To say Home Hardware’s Western Distribution Centre in Wetaskiwin has grown since its arrival is definitely an understatement.
Back in 1985, when the centre first moved to Wetaskiwin from Edmonton, the footprint was a little over 460,000 square feet. Today, multiple expansions later, it’s approaching double that at 716,000 sq.ft. and employs state-of-the-art supply chain technology and systems, says Phil Kohlman, Western Distribution Manager, Home Hardware Stores Limited.
The relocation suited the Canadian company’s commitment to its rural roots then, and now. But it also recognizes Wetaskiwin’s prime location at the heart of Western Canada, with easy access to transportation networks. Incredibly important for a national company that operates its own private fleet of 600 trailers and 150 tractors.
“The city has always been very helpful throughout any of our expansion projects. They really want to see us succeed, so in many ways it is a partnership between Wetaskiwin and Home Hardware,” Kohlman says.
Since Home Hardware Stores Limited was founded in 1964, it has grown to become Canada’s largest Dealer-owned home improvement retailer with close to 1,100 independently owned stores in communities from coast to coast.
“Home Hardware is an iconic Canadian brand that is on an exciting journey of growth in Wetaskiwin and beyond,” says Gerard Harrington, Director of Distribution, Home Hardware Stores Limited. “We have made significant investments in our supply chain and e-commerce capabilities, allowing us to be more competitive and agile when it comes to meeting the needs of our customers in communities across the country.”
As the company continues to expand its footprint, supporting everyone from local shoppers to DIY-ers to professional contractors, the continuing need to get more products to its locally owned stores has fuelled distribution centre growth here at home, including a recent expansion dedicated to supporting e-commerce orders.
That growth has also brought a significant increase in employment.
Today, the Wetaskiwin distribution centre’s advanced warehouse management system allows it to serve more than 300 Home Hardware stores across Western Canada, with three shifts through the week and a weekend shift, working to ensure the products people need are getting where they need to go.
Access to a skilled workforce has been key to successful expansion. In turn, team members appreciate a company culture that remains true to Home Hardware’s philosophy of building communities and helping people – more than 40 have been with the Wetaskiwin centre for 25 years or more, with many, Kohlman included, along for the entire journey.
“We have a great culture that fosters teamwork and respect, and that carries over for the team members who are focused on delivering quality, customer-focused service,” Kohlman says.
It also extends to the Wetaskiwin community and Home Hardware’s commitment to giving back. The Wetaskiwin distribution centre frequently supports local initiatives and community groups.
Looking ahead, as the company continues to evolve and expand its e-commerce capabilities, the Wetaskiwin centre is ready to support the added growth that will bring.
This business profile is the second in a series from Wetaskiwin’s Economic Development office. To learn more about initiatives to grow local business and industry, visit wetaskiwin.ca/831/Invest-Wetaskiwin