader brings the right mix of challenge and support. They provide ongoing mentorship, both formally and informally, helping less experienced colleagues to shape their careers. ‘Leader as Teacher’ also provides opportunities for learning and growth, something that Next Jump, a technology company headquartered in New York, NY, fully embraces. Here, leaders encourage their team members to spend 50 per cent of their work time engaged in personal and professional development.


Finally, the new kind of leader is one who is a friend. They ask questions and listen. They apply the Golden Rule, treating others the way they want to be treat-

As we transition into the back half of winter, I encourage you to take care of yourself. This is the time of year when I struggle as I get anxious for spring, which seems to take forever to arrive some years! This year we’ve been blessed with a lot of sunny days, which has been really helpful, but it’s been too windy and cold for me and Murphy to hit the trail regularly. I’m committed to getting out there more in the coming weeks as the weather warms a bit. I hope you too can find ways to keep yourself in a positive mindset as we make the final push to spring!

The new kind of leader – who is the right combination of coach, teacher, and friend – goes about doing the same things, differently. They adopt small adjustments in how the work gets done. This includes simple practices like:

• Making eye contact

• Saying hello in the hallway or in the field

• Asking thoughtful questions and then listening

• Saying thank you

• Acknowledging others and sharing credit

• Smiling

If you are a leader, how are you leading differently in this new era of work?

is the
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Specific styles of leadership make a difference – for better or for worse. This means that it’s not just a matter of weeding out the bad eggs, leaders need to be explicitly trained on different leadership styles.

Outdoor Living A 2023 Evolution

This year, outdoor living will continue to be as important as it has been the past couple of years when Canadians were forced to stay home due to pandemic restrictions. Outdoor living was the top home improvement project during 2021 and 2022 when people created versatile and welcoming spaces where they could spend time with family and enjoy the weather.

The desire for outdoor spaces that offer practical, multifunctional, and luxurious amenities continues its momentum, although perhaps at a bit slower pace. This year, homeowners have new reasons why they want to create an outdoor oasis and new ideas of what they want to do with the space.

During the pandemic, as outdoor living areas became more popular, people started upgrading them to where they became another room of the home. They were being used for cooking, dining, and entertainment on a scale like never before. This year, they are stepping it up, creating outdoor gyms, full chef kitchens, sundecks, Zen gardens, luxury pool decks, natural pools, multilevel decks, covered spaces, office spaces, gaming zones, and areas for composing, creating, and constructing (aka hobbies).

Functional outdoor spaces have become so popular that they are the new ‘must-have’ for home buyers. Backyards are mentioned 22 per cent more often in home sale listings compared to last year, says research from Zillow. Mentions of patios and pools also

surged in listings, up more than 13 and 11 per cent, respectively, over 2022. The research says this once overlooked space will be one of the most sought-after spaces in 2023. In fact, the evolution of the backyard tops Zillow's top five home trends to watch this year.

Year-Round Outdoor Spaces Top Priority

Research from fixr.com says homeowners want year-round usable spaces and this desire is a top priority. This creates opportunities for home improvement retailers to offer products that can make this a reality. Patios and gazebos can be built so they can be used no matter what the weather or time of year.

Heating products are also great for colder climates and an increased interest in firepits, fireplaces, and space heaters might explain why the market for firepits is expected to grow at CAGR of 6.5 per cent through 2030 (Grand View Research).

Outdoor lighting will also be necessary for a space to be used year-round. This market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.52 per cent through 2026 (Technavio).

Incorporating these types of features makes the outdoors more appealing and enables homeowners to use the extra space all year long. With the long and cold winters in many regions of Canada, homeowners may not be willing to invest a lot of money in a

space that can only be used for a few months per year. These added elements will make the backyard a desirable place to hang out any time of year and in any type of weather, creating a better return on investment and justifying the initial expense.

Desire For Sustainability

The fixr.com research says another top trend for outdoor living is a desire for sustainability. Homeowners can use the same logic outside that they do inside. They can purchase and use eco-certified products (LED bulbs, ENERGYSTAR appliances) and use sustainable materials like recycled plastic, bamboo, and composite wood when creating their outdoor living space to reduce the environmental impact. The incorporation of

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Functional outdoor spaces have become so popular that they are the new ‘must-have’ for home buyers.

smart technology is also a growing trend in outdoor living. From automated irrigation systems to outdoor speakers and lighting controlled by voice commands, smart technology will bring convenience and efficiency to an outdoor space.

Decking Popular Choice

Decking is a popular choice for many homeowners, with composite options becoming a more viable choice, providing low maintenance properties which is great for spending more time in the garden, and less time maintaining it.

Composite decking, which is made from a combination of wood fibres and recycled plastic, is available in a wide variety of styles and designs. Multi-tonal designs are currently on trend in decking. These designs feature different colours or shades within the same board, which can add depth and visual interest. Hidden fasteners are also important to homeowners as they provide a clean and seamless look to the decking surface. They also eliminate the need for visible screws or nails, which can be a safety hazard for children and pets.

Encompasses All Categories

Outdoor living is an important category for home improvement retailers to have available to their retail and contractor customers.

Aside from the rising trend of Canadians wanting an outdoor living area, it is a category which encompasses almost all categories. With a full, year-round living space comes the need for all the necessities of home living, offering a multitude of upselling opportunities including those that are not specifically marketed for outdoor living. It is important to suggest any product, accessory, or add-on that can enhance the customer’s experience with the product they purchase.

Other upselling opportunities include:

• Upgraded versions of products that the customer is interested in should be discussed. Customers need to know the value in the upgrade, even if they decide not to do it. For example, a composite deck might cost a little more up front, but it will spare them years of maintenance and upkeep. If the customer is aware of the pros and cons of the upgraded product versus the regular product, they can make an educated decision.

• Subscription services, when possible, can enhance the customer's experience by eliminating their need to continuously purchase a certain product. At the same time, it guarantees those purchases for the retailer. For example, suggest a subscription to deck cleaning supplies, bird seed to attract songbirds, or firewood for the firepit. Subscription services can provide consumers with value, convenience, and personalized offerings while fostering stability and growth.

Upselling increases sales and can provide

additional value to the customer and help them get the most out of their purchases. There are many good products available that homeowners will need for their outdoor living spaces. To leverage this trend, retailers will need to do their best marketing. There are a variety of unique merchandising techniques to sell outdoor living products and decor. Here are some ideas:

• Create a themed display: Create an outdoor living display that showcases the different products and decor in a cohesive theme.

• Use lighting: Incorporate lighting to create an ambiance in the outdoor living section of the store. For example, string lights can be hung around a display to make it feel cozy and inviting.

• Utilize social media: Use social media platforms to showcase the outdoor living products and decor in real-life settings, such as in a backyard or on a patio.

• Collaborate with influencers: Partner with local influencers who specialize in outdoor living content or home décor to showcase the products in their own backyard or patio settings. This can help attract new customers who may be interested in creating their own outdoor living spaces.

• Offer workshops or classes: Host workshops or classes that teach customers how to style and build their outdoor living spaces. This can include topics such as deck design, deck building, or container gardening.

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Start by designing your outdoor space with the tranquil tones that define your style. Then, lay down the durable decking that has unyielding shell protection with fade, stain, scratch and moldresistance. You’ll have a clean conscience knowing it is made up of 95% recycled materials and can feel secure with its 25-Year Limited Residential and Fade & Stain warranties.

*Although Trex Transcend Lineage is designed to be cooler than most other composite decking products of a similar color, on a hot sunny day, it will get hot. On hot days, care should be taken to avoid extended contact between exposed skin and the deck surface, especially with young children and those with special needs. taigabuilding.com

Three Ways Composite Decking Design Can Improve Your Outdoor Space

As we move towards the outdoor entertaining season, it’s time to think about making improvements to your deck. Whether you plan on inviting guests over for summer barbecues or simply want a serene outdoor living space for yourself, your deck is an important extension of your home. And that’s where Trex® can help. Trex invented wood-composite decking nearly 30 years ago, championing high-performance, lowmaintenance outdoor living.

The company’s newest collection, Transcend® Lineage™, is an evolution of its environmentally responsible composite decking, showcasing a refined aesthetic with four trend-forward colours and advanced heat-mitigating technology that keeps the decking cooler. If you’re looking to improve your home’s outdoor space just in time for warmer weather, installing Lineage ensures you’ll do it comfortably and in style – here’s how:

An On-Trend Colour Palette Creates a Clean Canvas

Choosing the right colour for your deck is key to setting the tone. The four on-trend colours of Transcend Lineage provide a tranquil, elegant backdrop for a high-design space. You can choose from the creamy taupe Carmel, the deep mocha Jasper, the honey-hued coastal brown of Biscayne, or the mountain gray Rainier. Pair them with Trex’s sleek, black aluminum rail with glass inserts or composite cocktail railing – the

perfect perch for your guests’ drinks and small plates. Enhance the sense of sanctuary in style with pergolas that further design the space, comfortable and durable outdoor furniture, and deck lighting that takes your deck to a whole new level, by upping the ambience as well as safety.

Smart-Engineering Keeps You Cool

One of the most important qualities of your deck is that it must be comfortable, not only in terms of the furniture you choose, but also what’s underfoot. And Transcend Lineage decking is specifically engineered to be cooler under the sun. Thanks to heatmitigating design properties that reflect sunlight, Lineage decking stays cooler compared to similarly coloured composite decking. That makes spending quality moments at home – and specifically on your deck – more comfortable and enjoyable.

Recycled Materials Make for a Durable, Low-Maintenance Deck

When renovating your outdoor space, it’s worth considering the maintenance requirements of the products you’re installing. Easy maintenance, of course, is always preferred, which leaves you more time to enjoy your deck rather than working on it. All of Trex’s decking, including the Transcend line, is extremely long-lasting, thanks to its composition.

Because sustainability is in Trex’s DNA, the company’s decking is made from 95 per cent recycled and reclaimed material, including polyethylene plastic film and

reclaimed industrial wood scraps, which are encased in a highly durable shell. This combination means the deck resists stains, scratches, mould, fading, warping, cracking, and splintering. Because there’s no need to sand, stain, or seal Trex decking, maintenance is easy, and its 50-year warranty coverage brings peace of mind.

With its on-trend colours, innovative cooling technology, low-maintenance design, and eco-friendly construction, Trex Transcend® Lineage™ decking is sure to provide you with a stylish and functional outdoor living space that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Learn more at lineage.trex.com

Sponsored Content HIR ON DECK 2023 17 www.hirmagazine.com
TREX's newest collection, Transcend® Lineage™, is an evolution of its environmentally responsible composite decking available in four trend-forward colours. The TREX Transcend® Lineage™ collection features heat-mitigating technology that keeps the decking cooler.

Help your customers design a backyard dreamscape.

Smart and easy outdoor project design software. Many homeowners see the backyard as an extension of their house. Now you can help them make the most of it. Outdoor Living software from Simpson Strong-Tie makes it easy to plan a deck, pergola or fence in minutes. Our suite of apps — Deck Planner Software™, Pergola Planner Software™ and Fence Planner Software™ — guide customers to design safe, strong and beautiful outdoor structures. Every app provides a materials list so your sales team can offer quotes on the spot. Tiered licensing programs are available, giving you greater brand visibility and website traffic, weekly usage reports with detailed lead information, and integrated SKUs and pricing.

To see a free demo and learn more, visit go.strongtie.com/outdoorliving or call (800) 999-5099.

© 2023 Simpson Strong-Tie Company Inc. OLSOFT22D
Deck Planner Software™ Pergola Planner Software™ Fence Planner Software™ DPS Deck Planner Software PPS Pergola Planner Software™ FPS Fence Planner Software Outdoor Living Solutions | Products, Software and Service for Smarter Building

Innovation Keeps Deck Installation Safer, Faster

When it comes to major trends in deck construction for 2022, we expect to see a continued, high-level focus on innovation and the development of ways to make installations faster, safer, and more efficient,” says Robert Shirley, product marketing manager with Simpson Strong-Tie. “To help deck contractors and builders save time and money while increasing user productivity and comfort, Simpson Strong-Tie will continue to enhance its Quik Drive AutoFeed Screw Driving Systems to provide improved ergonomics.”

The Quik Drive Auto-Feed Screw Driving Systems combine the efficiency of stand-up driving with the holding power of screws. This ensures the user saves time during repetitive fastening applications. Rather than installing individual screws, Quik Drive operators can drive more screws faster and, in most cases, from an ergonomic standing position. The systems are available in corded or cordless models. The cordless model provides a low-torque fastener that drives more screws per battery charge and eliminates the need for compressors, generators, or power. There are a number of attachments and accessories available to customize the system for the job at hand. Quik Drive fastener quivers, mandrels, nose clips, extensions, driver motor adapters, and other parts are

available to help keep the system driving fasteners fast and efficiently.

There is a trend in composite deck manufacturing to develop boards that resist heat by providing ‘cooler’ boards in lighter colours. For customers that fasten through the board face, Simpson StrongTie provides a wide range of Deck-Drive DCU Composite screw colours and is adding lighter shades of tan and gray to match these new deck colours. For hidden deck fastening, colour-matching DCU Screw Plugs are available, as well as EB-TY Premium Hidden-Deck Fastening Systems that provide a beautiful concealed-fastener finish.

Continued Interest

With continued interest and homeowner investment into outdoor living spaces, Simpson Strong-Tie is continually expanding its popular line of Outdoor Accents decorative hardware with new products and accessories, making it easy to build outdoor structures and living spaces, like decks, pergolas, and other outdoor structures. Outdoor Accents decorative hardware products include post bases, deck joist ties, straps, gable plates, knee braces, and more, all in black exteriorgrade coatings with matching structural fasteners.

“A key feature of our Outdoor Accents collection is the innovative hex-head washer and fastener combo that looks

like a bolted connection, but installs as simply as driving a screw. It’s the only approved fastening solution for Outdoor Accents connectors and truly makes it easier for people of all skill levels to build a strong, beautiful outdoor structure,” says Elizabeth Rajs, product marketing manager for connectors.

Visualizing tools help homeowners, deck contractors, and material suppliers design incredible outdoor spaces. Deck Planner Software™ from Simpson StrongTie is free and easy to use and features an in-app tutorial to help select materials, dimensions, colours, and hardware. Users can add patios, sheds, landscaping, or other design features, then view the entire design in a realistic 2D or 3D environment. Once the design is complete, the app provides a materials list to start building right away.

Backyard Vacation Destination

Homeowners can turn any backyard into a vacation destination with free Outdoor Living software from Simpson Strong-Tie. Retailers can let their customers know about the design apps that include Deck Planner Software™, Pergola Planner Software™, and Fence Planner Software™.

“The in-app tutorials make it easy to select materials, dimensions, colours, and hardware,” says Kenny Redman, product manager of Outdoor Living Solutions. “Users can add patios, sheds, landscaping, fences, and many other features. Retailers can work with their customers and show them their entire yard in a realistic 2D or 3D view. Once the design is complete, the user can print a full materials list, provide a quote, review permit submittal pages, and select a local dealer with available supplies in their area.”

Quik Drive Auto-Feed Screw Driving System
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Top: Simpson Strong-Tie's Deck Planner Software. Bottom: Outdoor Accents decorative hardware and accessories.


Every year, Home Improvement Retailing’s top retailers have a few priorities in common that make them successful. This year, owners of these thriving businesses said they love what they do, like to serve customers, and keep a good attitude.

Loving one's job can have a significant impact on the quality of customer service and in job satisfaction. When someone genuinely enjoys their work, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their role, which can translate into better interactions with customers and honest passion in every transaction.

Hickey’s TIMBER MART was started with passion more than 50 years ago by Jim Hickey, selling windows and doors out of his garage. Today he is 75 and still runs the main store, while his wife and children help out with the other three stores. “The whole family is involved in the family business because we love what we do,” says Brad Hickey, Jim’s son and general manager. He says his parents are a great team and, while they could have retired, they chose not to because they love what they do.

Successful retailers enjoy their work and enjoy building relationships with their customers. Success in retail is about serving customers and fulfilling their needs, says Sophie Denis,

co-owner of Jean Denis Ltd. “We know that the secret to success in this business is not just prioritizing sales, but creating relationships. It’s all about the people.”

Bulkley Valley Home Centre holds an annual appreciation event to thank customers for their business. “It is important to us to thank them for their business throughout the year,” says co-owner Travis Nanninga.

Keeping employees happy and engaged is also vital to success, says Gary Sangha, owner of Crown Building Supplies. “In a time when labour is in short supply, we are grateful to the dedicated individuals who work long hours, diligently, and always with a smile on their face,” he says.

A good attitude also goes a long way in staying positive and keeping customers happy, says Padamjit Dugal, store manager of RONA Home and Garden Golden Mile. “It is important to never get into a comfort zone. Instead, I continue to focus on things I can control and always put in 101 per cent effort. We keep going because there is no finish line for excellence.”

The following pages highlights these and other top retailers who demonstrate what it takes to achieve excellence.

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Crown Building Supplies was founded in 2014 by a team of individuals whose mission was to provide highquality building materials – delivered correctly and on time. Having a diverse range of expertise on the team helped the retailer flourish rapidly, growing to over 85 team members working out of two locations, Surrey and Abbotsford, BC.

We carry large inventory of products and are the exclusive distributor for many,” says Gary Sangha, owner of Crown Building Supplies. “Our main operations entail whole distribution. However, we also offer storefront retail which enables us to meet individuals face-to-face. Being able to assist, advise, and share our knowledge and expertise brings great satisfaction to our entire team.”

More than half of the retailer’s business is from drywall, which Sangha says “is a staple item in the construction industry. From there, as a spin off, we offer steel studs, insulation, cladding, and stucco. We are adding other categories slowly and anticipate those will also one day be our best sellers.”

The retailer utilizes technology to improve operational efficiency. “In order to provide products efficiently and accurately, we rely heavily on automation, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and business optimization tools to keep us connected. We are at 85 per cent of our goal to move from paper to paperless and from manual to automation.”

The retailer also relies on its buying group, AD Canada. “Our buying group provides an immense amount of support through purchasing power and facilitating comradery among the shareholders and key suppliers,” says Sangha. “Our buying group


Crown Building Supplies

Lakefield Locations: Surrey, BC; Abbotsford, BC

In business since: 2014

is owned by independent building supply companies and, together, we have some of the largest buying power.”

Crown Building Supplies has seen its share of challenges, especially during the pandemic. “The past three years heavily impacted the construction industry putting pressure on the businesses and forcing them to evaluate operations. Supply chain issues, constant price increases, and labour shortage have caused trying disruptions.

Active Communication

“Our number one method to deal with these challenges is communication. We actively keep our customers updated on any delays that may occur, while increasing our inventory levels to full capacity at all times. Additionally, our team members keep us informed of any transportation or delivery delays. We are also fortunate to have customers and members that send referrals to us.”

Going forward, Crown Building Supplies is positioned for growth, with plans to increase market share and continue to optimize operations, with a continued focus on

Store sizes: 40,000 sq. ft., 20,000 sq. ft.

Yard sizes: 2.85 acres, 1.4 acres

Number of staff: 130

customer service.

“Our key goal is to expand our storefront locations so that the products are easily accessible without the customer having to go a long distance. As well, longer hours and strong inventory levels will allow us to provide near round-the-clock service.”

Sangha says he measures success by two main indicators: customer satisfaction and employee engagement.

“Having a large pool of customers who return project after project tells us we are fulfilling our mission. This is due to our team members who take the time to value and appreciate the customers when transacting with them.

“In a time when labour is in short supply, we are grateful to the dedicated individuals who work long hours, diligently, and always with a smile on their face. What sets us apart is that although we may be a ‘large’ industry member, we still provide the service one would get at a small ‘mom-and-pop’ operation.

“Construction is a necessity. We all need a roof over heads – a shelter for work, school, and play. Being a part of one’s project, sometimes from inception such as property/land acquisition to drawings to actual development, comes with a great sense of contribution and satisfaction. Being a contributor in this industry and seeing a project make a positive impact on the community is a feeling like no other.”

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Jean Denis Ltd. was established as a general store offering hardware products in 1928 by Jean Denis on Rue Principale, St-Raymond, in the municipality of Portneuf, QC. Sophie Denis is now the fourth-generation owner of the family store, which she co-owns with her husband Philippe Moisan.

In the early 1970s, the store shifted more of its focus to the hardware side of the business and, in 2000, Denis and Moisan joined the Home Hardware banner.

“We joined the Home Hardware family because we were so impressed with its founder, Walter J. Hachborn,” says Denis. “The way he prioritized customer service and relationships with people in this industry perfectly matched up with our vision and values.”

In 2006, the business was moved across the street onto a 10,000-square-foot space and, soon afterwards, they expanded the store to 13,500 square feet.

“Since joining Home Hardware, we have seen growing success and increased sales due to the vast selection of product offerings we have been able to bring to the community. We also credit Home’s reputation as a Canadian brand that customers know and trust.”

Denis attributes the store’s longevity and success to exceptional customer experience.

“When it comes to building our team, we aim to hire professional individuals with


industry experience and a knack for working with people. Our customers know that they can count on our staff at Quincaillerie Jean Denis to provide helpful solutions and professional advice. Philippe and I always take the time to chat with our customers and learn about them, and we encourage our team to do the same. This makes all the difference for customers when they walk in the door – they receive a personal shopping experience they won’t find anywhere else.

“We also believe that supporting the community results in the community supporting you. We are very present locally and participate in sponsorships, charitable initiatives, and events. For us, business is not just about the bottom line, it’s about caring for people. This goes back to the values my family store was built on.”

A History Of Expertise

The store’s top categories include plumbing, paint and décor, and hardware. “Our store boasts a history of providing expertise in the plumbing category due to my great grandfa-

Banner: Home Hardware

Location: St-Raymond, QC

In business since: 1928

Store size: 13,500 sq. ft.

Number of staff: 22

ther’s experience in the area. We have a large inventory and vast product knowledge. Our fashion plumbing department exists as part of the décor department, making us a one-stop shop for customers. As for paint and décor, Home Hardware’s exclusive paint brand, BeautiTone, is incredibly valuable to us. We sell high quality paint that is manufactured in Burford, ON, which gives Home an advantage in supply chain management. For hardware, we are a go-to for customers because we don’t just keep our top-sellers stocked, we have a wide selection available in-store.”

These categories also represent the future for the business. “It is part of our nature to constantly look for ways to improve and grow our business. One of our goals is to acquire greater notoriety in plumbing, becoming a destination for this category for customers across our region. We also want to expand our paint and décor departments.”

Success in retail is about serving customers and fulfilling their needs and this is Denis’ favourite element of her work. “We know that the secret to success in this business is not just prioritizing sales, but creating relationships. It’s all about the people. For me, being able to harness my years of experience working at the store, learning from my parents and grandparents, and finding success in a male dominated sector has been rewarding.”

Lakefield Jean Denis Ltd.storefront. Jean Denis Ltd.
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Philippe Moisan, Sophie Denis, and sons.

RONA Home and Garden Golden Mile was established in Scarborough, ON, in 2001, when RONA acquired 51 Revy Home and Garden, Revelstoke Home Centres, and Lansing stores across Canada. Prior to the acquisition, the retailer operated as a Revy store.

The store’s top categories include lumber and building materials as well as appliances and plumbing. These are the key categories “because pro sales account for a very significant portion of our total sales. We also have a drive-through lumber yard and, therefore, lumber is our biggest category by unit and volume,” says Padamjit Dugal, store manager. Despite the lumber price fluctuations and supply in the industry, the great relationships the store associates have with the contractors is key to the store success.

Dugal and his team are driven by helping customers turn their houses into homes. “What I like about retail is meeting and serving customers and having the ability to make an impact on their lives and in our community. I also enjoy the ability, as a leader, to challenge my team to deliver results.”

Technology Improves Customer Service

Technology is integrated into many aspects of the business. “Technology helps us serve our customers better. I can access and interact with my contractor base through an online customer relationship management tool and VIPpro, RONA’s loyalty program for contractors, which helps with great com-


Banner: RONA inc.

Location: Scarborough, ON

In business since: 2000

Store size: 110,000 sq. ft.

Yard size: 30,000 sq. ft.

Number of staff: 130


munication and sales. Access to smartphones has made my staff more productive and helps provide great customer service. Electronic shelf labels give us price accuracy and help us gain efficiencies. We also practice ‘endless aisles,’ which provides online access to a large array of products which always helps me satisfy my customers’ needs.” Endless aisles is a strategy retailers use to help instore shoppers order products through the online store during their visit. “This service

is like carrying all the products we have available online in our actual store.”

VIPpro is a proprietary loyalty program for contractors who shop at any of the RONA banners (Lowe’s, RONA, and Réno-Dépôt). The program, which can be accessed via a dedicated app, offers contractors five per cent off their purchases, 10 per cent off paint products, and exclusive offers. Pro customers can track their receipts and manage their team members' payments on the app. They also receive other perks like priority parking, early-bird hours, and dedicated knowledgeable staff.

As the manager of a corporate store, Dugal says he gets full support from the RONA head office. “They empower me to make decisions for the business to grow sales. They also stand behind me and help me and my team with full access to inventory in the network. They make sure we have state-of-the-art products at competitive prices.”

As for goals moving forward, Dugal wants the store and the team members to continue to provide the best possible service to customers in the community and continue to build relationships with contractors.

He says it is important to never get into a comfort zone. “Instead I continue to focus on things I can control and always put in 101 per cent effort. We keep going because there is no finish line for excellence.”

Padamjit Dugal, store manager, RONA Home and Garden Golden Mile RONA Home and Garden Golden Mile
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The team at RONA Home and Garden Golden Mile are driven by helping customers turn their houses into homes.

To meet local demand for competitively priced farm, hardware, and building materials in Telkwa, BC, John Vriend and his son Lenard Vriend founded Bulkley Valley Farm Supply Centre Ltd. in 1977.

In 1980, John sold his part of the business to his daughter-in-law, Joyce Vriend, and in 1995, they changed the name to Bulkley Valley Home Centre to better reflect the core business. Eventually, the ownership structure was revised and the business now has four shareholders – Lenard Vriend, Travis Nanninga, Rodney Leffers, and Darrin Super.

Bulkley Valley Home Centre has changed locations several times during the past four decades and the business has grown with each new site.

“We continued to grow and upgrade the operations to meet the demands of the growing business,” says Travis Nanninga, current coowner and general manager of Bulkley Valley Home Centre Ltd.

“It started with a grain elevator so we could manufacture our own feed. Then, we added a storage building on to the elevator to contain the feed. As the business moved into selling more building and hardware products, we built a large warehouse to contain these products and increased the size of our retail sales areas several times. We added an office complex with a staff lunchroom in 1986.”

In 2000, the owners purchased the land and building of the former Houston, BC, Co-op and opened a sister store. A few years later, the team completely remerchandised the


Location: Telkwa & Houston, BC


Owners: Len Vriend, Travis Nanninga, Rodney Leffers, Darrin Super

In business since: 1977

Store sizes: 6,500 sq. ft. & 25,000 sq. ft. (warehouse); 7,000 sq. ft. & 15,000 sq. ft. (warehouse)

Yard sizes: 3 acres; 2 acres

retail sales area of the Telkwa store. They also expanded the office complex and gave a full face lift to the front of store, a timber frame construction.

In 2010/2011 they did a complete remerchandising of the retail area of the Houston store and did the same timber frame construction to the front to match the Telkwa store. Upgrades are made regularly to both stores and their respective yards to keep the businesses looking fresh and functioning at peak performance.

Recognized Customer Service

Nanninga says Bulkley Valley Home Centre’s success is based on excellent customer service and competitive pricing. Management and staff focus on developing relationships with individual customers and with members of the community. In fact, both locations have been recognized for their customer service by the Smithers and District Chamber of Commerce.

Bulkley Valley is in the northwest central interior of British Columbia. The region has an estimated population of just over 40,000 which includes several First Nations reserves, two operating

Number of staff: 35

mines, an agricultural sector, and landmarks and parks that attract many tourists.

Nanninga says the local market presents many business opportunities. “We have made trips into local mine sites to introduce ourselves and show them the products we stock. We assign one employee to be the key contact with them to build that relationship. We also work closely with the First Nations people in their housing projects and have assigned specific employees to work closely with them.”

The retailer is also very involved in Bulkley Valley events and social groups. “We sponsor a hockey team and two soccer teams, and we also support the school drama groups by supplying materials for the play sets.” Bulkley Valley Home Centre is also a common participant in local fundraisers and fairs and supports neighbourhood schools as well as non-profit social organizations and activities.

The retailer thanks its customers for their patronage every year at a customer appreciation event held December 24. “It is important to us to thank them for their business throughout the year,” says Nanninga.

Bulkley Valley Home Centre
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Bulkley Valley Home Centre is located in the beautiful northwest central interior of British Columbia.

University graduate Jim Hickey’s entrepreneurial spirit was apparent 50 years ago. After working a number of years at the home renovation department at Sears, he began selling windows and doors out of the garage of his house. With his wife Mary Hickey, he started small, but the business began to prosper. Before long, they rented a property with a retail store in Harbour Main, NL, and started offering building supplies.

Along with windows and doors, the Hickeys started selling other building materials such as plumbing products, electrical supplies, and insulation. By 1980, they had expanded the business even more and added a second location at Conception Bay, NL.

Fast forward to today and Hickey’s TIMBER MART has four locations. Jim and Mary continue to run the main Harbour Main store with their daughter, Ashley Puddester. Son Jay Hickey manages the Consumption store; son Bradley (Brad) Hickey manages the St. John’s East store (opened in 2012), and Jamie Griffith is the general manager of the St. John’s West store (opened in 2022). The four locations make it so everyone in the St. John’s regional market is no more than a 15-minute drive from one of the stores.

Family-Owned Dynamic

The family-owned dynamic is a big reason behind the success of the business, says Brad. “We all play a role and support each other. For 50 years, we have focused on what we know best, which is building supplies. There are


many other categories in the home improvement world, and it does supply many of them, but our core is building supplies – the materials that build the core structure of a building.

“We go heavy on the ordering, so we always have inventory in stock for all the key building supply materials. Consumers in the St. John’s market notice and they go to Hickey’s if they want building supplies.”

He adds, “Our retail stores are not huge, but our yards are big and our truck fleet is big with over 55 vehicles. We cater to a lot of contractors so we focus on delivery and, most times, we offer same-day or morning delivery".

The experienced and knowledgeable staff are also behind the success of the business.



Location: Harbour Main, Conception Bay, St. John’s East, & St. John’s West, NL

Owners: Jim & Mary Hickey

In business since: 1973

Store sizes: 5,500 sq. ft. & 18,000 sq. ft. (warehouse); 1,800 sq. ft. & 15,000 sq. ft. (warehouse); 10,000 sq. ft. & 8,000 sq. ft. (warehouse); 9,000 sq. ft. & 13,000 sq. ft. (warehouse)

Yard sizes: 4 acres; 5 acres; 3 acres; 10 acres

Number of staff: 130

“Our staff are full time, permanent. This means they know the product and they know the customers. At the same time, contractors get to see the same faces every day. When they are working on a project, they don’t want to have to come in everyday and explain it to a different person.”

Hickey’s joined TIMBER MART in 2008 because it allowed them to benefit from the buying power and negotiations while remaining independent. “We can still be an entrepreneur and they have our back if we ever need something or if we have a problem with a supplier. They have a really good flyer program that we can customize to our needs. They also offer a number of business support services and we can choose the ones that serve us.

“Now, with the four stores, we’re in a really good position,” says Brad. “The next step is to streamline operations and find efficiencies while, at the same time, continuing to work on gaining market share.

“The whole family is involved in the family business because we love what we do. Dad is 75 years old. He runs the main store and Mom does the accounts payable and receivable. They are a good team and could have retired if they wanted to, but they love what they do. So they’re still going strong.”

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Mary & Jim Hickey

Slack Lumber was founded by the Slack family in 1953 and acquired in 2021 by a business triumvirate consisting of Mykel Spinks, Jonathan Lowenberg, and Nicholas McCollum. The independent dealer serves the York and Haldimand, ON, regions and offers lumber, windows and window installation, tools, and essential supplies as well as a Pro program where members get access to discounts, promotions, and special events.

The business journey for the three young entrepreneurs all started with the Slack family looking for a succession plan for the family business. After being in business for over 70 years, they did not want to sell to just anyone. Many offers came in from large competitors in the area, but that wasn’t what they wanted for their business upon retirement.

Jonathan Lowenberg was a local business owner and, at the time, the sole owner of his own company Window Werx, a window manufacturer and installer. As an installer, Lowenberg was a regular customer of Slack Lumber. He heard about the sale of the business from Neil Slack, whom he’d frequently see at the store.

At that time, Lowenberg was coincidentally looking to bring on partners to expand his own business and he was in talks with Spinks and McCollum. Spinks, an operations supervisor, and McCollum, a carpenter


running a house flipping business, partnered with Lowenberg and the three men became the equal-partner owners of both Slack Lumber and Window Werx, and the latter officially became a division of Slack Lumber.

Selling The Legacy

Neil and his family were happy to sell the legacy of their name and company to the three local businessmen who were also customers. The three men that took on this endeavour knew their diverse backgrounds and drive for excellence would help them continue the success of the long-standing family business.

Within the first year, revenue grew 115 per cent. However, their growth wasn’t just limited to revenue. The owners implemented eCommerce into their business model so customers had the ability to purchase products online, request quotes both online and in-home, and even get help via text messages from their team.

Striving for world class service is the unifying factor for all three partners and key to Slack Lumber’s success. As well, as an independent business model, the retailer has more opportunity to build long-term relationships with its customers. It is common for customers to walk into the store and be greeted with their first name, says Spinks.

Slack Lumber

Lakefield Empire Corners, York, ON

Owners: Mykel Spinks, Jonathan Lowenberg, Nicholas McCollum

In business since: 1953

Store size: 6,000 sq. ft.

Yard size: 5.5 acres

Number of staff: 18

The entire team is committed to providing this level of service to all customers whenever it’s needed. “No customer is too small to receive top service,” he adds. “If someone needs one 2x4 delivered at 8 p.m. at night, our team will get it to them.”

In 2023, Slack Lumber joined Sexton Group Ltd. “Sexton Group is a strong advocate for our business,” says Spinks. “It’s like having another partner or team member in the business.” The group has helpful in getting the competitive pricing they need to keep customers happy. Sexton supports them in communicating with vendors so the team can keep their focus on serving customers.

“Dealing with lumber as a commodity in today’s market is challenging, but we manage the challenge well. One of the advantages of being an independent business is that we are nimble to changes in the market. We can quickly adapt and maintain a high level of control when it comes to inventory management as an independent business.”

As a younger generation entering an established industry, the owners see a lot of opportunity for expansion in the coming years. They know of other dealer owners planning to retire soon, so they hope this will contribute to growth.

“Our goal is to continue the path of success with Slack and show our potential for growth and as business owners to others in the industry. We look forward to the exciting journey ahead and to the many relationships we will have the opportunity to develop.”

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Collectively, we work with all the industry leaders to present their values to the market in which they participate, and to communicate through HIR to build their brand within that market.

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Aging In Place Provides Sales Opportunities

Aging in place is the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income level, or ability level. It allows individuals to preserve their sense of familiarity, consistency, and convenience in the home, while living the lifestyle they’ve worked towards their whole lives.

Seniors are the fastest growing segment of the population. There are more Canadians over the age of 65 than under 15 today and, by 2035, one in four Canadians will be over the age of 65 and life expectancies will be longer. This is a market contractors and retailers simply cannot ignore.

More than 75 per cent of homeowners will explore aging in place projects this year for themselves or for someone they love, says a report by Modernize, a home improvement services company. This is up from 69 per cent in 2021, and 68 per cent in 2020. Of the homeowners who expect to pursue projects, 38 per cent have lived in their home for more than 20 years.

Eighty-five per cent of Canadians over 55 would prefer to ‘age in place’ in their homes and communities, even if there are changes in their health (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation - CMHC).

Seniors typically are not aware of what to do or do not proactively plan for their future housing needs. Instead, they become interested in this topic when their health declines. By waiting until a health crisis occurs to make their home safer, it means that home adaptations are attempted in a rush or under pressure, and this is not always possible.

No matter what the age and functional ability of the homeowners, if they want to make their house their home for a lifetime, they should consider upgrades for aging in place in the renovations they plan today. These can be important selling features should they decide to sell their home before they reach the age where they actually need these alterations. The adaptations are ideal for seniors, families who have an elderly parent living with them, or people of any age with disabilities. It is an upsell idea contractors and retailers should broach when discussing renovations with customers.

There are many ways to improve a home to make it safer for aging adults. They vary from simple changes such as adding brighter light bulbs or laying down non-slip floor mats to more complex changes such as installing stair-lifts, elevators, or changing the structure of the home to accommodate wheelchairs..

Contractors Essential

Homeowners should hire contractors for upgrades that need to be installed to code, and retailers can help share this message.

“Simple changes such as removing trip hazards or improving lighting may be done by homeowners themselves,” says Cassie Morien, director of strategy and homeowner insights for Modernize. “Professional home improvement contractors are essential for complex projects like walk-in tubs, stair lifts, doorway enlargements, and bath or kitchen remodels.”

CMHC says there is not enough public discussion about the

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meaning of aging in place and the different ways that this goal can be attained. Consequently, there is opportunity for retailers and contractors to capture the attention of aging Boomers and seniors to encourage them to think about and plan their housing needs and options.

Fifty-eight per cent of Canadian homeowners aged 55+ say renovations would be required in order for them to remain in their home as they age, says a study from HomeEquity Bank. As well:

• 46 per cent say minor renovations would be necessary,

• 11 per cent say major renovations would be needed, and

• 44 per cent of those that require improvements would need renovations to their kitchens and/or bathrooms to improve accessibility.

Some of the most common renovation products include:

• improving accessibility from the main floor to the second floor (includes stair-lifts),

• improving accessibility from outside the home to inside (includes ramps), and

• creating a full bathroom on the main floor of a home.

Costs for these projects will vary depending on details, and homeowners might be eligible for tax credits through the government. The Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC) is a non-refundable tax credit for eligible home renovation or alteration expenses that allow a qualifying individual to gain access to, or to be mobile or functional within, the eligible dwelling or reduce the risk of harm to the qualifying individual within the dwelling or in gaining access to the dwelling. Contractors and retailers should check with their provincial governments as well. Many offer assistance programs for repairs and upgrades to help seniors stay in their homes.

When discussing a renovation plan with a homeowner, it is important to keep future health challenges in mind. And, while the list is much longer than can be addressed in one article, below are some considerations.

Accessibility And Safety

The key words to think about are ‘accessibility’ and ‘safety’ as they pertain to moving around the home.

Accessible stairs, or alternative stair ‘transport’ such as a stair lift, is an important safety factor if someone starts having trouble moving around. Grip strips for slippery treads and solid handrails on both sides also increase safety.

Another option is to have all living arrangements – bedroom, bathroom, and laundry for example – on the main floor. In addition to reducing the use of the stairs, living on the main floor of a home provides for faster exits in case of emergency. Wider doorways and entryways will make the floor, and the home, more accessible for wheelchairs.

When it comes to wheelchairs, homeowners will need access to the home with a ramp, porch lift, or front door elevator.

Bathrooms can be slippery and a dangerous area for someone with mobility issues. Some common upgrades to prevent falling and slipping include adding grab bars to the shower/bathtub and toilet areas. Higher toilets (typically up to 19 inches high) make it easier to sit and stand. Walk-in tubs and hand-held shower heads also make the space easier to use. In some instances, homeowners choose to replace the entire bathroom with a wet room containing no thresholds. The counters may need to be lowered for wheelchair access as well. Cupboards can be lowered for access and cupboard doorknobs and handles can be upgraded for those who have difficulty gripping.

For all rooms, the homeowner should consider adding extra outlets in case there is need to set up medical equipment in the future. As well, good lighting on the exterior and interior of the home is imperative to move around safely.

For the exterior, all cladding, surfaces, and landscaping should be low-maintenance and non-slip compliant. Pathways should be well lit, accessible, and clutter-free.

Smart home products can also be useful for aiding aging homeowners. Smart home devices, appliances, and technologies can help homeowners connect to products in their surroundings via the internet. These smart products can be useful for people with reduced mobility or vision. By using a central hub or dashboard, which can be controlled by speech or touch, homeowners will be able to control smart products such as kitchen appliances, doorbell cameras, door locks, light fixtures, televisions, and emergency alert systems.

This list is by no means comprehensive. Fortunately, there are many checklists and suggestions available online. There are also contractors who specialize in ‘aging in place’ renovations.

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Join a Banner where Contact the Business Development Manager in your area: youarethebrand.ca (705) 822-5706 alaurin@castle.ca (905) 757-4918 ldiaz@castle.ca

Optimize What You Do Best

In today's retail environment, it's increasingly challenging to be competitive. The rise of eCommerce, changing consumer behaviours, and technological advancements have changed the retail landscape dramatically. Throw in other factors like inflation, supply chain issues, and competitors vying for your customers’ dollars, and retailers know they have to be creative and consistent to attract and retain customers.

The big box store in the next city over and the other hardware and building supply dealers in your market are not the only contenders in today’s marketplace. Today’s retailer is up against every business and service when it comes to customer experience.

Competition is important because it provides a business the opportunity to identify and market its specific and unique traits that appeal to customers. Small business owners need to clearly communicate their value proposition. What is it that they offer to their customers that others do not? What is it about

Consumers expect personalized experiences, whether they're shopping in-store or online. A smaller business has the ability to be more customer-centric than a larger business and this can be a key differentiator.

Personalization includes everything from tailored product recommendations based on customer purchase history to customized marketing campaigns. Retailers should invest in data analysis to understand their customers' preferences and behaviours to deliver personalized experiences that drive loyalty and repeat business. Data analysis does not have to be on the scale of ‘big data,’ but can consist of analyzing point-of-sale information.

This data will allow retailers to optimize inventory. Inventory management is a crucial aspect of retail success. Retailers must have the right products in stock at the right time to meet customer demand. This means optimizing inventory levels, reducing overstocking and understocking, and improving supply chain management.

establish a unique brand voice and image that resonates with their target audience. A strong brand identity can help retailers build trust with customers, increase brand awareness, and drive customer loyalty.

The brand should align with business goals and target audience. This includes creating a consistent brand image across all touchpoints, including social media, advertising, packaging, and in-store displays.

• Employee Development

Employee training and development is critical to retail success. Knowledgeable and well-trained employees can deliver exceptional customer service and provide accurate product information. Additionally, investing in employees can improve employee engagement, reduce turnover rates, and increase productivity.

• Online Presence

Retailers should invest in their online presence and create a seamless shopping experience for customers. This includes creating a user-friendly website, optimizing for mobile devices, and offering multiple payment options if eCommerce is available. Additionally, retailers should prioritize their online customer service, which includes timely responses to customer inquiries and providing clear and concise product information.

Even retailers without eCommerce need have an online presence, whether it’s a website or social media accounts. Most consumers are online so this touchpoint cannot be ignored. At the very least, retailers can be creative in offering product information with the help of their vendor partners.

"Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."
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~ William Faulkner, American novelist
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