February 2021 | vol. iv, #2




In 2014, Cindy Caron and her husband, Raphaël D’Amours, took over the management of her parents’ business, Quincaillerie Palmarolle, a member of TIMBER MART. Their efforts to streamline and modernize the store, in the small town of Palmarolle, Que., were recognized with a Young Retailer Award.

“We were surprised,” admits Caron.

Some of the things they did to prompt the ORA judges’ decision included clarifying roles within the store’s organizational structure and creating a website and Facebook page to market the store. An email account helped younger customers gain faster access to the store and its team. “They’re in the instant moment,” explained Caron, who had not yet reached 30 years old herself at the time of the award. “They send us an email with questions, and we answer back. It’s easier for them than calling.”

The ORA win appeared in “the local news and people talked about us more. It gave us more credibility. It gave us confidence and even more motivation,” Caron explains. “When we started, it was difficult to get money from bankers to continue the business without my parents. Not everybody believed in us.”

At the ORAs, Caron met people working in different aspects of the industry. “I was impressed and happy to talk to people with a different vision. It gave us a lot of ideas to bring back home.”

(Nominations are now open for this year’s ORAs. See below for details!)




Managing your team—and your customers’ expectations—has become difficult as the effects of the pandemic continue. That’s why the North American Hardware and Paint Association (NHPA) has tweaked its courses and training programs.

The online training courses are available to all NHPA members, giving them the ability to develop their careers.

“We’ve repackaged all the training content so it makes more sense to our members,” says Scott Wright, executive director of advanced training programs for the association.

Wright acknowledges that people are getting tired of online learning, after being confined for so many months under COVID. “But training lets you invest in the people you have and puts importance on your people and your team.”

For example, the Foundations of Leadership course is designed for staff who are on their way up, perhaps leading to an assistant manager or manager role within the business. Students can choose between a scheduled course plan or use self-paced options. Graduates of the Foundations of Leadership course will walk away with insights into their leadership styles and strengths. They will be able to develop a framework for their ongoing leadership growth and career development.

(Find more information about the program here.)




Sexton Group recently held their annual meeting for their members and considered it a success. This year had some of the highest attendance for the AGMs. By hosting the meeting and events online, members who can’t attend in-person meetings or shows now have the ability to be involved.

“We are already talking about what we can do with our vendor partners,” said Eric Palmer, vice president and general manager of the Sexton Group.

Their post-event survey found that 97.6 percent of members said yes to being interested in having more virtual events. “We do look forward to when we can all be back together again. But in the meantime, this was world-class,” said Laura Fisher, chief marketing officer at Sexton Group.

Even though the online event was a success, Palmer said the lack of face-to-face interaction has a few challenges. “I typically have found that the most useful part of that day is having a beer with a member and really learning about what's going on and for us to answer questions.”



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