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Meadow Lake Home Hardware Building Centre: A Family Focuses on Serving Saskatchewan
The Marsh family of Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, takes serving its community to heart. Don Marsh and his wife, Lois – and in more recent years their two sons, Grant and Wayne – have owned and operated Meadow Lake Home Hardware Building Centre in Meadow Lake for the past 22 years. The family originally farmed in the area, after moving there in 1969, and purchased this retail and contractor building supply business in 1991.
The Meadow Lake Home Hardware Building Centre now offers a wealth of construction supplies. In addition, it offers the full range of hard lines from housewares, plumbing, electrical, paint, sporting, seasonal, rentals, a small custom repair shop, and a substantial lumber yard. The Marsh family has the power of Home Hardware Stores Limited national brand behind them, but owns its sole location in Meadow Lake and operates as a small, independent business, running the company in a friendly, accessible way and going above and beyond for its customers in this region of Saskatchewan. “We try very hard to service the contractor market and we also focus on the do-it-yourself and the general retail market,” says Don Marsh, who still acts as Meadow Lake Home Hardware Building Centre president.
A Wealth of Supplies
The Meadow Lake Home Hardware Building Centre’s capabilities have grown throughout its history. The store began in the 1940s, and then became a Revelstoke Lumber Company, which was purchased In the 1980s by an independent owner affiliated with Home Hardware Stores Ltd., and the Marshs purchased the business from that owner.
Back in 1964, 122 independent hardware retailers purchased Hollinger Hardware Limited of St. Jacobs, Ontario, and formed Home Hardware Stores Limited as a dealer-owned cooperative, in order to compete with “big-box” retailers, and the plan is working. Today people like the Marshs can continue to run an independent small business without being run out by big national chains. Home Hardware Stores Ltd. is currently a national cooperative wholesaler with over 1,000 independent small business operators across Canada owning a part of it, and they each operate under one of its four banners: Home Hardware, Home Hardware Building Centre, Home Building Centre and Home Furniture.
The Marshs initially operated a Home Building Centre store with 2500 square feet of retail space, but expanded in 2000 to become a full Home Hardware Building Centre with 12,500 square feet of retail space. They currently have a new store under construction that will have 25,000 square feet of retail space, along with an expanded warehouse and lumber yard.
The Meadow Lake Home Hardware Building Centre currently offers a full range of products and services. “That’s what sets us apart from local competitors,” says Don. “We have the full range of hard lines, right from kitchen and giftware through to all of the building supplies.”
The Marshs’ Home Hardware Building Centre and its 50 knowledgeable employees service customer needs in several areas, with a focus on paint (one of the company’s specialties), plumbing, building supplies, hardware and fasteners, tools and lumber. However, additional departments include automotive, housewares/giftware, holiday décor and sporting goods. Rentals are also available – hand and power tools – and the Centre offers custom repair work at its on-site shop, as well. Floor covering and kitchen cabinets are two other large departments for this store. There’s even a craftsman employed who can assist with ceramics and tile work.
Saskatchewan and Canadian Pride
“Where we are located [in Saskatchewan] demands that we have a broader range of product,” explains Don. “We’re in a semi-remote location and we’re the last major stop on the route going north on the west side of the province.”
Today the Meadow Lake Home Hardware Building Centre services 25,000 people. Although Meadow Lake’s population is only between 5,000 and 6,000, and the immediate trading area contains approximately 12,000 people, the Meadow Lake Home Hardware Building Centre delivers supplies on a weekly basis to sites situated up to 250 miles north, opening up its client roster. “We do deliveries every day, and we have scheduled deliveries to service different areas, [for example] we deliver to the North twice a week,” says Don. “We’ve done that for 18 years now.” The business will send a semi load, or a half-ton load, as needed.
The Meadow Lake Home Hardware Building Centre benefits from the active forest industry in Saskatchewan, as well as its hearty tourism industry fueled by the large Meadow Lake Provincial Park, which draws people for hunting, fishing and guiding, as well as a strong agricultural sector.
Business is strong and the Marshs are looking to complete the building of a new, bigger location in 2013. The choice to join the Home Hardware Stores cooperative two decades ago has not failed the family, which benefits from shared buying power, expanded advertising, a wide range of dealer services, and comprehensive inventory.
Proudly Canadian owned and operated, Home Hardware also supports several nonprofits and charitable organizations, such as the Special Olympics Canada; Tree Canada Foundation; Sick Kids Foundation; Communities in Bloom, a nonprofit devoted to beautification and environmental preservation; and the United Way. Run with the attitude of an extended family, the Meadow Lake Home Hardware Building Centre will continue to support its region with its proactive approach to services and supplies.