Yardstick - Issue 4 2017 - 16
own homes and numerous small-scale
builders were building on spec.
To win their business, Sexton pitched
that he would deliver drywall at a good
price, but also haul the waste after they
finished installing. Kenroc's competitors
weren't interested in the cleanup. It gave
Kenroc an edge, keeping its trucks busy
and its product moving.
Kenroc always looked to offer service
competitors couldn't match, such as
superior delivery. Kenroc uses its own
drivers and gives them helpers who
understand the needs of contractors and
learn from each customer. Today, Kenroc
uses the best available delivery trucks
equipped with forklifts and cranes.
Where Kenroc delivered also helped.
Establishing a weekly truck run to
rural building-supply yards expanded
Kenroc Saskatoon's presence throughout
northern Saskatchewan in the 1980s.
All Kenroc locations now provide
Five years later, Sexton bought a
brick-panel technology from DuPont
Canada and opened the first Pan-Brick
manufacturing plant in Regina.
In the mid-1980s, when interest rates
were in the double digits and many
businesses struggled, Kenroc expanded.
This was because of how Sexton ran the
business in the 1960s and 1970s - by not
borrowing money and reinvesting profits.
"We don't know how blessed we are
for the investment Ken made in the early
days," says Brian Kusisto, President of
Kenroc and all its operating entities,
which employ 300 people across
"His approach has always been that
you don't buy it until you can afford it.
As a result, this company has never had
A third Kenroc location - this time in
Winnipeg -- opened in 1985. That year,
Kenroc and its customers also needed
to be more competitive in pricing. The
Sexton Group launched, creating a buying
group to secure volume discounts for all
A year later, stores opened in Calgary
and Edmonton. Builders Choice
Products Ltd., got its start buying
specialized drywall tools for Kenroc
stores and other drywall suppliers at
case-lot discounts. A partnership in
the highway trucking business began,
allowing Kenroc to obtain product as
quickly as needed.
Then, in 1994, Kenroc entered B.C.,
establishing branches in Burnaby and
Langley. Three years later, another
opened in Prince George.
Being in a position of financial
strength meant Kenroc could act quickly.
In 2005, it saw an opportunity in one
of Western Canada's hottest market. It
learned on a Wednesday a business would
be available, closed the deal by Friday,
spent the weekend taking inventory, then
opened Kenroc Fort McMurray on the
Then, a location opened in Red Deer in
2009. In the spring of 2014, three more
were added in Medicine Hat, Kamloops
The 50th year in business will
be marked by the opening of a new
operation in greater Victoria on
Kenroc also grew by gradually
expanding its product mix. It was the
first in Regina to carry innovative
products such as steel stud and textured
ceilings. In 2007, after four decades in the
wall and ceiling business, Kenroc added
roofing supplies to its mix.
IN THE BUSINESS
Building relationships with
customers has always been a key to
"We like working with Kenroc, we trust
their team and they`ve given us no reason
GROW WITHIN YOUR MEANS
Kenroc remained a Regina-only
operation until the mid-1970s. As the
company's resources permitted and
opportunities arose, the company
evolved and expanded into other key
markets across Western Canada.
Saskatoon was the second location,
opening in 1976.
YARDSTICK | August/September 2017