Cornwall home improvement store holds opening under BMR banner

Cornwall Mayor Glen Grant (right) presents the Perkins family with a plaque during their official reopening of Perkins Home Centre under the BMR banner on Friday, May 6, 2022. Also shown are (from left) Jonathan Gendreau, vice president of BMR business development, owner Roy Perkins and his wife, Muriel. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – With a ceremonial sawing of a piece of lumber, Perkins Home Centre has changed its affiliation.

“After 45 years of working here, it’s my first official opening. We’ve never had an opening. This is the first one,” owner Roy Perkins told a crowd of dignitaries and customers Friday morning.

“We’re also super excited to be part of the BMR team and look forward to continuing to deliver exceptional service over the next 45 years. Just so you know, I might not be here in 2067,” Perkins joked.

The event was ceremonial in nature as the store changed from Rona to BMR a couple of months ago.

Perkins started in the home improvement business in 1988 when he was offered a partnership in, what was then called, Menard Renovation Centre. He acknowledged the Menard family for “passing on the legacy.”

Among the dignitaries to extend best wishes, Mayor Glen Grant said he’s known Perkins for many years and lauded him as “such a community representative. It’s really great to see the changes here.”

In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, Perkins said they started looking at options after 30 years with the previous buying group. “Based on the needs of our consumer and the need of our business, we found BMR to be the best choice. A Canadian brand that’s recognizable, that’s got great service, great products and really looks after the customer.”

Perkins Home Centre had been under the Rona brand, but Perkins said the relationship “went a little bit sideways” when it came to meeting “the small dealers’ needs.” At 63 years old, the general manager and owner said he didn’t want to resign for another five years “based on what I thought the future would be.”

Perkins describes BMR as a “back to the basics” buying group “perhaps not as broad as our past buying group…the key is customer service. It’s that partnership. We’ve found a group that’s more oriented to looking after the customer that’s in the store and in smaller stores.”

Perkins Home Centre has 22 full-time and six part-time staff. “People skills are the key. We train for knowledge. You find a person that enjoys the customer, enjoys helping people (they’re) a perfect fit, then we can work on the rest.”

The store on Marleau Avenue started closing on Sunday during the pandemic. Perkins said it allowed staff time to “readjust” because the employee pool was “spread too thin” over a seven day work week.

He said the decision might not be the best decision for the consumer but it “works well” for their staff and their existing customer base.