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March 16, 2022

TCL Episode #14 – Tool Talk with Tool Guy Tony
from Mississauga Hardware Centre

Show Notes

When it comes to construction, the quality, speed, safety, economy, and time management highly relies on the tools you use. When it comes to tools, every contractor has their own preferences and choice based on their requirements, brand loyalty, and experience. But from where you should buy your tools?
“The Construction Life” tries to cater to every issue a contractor can face and thus episode 14 helps you out in finding the right tool, no matter which brand you prefer. Tony from Mississauga hardware center is an amazing guest of this episode, the chemistry, and fun they had, really show how Tony is successful in maintaining good relationships with his customers. He also went out of his way and gifted a complete construction kit to the Canadian Soldiers who wanted to start a new life. Here are a few highlights of this episode.

How did Mom and Pop Shops start?

So, Tony tells how his dad was in the industry from 1972 but started the business in 1990 with a business partner. But after 2 years his dad parted ways with the partner because he realized they were not on the same page. Tony was studying Political Science and History – his plan was to become a teacher, but he fell in love with the shop, tools and the construction industry full of a cast of wonderful characters. His dad was supportive he let him do things his way, despite doing things wrong. He let him fix his mistakes. The store has seen three decades of construction and contractors.

Time is their Advantage

One of the biggest competitive edges of this Mom and Pop Shop is their timing. They are open 6am to 6pm, yes there are 2 – 6’s in one day these hours apply during the week and on Saturdays they are open from 7 to 1. So, if you need tools, you can get the tools you need before getting to your job site. Tony is at the shop by quarter six, and his father is at the shop even 10 minutes before him. Tony says how they don’t make time an issue, as they realize the time constraints contractors usually have. So, if he is in the store, you are more than welcome, even if it is 7 pm. Tony is so flexible for regular and loyal customers. He can even wait for the valued client so they don’t miss out on some tools they need urgently.

Box Stores vs Mom and Pop Shop

The trio discusses how they go to the box stores only because of the convenience when someone is not organized on the job site or you can say when it is urgent. Otherwise, they prefer to go to the Mom-and-Pop Shops because of their excellent prices because no matter how much you deny it, price matters at the end of the day. So, if you want to invest in the tools, you should go to a Mom-and-Pop Shop like Tony’s Mississauga Hardware. Because automated customer service has no comparison to the real-life interaction with a tool guy who cares for his customers and knows their needs. Tony also tells how there is not a big markup when it comes to power tools, but they earn a good markup from the accessories/replenishable that are frequently bought together.

Excellent Customer Service and Environment

A reason for the success of the Mississauga Hardware Center is its excellent and friendly environment. They will make you feel comfortable, have a friendly interaction with you, and suggest brands that will suit you. They stay brand-neutral and don’t push anyone to buy a certain brand, which makes clients comfortable. Tony says that when you remember your customer’s name, know what he wants, they will stay loyal to you for life. Going out of the way to help your customers has helped Tony make his name in the industry.

Spending Pattern

When asked about the difference in the three decades of construction, Tony gives an interesting reply to this question. According to him, the spending pattern of contractors has changed in the three decades. The old-school contractors were not willing to spend good money on tools, but young contractors are even willing to spend $500 on a titanium hammer.

Brands recommended

Well, Tony says that his personal favorite is Mikita, and all the brands he offers in his store have a religious following all over the world. Manny, Carlito, also explain how they prefer different brands like Bosch, DeWalt, Makita, and Milwaukee for different tools such as Impact Guns, Belt Sander, Variable Grinder, etc. While they all have different opinions on the brands, Tony suggests the best Table Saw by DeWalt, SKILSAW Worm Drive SPT 99, which is cordless. The discussion shows that every contractor prefers a different brand based on their experience and how they work. You cannot claim one brand is crap and another is THE best, but it all depends on the client’s perception. You should not be loyal to one brand and should be open-minded when choosing the right tool for you.

Bonus Tip!

The Trio explains how tool theft is a problem and people even try to steal the extension cord lying unattended. So, whether you use graffiti, or label your tools, take care of them!

Internet – Changing the Dynamics

Tony tells how one thing that has changed the dynamics of this industry is the Internet. Customers study well about everything they ought to buy. They know the price, brand, models, and even specs before entering the shop. For this reason, Mississauga Hardware Center also has an online store, delivers around Canada, and even offers free delivery for orders above $149. Tony tells how they have been earning a big share of profit from online orders and they even have clients in the USA and the UK.

Where to find them?


1270 Eglinton Avenue East, Mississauga ON L4W 1K8 

Toll-Free Number: (855)558-6657

Their website

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