Home Hardware co-founder Walter Hachborn will add yet another feather to his cap next spring when the St. Jacobs native is inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.
Already a member of the Order of Canada, the recipient of the Distinguished Canadian Retailer Award and an honourary doctor of laws, Hachborn is humbled by the recognition.
“It is truly an honour to be selected for induction into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in May 2015,” he told The Observer by e-mail. “It is humbling to have my name listed among Canada’s most distinguished business leaders. It is only with the help of a committed team of corporate staff and the diligent work of over a thousand dealer-owners across Canada that I have been able to accomplish my vision for the company.”
Hachborn began his career in the hardware business in 1938. Born in Conestogo, Hachborn created Home Hardware with partners Henry Sittler and Arthur Zilliax in 1964.
In the 50 years since, the company has grown to more than 1,000 stores with retail sales this year totalling $5.4 billion.
While Hachborn retired from day-to-day operations in 1988, he still maintains an active role in the company.
“I am most proud that we were able to find a way to preserve the independent home improvement retailer,” Hachborn said. “When we began 50 years ago, we believed that a reliable, friendly store for home improvement needs was too important to the make-up of the community to be swallowed by the large discount retailers. We began with 122 stores and as we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we have grown to over 1,060 stores from coast to coast to coast.”
Home Hardware president Paul Straus described Hachborn’s impact on the Canadian business community.
“Walter was a hardware store owner who had a greater vision – he saw a way not only to grow his own business, but to support independent dealers everywhere. We have grown from a $3 million business to retail sales of $5.4 billion this year on our 50th anniversary and still growing, thanks in no small part to our dedicated staff and the innovative thinking, dedication, and entrepreneurial spirit of Walter Hachborn. Walter’s career serves as evidence of the limitless opportunities that independent retailing provides innovative and entrepreneurial spirited Canadians.”
He added, “Walter embodies the core values that Home Hardware is founded upon. He has remained committed to the independent retailer since 1964 and has instilled his values of service and dependability into the foundation of Home Hardware.”
Hachborn will be officially inducted during a gala on May 4, 2015. Fellow members of the 37th induction class include: André Bérard, corporate director, National Bank of Canada; N. Murray Edwards, chairman, Canadian National Resources Limited; and Heather Reisman, chair & CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc.