John Kehler

John Kehler

Home Building Centre the tops

John Kehler and Gary Gilchrist were recipients of the community leader award

Two North Okanagan residents have been  recognized nationally for their contributions to the community.

John Kehler and Gary Gilchrist, owners of the Home Building Centre  in Vernon, were recipients of the community leader award at Hardware Merchandising magazine’s 2012 Outstanding Retailer Awards gala in Toronto.

Vernon’s Home Building Centre has sponsored charity golf tournaments for the North Okanagan Hospice Society and the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation.

Since 2007, the store has raised $50,000 for breast cancer research in B.C., and each Christmas, it supports families who cannot provide food and presents during the holiday season.

“Gary and I would like to dedicate this award to our staff and give special credit to Bob Anderson, store manager, and Daphne Coleman, office manager, as they were instrumental in the success of our charity efforts,” said Kehler.

“The community of Vernon has been very supportive of us, so we always go the extra mile to give back.

The award recipients were chosen by a panel of industry experts who analyzed nominations from retailers across Canada in seven categories: best hardware store; best building supply/home centre (under 25,000-square-feet); best building supply/home centre (over 25,000-square-feet.); best contractor-specialist dealer; best young retailer; best large surface retailer (over 50,000-square-feet retail) and community leader.

Each nomination was judged on a range of criteria, including sales performance, retailing innovation and community involvement.

Home Hardware dealers from across Canada took five out of the seven categories at this year’s event. Home Hardware has received 17 outstanding retailing awards over the last six years.

“Home Hardware is committed to providing our independent dealer-owners with the support, programs and services to help them grow profitable, successful businesses and the outstanding retailer awards serve as a testament to the hard work of these entrepreneurs as well as the strength of our program,” said Paul Straus, president of Home Hardware Stores.

“On behalf of the dealer-owners of close to 1,100 Home Hardware stores in communities across Canada, I would like to congratulate John on his success.”

The awards gala was held at the Toronto Sheraton Airport Hotel Oct. 25, 2012, in conjunction with the Hardlines Conference, a two-day symposium for business leaders in home improvement retailing.