Smith predicts Kent will expand Central Supplies chain

ANTIGONISH: A local business leader feels it is time for a change.

On November 29, Central Supplies owner Steve Smith announced his decision to sell to the Kent Building Supplies organization, effective December 31, 2016.

This year marked the 40th anniversary of Central Supplies, but Smith noted the change in the times led to a change in the home improvement industry.

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“This industry is being dominated by much larger players than me,” said Smith. “In the long run, I felt that the best thing for our associates was to get with a much stronger company that would have the ability to carry on forever.”

Smith said he decided on Kent because he has known the company for years, calling the business fair and honest. He said Kent, a Maritimes based company, shares a lot of the same values regarding caring about employees and the surrounding communities as Central Supplies.

“I thought… the best solution in the long run was to make a deal with [Kent],” said Smith. “They support Maritime companies and they care about their long-term reputation. I’m very pleased that we’ve gone this way. They’re offering employment to every one of my associates.”

When asked if there is any concern Kent might begin shutting down Central Supplies stores, Smith said he believes Kent will invest and expand.

“I believe you’ll see more stores over the next number of years and that will be good for the area,” he said. “Looking at, for instance Port Hawkesbury, Inverness, and Sydney, they will be there for a long time and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more stores in Cape Breton than there are today.”

Central Supplies has locations in Antigonish, Guysborough, Inverness, and Port Hawkesbury.

Smith emphasized he did not sell other businesses such as Atlantic Windows, real estate operations, or Keltic Quay, which he said will remain a focal point of his energies in the coming months.

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Antigonish native Matt Draper has been a photographer, reporter and columnist for The Reporter since 2003.