Member Login
Forgot Password

2017 CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM

The 2017 CHHMA Spring Conference & 48th Annual General Meeting was held on April 11, 2017 at the International Centre Conference Facility in Mississauga, Ontario.  Once again, it was a day of valuable networking and information on topics ranging from the economy, marketing to different age groups, managing foreign exchange exposure, consumer demographics and purchasing habits, mobile selling and creating a better workplace environment.

This year's theme was "Managing through turbulent times.  What do we do now?" and the conference topics helped to address some of the challenging aspects of today's business climate.  



Keynote Speakers

For the 16th consecutive year, we have had the privilege to have a senior economist from TD Bank open the conference.This year, James Marple, Director & Senior Economist, TD Bank Group, outlined key issues with the U.S., Canadian and Global economies including GDP growth forecasts and challenges, labour markets, interest rates, Canadian dollar projections, impact of potential new U.S. policies on Canada and their likelihood of being implemented, concern over the Canadian housing market, as well as Trump-related and other domestic/global economic risks to keep an eye on.  James also answered a number of questions from the audience on several manufacturing related topics. We would like to thank Mr. Marple once again for his insightful presentation and the CHHMA has made a donation to the United Way on his behalf.

Next, Bill Sciacca, an author, speaker, consultant, entrepreneur & professor at Penn State University, gave an excellent presentation on marketing and selling to different generations and the need to connect with your customers. Bill discussed how shopping/buying behaviour differ between the generations with a particular focus on Millennials and finished off his discussion with some comments on how he sees Donald Trump’s presidency impacting the marketplace.

After Bill, Chris Nicholson & Matt Peddle from Associated Foreign Exchange (AFEX) provided a 15 minute overview for the full audience on managing foreign exchange exposure. They then offered a more detailed break-out session on the topic with a focus on hedging techniques and means to improve profits and make your business more competitive.

The second break-out session was on the topic of Building Resilience at Work and was put on by Charmaine Hammond, an author, speaker, consultant & radio host.  Her interactive presentation explained what resilience is, the 6 keys for developing resilience, how companies can develop it with their teams so they can better handle change and crisis situations and the need to review and learn from difficult times.

Finally, the closing speaker on the day was Naumi Haque, Strategy & Insights Manager, from Google Canada who shared some insightful research data on Canadian consumers and purchasing behaviour including the growth of digital/mobile shopping. Naumi’s presentation discussed marketing in an omni-channel world and the different tools that can be used to better reach and engage your customers in today’s ever-changing marketplace.

New CHHMA Board of Directors Announced

During the Annual General Meeting portion of the Conference, elections were held to update board positions for the next 12 months.

 CHHMA members review the annual report during the AGM.
CHHMA Chairman Dave Evans discusses the association's financials as CHHMA President Vaughn Crofford looks on.
Candidates stand for election.

  Here is the new line-up of CHHMA Board of Directors:


  Peter Laing, Recochem, new Chairman of the Board
Joe Comitale, Loxcreen Canada, re-elected and new 1st Vice Chairman
Shelly Mlynarczyk, Henkel Canada, new 2nd Vice Chairman
Steve Barker, IPEX HomeRite Products, elected and new Treasurer
Dave Evans, Melnor, now takes his position as Past Chairman


Jeff Crews,
Richelieu Hardware, newly elected
Steve Dempsey,
3M Canada
Lee Hooper,
Southwire Canada, newly elected
Jason Hutton,
Salton Canada
Gerry Lubanszky,
Garant GP, newly elected
Patricia Noronha,
Techtronics Industries Canada
Scott C. Ride,
The Hillman Group Canada, newly elected
Peter Stojanov,
Onward Sales & Marketing
Dave Webb,
Quest Brands

In addition, we would like to acknowledge Eric Daignault, Richelieu Hardware, who has served on the board for his allotted 3 terms and therefore not eligible for re-election. On behalf of all members we would like to thank Eric for his dedicated service to the Association.

 Eric Daignault receives a token of appreciation from
outgoing Chairman Dave Evans.
Dave Evans receives his Past Chairman's watch from
 New Chairman Peter Laing.

The CHHMA Board of Directors are introduced during the luncheon.
CHHMA members join other vendors and retailers from the industry for the Hall of Fame Luncheon.
New CHHMA Chairman Peter Laing, from Recochem, addresses the luncheon attendees.

Jacques Gatien & Stew Valcour Inducted into the Hardware & Housewares Industry Hall of Fame

During the CHHMA Spring Conference & AGM Luncheon, two worthy industry veterans were inducted into the Hardware & Housewares Industry Hall of Fame: Mr. Jacques Gatien, Les Promotions Atlantiques/Atlantic Promotions & Mr. Stew Valcour, Kent Building Supplies.

The CHHMA is honoured to serve as the custodian of the Hall of Fame which was established in 1984 to recognize the achievements of our industry’s leaders and pioneers. Since that time, 65 industry icons, inventors, business founders and builders from the retail and manufacturing sectors have now received the honour.

The Hall of Fame plaques on display at the Conference.  

Jacques Gatien pictured next to the Hall of Fame
Luncheon entrance.
Jacques Gatien & Stew Valcour in front of the Hall of Fame display.

Jacques Gatien

Jacques receives his Hall of Fame plaque from CHHMA President Vaughn Crofford.
Jacques discusses his career which continues today at the age of 77.
Jacques was joined at the ceremony by his wife Helene Bouchard, company president Gilles Gosselin, a number of the team from Les Promotions Atlantiques and Jonathan Copperman of Canadian Tire.

In 1971, In 2015, Jacques and his company celebrated their 50th anniversary as Les Promotions Atlantiques or Atlantic Promotions as they are known in English Canada.The road to his success started from humble beginnings and has been a result of a lot of hard work, determination and talent for spotting those special innovative products. Prior to forming Atlantic Promotions, Jacques spent a few years demonstrating and selling toys and gadgets at fairs and trade shows around the Quebec country side. With his background in school drama giving him a theatrical touch, a disarming personality and deep carrying voice, he attracted the attention of the crowds and was very successful doing what he was doing. At one trade show Jacques realized with all his success he pocketed $750 and his boss made $950 and did nothing.That was the point when he decided to set out on his own and start his business.

In 1965, along with two partners, Mr. Gatien founded Atlantic Promotions. The company mission was to simplify people’s lives with everyday products that will transform their everyday lives. Realizing that demonstration was his key to success, to that point, the company continued with that approach and one day during a demo in store, Jacques was approached by a television representative about demonstrating the product on TV to a much larger audience.This proved to be the early days of the “as seen on TV” craze and the beginning of a much larger distribution company.

Over the years, Atlantic Promotions has carried and promoted a wide range of products to the Canadian marketplace.So much so that it is safe to say that almost every Canadian household has owned at least one of their products over the last 50 years.In the early days, they distributed exclusively in Canada other product lines sourced from around the world.Brands like T-FAL Cookware, Bee Mop, Krazy Glue, Krazy Carpet, Vileda, Nu Finish Car Wax, Oskar Brooms and Pant Saver Car Mats, just to name a few.

In the late 90’s, after recognizing the importance of controlling your own destiny and brand, Jacques and his team turned their focus on kitchenware and creating their own brands. Now, known for their Starfrit, Heritage, Lock & Lock, The Rock and Ricardo brands, Atlantic Promotions is distributing their products to over 20 countries worldwide.Jacques is still active in the business at 77 and was joined at the ceremony by his wife Helene Bouchard, Company President Gilles Gosselin, a number of the team from Les Promotions Atlantiques and Jonathan Copperman of Canadian Tire.

Stew Valcour

 Stew receives his Hall of Fame plaque from Bryan Gilbart, also a member of the Hall of Fame.

Stew remarks on his long and enjoyable career in the
hardware/building supply industry. 

Stew is pictured with his wife Judy, and industry
veterans Al Tulloch and Angus Reid. 
Stew was also joined on the day by his son Nick as well as Jim Irving
and several others from the Kent team.

 In 1976, Stew applied for a job as a truck driver at Beaver Lumber in Ottawa, only to find out the position had already been filled, but John Locke, now a Home Hardware dealer, offered him a job stacking lumber. Roughly a year later, John was approached by D.H. Howden about a job in London, but he recommended Stew instead and his career was launched.

Over the next two years, Stew went from sales office administrator to merchandise manager in plumbing and electrical working with well-known veterans Bob Sutherland and Bob McKerlie, who is also a member of the Hall of Fame.  Another member of the Howden team was asked by Lockharts in Moncton to manage the hardware business for that chain, but again recommended Stew rather than taking the job himself.  After a year, Stew found the pace at Lockharts a little slow and accepted a role as assistant to the general manager at Thornes in Saint John.  Before he got his moved and settled, another industry veteran Angus Reid (who Stew refers to as a friend and mentor and was able to be present at the luncheon), offered him a position with Macleod’s in Winnipeg.  Over the seven years Stew spent at Macleod’s, he worked his way up the ranks from group manager to VP merchandise, where as he says, he learned a lot about the Do’s and Don’ts of running a business.

In 1988, as Stew puts it, he was given the chance of a lifetime by Jim Irving, who was also present at the ceremony.  At the time, Kent had 5 building supply outlets and about 230 employees and the Irving family wanted to grow the business.Stew took over as general manager and for the next 28 years grew the business into what it is today – 50 stores, 7 truss plants, a gypsum supply business and 3,400 associates, give or take a few, depending on the time of year.

Along the way for varying terms, Stew also had a hand in other Irving businesses such as Thornes, Petro Service and Chandler, but his full-time passion has always been Kent who’s mission is: “To be the best source of home improvement products in each community they serve.”

Congratulations once again to Jacques and Stew - two worthy recipients of our industry’s most prestigious award!

  We would like to thank

Aaxel Insurance Brokers Ltd.

(brokers for the CHHMA Commercial Insurance and Home & Auto Insurance Programs)

for sponsoring the Conference breakfast.

Canadian Hardware & Housewares Manufacturers Association | 1335 Morningside Ave., Suite 101, Scarborough, ON M1B 5M4
Telephone: (416) 282-0022   Email: