HIR 29.05

Page 1

ISSUE 29.05



RETAILING BY DESIGN 3D platform drives 405 percent conversion-rate increase

CONTRACTOR BUSINESS www.hirmagazine.com

@HIR 29.05_Cover v2 - SUBBED CHOSEN.indd 1

Interior design partnerships can increase retail sales

07/10/2023 5:21:43 am

Francois Riopel

Home Store Owner Sainte-Adele, QC

100% DEALER-OWNED Join a completely Dealer-Owned company today.

Dealers share and participate equally without the influence of any external shareholders. Harness our massive buying power, comprehensive distribution, national brand recognition and marketing support.

Scan to learn more 09_2023HHSL_HIR_Recruitment_Ad_En.indd 1 02-03_IFC+Contents - SUBBED.indd 2

2023-08-24 3:41 PM 07/10/2023 5:23:26 am


:41 PM

CONTENTS A KM Business Information Canada publication ISSUE 29.05



EDITORIAL Managing Editor James Burton Editor Nienke Hinton ADVERTISING SALES Business Development Director Abhiram Prabhu Account Manager Michael Hughes Business Development Manager Doris Holinaty Customer Success Executive Michelle Tamayo PRODUCTION & DESIGN Production Manager Monica Lalisan Lead Production Editor Roslyn Meredith Production Editor Christina Jelinek Production Coordinators Loiza Razon & Kat Guzman Graphic Designer Noel Avendaño CORPORATE President Tim Duce People and Culture Director Julia Bookallil

EDITOR'S VIEW Small businesses forecast growth, despite challenges

6 7 8 10 14 19 30



FEATURES 11 TRENDS Leisure and luxury top 2024 kitchen design trends



Canadians' SME engine needs more fuel

HR Business Partner Alisha Lomas-Oliver Chief Information Officer Colin Chan Chief Revenue Officer Dane Taylor CEO Mike Shipley COO George Walmsley

EDITORIAL INQUIRIES james.burton@keymedia.com nienke.hinton@keymedia.com SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES subscriptions@keymedia.com

13 TECHNOLOGY Retailer technology adoption on the rise

16 Special Report 2023 RENOVATION & PAINT REPORT Canadians continue to love renovating


20 EMERGENT CULTURE Creating a resilient company culture

ADVERTISING INQUIRIES abhiram.prabhu@keymedia.com michael.hughes@keymedia.com

22 COMPETITION How independent retailers can better compete with big box

24 RETAILING BY DESIGN KM Business Information Canada Ltd. 317 Adelaide Street West, Suite 910 Toronto, ON M5V 1P9 tel: +1 416 644 8740 www.keymedia.com Canada • USA • UK • Australia • NZ • Philippines

Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept, as the magazine can accept no responsibility for loss.

WebAR visualization drives 405 percent conversion-rate increase for Ace Hardware


26 CONTRACTOR BUSINESS Interior designer partnerships can increase retail sales

Visit Our Website:


28 PRODUCTIVITY Ditch your to-do list


02-03_IFC+Contents - SUBBED.indd 3


07/10/2023 5:24:00 am


Small businesses forecast growth, despite challenges


nflation, a shortage of working capital, and costs remain top concerns for small businesses, but they still project growth over the coming months. In fact, six in 10 small businesses in Canada plan to expand hiring before the end of 2023, primarily due to company growth (58 percent), says research from Robert Half. Managers say their biggest worries during times of economic uncertainty are around keeping their teams motivated and engaged (41 percent), managing and adapting to changes in team structure and responsibilities (40 percent), managing employees’ stress and anxiety (37 percent), and retaining top talent (33 per cent). Hiring challenges persist as 91 percent of small business managers say they face challenges finding skilled talent. When anticipating what their greatest hiring challenges of 2024 will be, 52 percent cite finding available candidates with the required skill sets, followed by hiring quickly enough to land the best talent (49 percent), and meeting candidates’ salary expectations (46 percent). These challenges mean small businesses are improving their retention efforts by increasing compensation (30 percent), increasing recognition efforts (30 percent), and expanding/enhancing professional development (30 percent). Retailers are also dealing with changes in consumer spending. According to BDC’s 2023 Consumer Trends Report, geopolitical tensions, environmental concerns, rising prices, and reduced spending power are motivating Canadians to cut back. In response, businesses are redesigning the customer experience. Most consumers (90 percent) strongly agree that a simple and


satisfying experience is fundamental to the consumer-business relationship.

A few ways to improve Home improvement retailers have a few ways they can improve their customer experience as well as the perception of their customer experience. For example, proactively managing online reviews can help entrepreneurs interact with younger generations and keep track of what’s being said online and correct points of misinformation. Technology can help for many aspects of the clients’ journey, including marketing automation, e-commerce, and identifying the right channels to effectively deliver customer service. Consumers want businesses to inspire trust, and just over half of them (56 percent) have stopped buying from companies whose business practices they don’t agree with. To be a better corporate citizen, entrepreneurs can consider third-party certification to acknowledge they live up to the highest standards. Knowing what makes their customers tick shows that they care and helps them stand out from competitors. Small business owners can also market their standards and values so customers will relate those qualities to the business’ brand. The BDC report also shows that it is important for businesses to take a generational approach to the products and services they offer. Currently, only 29 percent of Canadian businesses do so, although behaviour, values, beliefs, and even interest in products vary by age. Taking a generational approach to understanding purchasing behaviour can be valuable to businesses looking to better target their customers, as not all trends are

expressed the same way. The following pages take a deeper look into trends and partnerships available to home improvement retailers to help them improve their offerings, better manage their employees, and, ultimately, work toward increasing profits by enhancing their customer experience.

Nienke Hinton Editor nienke.hinton@keymedia.com


04-05_Editor's View v3 - SUBBED.indd 4

07/10/2023 5:25:11 am


Putting our members first in everything we do.

“ Hear about our story at

1.800.665.9209 Learn about our story at


We had so much to learn in our first year of business and always felt Sexton’s support along the way. The entire team is approachable & willing to help. As a newer business, we have never once felt insignificant. From the president to sales to accounting, we know Sexton is just a phone call away and that responsiveness to all members is their biggest commitment. Sexton Group acts as an extension of our own team with a personal investment in our success. We would not be where we are today without the Sexton Group.” —Devon & Kelsey Brooks, Brooks Building Supplies

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.

Driven by our member’s success. 04-05_Editor's View v3 - SUBBED.indd 5 Sexton-BROOKS-OriginalDesign-HIR-fullpage.indd 1

07/10/2023 2023-09-155:25:32 12:49 am PM

INDUSTRY UPDATE officials. CFIB’s survey findings indicated that one-third of businesses could repay their CEBA loans on time, while another third planned to borrow funds to access the forgivable portion, with financial institution refinancing (61 percent) and home equity (19 percent) as preferred methods. Nearly twothirds (65 percent) anticipated difficulties in meeting the current forgivable deadline of January 18, 2024. CFIB is actively advocating for a further extension of the CEBA forgivable deadline and has gathered over 46,000 signatures on its petition from small business owners across Canada urging the government to act promptly.



TimberHP will offer sales of its first wood fibre insulation product, TimberFill, to the North American market. TimberFill, a loose-fill insulation, can be blown in or dense packed for high-performing, affordable, safe, and carbon-negative coverage in attics, wall cavities, floors, and ceilings. TimberHP will be selling TimberFill through a variety of channels – including service partners, general insulation, and numerous independent lumber dealers – with trailer truckloads leaving the company’s manufacturing plant, a repurposed and renovated former paper mill in Madison, MN, weekly.

Simpson Strong-Tie has opened three warehouse, distribution, and training centres in Denver, CO, Salt Lake City, UT, and Kent, WA. Part of a strategic investment to increase the Simpson Strong-Tie US distribution footprint, the new facilities will significantly expand the range of products available for next-day delivery. The hubs include warehousing facilities, office space, training centres, and newly designed, two-story demonstration rooms to host contractors and lumber and building material (LBM) suppliers for project and product training classes.

SMALL BUSINESSES FOUND CEBA CHANGES UNHELPFUL Recent data from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) reveals that 80 percent of small businesses were dissatisfied with the federal government’s modifications to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) repayment deadline. CFIB president Dan Kelly noted that small business owners’ requests for a repayment deadline extension to retain the forgivable portion were not met, despite their pleas to government


INTERIOR ARCHITECTURAL COATINGS MARKET TO SEE ROBUST GROWTH The global interior architectural coatings market has achieved a significant milestone, reaching a size of US$46.6 billion in 2022. Looking ahead, industry experts anticipate robust growth, with the market poised to reach US$59.3 billion by 2028, reflecting a commendable growth rate (CAGR) of 4.3 percent during the period spanning from 2023 to 2028, says a report by Research and Markets. In recent years, both the commercial and residential sectors have witnessed a surge in construction activities, driving market growth. Consumers worldwide have become increasingly discerning, seeking premium-

quality coatings that enhance the beauty and protection of their homes. Consumers, when making selections, consider a diverse array of aesthetic and performance attributes. These encompass hiding power, ease of application, flow and levelling, low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, user protection from harmful substances, stain resistance, environmental sustainability, and low odour. The market offers an array of coating types,

IKEA CANADA OPENS QUEBEC DISTRIBUTION CENTRE IKEA Canada has opened a combination distribution centre and customer distribution centre in Beauharnois, QC, to enhance its operational efficiency and provide increased service to its retail locations and customers. The stateof-the-art facility will play a pivotal role in streamlining IKEA’s logistics operations, ensuring that products reach customers’ homes with increased speed and accuracy. It will utilize automated storage and retrieval systems and automated goods-to-person picking and packing solutions. The facility also represents IKEA Canada’s commitment to sustainability by reducing transport distances and emissions by storing more products and bringing the retailer closer to its customers. Additionally, the Beauharnois location was awarded LEED Silver certification and is equipped with 20 electric vehicle chargers for co-workers and guests. The retailer will also install 15 electric vehicle chargers for commercial fleets by the end of the year.


06-07_Industry Update+People - SUBBED.indd 6

07/10/2023 5:26:26 am

PEOPLE including varnishes, sealers, wall paints, primers, and ceramics .

distribution and manufacturing businesses throughout North America.


ALBERTA ECONOMY WEATHERS INFLATION In the past year, Alberta’s economy has weathered the inflation storm better than most. Strong population growth and a revitalized energy sector will continue to put Alberta’s economy ahead of the crowd even as it slows in the face of higher interest rates, says a report from ATB Financial. Consumer spending, employment, and population growth have been stronger than expected in ATB’s previous outlook. The forecast is for real GDP growth in Alberta of 2.7 percent in 2023, up from 2.4 percent in June. However, with interest rates now looking to be “higher for longer,” ATB has lowered its growth forecast for 2024 to 2.0 percent from 2.2 percent. “Alberta’s economy has weathered formidable storms, including the tumultuous oil price crash of 2014–15, market access hurdles in 2019, and the unprecedented challenges of the 2020 pandemic. The province’s economy has recovered and is now firmly in expansion mode,” says Mark Parsons, ATB Financial’s chief economist.

INNOVAIR SOLUTIONS INVESTS IN INDUSTRIE ORKAN Innovair Solutions has invested in air quality products manufacturer Industrie Orkan Inc. Based in Montreal, QC, Orkan manufactures Epurair brand products, which are sold across North America. This strategic partnership will allow Innovair Solutions to access technology in a new business sector, share expertise and knowledge, and collaborate in the development of new products. As a result, the company will consolidate and strengthen its position as a major player in the North American market. Industrie Orkan will continue to operate under the leadership of brothers Daniel and Simon Labrecque. Headquartered in L’Islet, QC, Innovair Solutions is owned by the Beaulieu family and encompasses a range of brands.




KING MARKETING King Marketing has revealed key leadership transitions aimed at driving strategic growth and “positioning it for continued success.” After serving as president for 25 years, Paul Crawford will take on the role of chief executive officer, continuing to provide strategic guidance, oversee initiatives, and nurture essential relationships with industry partners. Mark Travers has been promoted to president after more than a decade as general manager. He will manage day-today operations, execute strategic plans, and lead the company’s ongoing expansion. Stephanie Kainz assumes the position of vice-president of sales. She will lead the sales team, formulate and implement sales strategies, and foster relationships with valued clients.

Richard (Rick) Westenberg is vice-president, chief financial officer, with MASCO Westenberg Corporation, effective October 16, 2023. Most recently, he served as vicepresident and chief financial officer of General Motors North America.

SAINT-GOBAIN GROUP Christian Bako is vice-president, marketing and development with Saint-Gobain Group. He joined the company in 2017 and worked, Bako most recently, as general manager for central Europe. Cordula Gudduschat is general manager of Isover and Rigips Germany, insulation and drywall divisions of Saint-Gobain. Gudduschat was previously vice-president, marketing and development with SaintGobain Group.

INNOVAIR SOLUTIONS ECI SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS Riz Karim is chief customer officer with ECI Software Solutions. He will lead customerfacing teams collaborating across Karim manufacturing, residential construction, field service management, building supply, office technology, and wholesale/retail distribution divisions. Previously, he served as senior vicepresident of global services and support at Everbridge.

AD BUILDING SUPPLIES – CANADA Stephane Gaumond is director, business development for the Building Supplies – Canada Gaumond division at AD. Gaumond will manage all aspects of the business development process for the division’s presence across Canada while maintaining a special emphasis on eastern Canada. His career spans various

Isabel Cloutier is national retail sales manager – Canada and USA for Innovair Solutions. She brings Cloutier experience in the sales field and a strong knowledge of the retail market with skills in leadership, business development, and strategic vision.

JELD-WEN Wendy A. Livingston is executive vice-president and chief human resources officer (CHRO) with Livingston JELD-WEN. Previously, she was chief people officer with Spreetail, a multinational e-commerce company.

EPICOR Vaibhav Vohra is chief product and technology officer with Epicor. The product development and product management teams will now be Vohra unified under Vohra’s leadership.


06-07_Industry Update+People - SUBBED.indd 7


07/10/2023 5:26:50 am

IN STORE Customers can also find a variety of appliances, such as fridges, stoves, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, and freezers, in the store’s large appliance department.

neered wood products. Don Clement, owner and president, expressed the team’s commitment to “servicing the existing customer base, as well as looking to cultivate new clientele for continued growth as a Castle location.”

RONA receives fourth Energy Star award

Home Hardware award-winner and store openings Barrington Passage, NS-based Wilson’s Home Hardware Building Centre has received the Walter J. Hachborn Store of the Year Award for Best Home Hardware Building Centre. The store was selected among 1,100 home hardware stores across Canada evaluated for their service and performance over the years. Mike Wilson, dealerowner of Wilson’s, applauds the achievement, acknowledging the contribution of the staff in the recognition. “I am fortunate to be the current steward of a proud, generational business of more than 100 years of service to our community,” says Wilson. “I want to thank my staff who always go above and beyond to maintain an excellent level of customer service. Without them these awards would not be possible.” Waterford Home Building Centre held the grand opening of its revamped store, located at 292 Leamon Street, Waterford, ON. Owned and operated by Cortney and Jesse Buchan, the celebration, held August 24 to 26, was a fundraising opportunity to support the organization’s mission of creating a welcoming and inclusive community for individuals with varying developmental abilities. With the generous support of the community, the grand opening raised $1,000 for the organization. Farlow’s Home Hardware, based in Durham, ON, has opened its doors to the public. The business, originally co-owned by Josh and Lisa Farlow in 2015, officially became Farlow’s Home Hardware in September 2019. The store provides a range of hardware, plumbing, and home improvement products, including plumbing supplies, electrical items, building materials, paint, and home supplies.


Wolseley Canada to open new East York store Wolseley Canada has announced that it has put up a new store in East York, ON. The store’s grand opening was held on September 26. The new location will offer a full range of Wolseley Canada’s roster of plumbing and HVAC products. “I’m excited to welcome the East York communities to our facility,” says Steve Hardy, branch manager at Wolseley Canada. “You can count on us to bring the same great service, expertise, and product selection that our customers rely on from Wolseley.”

RONA Inc. has received a special recognition ENERGY STAR Canada Award. The ENERGY STAR Canada program promotes energy-efficient practices across the country through the certification of products, homes, and buildings. It aims to empower Canadians to make informed decisions in purchasing products and help lower emissions, thus contributing to a net-zero economy. RONA was recognized for its practices that are aligned with the vision of the program, including promoting ENERGY STAR-certified products and training personnel on environmentally responsible products.

Castle gets northwestern Ontario member Nipigon, ON-based Maada’oozhgamig Castle Building Centre has joined Castle Building Centres Group. The full-service lumber, building materials, and hardware business is a First Nation-owned and operated building centre that was established to support the local consumers of northwestern Ontario and First Nation communities. Owners Shawn Sobush and The Grossi Group purchased the existing retail store, which was part of a competing banner. Edmonton Roof Truss also joined the buying group. Located in Edmonton, AB, the business houses a truss manufacturing unit and offers a range of engi-

Garage Living adds five locations Garage Living has opened five new franchise locations in North America, which includes two locations in Ontario. The garage renovation company says the growth is due to a rise in the need of renovations on aging housing stock. Ryan Waterman is the owner of Garage Living in Ottawa, ON, and Todd Hynes is the owner of Garage Living in London, ON. Garage Living now has 44 locations across the US and Canada; this includes 37 franchise locations.


08-09_InStore - SUBBED.indd 8

07/10/2023 5:28:00 am


NAIL DOWN THE CANAD AN MARKET Utilizing decades of expertise and insight, Home Improvement Retailing connects your brand with key decision-makers in retail distribution, positioning your company as a leading industry supplier. Through our deeply-rooted print and digital channels, HIR enhances your visibility with national retailers and distributors who in turn purchase your products, grow your brand equity, and boost your bottom line. Reach your target market easily and effectively by contacting your sales representative today. Abhi Prabhu abhiram.prabhu@keymedia.com Mike Hughes michael.hughes@keymedia.com

Call us at 416-644-8740

A Powershift Publication l Volume 28, Number 4 l September 2022

A Powershift Publication

A Powershift Publication l Volume 28, Number 5 l October 2022


December 2022

A Powershift Publication

Private Wealth Retirement Planning Should Be Ongoing

Retailing By Design Wiener's Home Hardware Celebrates 100 Years Of Service

Focus On Customers

www.hirmagazine.com PM NO. 40008000

www.hirmagazine.com PM NO. 40008000

HIR Dec 2022.indd 1

Help Contractors Sell That Kitchen Renovation

2022-12-19 3:44 PM





Build Business

Businesses Make Changes To Reduce Risk

Contractor Business

Don’t Get Distracted By Razzle Dazzle

Contractor Business

Aging In Place Provides Sales Opportunities

Contractor Business www.hirmagazine.com PM NO. 40008000

HIR Feb 2023.indd 1



Make More Sales

Canadians Find More Reasons To Delay Retirement

Contractor Business Help Contractors Adapt To Changing Marketplace

ISSUE 29.02

Investors Turn To Robo-Advisors

Private Wealth

Coach Your Team

February 2023

Private Wealth

Homeowners Too Influenced By Media

Canadians Adopting Payment Technologies

Reviews Important Part Of Coaching

Contractor Business Garage Conversions Growing Trend







Volume 29, Number 1








PM NO. 40008000

Volume 28, Number 6





Manager's Mind

Contractors Get Creative During Challenging Times

www.hirmagazine.com PM NO. 40008000

2023-02-16 12:08 PM

HIR Apr 2023.indd 1

The Future Of Work Calls For A New Kind Of Leader

2023-04-27 1:43 PM

Visit our HIR Archives at www.hirmagazine.com/issues HIR-NailCanadianMkt-Full v2.indd 1 08-09_InStore - SUBBED.indd 9

31/05/2023 8:32:10 pm 07/10/2023 5:28:35 am

FRONTLINES Canada has highest overall attack rates globally


anadian financial services organizations experienced one of the highest overall attack rates globally in 2022, second only to LATAM financial services organizations, says LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ Canadian Cybercrime and Fraud Trends Report. Canada had a 30 percent increase in humaninitiated attacks and a 52 percent increase in bot attacks compared with the previous year. The highest attack rates across Canadian financial services occurred at new account opening (5.2 percent) and payments (5.8 percent). The Canadian e-commerce industry had the highest

growth in attacks with a significant 183 percent increase over 2021. Canadian transactions processed by the Digital Identity Network totalled approximately eight billion in 2022, which was a 32 percent increase year over year. The report shows that digital transactions also increased significantly with 80 percent of transactions occurring via mobile devices. Notably, the Canadian mobile browser attack rate increased to 5.1 percent YOY and was substantially higher than the worldwide average of 2.7 percent during the same period.

“This study shows that Canadian organizations experience unique fraud trends compared to global and US averages. The growth in bot volume in Canada was substantial, and certain industries such as financial services experienced some of the highest attack rates globally,” says Alanna Shuh, director, fraud and identity strategy for Canada, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “It’s clear that organizations utilizing a global intelligence consortium and layering solutions at each consumer touchpoint are better equipped to stop fraud in its tracks, especially given the increasing size and complexity of global fraud networks.”

How to protect against cybercrime The best defense against cybercrime is to be on the offense. Here are some tips to protect against this evermore present and growing threat: Diligently manage your data Create a data map and a data retention policy that allow employees to understand what data your organization collects and maintains, how long it should be kept, etc. This is crucial information for risk assessment and, in the event of a breach, a critical part of a cyber response plan. Secure your network You have an obligation to take defensive measures to protect your retail systems and your customers’ personal and financial information. Data security measures include installing two-factor authentication for employees and customers, using chip-enabled card technology, and employing end-to-end encryption. Understand the regulatory landscapes A retailer’s regulatory burden can be complex and varies greatly depending on the products, the

physical locations of the business, and where its customers are located. Globally, the regulations are changing as quickly as the cyber threats. Understanding the specific laws and regulations to which your operation is subject is critical to ensuring compliance and avoiding sanctions or fines. Choose your vendor partners carefully Outsourcing part of your operation may not outsource your liability. If your vendors are exposed, you may be exposed and ultimately liable for any loss, so it is important to choose partners who demonstrate strong cyber vigilance and who invest in a comprehensive cyber insurance policy. Educate your employees Most retail cyber breaches originate internally. Poor employee cyber hygiene – like repeating passwords, email laxity, and failure to use a secure

internet – is a proven cause. Written and enforced cyber security policies and regular staff training can greatly lower this risk. Have a cyber response plan and team in place When the worst happens, knowing what and who your resources are can mean a quick and efficient response time – avoiding excessive business days and profits lost. The response team may be both internal and external – IT staff, risk manager, cyber response consultant, forensic accountant, insurer, crisis PR team, etc. Invest in cyber insurance with an expert partner A global insurance company with both retail and cyber expertise can help assess and manage your risk, customize a policy aligned with your business, understand local regulations, provide resources to train your employees, connect you to cyber response and reparation professionals, and, of course, mitigate any business losses or expenses. Source: Chubb



10_Frontlines - SUBBED.indd 10

07/10/2023 5:29:13 am

TRENDS Leisure and luxury top 2024 kitchen design trends Major kitchen trends for 2024 include shift toward earthy boldness and continued dominance of white By: Nienke Hinton home trends and marries nicely to the resurgence of stained wood tones. The versatility of the colour means it can be a classic choice when paired with gold hardware or create a moody ambiance when paired with black.


onsumer trends for kitchen design going into 2024 are based on leisure-first, subtle luxury, and sophistication. A survey by MasterBrand Cabinets of more than 1,200 interior design industry experts reveals emerging influences that will drive kitchen design in the coming year, including the announcement of MasterBrand’s 2024 Finish of the Year, Foxhall Green. “Today, individuals are seeking solace within walls of their homes and adopting features that promote comfort and flexibility,” says Stephanie Pierce, director of design and trends at MasterBrand Cabinets. “More than any other room in the home, the kitchen has become a space that brings people together and a sanctuary where time slows down.” The recent survey findings of kitchen designers and dealers uncover what’s next in kitchen design, the materials designers are gravitating toward, and the ways spaces are transforming around us in 2024, including: Slower-paced living – Today, people are looking to preserve the slower pace of living learned during the pandemic, and ongoing

self-care is now viewed as essential for mental preservation and peace. Forty-five percent of those surveyed are spending more time than ever in their kitchens, which is taking centre stage as a hub of relaxation and connection and driving the design decisions we’re making. Simple yet versatile colours and finishes – Light-tone wood finishes, whites, and offwhites are on the rise, including bleached-out natural woods and white oak with a light or natural tone. According to Houzz, 40 percent of renovated kitchens are featuring white cabinets, and 46 percent of homeowners are also opting for colour mixing in the kitchen. Most often, they are choosing a contrasting island cabinet colour with the most popular choices being blue, gray, black, and warm brown tones. Also on the rise is a suite of greens that are becoming steadfast cabinet standbys in designers’ toolboxes. This trend has earned Foxhall Green, a grayed forest green, the title of MasterBrand Cabinets’ 2024 Finish of the Year. Foxhall Green pairs well with a wide range of other colours and stains to create a palette that’s perfectly in line with current

Raw, organic, and warm – Emerging colour trends also include a notable rise of boldly soft colours and raw, organic, and warm shades. A transition from vivid reds to warmer, orange-based reds brings an earthy boldness to interior spaces. Hues of warm orange reds are showing up on walls, furnishings, and decor, adding depth and character to interiors and providing a visual focal point that effortlessly draws the eye in and sparks interest without taking away from a neutral, earthy space.

Top kitchen styles and emerging influences Transitional, soft modern, and modern traditional are the top three trending kitchen styles, with homeowners and designers blending design elements to balance aesthetics, functionality, and personal flair in kitchens. The result is both modernity and timeless elegance, including curved edges and arches becoming increasingly popular in home design. Eighty-three percent of designers say kitchen islands have replaced traditional dining tables. Multifunctional islands with optimal storage allow for a clutter-free and well-organized space to be used as a gathering place, workstation, and serving area. With the rise of open shelving, there is also a need to offset the reduction in kitchen storage space, leading to an increase in the use of working butler’s pantries and large walk-in pantries as space allows.


11_Kitchen Trends - SUBBED.indd 11


07/10/2023 5:29:51 am

BUILD BUSINESS Canadians’ SME engine needs more fuel


anada’s small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) play an outsized role in generating jobs and promoting economic prosperity. However, these enterprises lag behind those in other advanced economies and face financing hurdles that are setting them back in terms of growth potential, says a report from the C.D. Howe Institute. In the report, titled Scaling Up Is Hard to Do: Financing Canadian Small Firms, Miwako Nitani and Aurin Shaila Nusrat examine the growth of SMEs as well as the barriers they face in Canadian financial markets. Despite Canada’s healthy supply of debt financing, access to financing appears to be of particular concern among certain types of firms including those that are young, growth-oriented, and exporters. In addition, Canadian SMEs experience relatively high borrowing costs compared to those in other OECD countries. “Both in general and for young, growthoriented, and export firms in particular, the higher interest rates our SMEs face relative to their international peers increase business exit rates, leading to broader negative impacts on the Canadian economy,” says Nitani. When it comes to equity capital, such as angel financing and venture capital (VC), companies at the early development stage seeking investments of less than $5 million also see shortages in financing. Notably, the scale of angel financing in the US dwarfs that which is evident in Canada; there is an angel investor available for every 17 SMEs in the US, while there is an investor available for every 24 to 60 SMEs in Canada.

Still lagging Although VC investments in Canadian entrepreneurial companies have increased, Canadian activity still lags behind the US when it comes to total dollar value of invest-


ments and the number of deals, total VC investments as percent of GDP, exit values, and internal rate of returns. So, the limited access to financing results in struggles among Canadian SMEs when it comes to growth potential and scaling up their businesses, but Nitani and Miwako do provide recommendations for sustaining the industry’s growth. According to the authors, adding to the supply of equity capital is essential, taking into account how shortages in financing for companies are most severe at the low-tier capital level, or investment deals in the $2 million to $5 million range. “Ensuring sufficient capital supply for entrepreneurial firms at this stage is also critical to cultivating attractive deals for other investment tiers,” says Nitani. Additionally, the authors say that policy action is required in both debt financing and equity financing to help improve the situation and further support SMEs. For example, for young and growing firms, the federal government should consider restructuring the fee payment schedule for Canada Small Business Financing (CSBF)

loans so that fees can accumulate over the loan’s life and be repaid by a balloon payment at maturity. Meanwhile, for high-growth firms, the CSBF program could be amended to allow it to cover the portion of requested loan amounts that exceed what financial institutions are willing to provide. For exporters, Export Development Canada could help reduce exchange rate volatility through their foreign exchange facility guarantee program. Regarding the gap in Canada’s supply of angel and VC financing, the authors recommend a national co-investment fund that would invest alongside angels to leverage investment and expertise. This could be implemented through the expansion of existing programs such as the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance, as well as the federal government Venture Capital Action Plan and the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative programs. “Growth requires financing,” says Nitani. “It is, therefore, important for Canadian policymakers to ensure that firms with highgrowth potential can obtain the financing they need to nourish their development and contribute to Canada’s economic growth.”


12_Build Business - SUBBED.indd 12

07/10/2023 5:30:28 am

TECHNOLOGY Retailer technology adoption on the rise


early six in 10 retailers plan to adopt artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and computer vision (CV) technologies over the next year to enhance the shopping experience offered within stores and online, says a survey from Honeywell. The research shows that retailers see this new technology as complementing and enhancing their workforce and not eliminating jobs. Honeywell’s AI in Retail survey outlines some key findings regarding the state of AI, ML, and CV technologies today, including that 38 percent of those surveyed are using these technologies for select use cases or regions, 35 percent are using them on a larger scale, 24 percent are in a pilot phase or in discussions, and only 3 percent say they are not using these technologies at all. Additionally, nearly half (48 percent) of respondents identify AI, ML, and CV as the top technologies expected to have a significant impact on the retail industry over the next three to five years. “In today’s retail environment, there is greater attention on the customer experience along with increased need to innovate in a hyper-competitive environment,” says George Koutsaftes, president and CEO of Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions. “New technologies like AI, ML, and CV have the potential to enable retailers to deliver personalized experiences, optimize operations, improve inventory management, and prevent fraud – all of which enhance customer satisfaction and can lead to increased sales and profitability.”

Raised consumer expectations The convenience of online purchasing with fast delivery and curated in-store shopping options have raised consumers’ expectations. Surveyed retailers say they are highly motivated to implement new technologies that help them achieve their goals. The top

in turn, to improved job satisfaction and more time to focus on higher-value tasks. Despite the large potential impact of the new technologies, the survey data indicates that budget restrictions, difficulty in demonstrating business value, and lack of internal expertise to maintain the technology are the three primary barriers to widespread adoption. “The importance of attracting and keeping customers and employees has never been greater,” says Koutsaftes. “As AI continues to evolve, expect an exciting future where innovative technologies unlock new levels of efficiency, engagement, and satisfaction in retail.”

Unlock potential

three reasons leaders give for deploying new technologies include improving customer experience, driving greater productivity, and achieving cost efficiencies/return on investment (ROI). Survey respondents also predict that AI, ML, and CV will bring the greatest value to four key functions in retail: • automating and supporting day-to-day tasks, such as picking and scheduling • supporting customer service, including live chat, for digital channels • creating targeted customer marketing campaigns • improving inventory management The study findings suggest that most retailers see AI, ML, and CV primarily as tools to augment and maximize their workforce, rather than to replace employees. Only 7 percent of those surveyed say their primary purpose for these solutions would be to reduce human labour. The new technologies can enable better utilization of the workforce through predictive analytics, which can lead,

To fully unlock the potential of technology and accelerate their tech transformation journeys, retailers should adopt a journey-driven approach by taking an end-to-end customer perspective, says global consulting firm McKinsey. Retailers should start by codifying the most relevant customer journeys and quantifying the value that could be generated through an end-to-end omnichannel experience. From this, retailers can implement frequent measurement along these selected journeys, comparing customer lifetime value with acquisition costs to effectively allocate resources to increase value. Retailers can then redirect tech investments, with a focus on business value. Many retailers still spend significant amounts of resources on legacy systems and software – also known as “keep systems running” expenses. This tech debt is crowding out investments in strategic priorities that would generate business value, as well as in pilots of new business models. Instead, retailers should introduce a 360-degree steering process and assess existing business targets and respective KPIs to reallocate resources toward future priorities.


13_Technology - SUBBED.indd 13


07/10/2023 5:31:36 am

EARNINGS Doman Building Materials Group Ltd. Doman Building Materials Group Ltd. had consolidated revenues of $710.7 million for the second quarter of 2023, a decrease from $870.7 million during the same period in 2022. The drop in revenues was primarily due to the impact of construction materials pricing, which had surged in the spring of the prior year. Sales distribution during this period comprised construction materials, at 77 percent, consistent with the preceding year’s quarter, while specialty and allied products accounted for 20 percent, and other sources contributed 3 percent. Gross margin was $121.2 million for the quarter, an increase from $102.7 million in the prior-year period. The gross-margin percentage also improved to 17.0 percent, a rise from the 11.8 percent achieved in the same period in 2022. The company had EBITDA of $66 million, marking an increase from $52.1 million in the same time frame of the previous year. Net earnings for the quarter reached $29.2 million, a rise from $20.7 million in the same quarter of 2022.

LP Building Solutions LP Building Solutions’ siding solutions segment had net sales of $318 million, down 11 percent year over year, primarily due to lower volumes and partially offset by higher prices. The oriented strand board (OSB) segment net sales saw a decline of 66 percent to $229 million, primarily driven by lower prices. Overall, consolidated net sales decreased by 46 percent to $611 million. Income from continuing operations decreased $367 million to a loss of $20 million compared with the same period in 2022. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $93 million, showing a decrease of $398 million compared with the previous year.

unit sales. Sales of new products saw a reduction of 9 percent, totalling $184 million. The decrease was largely influenced by the company’s decision to lower lumber prices, which impacted customer costs. Despite this, new product sales as a percentage of total sales increased from 7 percent in 2022 to 9 percent. Adjusted EBITDA decreased by 27 percent to $234 million. However, the adjusted EBITDA margin saw a slight improvement, rising to 11.5 percent from 11 percent in 2022. Within its divisions, UFP Retail Solutions witnessed a decline of 18 percent in net sales, amounting to $920 million, while UFP Packaging experienced a 28 percent decrease, with net sales totalling $488 million. These figures are in comparison to the second quarter of 2022.

Simpson Manufacturing Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc. had net sales

of $597.6 million for the second quarter of 2023, an increase of 0.7 percent compared with the second quarter of 2022. North American net sales were $465.5 million, up 2 percent from net sales of $456.4 million in the year-ago period, mostly due to higher volumes. Overall consolidated gross profit was $287.5 million, up 10.8 percent from $259.3 million, while gross margin increased to 48.1 percent from 43.7 percent. Income from operations for the quarter increased 9 percent year over year to $145 million, and net income was $107.2 million compared with $93.6 million last year.

Boise Cascade Boise Cascade Company had a net income of $146.3 million in the second quarter of 2023, a decrease of 33 percent compared with a net income of $218.1 million in the second quarter of 2022. Sales for the quarter were






Canadian Tire Doman Dow Chemical Fastenal General Electric Home Depot Louisiana-Pacific Lowes Masco Newell Brands Owens Corning Richelieu Sherwin-Williams Stanley Black & Decker Trex Wal-Mart WD 40


142.09 5.4 51.48 54.36 107.97 293.36 54.27 200.33 51.87 8.03 131.61 39.47 253.21 78.41 59.25 159.65 200.39

189.80 – 139.24 6.01 – 3.92 60.88 – 42.91 59.43 – 43.73 117.96 – 49.23 347.25 – 267.87 79.56 – 50.59 237.21 – 176.50 63.86 – 42.33 16.76 – 7.78 147.00 – 80.24 45.87 – 33.72 283.80 – 195.24 104.21 – 70.24 76.05 – 38.68 165.85 – 128.07 234.69 – 145.16


As of October 4, 2023

UFP UFP Industries, Inc. reported a 30 percent decrease in net sales for the second quarter, amounting to $2.04 billion. This decline was primarily attributed to a 22 percent drop in prices and an 8 percent decrease in organic



14-15_Earnings - SUBBED.indd 14

07/10/2023 5:32:26 am

$1.8 billion, down 20 percent from $2.3 billion in the year-ago period. Sales for the wood products segment were $530 million, down 1 percent compared with sales of $536 million in the prior-year period. The building materials distribution segment had sales of $1.64 billion, down 23 percent compared with sales of $2.13 billion last year.

Consolidated gross profit as a percentage of net sales, gross margin, was 43.9 percent in the quarter compared with the consolidated gross margin of 40.7 percent in the year-ago period. The company had second-quarter net income of $77 million compared with a net income of $89 million last year.


Dollarama Inc. had sales of $1,455.9 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2024, an increase of 19.6 percent over sales of $1,217.1 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2023. The increase was driven by growth in the total number of stores over the past 12 months (from 1,444

Dollarama Trex Company, Inc. had net sales of $357 million for the second quarter of 2023, a decrease from net sales of $386 million in the second quarter of 2022. Net sales for the residential segment were $374 million.



stores on July 31, 2022, to 1,525 stores on July 30, 2023) and increased comparable store sales. Comparable store sales for the quarter increased by 15.5 percent, consisting of a 12.9 percent increase in the number of transactions and a 2.3 percent increase in average transaction size, over and above comparable store sales growth of 13.2 percent in the corresponding period of the prior fiscal year. EBITDA was $457.2 million, or 31.4 percent of sales, compared with $369.4 million, or 30.4 percent of sales, in the second quarter of 2023. The company had net earnings of $245.8 million compared with $193.5 million in the year-ago period.


Readers and advertisers get double exposure to Home Improvement Retailing, in print and online.



Contact Mike Hughes at 416 644 8740 ext. 374 or michael.hughes@keymedia.com, or Nienke Hinton at 416 644 8740 ext. 375 or nienke.hinton@keymedia.com to find out what we can do for you.



14-15_Earnings - SUBBED.indd 15


07/10/2023 5:32:43 am

2023 Renovation & Paint Report

Dunn-Edwards’ Skipping Stones

Canadians continue to love renovating Painting was one of the top reno jobs, with exterior painting showing top growth By: Nienke Hinton


anadians continue to show their love of renovating, with 96 percent of those surveyed by HomeStars having undertaken indoor renovations in the last year and 73 percent planning to do so in the next 12 months. The HomeStars Reno Report 2023 says that, by far, the most important motivators for renovating last year were to refresh the look and feel of their living space and improve the aesthetic and function (59 percent) and improve their outdoor space for better enjoyment (32 percent). Painting the interior, installing new appliances, and renovating bathrooms were the nation’s top jobs overall. Furthermore, in an emerging trend, exterior painting was up to 11 percent from eight percent in 2022. Also outdoors, there have been upward trends in building patios and decks, adding water features, and installing pools since 2022. As for regional trends, one in five homeowners in British Columbia painted the exterior of their houses in the past year, nearly


double compared to other regions. In the Atlantic provinces, homeowners installed new roofs and new HVAC systems about twice as often in the last year as in other regions, likely due to weather-related issues.

Putting in time, money, and effort The report indicates that homeowners across the country are still willing to put in the time, money, and effort to improve their living conditions, both aesthetically and functionally. However, while more people are doing renovations, they are spending quite a bit less on them. The average renovation spend for the last 12 months was $12,300, and this is anticipated to fall slightly to $10,264 in the next 12 months. Interestingly, given the current economic climate, 79 percent of homeowners had cash to help pay for their renovations. Kitchen renovations continue to be the most worthwhile home improvement project, says Royal LePage in its survey of 340 real

estate professionals. On average, a kitchen renovation has the potential to increase a property’s value by 20 percent. A bathroom renovation ranked second, with the potential to increase a home’s value by an average of 16 percent. Investing in a pool is considered the least worthwhile renovation, increasing a home’s value by an average of six percent. “Kitchen renovations typically yield the greatest return on investment, as this space is most frequently used and is perceived as the gathering place and the heart of the home,” says Mike Heddle, broker and team leader, Royal LePage State Realty. “When a potential buyer views a home for the first time, the one thing that will stand out – for better or worse – is what the kitchen looked and felt like. They may not remember the size of the bedrooms or the colour of the walls, but they will remember the kitchen.” Heddle notes, however, that “investing in upgrades to your home can be beneficial whether or not you are planning to sell in the


16-18_Feature Paint v2 - SUBBED.indd 16

07/10/2023 5:33:49 am

2023 Renovation & Paint Report short term. “During the pandemic, many Canadian homeowners used built-up savings to make improvements to their homes. Whether it’s a new kitchen or upgrading your outdoor space, home renovations are a worthwhile investment, as you and your family will enjoy the new space, in addition to the potential increase to the overall property value.” The survey showed that basement renovations ranked third (finished basement) and fourth (basement apartment). Royal LePage experts say that finished basements and basement apartments have the potential to increase a home’s value by an average of 15 percent. “In today’s market, investing in a basement apartment can greatly increase the value of a home, largely because it can help offset mortgage costs with a rental unit, or appeal to newcomers looking for multigenerational homes,” says Heddle.

Minor upgrades with major value Minor upgrades such as interior painting can be a simple and cost-effective option for retail customers to add value to the enjoyment of their living space. This, along with sprucing up decor, is a great way for customers who don’t want to spend a lot to still make an impact on the aesthetic of their home. Many Canadians had to do maintenance and emergency repair projects over the past few years, mainly due to weather conditions, wildfires, and flooding. One-third of homeowners in the HomeStars survey completed an emergency repair, and over half of those homeowners are proactively planning a project to update their home in response to the everchanging climate and weather conditions. During the summer, excessive rainfall on the east coast caused the worst flooding in 50 years and contributed to “unimaginable damage to homes,” according to Reuters. Over 151 homes in the Halifax, NS, area alone were lost. Two in five homeowners (41 percent) in Atlantic Canada completed at least one emergency repair in the past year due to weather emergencies. Roofing repairs were the most common emergency, at 11 percent nationally and 17 percent among homeowners in Atlantic Canada. The most popular changes home-

owners are making in response to the rise in weather-related events are tree-trimming to protect their property, followed by putting aside an emergency contingency fund for such events.

Homeowners shifting to sustainability Perhaps incentivized by those worsening weather conditions, homeowners are shifting to sustainability and eco-friendly products for their homes. The HomeStars report says Canadians are recognizing the impact of going “green” and are willing to spend more money if it means that their renovations are considered green and sustainable. In fact, 79 percent of Canadian homeowners say sustainability was “important” in relation to the building materials and other renovation decisions. On top of that, 59 percent of homeowners who underwent renovations or upgrades this past year opted to install efficient appliances. Today’s economic climate is having a big impact on younger generations. In line with the affordable housing crisis, in the next 10 years, multigenerational homes are going to be more common. In order to accommodate more individuals living under the same roof, homeowners are planning updates to their home. This can include updating current spaces, such as converting a basement to an in-law suite or apartment, or adding extensions to their current home’s footprint. Home improvement retailers can let their customers know that the government offers a tax credit for these types of renovations. Interior painting continues to be the top renovation project for homeowners across

Sherwin-Williams’ Upward

Canada. As noted above, exterior painting is rising on the list as the fastest-growing project people are undertaking (11 percent in 2023 vs. eight percent in 2022). Consumers get excited about new colours each year as trends change. They look toward their favourite paint brand to see what colours are trending but, more specifically, what colour made it as Colour of the Year. The paint manufacturers take this job seriously. Each year, more than 20 of PPG’s global colour experts come together from many different countries to share emerging trends from their regions and business unit sectors. By attending local design shows and keeping a finger on the pulse of runway trends; textile, wood, and metal creations; as well as lifestyle directions, demographic changes, and societal and other macroeconomic influences, these colour experts bring 12 months of research together and mull over colours and trends. PPG says, “No one shows up to the meeting empty-handed. On day one, each expert presents 12 months of preparation, mood boards, magazine cutouts, Pinterest boards, and more. “Our goal is to offer the right colours to our customers so they can create meaningful and beautiful projects. We draw from nature, fashion, and colour psychology to create an emotional connection to our colours,” says Ashley McCollum, colour marketing manager, architectural coatings, North America, PPG. Glidden and DULUX Paints by PPG, both PPG companies, have announced Limitless as their colour for 2024. The colour

SICO paint’s Satin


16-18_Feature Paint v2 - SUBBED.indd 17


07/10/2023 5:34:09 am

2023 Renovation & Paint Report

DULUX Paints by PPG’s Limitless

is a fresh, warm hue that contains both the power of a primary colour and the essence of a neutral. It is strong enough to stand as the leading colour of many products, yet works equally well as a supporting tone to both warm and cool shades. Skipping Stones is the 2024 Colour of the Year for Dunn-Edwards. Skipping Stones is a serene and steely blue with hints of green and grey that emulates the meditative, yet energizing feeling of the sea. The regenerative shade perfectly captures a collective yearning to slow down and achieve balance and tranquility in the year to come. “Skipping Stones [is a] part of the resurgence of blue and represents a shift away from the bold, warm-toned colours we’ve seen gain popularity over the past few years,” says DeMing Carpenter, colour expert at Dunn Edwards. “This blue is timeless and versatile, fresh, and serene.” Behr Paint Company declares Cracked Pepper as its 2024 Colour of the Year. Cracked Pepper is a timeless and modern hue that awakens the senses. The company says this colour can help transform any space by wrapping the walls to make a bold statement or adding an accent for a hint of sophistication. “As we look into 2024, creating a sense of comfort and belonging will continue to drive design decisions – but now, as life returns to its more familiar rhythms, it’s time to allow our senses to come alive,” says Erika Woelfel, vice-president of colour and creative services


at Behr Paint Company. Sherwin-Williams introduces its 2024 Colour of the Year as Upward, a breezy and blissful shade of blue that evokes the everpresent sense of peace found when slowing down, taking a breath, and allowing the mind to clear. “Upward SW 6239 represents the gentle forward momentum in all of our lives,” says Sue Wadden, director of colour marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “It brings to life that carefree, sunny-day energy that elicits a notion of contentment and peace. With this colour, we invite our consumers to take a pause and infuse a new sense of ease and possibility into their spaces – one that doesn’t overwhelm, but rather establishes meditation and tranquility.” BeautiTone has revealed Illumina as its 2024 Colour of the Year. Illumina is a soft yellow with notes of red, a nostalgic pop of cheerful colour. The name is derived from the Latin word for “illuminate,” and speaks to the colour’s ability to lighten up any space, from the kitchen to the bedroom, inspiring a sense of clarity and wellness. “Illumina is an inspiring choice for 2024 as Canadians embrace a sense of careful optimism for the future,” says Kristen Gear, lead design & colour specialist, BeautiTone Paint and Home Products. “With Illumina, Canadians can create a space that feels both engaging and relaxing, a combination created in part by introducing a hint of red into the yellow.”

SICO paint, also a PPG company, has chosen Satin for its colour for 2024. This modern, yellow hue balances the power of a primary colour with the subtlety of a neutral, making it the perfect representation of consumers’ optimism for a future highlighted by transformative creativity and change after years clouded with uncertainty and instability. “As a society, we’re carrying the lessons of introspection and the importance of calm into the future... Consumers’ preferences are shifting away from stark, cool shades and looking to colours that invigorate a space,” says Martin Fuchs, PPG senior marketing manager, Sico paint brand. “Satin is the perfect representation of these sentiments with its cheerful yellow base grounded in a calming beige undertone.” Valspar’s 2024 Colour of the Year is Renew Blue, a balanced blue with a touch of grayed sea-green that focuses on wellness and comfort – setting a restful and meditative mood in any room of the home. “Renew Blue is an incredibly versatile and all-season shade that anyone can envision in their space. Inspired by fleeting elements like fog, mist, clouds, and glacier lakes, Renew Blue elevates the everyday mood, encourages self-expression, and evokes a feeling of balance and calm, with a twist of unique spontaneity,” says Sue Kim, Valspar director of colour marketing. “Blue is a classic shade that has become the new neutral for today’s home and can be mixed and matched.” Repainting the interior of a home or just one room can really update and transform the look and feel of the customer’s home space. Colours have strong connections with various aspects of human experience including emotions, moods, mental health, culture, ethnicity, traditions, and even behaviour. Every tradition has its unique colour palette that is carefully selected to set the mood for each occasion. Additionally, the colour of a room or wall can influence the perception of a room’s size or depth. With the marketing support from paint manufacturers, home improvement retailers can help their customers choose colours that will make their homes not only look beautiful but also enhance their physical and emotional comfort.


16-18_Feature Paint v2 - SUBBED.indd 18

07/10/2023 5:34:35 am

COMMUNITY PAGE of shared social responsibility,” says Kevin Macnab, CEO at Home Hardware Stores. “For 31 years now, Home Hardware Stores has been working alongside Tree Canada to plant trees and build beautiful Canadian communities that will be enjoyed by generations to come.”

Timberkids raises record-breaking funds for children

Paint company supports mental health Montreal, QC-based Swing Paints is excited to announce its collaboration with local non-profits Press Start and CICU to raise awareness about mental health and healing through a vibrant mural on the side of one of its 100-year-old buildings in Montreal. The project demonstrates the powerful role art plays in the community. The mural emerged from work with local youth during the pandemic and was brought to life by esteemed artists HAKS180 and Cedar Eve in May of 2023. The collaboration is a testament to the potential of businesses and non-profit organizations working together for the betterment of the community.

Timberkids, TIMBER MART’s charitable foundation, was able to raise $38,000 during its annual Quebec golf tournament. The foundation hosted an auction after the golf tournament at the Thetford Golf Club. Items up for grabs included NHL hockey tickets, a Hockey Canada–signed jersey, a Sidney Crosby–signed hockey jersey, and two one-week trips to Miscou, New Brunswick. More than 110 guests were in attendance, including 38 TIMBER MART dealer attendees and 25 vendor companies.

RONA converts nine Lowe’s stores to the RONA+ banner Home improvement retailer RONA has announced the transition of nine Lowe’s stores to the RONA+ banner in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba as part of its plans to become the leader of the Canadian home improvement sector. The stores include the following:

Home Hardware Stores to plant trees across Canada for National Tree Day Home Hardware Stores will be joining Tree Canada in celebrating National Tree Day through participation in community tree-planting events. The Home Hardware Community Tree Plant initiative will start this week with National Forest Week. Twenty-four Home stores across nine provinces will join in planting trees until the fall season. “Year after year, we are inspired by the dedication of our dealers’ commitment to bringing their communities together in moments

Lowe’s Vancouver Grandview

Lowe’s Regina South

Lowe’s Abbotsford

Lowe’s Saskatoon West

Lowe’s Victoria Langford

Lowe’s Winnipeg East

Lowe’s Victoria Tillicum

Lowe’s Winnipeg South

Lowe’s Nanaimo According to the retailer, the stores will remain open during the conversion.


19_Community Page - SUBBED (2).indd 19


07/10/2023 5:35:24 am


Creating a resilient company culture: Navigating change and thriving amid challenges By: Margaret Graziano


n an era marked by immense volatility and complexity, characterized by technological advancements, business consolidations, fierce competition, and economic fluctuations, you may find yourself in an unprecedented time of change. The aftermath of the pandemic continues to linger, with burnout, stress, and overwhelm persisting among individuals and teams. Amid this tumultuous landscape, the challenge is this: How can organizations emerge stronger from the trials of recent years? How


can they cultivate a culture that thrives, adapts, and responds effectively to the unpredictable? The answer lies in fostering an emergent culture – one characterized by change management prowess, response agility, and a positive environment with fulfilled employees.

Understanding culture When more than two people come together, whether as a couple, a family, or a company, they form a human system. Within this system,

culture serves as the driving force or energy. Culture possesses the power to create and destroy, providing guidelines for interaction, conflict resolution, motivation, and progress. The objective of examining and shaping organizational culture is to channel the collective energy of individuals into a productive force – one that mirrors the synchronicity found in natural phenomena, such as the coordinated movements of a school of fish or flock of birds. This is called an emergent culture. Effective impact on company culture entails


20-21_Feature Company Culture - SUBBED.indd 20

07/10/2023 5:36:07 am

understanding and influencing the energy inherent within the human system.

Start with the leader All culture begins with the CEO – the leader of the organization. What is their vision? Who are they as a leader? What are their values? Are they operating and living congruent with all those markers, no matter how challenging or stressful the circumstances may be? Having a CEO who can answer those questions clearly and can live in alignment with them consistently is the foundation on which a company’s culture gets built. A CEO who is frazzled, overwhelmed, and in survival mode will set the tone for the entire organization. Whatever energy the CEO brings to the company and to their life will be the energy that other people pick up on and assimilate to in order to fit in and make it. Thus, the CEO must be conscious. They must be awake and aware of what they’re emanating through their words and their actions. They must ensure that they have a clear vision, bolstered by positive moods and inspiring language that rallies people around their vision and engages them into action. Human systems are guided by behaviours, beliefs, actions, what’s said, what’s unsaid – all of that equates to the energy of the human system, and energy is culture. So, what kind of culture is the CEO creating?

Cultivate the leadership team The leadership team further propagates cultural attributes throughout the organization. Behaviours exhibited by this team tend to cascade down to various departments. Similar to the CEO, leadership must demonstrate consciousness and accountability for their actions. This includes acknowledging their role in shaping the culture and undertaking personal growth to support a healthy, highperformance human system. By focusing on the following key elements, the leadership team can contribute to a thriving culture: • Achievement – The company knows

what they’re here to do, why they’re doing it, and how they’re measuring it. Organizational achievements are individual achievements, and vice versa. Achievements are specific, measurable, attainable results that are bound in time. • Self-actualization – Each person is conscious. They know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and they’re responsible for them and the impact they have on others. They’re doing their own development and personal work just like the CEO is. • Affiliation – People are partnering, collaborating, sharing ideas, and problem-solving on an interdepartmental level. Cross-functional teams are committed to the noble cause and vision for the organization and are coming up with ways to problem-solve together to fulfill the vision. • Humanistic managers – Managers authentically care about their people. They are aware of what’s going on in their employees’ lives, what their goals are, and how they want to grow. When an employee knows to their core that their manager has their best interests at heart and they want them to thrive, difficult conversations to improve performance can happen. Mentorship, coaching, and caring for people come with humanistic management, and support employees who grow and thrive.

Assess environment and employees Employee behaviour provides insights into the prevailing environment. Key considerations include whether they experience autonomy, trust, and support in their roles. Ask these questions to assess the environment that your employees are navigating: • How well do employees handle changes and upsets and challenges in the market? • Do people feel the freedom and trust to share new ideas, take risks, and have space to fail?

• Is there space in the time at work to ideate, innovate, and co-create? • Are the meetings inspirational and motivating or just a laundry list of getting things done? • Is everyone clear on what the noble cause is? • Is the right architecture or are systems in place for people to work effectively together? • Is the leadership team dismantling anything getting in the way of employees taking the ball and running with it? • If there’s a problem, are the employees the ones to solve it? • Are people being given the autonomy they need? • Are people held accountable to their agreements and promises and measures? • Can you have difficult conversations?

Achieving resilience through emergent culture In times of uncertainty, organizations with the ability to adapt and pivot harness their power. Such resilience hinges on a healthy human system and a shared commitment to the company’s purpose. Leadership needs to exemplify responsibility, optimism, and collaborative problem-solving across departments to overcome obstacles and realize the company’s vision. This approach cultivates an emergent culture, capable of navigating challenges effectively. While creating an emergent culture demands considerable dedication, care, and focus, the rewards are boundless. With a culture founded on change management skills, response agility, and employee fulfillment, organizations can not only weather storms but also soar to new heights. Margaret Graziano is the founder and CEO of KeenAlignment and author of Ignite Culture. Go to https://keenalignment.scoreapp.com to take KeenAlignment’s Culture Assessment and see if you have an emergent culture.


20-21_Feature Company Culture - SUBBED.indd 21


07/10/2023 5:36:23 am

COMPETITION How independent retailers can better compete with big box

By: Josh Middlebrooks

and delivering new strategies to serve. But first, ensure that you follow market trends and adapt as necessary, understand your target market, and communicate with the customers to identify their likes and dislikes. This final point is what independent retailers do so well. Other steps independent retailers can take to ensure customer engagement, sales, and overall excellent customer experience include:


primary purpose of most big-box stores is to sell lots of stuff and beat their competitors – known as category killers. Independent retailers often find a way through the fray, however, but in some sectors, as is the case for flooring store operators, they usually must remain on edge regarding what their larger counterparts are doing. A battle between the giants and their soleoperator counterparts has occurred for decades, so the challenge remains for independent retailers. Independent retailers always must keep up with pricing, changes in consumer preferences, and economic influences. However, by providing higher levels of customer service,


independent retailers are known to thrive. After all, even a small fire can keep wolves at bay. Service is where independent operators thrive. Despite big-box retailers’ bigger inventory offerings, try as they might, service isn’t their wheelhouse. Slick sales and marketing is their game. A high level of service and quick sales are not in opposition, but the former usually requires more need to nurture, so how do the independents compete with the chains?

Get creative Competition creates opportunities for independent retailers to thrive in areas of bitter competition by getting creative – developing

• Loyalty programs – Big-box stores understand loyalty programs well – they are used everywhere. Canadians are among the most active loyalty program users worldwide, with more than 55 percent making purchases that earn rewards multiple times weekly. Only Australia (61 percent) and Italy (which almost ties at 56 percent) are more active than Canadians. KPMG consultancy found Canadians are more loyal to brands whose loyalty programs they use. As many as 75 percent of consumers here define loyalty as participating in a rewards program. Rolling out such a program is an easy way to collect and serve customers and understand their needs and product desires. • Buy online, pick up in store – A successful buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) program requires a parallel investment into enhancing your online presence: an immersive or responsive online experience that allows your customers to connect directly with your store about products, services offered and provided, and how busy commercial contractors and home improvement enthusiasts can engage with your brand. Your competitors have placed the entire shopping experience online. While independent retailers don’t have to spend the millions these organizations have


22-23_Feature Luxer - SUBBED.indd 22

07/10/2023 5:37:12 am

on their web presence, remember that your customers want to engage and shop online, especially if they only need a few items. • Match on delivery, beat with service – Big-box retailers learned lessons from the pandemic to survive. BOPIS is one such strategy. This principle existed before COVID, but consumer patterns changed because of lockdowns and other restrictions. For example, when people returned from their quarantines, they didn’t want to enter stores with many other people. To meet this need, stores made pickup easier without customers needing to enter. To support their BOPIS efforts, many added smart lockers for pickup and delivery. In addition, fulfillment departments placed customers’ purchased items in the lockers (either at the front of the store or at its curbside), so the customers can access purchased items whenever they want, even after hours. Big-box retailers have made smart lockers their go-to order-fulfillment method. Independent competitors across Canada have the same ability to expand service delivery and provision to customers. Still, they can do so just as or more effectively, given how nimble they

are and how well they provide attentive service. The results are impressive in the small organizations I’ve worked with that are competing directly with big-box stores. Independent retailers that offer the service options can always outpace on performance. So, while some might see BOPIS as a “copycat” move, taking the fight directly to competition can pay off directly and meaningfully. Smart lockers are a modern order fulfillment self-checkout solution. They can be placed at a retail location or somewhere nearby and installed indoors or outside. Like a standard locker, items are placed inside and locked tight. When customers are ready to pick up their goods, they travel to the locker location and open it by either using a mobile app or scanning a QR code on the locker touchscreen. Each code is specific to that order number, so only the appropriate customer can pick up each delivery. Access is instantaneously granted – the locker opens and customers can retrieve their items.

Brick and mortar and big box aren’t going away Big-box leaders know they fail with service provision on a large scale. Some of the world’s retail giants are taking the fight directly to their

smaller competitors by launching smaller stores within their brand portfolios. These small big-box stores are demonstrating productivity double that of larger locations and have shown double-digit comp growth. They are utilizing the strategies that work in their larger stores (technology) and bringing these efficiencies to service-level stores that independent retailers do so well. If implemented correctly, these stores and concepts work very well, so independent retailers must be aware of these tactics while taking some of the same approaches. In addition, by employing some of the strategies big-box stores use, they can gain an edge over their much bigger competition. Brick-and-mortar retail isn’t going anywhere, but the way people shop is constantly changing. The behaviours brought on by the pandemic have already swung in another direction. Of course, people still want the in-store experience that shopping delivers. Still, they always want to experience other benefits the change brings, such as picking up orders whenever they want. Customers always choose the options that make their lives easier, and retailers must continue to identify ways to grow margins. Processes and technology fulfill the need for a place where customers can buy from locally and get their things on time and when convenient for them (without waiting for an internet-order delivery). Retailers play an important role. Large competitors make independent retailers more creative and agile and focus on providing customers with better service. Big-box chains can kill while independent store leaders must innovate in the face of the threat. Using some of the strategies utilized by big-box stores, independents can secure the line – and keep the wolves at bay with small fires.

Josh Middlebrooks is president of Luxer One, a technology company specializing in contactless pickup and drop-off for packages and goods. The company’s smart package lockers are used in business, multi-family residential, retail, commercial, and higher education, among other sectors. https://www. luxerone.com


22-23_Feature Luxer - SUBBED.indd 23


07/10/2023 5:37:30 am

RETAILING BY DESIGN WebAR visualization drives 405 percent conversion-rate increase for Ace Hardware

By: Lauren Johnson


hough online shopping has long been a popular option for many consumers, it has yet to really take hold in the hardware and building materials industry. However, Ace Hardware, a large US-based retailer-owned hardware cooperative, has taken on this challenge using 3D platformprovider Epigraph to design 3D imagery in its e-commerce offering. Despite its convenience, online shopping for hardware products and home goods lacks some of the appeals of shopping in person where consumers are able to visualize the


product in their own space. This visualization process plays a highly influential role in consumer purchasing decisions. In an effort to replicate that physical experience in the digital shopping world, Ace Hardware partnered with Epigraph, a software company specializing in augmented reality (AR), 3D configurators, and other interactive content for product marketing. After first working with several individual hardware brands on 3D AR product visualizations for their own brand websites, Epigraph then began building out a full WebAR visual-

ization solution for applicable products at Ace Hardware’s website.

Implementation challenges Given the vast Ace catalogue of disparate products – in all different shapes, sizes, and textures, from all different providers – as well as the importance of keeping the shopping experience simple, swift, and seamless, Epigraph faced a few challenges in the development of its solution. Undoubtedly, the pandemic was a


24-25_Retailing by v2 - SUBBED.indd 24

07/10/2023 5:38:20 am

catalyst for an increase in online shopping with consumers browsing sellers’ online inventories more seriously, thereby creating an urgency for retailers in the hardware and building material space to make their online experience as productive as possible through tools like AR. AR lets users view, interact with, and test products in their own spaces; users can see objects in their rooms in 3D. However, developing and integrating an AR solution into the Ace website presented some obstacles, as authentically representing products with a lot of detail requires high-quality textures that can take up a lot of memory.

Multiple assets Another challenge was the inclusion of multiple assets in a single product offering, like a furniture set with multiple patio chairs. Many brands did not have 3D models of their products, so Epigraph frequently had to build those from scratch. Web security was another hurdle to overcome, as Epigraph had to make sure that content-management infrastructure was robust and up to Ace information security standards. A further challenge was the design of the user interface for the AR tool, as some of Ace’s audience might not be familiar with how to use this (relatively) novel technology. Epigraph used its proprietary technology stack for production and content management and attacked each of the primary engineering challenges using the glTF open standard 3D

asset format established and managed by the Khronos Group. All major 3D Digital Content Creation (DCC) tools import and export glTF as it has emerged as the leading standard 3D asset format for the web. As well as being extremely well supported across the industry, glTF enabled optimizations to match a wide variety of client devices without sacrificing visual fidelity. For example, glTF’s support for Draco geometry compression enabled glTF files to be reduced to half their original size or less, without compromising quality. The flexibility of the glTF standard enabled Epigraph to be highly creative with optimizing asset files for optimal rendering and display of products. For larger products requiring more rendered pixels, glTF used tiled-texture maps with scaled UVs to tile small patterns such as fabric across large surfaces, achieving visual detail without requiring high-resolution textures or additional memory. In addition, the KHR Materials Sheen feature was crucial in achieving a high level of visual realism for textile products. For product SKUs with several variants, such as a patio furniture set, glTF’s object-instancing enabled significant savings on file size and memory by eliminating the need to load multiple copies of a product – by simply loading the first and referencing that original as many times as needed. In a practical sense, the ability to view an item “in your space” gives users the ability to understand sizing for space planning and such,

but there is more to it than that. Something about seeing an object in 3D seems to create an emotional attachment to ownership, which results in an increased propensity to purchase, post-AR engagement.

Big results Ace saw significant results including a 405 percent increase in conversion rate lift for those who engage with the Epigraph solutions, as well as over a 500 percent increase in session duration for those who use the tools. These longer sessions lead to better SEO for Ace, which in turn reduces their overall media costs. Also, product return rates among those who use the Epigraph tools also plummeted dramatically, since consumers are more likely to be happy with their purchase when they’ve had the opportunity to visualize it in their space before buying. “Epigraph’s technology has delivered a significant improvement in both engagement and performance for Ace vendors – our customers really love it,” says Brian Kritzberg, Ace Hardware’s digital merchandising manager. “We look forward to onboarding new vendors to the program and growing our metaverse footprint in the process.” While Ace is a US-based company, this AR technology is available to Canadian retailers and could significantly expand profits for those choosing to design their e-commerce experience with an in-store experience in mind.


24-25_Retailing by v2 - SUBBED.indd 25


07/10/2023 5:38:37 am


Interior designer partnerships can increase retail sales By: Lauren Johnson


nterior designers play a vital role in the home improvement sector; they understand what home improvement retailers offer and what sets them apart from competitors. They are contractors that bridge a path for consumers to purchase from home improvement retailers. Retailers utilizing interior designers have opportunities to leverage their skills and knowledge to increase store sales. In addition, developing strong connections with interior design contractors is an important factor in enhancing the services retailers can offer to their customers. This is because interior designers can help customers (and staff members) envision available products in their own spaces; if the customer can dream it, an interior designer can take that vision and make it a reality. Interior designers can define the problem a customer is having and then demonstrate solutions that can bring a customer’s dream space into reality. Ultimately, interior designers act as salespersons whose influence can support store sales. This is where the partnership between interior designers and retailers becomes essential; the retailer can help effectively convey design ideas and convince customers to consider specific concepts or products that align with the interior designer’s vision. Product recom-


mendations are an integral part of an interior designer’s job – keeping up with the latest design trends, innovations, and materials available in the market is essential. By partnering with a home improvement retailer, designers will have better access to vendors, service providers, information resources, and products.

Showcasing skills and expertise Retailers can also offer marketing opportunities to their partnering interior designers by showcasing their portfolios and highlighting unique skills and expertise online, in store, and through visual offerings such as professionally designed vignettes. For example, the strategic use of social media and engagement with influencers, particularly local home improvement and design enthusiasts, can create an online presence that encourages consumers to purchase from a retailer. An interior designer can offer social media recommendations to the retailer as well as feature its products on their own social media; this could be simple ideas for how to spruce up for the holiday or more targeted examples of how to upgrade a home or office. Not only does partnering with interior designers directly benefit


26-27_Contractor Business - SUBBED.indd 26

07/10/2023 5:39:23 am

retailers, but it also benefits their customers, who may be inclined design plays a crucial role in upgrading the overall appearance and to shop at a retailer more often if they enjoy the services provided by ambiance of a home, which can significantly impact its market the interior designer and the products provided by the retailer. If an appeal and sale price. interior designer recommends a product from a certain retailer, that Bathroom renovations are one of the most impactful ways to add retailer may remain in the mind of the customer when they are making value to a home, as a well-designed and updated bathroom not only later purchases. enhances residents’ daily experiences but also impresses potential Interior design is not just about making a space look pretty; it is buyers. Incorporating modern fixtures, high-quality materials, and about making it functional and giving a space its greatest potential. space-efficient layouts can give bathrooms an edge in the market. When a space is not only Similarly, kitchen aesthetically pleasing but renovations have proven also functional, it benefits to be another wise the consumer but also has investment for homeInterior designers are well connected owners when it comes to the potential to benefit and have long lists of reliable and resale value. The kitchen the retailer as well. For is often considered the example, a customer who experienced industry contacts for each heart of a home, and used an interior designer stage of the home design process buyers are drawn to may brag to their friends including contractors, plumbers, stylish, functional, and about their new space, well-equipped cooking complete with where electricians, and architects spaces. Renovating the they got their products kitchen with contemand materials, ultimately porary designs, energyencouraging them to efficient appliances, and ample storage can elevate a property’s value check out that retailer or designer for themselves. Interior designers are well connected and have long lists of reliable and market appeal. A successful renovation involves more than just cosmetic upgrades. and experienced industry contacts for each stage of the home design process including contractors, plumbers, electricians, and architects, Ensuring the property is structurally sound is of utmost importance. Structural improvements, such as roof repairs, foundation reinforceall of whom could serve as potential partners for the retailer as well. Hiring a competent interior designer is an investment, but some ment, and electrical system updates, provide a sense of security to people shy away from hiring an interior designer believing that it potential buyers. Ultimately, interior designers can play an important role in would make the project more expensive. However, without professional advice, they may end up making unqualified decisions that upgrading a customer’s space and increasing business for a retailer. ultimately cost more overall or down the line. When consumers are able to see their vision come to life through the mind of an expert in the field, they are more likely to buy the products Getting help in choosing the right products the expert recommends instead of getting overwhelmed and deciding not to buy anything at all. So, partnerships between interior designers The market is abundant with a variety of lightings, furniture, and retailers can be very beneficial for all parties involved. fixtures, upholstery, drapes, paint, and carpeting, but only a good interior designer will be able to choose among them and distinguish functionality and effectiveness of certain products against other options, catering to the uniqueness of the space they are working on. This can prevent the owner from making the wrong decisions and buying things that do not resonate with the layout of their space. Ultimately, interior design services are important because they are an investment that can improve the overall result of the space both aesthetically and functionally and prove to be cost-effective in the long run. Join a Banner where This is especially true when it comes to adding resale value to a property. Renovations have long been considered a strategic method to boost a home’s worth, but not all renovations yield the same return Brad Moores Terry Mulock on investment. MJ Harris Group, a company specializing in interior Contact the Business NEWFOUNDLAND NOVA SCOTIA, NEW BRUNSWICK & LABRADOR & PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND Development Manager design and renovations, has unveiled insights on the top renovations in your area: (709) 770-5607 (902) 471-3985 bmoores@castle.ca tmulock@castle.ca that truly add value to a home. youarethebrand.ca It says that when maximizing a property’s potential, interior


26-27_Contractor Business - SUBBED.indd 27


07/10/2023 5:41:25 am

PRODUCTIVITY Ditch your to-do list By: Aytekin Tank


here’s a horror story out there. Man is feeling overwhelmed, begins compiling a to-do list. Three bullets turn into 10. Ten bullets turn into 20. Moments later, he finds himself in handto-hand combat with a to-do list so long and so vast it resembles the spiralling tentacles of a giant squid. He loads himself up with enough caffeine to fuel an entire city and begins his slow, tedious descent to the bottom, crossing each line off the to-do list one at a time. Shortly into his battle, he makes a terrifying realization: the to-do list is like a regenerating monster right out of a terror flick – for each line he crosses off, another


three lines appear at the bottom. He screams. He jumps out of his office window. Thankfully, he is on the first floor, so he essentially just steps into a large shrub, scaring a small family of opossums. As he begins to sob hysterically, he hears the unravelling of the wretched to-do list drawing ever closer. He turns, it envelops him, then pulls him back into the deep, dark depths of his office. He is consumed by a monster of his own creation.

Race to the bottom Nearly all of us have fallen victim to the endless to-do list at least once in our lives.

After all, the go-to piece of advice we’ve been given since high school when we’re feeling overwhelmed is to “make a list and start crossing things off.” While it sounds lovely in theory, once we set off on our to-do writing journey, we quickly discover a major problem. In our race to the bottom of the list, we realize there is no bottom. This fascinating phenomenon, along with a handful of others, is what makes to-do lists so incredibly unproductive. Let me explain. We are terrible at estimating how long tasks take. Elon Musk is arguably one of the most brilliant minds alive today, yet even he has an issue with underestimating how long a task may take. Time and time again, he has set a date for the release of a new model or a production number. And time and time again, he has missed the deadline. In an interview with The Washington Post, Musk said, “I think I do have, like, an issue with time … I’m a naturally optimistic person. I wouldn’t have cars or rockets if I wasn’t. I’m trying to recalibrate as much as possible.” If you ask his brother, Kimbal, this complicated relationship with time has been present since childhood. When they were children, Kimbal Musk (who currently sits on Tesla’s board) would actually lie to his older brother about the time the school bus would arrive, knowing that Elon would show up late. Elon Musk isn’t the only adult alive today who grew up missing the bus and still suffers from lingering time estimation problems. A recent study found that only 17 percent of the population can accurately estimate the time something will take. With to-do lists, what happens is that we optimistically assume most of the day’s tasks will take less time than they’ll actually take.


28-29_Bizstrat Productivity - SUBBED.indd 28

07/10/2023 5:42:08 am

And, in our caffeine-fuelled to-do-list scribbling, we load up the day with lengthy tasks we think we can get done in a few minutes. This, of course, causes the to-do list to roll into tomorrow … which brings me to my next point: when was the last time you actually crossed everything off your to-do list? In addition to poor time estimation, the reason to-do lists roll into the next day is they place us into a mindset where everything must go on the list, regardless of the level of impact it has on our day – or how much value it adds. In many ways, to-do lists cause us to be overly proactive in our thinking. Which, in turn, causes us to put a greater emphasis on tasks that, in the broader scheme of things, aren’t that important. In addition, they also hinder us from feeling a sense of completion with our day and our work. Nobody who trudges home with a half-completed to-do list feels like they owned the day. Instead, they feel like the day owned them. To-do lists also allow us to avoid the most important tasks of the day – they aren’t unlike email in that way. Take a look at the to-do list I put together below as an example. Let’s pretend it belongs to a sales professional who works for a technology start-up. • Get email inbox to zero • Catch up on Team messages • Follow up with Paul about lunch tomorrow • Stop by the grocery store • Meet with the marketing team for a brainstorming session • Make 50 cold calls to potential leads • Do a couple loads of laundry • Clean the house Now, it doesn’t take a productivity guru to recognize the most important task on the list above is to “make 50 cold calls to potential leads.” Sure, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, grabbing groceries, following up with Paul, and managing your email inbox might be nice, but they aren’t going to create the most

To-do lists place us into a mindset where everything must go on the list, regardless of the level of impact it has on our day – or how much value it adds impact for the day. If you’re a sales professional (where you get paid to make sales), you better make sure you’re knocking out your 50 cold calls for the day. Many times people use to-do lists to avoid doing the things they don’t want to do. Which is unfortunate, considering that the things we don’t want to do tend to be the things we actually need to be doing.

To-do lists’ better-looking brother Scheduling works differently for everyone. If to-do lists work well for you, keep making them. However, I would like to offer an alternative. I call it the “hunter” strategy. Long ago, before we had a fridge full of food within arm’s reach at all hours of the day, people survived by hunting. If the hunter made a successful hunt that day, his family would eat. If not, they wouldn’t. It was that simple. He didn’t have time to check email, attend time-sucking meetings, or send follow-up emails. And he certainly didn’t have time to make to-do lists. No, he had to wake up every single day with one goal in mind: to make a successful hunt. When it comes to scheduling, this is a great mindset to have. Instead of writing down dozens of tasks that you need to get done each day, choose one that must get done and will deliver the most impact. In Gary Keller’s bestselling book, The One Thing, he argues that “long hours spent checking off a to-do list and ending the day with a full rubbish bin and a clean desk are not virtuous and have nothing to do with success. Instead of a to-do list, you need a success list – a list that is purposefully created

around extraordinary results.” While this concept might seem a bit abstract, executing it is simple. You begin by thinking about the one thing you can accomplish today that would have the most impact. If you’re having trouble thinking of something, I’ll give you a hint – it’s usually the thing you least want to do. Once you’ve thought about this thing, I recommend buying a fat stack of sticky notes and keeping them in your desk. When you walk into your office, pull one of those sticky notes out and write down the one big highimpact goal you would like to achieve for the day. Put the sticky note somewhere on your laptop and start working. Any time you feel your mind start to wander or the urge to mindlessly check email well up inside of you, stop. Look at your sticky note. Then refocus on the day’s hunt. You can always go back to executing other low-priority or operational tasks once you’re done with the day’s hunt. Practise this strategy for a few weeks with the goal to cross off the one thing on your sticky note each and every day. Once those few weeks are up, stop and reflect. Do you feel more fulfilled? Do you feel like you’re making more of an impact? If the answer is yes, keep on hunting.

Aytekin Tank is founder and CEO of JotForm, an online form creation software with millions of users worldwide. A developer by trade but writer by heart, Tank shares stories about how he exponentially grew his company without receiving any outside funding. For more information, visit jotform.com.


28-29_Bizstrat Productivity - SUBBED.indd 29


07/10/2023 5:42:24 am

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT CRAFTSMAN CRAFTSMAN’s OVERDRIVE Mechanics Tool Set is a line of sockets, wrenches, and ratchets designed to provide access in confined spaces and rounded bolt removal for common automotive and maintenance tasks. The tools offer a corrosion-resistant gunmetal chrome finish, easy-to-read markings, and enhanced geometry needed for a variety of tasks. The ratchets feature a 180-tooth count dual-pawl mechanism and a 2.0 degree arc swing for confined turns and hard-to-reach fasteners. Additionally, the sockets and box-end wrenches feature Tight Torque Technology, designed to remove fasteners rounded up to 70 percent and to help prevent rounding.

BONA Bona has released a new vacuum named Bona DCS 50. Described to be powerful, lightweight, and versatile, the new vacuum has a 13.5 gallon capacity and is designed for use with or without a vacuum bag. It is compact and can easily be carried upstairs and manoeuvred in hard-to-reach or tight areas. Its automatic filter cleaning system provides efficient suction and features a moisture-resistant, HEPA-certified, PES filter that prevents dust from escaping into the air to ensure optimal indoor air quality. The vacuum is designed to be extremely quiet, with a record of 69 dBA. It is equipped with a 120V electrical outlet with automatic start/stop for power tools.

SIMPSON STRONG-TIE Simpson Strong-Tie has introduced the Simpson Strong-Tie HSKP heavy seated knife plate, a concealed beam hanger designed for robust mass timber structures. The HSKP supports substantial loads while maintaining a concealed-connector, wood-focused design. Engineered to meet the demands of heavy mass timber beam loads, the HSKP is an easy-to-install, code-listed connector capable of accommodating larger mass timber beams while ensuring a secure wood-to-wood or wood-to-steel connection.

WILSONART Engineered surfaces company Wilsonart has added designs and finishes across two product offerings, the LUJO Collection from Wilsonart Thermally Fused Laminate (TFL) and Wilsonart High Pressure Laminate (HPL). The LUJO Collection features 10 new designs reflecting oak, cherry, elm, eucalyptus, and seno etimoe, an exotic wood species. The collection now also features Silken Wood and Timbergrain matte finishes. Designs and finishes are available in coordinating Wilsonart HPL and Edgeband, and all LUJO designs coordinate with linen and textile designs from Wilsonart Interiors.

SONOMA FORGE Sonoma Forge, a manufacturer of hand-forged bath and kitchen fixtures, has released a bar faucet option for its WingNut series. The faucet feature expands the design’s versatility and elevates the series’ industrial elements to designer distinction. The WingNut single-hole, which comes in a fixed or swivel square spout option, is a deck-mounted bar faucet that extends 9 1⁄2” over the sink – allowing practical functionality for bar and food prep tasks. The series is available in all of Sonoma Forge’s standard finishes.

WORX The WORX Nitro 40V 25” Hedge Trimmer features a high-efficiency brushless motor, variable-speed trigger, and 180° handle rotation, which helps eliminate excessive bending and stooping. The hedge trimmer shapes and sculpts with a cutting capacity of up to 1” diameter and weighs 7.7 lbs. (with battery). It is powered by two WORX 20V 2.0Ah MAX lithium batteries. The batteries are compatible with up to 100 WORX 20V, 40V, and 80V lawn and garden, DIY tools, and lifestyle products.



30-31_Product Spotlight - SUBBED.indd 30

07/10/2023 5:43:21 am

Ta Fa im on

REWARD YOUR CUSTOMERS FanBuilder Loyalty Program ®

Tailored to YOUR brand, Orgill’s POS-integrated FanBuilder gives your purchasing customers immediate digital rewards & coupons they can track online or via our My Hardware Rewards mobile app.

Learn more & contact your Orgill sales rep today!

1-800-742-8417 | Orgill.ca 30-31_Product Spotlight - SUBBED.indd 31

07/10/2023 5:44:20 am

“Castle understands the needs of the independent and that a cookie cutter corporate brand doesn’t always work, especially in a smaller market. Castle gets out of our way so we can run our business.” Jordan Hodgins, Hodgins Building Centre New Castle Member 2023

As an entrepreneur, you have your own unique way of doing things and have worked hard to build your brand and your reputation. Nobody knows your business better than you do, so don’t let your buying group take control of your business decisions. You deserve to shine without your buying group getting in the way! At Castle, we do things differently. Our primary focus is to empower our independent dealers by delivering the lowest cost-of-goods partnered with the lowest cost-of-buying-group-affiliation. This formula is the most profitable business model available to the independent today and it’s where the magic happens. That’s why Castle is the fastest-growing buying group in Canada!

Scan Here

It’s your business and Castle gives you the liberty and flexibility to run your business your way. Find out what Castle can do for your business.

Learn more at youarethebrand.ca

32_OBC.indd 32

07/10/2023 5:45:20 am

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.