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Elbow Lake gets new hardware store

BY Brae Canlen

Elbow Lake, Minn., will soon have a new hardware store called Monahan’s Hardware, according to an article in the Ferguson Falls Journal. Sue and Bob Kulbeik will soon open their fourth location on the same site where Sue’s great-grandfather operated a hardware store in Elbow Lake in the 1890s.

In 2002, the Kulbeiks got into the hardware retailing business when they bought Hardware Hank in Ashby, Minn., with other family members. Then they added a location in Milbank, S.D. A short-time later, Ortonville Economic Development Committee members asked the couple to consider opening a hardware store in Ortonville, which they did.

A visit to Ortonville from the Grant County Economic Development Committee resulted in a similar invitation for Elbow Lake, whose hardware store had closed. A local redevelopment committee lobbied contractors for the new Elbow Lake Hospital to purchase supplies from the new business.

Although the store in not officially open yet, the Kulbeiks told the newspaper they have been letting customers in to make purchases.

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Industry Dashboard for Dec. 10, 2012

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The share prices of home channel companies are all over the board on the Home Channel Stock Roundup. And at $3.37 per gallon of regular, gas prices are down from last month but up from last year.

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RONA announces strategic direction

BY Brae Canlen

Canadian retailer RONA issued a set of strategic priorities on Dec. 6 that the company hopes will quell shareholder unrest and drive more profits going forward.  Dominique Boies, RONA’s acting CEO,  underscored the company’s focus on growing key customer segments, simplifying the organization’s business model through streamlined operations and processes, and achieving the right scalability. The last goal may involve disposing of non-core assets. 

“RONA’s nationwide growth did not come without a certain level of complexity,” Boies said. The Boucherville, Quebec-based organization operates a network of more than 800 corporate, franchise and affiliate retail stores of various sizes and formats under different banners, and a network of 14 hardware and construction materials distribution centers. It is the largest home improvement distributor and retailer in Canada.

Although the official statement did not address Lowe’s bid to purchase RONA, and the disagreements among board members that followed, Boies did answer questions in a press conference. He said that Lowe’s first approached RONA in 2011 with a proposed purchase agreement. In the meeting, CEO Robert Dutton turned the tables and offered to buy Lowe’s Canada.

Lowe’s second bid to buy RONA came in September 2012. Dutton and his board rejected the offer. Dutton abruptly left the company two months later.

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