Woodworking store closings ... House of tools shrinks in Canada

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Forum topic by Bob #2 posted 03-14-2009 10:42 PM 12697 views 0 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bob #2

3809 posts in 3988 days

03-14-2009 10:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip closings store closings

House of Tools started up by Jon Nobleman in Edmonton back in the 1970’s and was bought 4 yrs ago by Western Tool Supply from the USA

Currently, they are closing 5 stores on May ST 2009.

Victoria BC
Campbell River BC
Langley BC
Medicine Hat AB
Calgary Industrial AB

The remaining 8 locations will stay open

My own experience with them has been rather spotty so I cannot comment on how they arrived at this decision today.
I will say they had a reasonable presentation of current tools with the ever present marginally trained staff problems that goes with the retail business.

I hope someone will see this as an opportunity and take on the gap left by these folks,

They were a strong supporter of the woodworking shows here so I suspect that may come to and end as well.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

39 replies so far

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4054 days

#1 posted 03-14-2009 10:59 PM

Is there a correlation between the demise of woodworking shows on PBS, DIY and HGTV and the closing of woodworking stores?


-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View LocalMac's profile


281 posts in 3372 days

#2 posted 03-14-2009 11:06 PM

Good point, Sawdust2. I have noticed lately that all the woodworking shows are being replaced by house flipping and kitchen renovation shows. However, I think it must be tough to keep woodworking shows on air at normal hours. Even though it is a popular hobby I don’t think there’s enough of a demographic to keep them strong. It’s too bad. I know in my area it’s hard for me to find friends that are interested in it at all. Less people appreciate the skill involved in taking a piece of lumber and turning it into a piece of art. It kills me to see them buying crappy production furniture from the big companies and thinking they got a great deal on an expensive piece. (Not that there isn’t good production furniture out there)

-- Don't tell her I'm in the shop!

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 3699 days

#3 posted 03-15-2009 12:20 AM

That’s too bad. :(

When my son lived in Banff/Canmore, Alberta I always looked forward to dropping by the Calgary store and picking up something, particularly Bosch tools. They were always cheaper there plus I saved about 7% on the tax. I also purchased via online a couple of times. I always found them pretty good.

In regards to woodworking shows, I have been to a couple of seminars in the past couple of years that John Siloats was speaking. For those that don’t know, John, sometimes refered to as ‘Canada’s Norm’, had a TV show a couple of years ago called ‘In The Workshop’ which was quite popular. I heard him say several times in these seminars, when asked about a new show, that the networks just aren’t buying them anymore. He went on to say that he was planning a ‘reality based’ woodworking show but sadly (or perhaps, happily :)) I don’t believe it got off the ground.

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View CanadianWoodChuck's profile


402 posts in 3880 days

#4 posted 03-15-2009 12:41 AM

Thanks for the update Bob, I was just looking at their flyer.

Ted: I just saw John Siloats at the Toronto show, he was working in the Hitachi booth (I think). I don’t think John could be compared to the great Norm but he was amusing.

-- Wood Chuck (Bruce)

View Phred's profile


53 posts in 3687 days

#5 posted 03-15-2009 04:10 AM


I don’t particularily care for House of Tools, I find thier service poor, and they never seem to have anything in stock.

Hey Bob,

Check out Marson Equipment in Edmonton, Scott owns the store, and it’s an EXCELLENT store, the guys there really know thier stuff, and they always seem to have what I need. (
I usually find that they are cheaper too.

-- But honey.. this new power tool will pay for itself when we re-do the kitchen!

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3988 days

#6 posted 03-15-2009 05:42 AM

I thought they closed out about 3-4 years ago here?

I think they still have an associate company in Calgary called Pro Tool City.

If, they are here they are certainly keeping a low profile.

Busy Bee Tools is getting a good handle on their market and has recently expanded their tool lines.

They are also putting on demos to help newbies understand a bit about the hobby end .

That’s where HOT made a huge mistake.
They shut their demos areas down in favour of a pile of marginal light industrial equipment.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View JuniorJoiner's profile


485 posts in 3406 days

#7 posted 03-15-2009 05:42 AM

i know here on vancouver island, though house of tools is closing, we have a new tool store opening the same week.
Felder machinery imports is opening in nanaimo. they have festool, felder, and alot of high end woodworking machinery.
i’m not sure how much of a market they will have for high end equipment. but even if they pick up half of the sales HOT had for the navy here, they could do well.
i’m hoping it will at least encourage people to buy higher quality tools rather than the box store stuff.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3654 days

#8 posted 03-15-2009 06:13 AM

My local Western Tool Store closed its doors here in Springfield,Massachusetts . They only had one employee there that seemed to know what he was talking about and it was hit or miss if he would be working when I needed something or to have a question answered. The last three times I went to the store , my presence wasn’t even acknowledged by the staff that was there….. Thank God that Woodcraft is here ! Talk about quality tools and a great staff : ) They also say that business is very slow right now .I hope that they survive the slow times though , because I would have to drive over one hundred miles to my closest Rockler store in Eastern Mass or up north to Vermont .
Regarding the woodworking TV shows on PBS….Norm is only on once a week and they always put other shows in his time slot instead and are forever collecting money during that showtime as well. According to the schedule , they were supposed to start airing The Woodsmith Shop back in January , but that hasn’t come to be yet either. : ( I wonder if I can get my donations back ??? LOL

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4066 days

#9 posted 03-15-2009 06:13 AM

We have Western Tool Supply here in Billings, MT. They seem to be doing OK here.

I did notice that they carry a Canadian line of shop tools which is not found anywhere else. Now I see the association.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View tooldad's profile


660 posts in 3681 days

#10 posted 03-15-2009 06:29 AM

Woodsmith will be on PBS in St Louis beginning March 28. I think it is 4:30 CST, but I know it is later in the afternoon.

At the wood show in St Louis, we got to meet Norm. He told my fellow partner shop teacher that sponsors are pulling out due to slow times. That is one of the reasons they are doing recaps this year.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4066 days

#11 posted 03-15-2009 06:36 AM

I totally forgot that WoodSmith was putting out a program. I will have to check out the online program and see if it is going to air here in Billings. Glad you guys brought it up.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Phred's profile


53 posts in 3687 days

#12 posted 03-15-2009 06:59 PM

I think Marson had two locations. THey shut down their south side location, but the west end is still open. I love doing business with them, and much preffer them to HOT, Busy Bee is starting to gain my business too. It’s nice to have a cheap store for cheap tools and cheap prices. Unlike House of tools who has a Cheap store, with cheap tools, and not so cheap prices on those cheap tools.

I like busy bee’s router bits, I have had no problems with any of them, plus they have good sales on lots of brand name stuff too. Dewalt Etc.. I see now that they are carying Delta too. also a plus.

-- But honey.. this new power tool will pay for itself when we re-do the kitchen!

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3988 days

#13 posted 03-15-2009 08:01 PM

I don’t want to see any business fail here as it is also a reflection on who we are.
My experiences with HOT were not all that rewarding either but the thing is I had choices and made some as a result.
I would think that their middle management lacked the skills to anticipate what the customers wanted and failed to communicate that to their employees and or their upper management.
We are going to see a lot more like this in the next few months.
I’ll take another look for Marson on the west end but could not find them last I looked.

Unfortunately their Website fails to locate them as well.

Boy! don’t we see that one a lot!



-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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Bob #2

3809 posts in 3988 days

#14 posted 03-16-2009 05:29 PM

“Is there a correlation between the demise of woodworking shows on PBS, DIY and HGTV and the closing of woodworking stores?”

Interesting thought.

I just wonder how in the world I ended up paying $XX.00 a month to vue a never ending stream of poor quailty commercials and programs designed for 8 year olds with frontal lobotomies.
I can see the internet replacing the traditional TV media by simply meeting the needs of it’s customers rather than just it’s advertizers.

The beauty of the internet is that I can watch it again where with TV I must watch it agian.

Those days are gone. ;-)

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View ScottCalgary's profile


5 posts in 3322 days

#15 posted 03-19-2009 05:24 PM

Bob, is mostly correct but with one major exception. The Calgary Industrial store is not closing. However House of Tools is indeed closing the other four stores by the end of May and the store-wide clearance sales have already begun there.

-- I hope this helps, Scott

showing 1 through 15 of 39 replies

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