WRLA Toolbox: March 19, 2015
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Welcome to the ToolBox, your portal to WRLA member news and information within the LBM market. We invite you to learn more about what's going on within your association and the companies whose products and/or services you utilize.

What's Going On

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This is a service directed at Retirees but aims to smooth the transition for any employee moving from Group Benefits to Individual Health, Dental and Travel insurance.  The Emerge program is 100% voluntary for any employee considering retirement or leaving the Group Plan; simply contact the Emerge Specialist for your initial Needs Assessment.
Individual insurance is all about you. The insurance carrier, plan level and options are all chosen based on your wants, needs, and budget. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, you can apply for plans that offer non-medical applications provided you apply within a certain time-frame of terminating your Group coverage.

Contact your Emerge Specialist at emerge@stratagroup.ca or 866.787.2826 to discuss your health, dental and travel needs.

RETAILERS - Don’t be fooled! You may think you know your customer and they will tell you a problem exists, but statistics show only one out of every ten customers voice an opinion. And remember, good news travels fast, bad news travels faster. If you have an unsatisfied customer, you may never know and they could start spreading the word. 

Industry News
  • Know the customer’s name – When the barista serves your iced coffee, she calls out your name. This simple gesture goes a long way in retaining customers. Have employees ask customers open-ended questions so they can get a better understanding of what brought the customer into the store and how they can assist in their shopping experience.
  • Know the target market – Starbucks furnishes its locations with cozy couches and tables, providing a homey place for students to write class papers or to have meetings. Knowing your customers is a key in providing quality, unmatchable service. If a majority of your customers are young, busy families, a website with a "pick-up at store" capability will allow them to be busy and still get all the home improvement products they need. 
  • Changed the way we define coffee shop – Starbucks changed the definition of coffee shop from a store that only serves coffee to a hangout and meeting place that serves drinks and food, inviting customers to stay a while with comfy seating, electrical outlets and phone charging stations. Go beyond the typical home improvement store experience by hosting fun events, teaching classes, getting involved with other local retailers and changing the way home improvement store is defined.
  • Treat employees well – Starbucks knows the value in retaining employees, so it provides free online college courses for employees, and those who work 20-plus hours are eligible for health insurance. Knowledgeable employees who provide exceptional customer service are what independent home improvement retailers pride themselves on. Adding benefits will encourage employees to work harder and provide them a reason to stay longer. 
  • Tailored product offering with seasonal choices – Starbucks has its core products consisting of iced coffees and mocha lattes, but as the weather changes, seasonal items are introduced such as the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte. It is important that retailers fully understand the product demand that changing seasons and weather bring. If it is raining in the morning, put a dump bin of umbrellas at the front of the store, reminding customers that they left their umbrella at home and will need one throughout the day.
  • Knowledgeable employees – Starbucks employees undergo 30 hours of training and can serve 87,000 drink combinations. Starbucks understands the value of employee training and ensures employees can meet their customers’ needs. The North American Retail Hardware Association found that the No. 1 cause of employee dissatisfaction in a home improvement retailing job is lack of training. Invest in an employee training program that not only provides product knowledge, but also selling tools to fully equip new hires for the sales floor.
  • Integrate online and in-store experiences – Starbucks has more than 7 million mobile transactions per week in the U.S., according to its January earnings call.  Company leaders know a majority of its customers are tech savvy and they have adapted payment options to cater to customers. Even if a high-end website with shopping cart capabilities and a search bar is not an option, making a website using a simple tool such as WordPress is beneficial. The basic website can provide directions, store hours, weekly promotions and a history of the store.
  • Keeping up with the trends – Starbucks knows what the trends are and was responsive by acquiring Evolution Juice. The company saw the potential in the juicing/smoothie market, so it expanded its product offering to reflect that trend. Keep an eye out for industry research and market trends, then adapt your inventory to accommodate those trends. Talk with other independent retailers to see what categories have experienced growth for them or what niche products are providing a great return on investment.
  • Loyalty program – According to Starbuck’s 2013 annual report, 7 million people are active My Starbucks Rewards members in the United States, with 1 in 3 transactions being paid with a Starbucks Card. Loyalty programs are a great way to get customers in-store and track their shopping patterns. Having a loyal following provides you with brand advocates and make up the majority of your sales. The 80/20 rule indicates that 80 percent of sales come from 20 percent of your customers, and often those 20 percent of customers are or would like to be loyalty members.
  • Growing Responsibly – Starbucks gives back to the community through its goal of employees performing 1 million hours of community service each year. Also, Starbucks ensures that 95% of its coffee meets C.A.F.E. practices standard, serving a globally responsible product. As a local retailer, it is extremely important to get involved in your community. 

The goal of the North American Retail Hardware Association is to help independent hardware and home improvement retailers become better and more profitable merchants through a wide array of educational and training programs, financial management resources, and human resource tools that are all available online. WRLA members get unlimited access to a full range of training and management services when they join NRHA through the WRLA. Contact the WRLA direct at wrla@wrla.org or CLICK HERE for more information about NRHA.

Calendar of Events


March 27, 2015
Westcoast Building & Hardware Innovative Products Show
Cloverdale Fair Grounds
Surrey, BC

April 19 - 20, 2015
Federated Co-op Market
Prairieland Park, Saskatoon

April 11 - 13, 2015
TruServ Canada Spring  Market
RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre, Winnipeg, MB

April 18 - 21, 2015
Home Hardware Spring Market
St. Jacobs, ON

August 18, 2015
WRLA Memorial Golf Tournament
The Links at Quarry Oaks – Steinbach, MB

August 27-29, 2015
Orgill Fall Market
New Orleans

September 3, 2015
WRLA Calgary Classic
Sundre, MB

September 16, 2015
WRLA Kenosee Golf Tournament
Kenosee Lake, SK

To view all upcoming WRLA events please CLICK HERE
Member Updates
Grab your Sharpie and UPDATE your 2014/15 Directory & Product Source Guide!


Quadra Builders
Box 247
635 Noble Rd
Quathiaski Cove, BC    V0P 1N0
Phone: 250-285-3221
Toll Free Phone: 877 585-3221
Fax: 866-509-8928
Main Contact: Chad Swanson

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