This year’s award for the best large building supply store in Canada goes to Vanderhoof Co-op’s Home Centre.
In Niagara Falls, Ontario, on Oct. 18 , retail home improvement industry magazine Hardlines presented Vanderhoof and Districts Co-op with an Outstanding Retailer Award for the Best Building Supply/Home Centre Over 15,000 Square Feet at the annual Hardlines Conference.
“There is something about each of this year’s winners that impressed the judges, not only for their business acumen and leadership skills, but for their ability to connect with their customers and their communities in a profound way,” Michael McLarney, editor and president of Hardlines Inc, said in a statement.
Vanderhoof Co-op’s Home and Agro Centre is one of seven home improvement stores recognized across the country in categories such as hardware, contractor specialist, large surface, and youth retailers.
Opened on April 15, 2015, the 23,500-square-foot facility is also the retailer selected by Federated Co-operatives Limited to represent the entire Co-operative Retailing System for the award nomination, out of stores in more than 500 communities in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.
Vanderhoof’s Home Centre houses the Vanderhoof store’s hardware, building materials, and agriculture departments under one roof. Building materials were previously located in a building east of the current property, and hardware products were located in the Co-op Mall.
From 2012 to 2014, Co-op invested over $6 million to redevelop its home and agriculture operations — a project that includes the new Home Centre, building materials storage warehouse, agricultural chemical storage shed, pole sheds, fencing, and paving.
“Our store’s size and layout is a leader in our community and we are constantly looking at ways to improve our knowledge, selection, and ability to serve our customers,” said Home Centre manager Trevor Erhardt. “Our Home Centre is like a family; we live our brand of ‘you’re at home here’ every day.
“This drives sales with the members that truly believe in our Co-op values.”
Erhardt first started his career with Vanderhoof Co-op in 1998, helping customers and performing deliveries for the store’s lumber yard.
“I was given the opportunity to grow within the company and became the hardware manager in 2002,” he said.
Four years later, he was transferred to Boyle, Alberta to assume the Home Centre manager role, staying until 2013, when he was given the opportunity to lead Vanderhoof’s new Home Centre.
“I was thrilled to receive the news that I was to lead the new Home Centre that this community and Co-op members had been waiting so long for,” Erhardt said. “I was taught about the values that Co-op represented by my father who was in the Co-op system for over 16 years.
“I am a huge believer in the Co-operative principles of working together in a democratic system to achieve great things and by giving our profits to our members that support us.
“We never take our members loyalty for granted and realize that the grandparents and great grandparents of these members founded our Co-op in Vanderhoof on Aug. 2, 1944.”