Memphis, Tenn.-based distributor Orgill has partnered with Mississauga, Ontario-based Castle Building Centers to fully integrate Canada into Orgill’s core business.
Orgill has been eyeing the Canadian market for 15 years, and has been operating in limited capacity there for the past three years, shipping to independents in various parts of the country.
The partnership was reported originally in Hardlines, the Canadian home improvement industry magazine.
"This is not an experiment," said Orgill president Ron Beal. "We are integrating Canada into our operations and making Canada part of a complete North American focus."
According to Beal, the logistics required for the expansion are already in place. A distribution center in Utah is ramping up to serve Western Canada, while Central and Eastern Canada will be shipped out of a DC in West Virginia.
Already 30,000 of the 75,000 SKUs in the West Virginia facility are Canadian compliant (packaging, language, CSA, etc.) and include builders' hardware and hand and power tools. The company said up to 60,000 SKUs, including paint, sundries, farm, plumbing and electrical will be compliant by March 2011. "Our goal is to be 100% compliant by the end of 2011," Beal said.
According to Castle, the partnership will provide a front-end solution to their members. To that end Castle is charged with educating its members about Orgill’s programs, and is in the process of hiring four "hardlines specialist representatives" to manage Central Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
"This is a total, total commitment," Beal said. "From our standpoint, Canada is now part of our core business."
Castle is a member-owned and member-directed, not-for-profit buying group. Members are shareholders and receive annual audited financial statements.