Home Hardware is a cooperative of more than 1000 independent Canadian hardware stores. The company’s name is a reference to the building industry, and the organization started as Beaver Lumber, a building supply chain once owned by Molson. Beaver Lumber operated 138 stores and was once Canada’s fourth largest building supply chain. In 2000, Home Hardware purchased Beaver Lumber and rebranded its stores as Home Building Centres.
Today, Home Hardware is an important part of many communities, and dealer-owners take pride in supporting various charities. For example, Special Olympics Canada provides the benefits of sports to people with disabilities, while Tree Canada works to plant millions of trees across Canada. As a result, Home Hardware shoppers become supporters as well. The company’s mission statement is: “Always helping people to achieve their goals.”
Home Hardware’s history dates back to 1963, when German immigrants bought out the owner of a local tin-smithing business and opened a hardware store. Alfred Gilles managed the store while his son, Henry Sittler, grew up on a farm near St. Jacobs. He was bilingual and learned Pennsylvania Dutch, which was a language commonly used by Mennonite farmers.
In the 1970s, Home Hardware dealers were hit by difficult economic conditions. Inflation was close to twenty percent, and some stores closed down. As a result, a network of dealers was formed. By the end of the decade, the network had over eight hundred stores, including a hardware wholesale division. At this point, the company began to grow by adding distribution warehouses and expanding its dealer base.