Retail tide turning

Paul Straus thinks independent home building centres have weathered the big box store storm, and the retail tide is turning.

Paul Straus thinks independent home building centres have weathered the big box store storm, and the retail tide is turning.

Vice-president and CEO of Home Hardware Stores Ltd., Straus spoke positively about his company’s place in the market during a tour of about eight Home-branded stores in Alberta on Thursday.

Among the outlets he and Home Hardware president Walter Hachborn visited was the Red Deer Home Building Centre, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary.

Straus thinks the approximately 1,050 stores in the Home Hardware co-operative have performed well in the shadow of building centre heavyweights like Home Depot and Rona.

“Our dealers have been competing with them for a number of years now and have been able to thrive alongside them.”

He quoted Michael McLarney, Canadian managing director of The North American Retail Hardware Association and editor of industry newsletter Hardlines, in describing the “renaissance” of independent dealers following the glory years of big box stores.

“What he’s saying is a little bit of what we’re seeing as well. The independent retailers are thriving pretty well right now.”

Straus attributes this to service, explaining that locally owned home building centres have been better able to provide consumers with the help and support they need.

This has been particularly important in recent months, when the depressed economy has prompted many people to tackle their own projects.

“For the do-it-yourselfers where service is important, they want to have the right advice for doing some of their installations and so on.”

Home Hardware has even seen a four per cent increase in hardware and houseware distribution shipments this year, said Straus.

“Which really is an indication that consumers are still doing renovations and repairs and maintenance.”

This work has also been stimulated by the federal home renovation tax credit, he added.

“That’s been a big help to many of the retailers and certainly we’ve benefited from that. I think that as the summer goes on we’ll benefit even more so as people complete their plans for their renovations or expansions or whatever they may be working at.”

Straus acknowledged that lumber sales remain slow, the consequence of fewer houses being built.

He doesn’t expect a quick rebound in the residential construction sector, but sees reason for optimism.

“I think there’s starting to be a little more confidence,” he said, suggesting that much of consumers’ reluctance to buy and build has been the result of negative media reports.

Based in St. Jacobs, Ont., Home Hardware is Canada’s largest independent hardware, lumber and building materials, and furniture retailers.

It operates under the Home Hardware, Home Building Centre, Home Hardware Building Centre and Home Furniture banners.

Jason Welikoklad is the owner of Red Deer Home Building Centre, which was started by Welikoklad’s father Bill in 1974.

In addition to the achievement of operating for 3 1/2 decades, Straus remarked at the significance of Red Deer Home Building Centre spanning two generations of family owners.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Avid Penhold climber Catlin Hannah’s death a reminder of the dangers of scrambling

Hannah never returned from his Mount Smuts attempt on Aug. 12.

Children, elderly at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

VANCOUVER — Thick smoke blanketing British Columbia communities far from any flames… Continue reading

Trudeau: no apologies for heckler encounter, pledges to call out ‘hate speech’

OTTAWA — Hate speech and the politics of division are creating a… Continue reading

Rocky Mountain House RCMP charge woman with drug trafficking

Rocky Mountain House RCMP have charged a woman with drug trafficking after… Continue reading

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

OTTAWA — A new plan to help low-income Canadians will set a… Continue reading

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Police chiefs want new data-sharing treaty with U.S. as privacy questions linger

OTTAWA — Canada’s police chiefs are pressing the Trudeau government to sign… Continue reading

Pope on sex abuse: “We showed no care for the little ones”

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis issued a letter to Catholics around the… Continue reading

Ottawa announces $189M to extend employment insurance for seasonal workers

ESCUMINAC, N.B. — Ottawa has announced $189 million for an employment insurance… Continue reading

Trudeau formally announces he’ll run again in next year’s election

MONTREAL — Justin Trudeau will run again in the 2019 federal election.… Continue reading

Smoke from B.C. wildfires prompts air quality advisories across Western Canada

VANCOUVER — More smoky, hazy air is expected to blanket much of… Continue reading

Anti-pipeline protesters released days before weeklong jail sentences end

MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. — Several pipeline protesters were released from a British… Continue reading

All eyes on Andrew Scheer as Conservative convention set for Halifax

OTTAWA — After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew… Continue reading

Trump says his White House counsel not a ‘RAT’ like Nixon’s

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his White House… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month