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Canadian Hardware and Housewares Industry Hall of Fame Inductions 2018


In this, the 34th year, the CHHMA is honoured to continue to serve as the custodian of the Canadian Hardware & Housewares Industry Hall of Fame. The Hall was established in 1984 to recognize the achievements of our industry’s leaders and pioneers. Since that time 68 industry icons, inventors, business founders and builders from the retail and manufacturing sectors have received the honour.

On April 3, 2018 during the CHHMA Spring Conference Luncheon, three more worthy industry veterans were inducted into the Industry Hall of Fame.

Yves Gagnon

After graduating in Sciences at the Université de Montréal and working a few years as a chemistry teacher, in 1973 M. Gagnon took over his family’s general store. This store later became one of the first RONA Renovateur stores in Quebec and M. Gagnon also served time on RONA Board of Directors. After growing his business, into what today consists of 7 stores and a rental center with over 350 employees, he joined Groupe BMR in 1983.  In 1995, he became President & CEO of Groupe BMR at which time the group consisted of 42 bannered stores with just over $200 million in sales. At the time of his retirement twenty years later, the group had 185 stores with sales reaching $1.5 billion. Under his leadership, BMR expanded to include its own hardware distribution center and trucking division, along with a credit and loyalty card program and a training center. They also developed an award-winning EcoAttitude store concept. Outside of work M. Gagnon served on numerous community boards and committees and donates generously to several local and national charities.

"In 1995, they came to me and asked if I want to be the president. I said 'yes, why not? I can do it for one year. I don't want to do this all my life’. But guess what, I was there for 20 years," M. Gagnon recalled.

Yves was joined at the ceremony by his wife Diane, daughter Geneviève and her husband Stéphane together with his son Francis and fiancé Karla.  Martin Menard and Charles Gregoire-Beliveau from BMR were also on hand.

M. Gagnon is pictured receiving his Hall of Fame plaque from CHHMA Chairman Peter Laing.


Gerry Byle

Mr. Byle began his career with the Remington Shaver Company in 1969 as Ontario Sales Manager after graduating from Ryerson University. Two years later, he moved over to Philips and became Western Regional Manager in 1978.  Later, he was offered a position at Sunbeam and during his time there he met the owner of a start-up company out of Montreal called Bionaire. Over the next 15 years, Gerry went from National Sales Manager to VP Global Marketing, to President of the Canadian and US business units. During that period, sales went from virtually zero to over $80 million. The company went from a private enterprise to publicly traded and was acquired by the Rival Company in 1996. Gerry stayed on as VP International Sales. In 1998, he was hired by Honeywell Consumer Products as the General Manager of its Canadian Division. When Honeywell was acquired by Kaz Inc. in 2002, he remained as General Manager of Kaz Canada until his retirement in December 2010.

Gerry is pictured with Home Hardware's Paul Straus and Ray Gabel (both members of the Hall of Fame themselves.)

"It feels really nice, it makes you feel great. At the ceremony, you can bring your kids and your wife, so it was kind of a proud time for old pop here," Byle said, who was joined by his wife Louise and sons Eric and Glen as well as good friend Wally McTaggart at the luncheon.

Gerry is pictured receiving his Hall of Fame plaque from Hall of Fame
member Laurie O’Halloran.


Vaughn Crofford

Vaughn began his career working part-time for the Co-op in Salmon Arm, BC during his high school years and full time in 1968 as a hardware clerk in Calgary.  After a highly successful 16-year career in various management positions throughout BC and Alberta, he was moved to the home office of Federated Co-operatives as part of a management team charged with turning around the hardware department. Within two years the department was profitable and later the building materials were merged with hardware. In 1994, Vaughn was approached by a couple of vendors to consider the job as President of the then struggling CHHMA. The Association thrived under his leadership over the past 23+ years as he became a voice for the manufacturers’ side of the industry. Vaughn was an integral part of the formation of the Electrical Stewardship Association which manages recycling programs in BC. He is also the creator of the calculator for determining packaging material responsibilities accepted by all blue box programs across Canada. Vaughn was the longest serving President of the CHHMA and retired at the end of last year.

"It's very flattering. It's
kind of rewarding, after all those years to be recognized as doing something. It was great and I enjoyed it very much. For 23 years, all I can say is good things about it," Mr. Crofford remarked.

Vaughn was joined at the luncheon
by his daughter Sandra and her husband Jamie and of course many friends and colleagues from the association.

Vaughn is pictured with CHHMA Past Chairman & Hall of Fame member Bryan Gilbart receiving his Hall of Fame plaque.


Canadian Hardware & Housewares Manufacturers Association | 1335 Morningside Ave., Suite 101, Scarborough, ON M1B 5M4
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