October 2018 | vol. i, #2
Welcome to the latest issue of our new publication, Hardlines Dealer News. This monthly newsletter will bring you news, tips and trends for running your store better. Got a story or a tip you want to share? Just shoot me an email! And please update your email settings to make sure you get HDN every month in your inbox. Michael McLarney, President, Hardlines Inc.
TIPS FOR FINDING GOOD STAFF IN A TIGHT JOB MARKET
Dealers blame many reasons for the current labour shortageeverything from an ageing population to provincial minimum wage hikes. First and foremost, though, they cite the dearth of younger people who are interested in retailing.
Take Mike James, president of Spring Valley Building Centre and O’Leary Building Centre on Prince Edward Island. He had high hopes when he acquired a flooring retailer and installer in 2016. But James says he has an ongoing struggle finding qualified installers. “I can’t grow that business the way I thought I would be able to,” he says.
Here are three tips for finding good people in a tight job market:
1. Bonuses and Incentives: Coast Builders in Sechelt, B.C., has an incentive program that pays college students a $200 bonus if they come back to work for the company during the summer. That bonus increases to $300 for the second summer and $400 for the third.
2. Job Fair in Your Store: Rob Lawrie once tried hosting a job fair for his Home Hardware Building Centres in Annapolis and Meteghan, N.S. “We had four stations, and it was set up like speed dating,” he recalls. His company was looking to hire eight seasonal workers. Fifty people showed up for the fair, and six got hired. It’s a lot of work to weed through the resumés, but it’s worth it when you find the right candidate.
3. Constant Hiring Mode: Turnover can be high, especially with yard workers. Some dealers find themselves in perpetual recruitment mode out of necessity. Always be on the lookout for good candidates to keep in mind when youre hiring next.
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HOW TO DRIVE YOUR SALES OF SAFETY PRODUCTS
Workplace safety is an important concern for contractors, so dealers who aren’t afraid to offer broader selections than just a modest assortment of helmets, gloves, masks and caution tape will see their pro business increase.
Having someone who’s knowledgeable in this category can be a plus, as well. This will enable your store to do a better job helping customers differentiate, beyond price, among occupational safety products. Too often, say suppliers, customers end up buying the wrong product, and sometimes spending more than they need to.
“It’s a question of knowledge,” says Michel Gagnon, a buyer for Matério Laurentiens, a building supply dealer in Saint-Jerome, Que., who devotes 12 lineal feet of display space to the work-safety category.
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WHY THESE BUYING GROUPS ARE KILLING IT IN TODAYS TOUGH MARKET
Two of Canada’s largest buying groups got even bigger in 2017. According to the latest research from Hardlines, both Castle Building Centres and the Sexton Group topped $2 billion in total sales from all its dealers last year.
According to the 2018 Hardlines Retail Report, these milestones signify the ongoing strength of the independents. Castle’s estimated sales climbed from $1.95 billion in 2016 to just over $2 billion last year. Sexton Group enjoyed a lift from $1.8 billion to $2 billion as well.
Both groups have been growing steadily in recent years, through a combination of incremental sales increases and member acquisitions. While all groups and banners have their share of dealers that join and leave in a year, Castle, which is headquartered in Mississauga, Ont., and is celebrating its 55th anniversary this year, has made strong gains recruiting independents, including traditional yards and specialty dealers in lines such as flooring and doors.
Sexton, based in Winnipeg, has had wins with the signing of modular home and RTA (ready-to-assemble) producers in both the Prairies and Ontario.
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