Calgary Fasteners & Tools Opens its Doors!
A brand-new fasteners and tools business starts in Calgary with the dreams of making it big. Calgary Fasteners & Tools makes its debut on February 19, 1979, the same year compact discs came out and “My Sharona” by Knack was the number one hit on the radio waves.
Alberta’s economy was in a giant oil gold rush. At the height of this boom, Calgary was issuing over 1 billion dollars in construction permits – a great time to be in the fasteners and tools business!
The fasteners and tools store took up only 2000 sq. ft. of space and was located at 1155F – 44 Ave S.E. Founding partners, Mel Soloway and Jerry Miller were the only ones who worked the store. It takes a crazy amount of dedication to do all the jobs required to run a store with only two people but they had a dream and were persistent in pursuing it. Mel and Jerry took turns being in the store in the morning while the other would make deliveries, then they would switch in the afternoon.
To fill the shelves with stock, they would do their buying in the morning and on their way home from work. One day, Mel and Jerry passed each other on the street when making deliveries and this prompted them to make the decision to bring on more help. With both on the road and no one to cover the store, Ron Hall came on board as the third partner by the May long weekend.
1979 also happened to be the year that 3M developed Thinsulate™ synthetic fiber thermal insulation as an inexpensive alternative to down. To this day, Calgary Fasteners & Tools carries a wide selection of 3M products, and many of our winter gloves contain this warm and soft material.
Calgary Fasteners & Tools started out as two hardworking guys trying to do things differently than the competition. Now we’ve grown to over 130 talented people who take the 50,000+ fasteners, tools, and supplies that stock our shelves and connect them with the trades that use them to build this great city. Fasteners work when they are put into action, just like our connections with our customers work by our dedication to being a one-stop-shop.
Calfast Doubles its Size with a Move
One year later, Calgary Fasteners & Tools doubles its square footage with a move to 513 42nd Ave S.E. With this bigger location the partners were happy to invest in people as they grew their staff to fill-out the building and cover the increased demand in their products and services. They also bring on Moe Gagnon as a fourth partner to help with this increased demand.
Calfast Opens a 2nd Store in the Foothills Industrial Area
In the same year after the move to the new store on 42nd Ave, Calgary Fasteners & Tools opens a second store at 7139 – 40 St SE in the Calgary Foothills Industrial section of the city.
With this new location, the ability to serve the oilfield, trades, and construction industries grew dramatically. This new location was instrumental in increasing the quantity and variety of products that could be offered by Calgary Fasteners & Tools.
Calfast Opens a Branch in Red Deer
In 1981, Red Deer saw the most significant population boosts in decades, with a 98% increase, prompting Calgary Fasteners & Tools to expand their services to the bustling small city. The partners at Calgary Fasteners & Tools saw this as a golden opportunity and wasted no time in setting up a new branch in Red Deer.
Calgary Fasteners' Red Deer branch was no bigger than a person's outstretched arms and was crammed into the last bay of a much bigger building. To minimize down-time, a small crew worked late nights through a long weekend to get the doors open in time for the next business day.
This weekend setup of a new shop would soon become a standard for the Calfast partners while they worked hard to establish themselves in a tight market.
Edmonton Fasteners & Tools Becomes the First Sister Store to Calgary
Calgary Fasteners & Tools' first sister store, Edmonton Fasteners & Tools, opens its doors to the public, starting what would eventually become 18 stores across Canada and the development of The Fastener Group of Companies.
Tyrolit Builds Laser-Welded Diamond Saw Blade Technology
Tyrolit starts to mass-produce laser-welded diamond saw blades for the construction industry that allows for significant advancements in the capabilities of masonry saws, floor saws, power cutters, wire saws, and wall saws.
Bosch Develops the First-Ever Cordless Hammer Drill
In 1984, Bosch brought out the world’s first cordless hammer drill leading to significant advancements in cordless technology. The power needed to turn a cordless hammer drill made substantial changes to the capabilities of all cordless power tools in a market dominated by electric.
Walter Introduces the Zip™ Cut-Off Wheel
Walter Surface Technologies invents the Zip™ Cut-Off Wheel in 1986, which ends up setting the standard for cut-off wheels for the next 35+ years.
Calfast Opens its 3rd Store in North Calgary
In 1986, Calgary Fasteners turned the struggling fastener competitor, Freetex Fasteners, into its newest location, the North branch. In traditional Calfast style, it took a weekend, some beer, and a lot of pizza to strip the store, flip the shelving in the warehouse, and bring in truckloads of stock from the other two Calgary locations.
Shelving for the showroom ended up not arriving in time for the Monday grand opening, so with quick thinking and limited resources, they improvised by stacking boxes on the floor and displaying the products on top so customers would be able to shop and see the store inventory.
Calfast also gains some experienced staff from Freetex Fasteners who wanted to be a part of the young and successful company.
The 1988 Winter Olympics Come to Calgary
Calgary hosts the 1988 Winter Olympics bringing people from all over the world to our beautiful city. One of our customers brought in a mock-up of the Olympic Torch to the Calgary Fasteners and Tools North branch to celebrate in our Annual Customer Appreciation Day.
Calgary Fasteners & Tools Celebrates 10 Years!
Calgary Fasteners & Tools celebrate being in business for ten years in 1989, the same year that the Calgary Flames won the Stanley Cup. The anniversary party was scheduled to happen on an unusually super cold winter day. Despite it being one of the coldest days of the year, over 380 suppliers and customers combined, attended the event.
Jerry, Mel, Ron, and Moe were all surprised and proud of this turnout as they didn’t expect anyone to show up because of the weather. This celebration proved to them that they had built something special and unique.
We all like to celebrate the moments in life where we have had great successes. Sometimes it is celebrating making it through another Monday and other times it is making it through a major milestone. Here’s to all the special times along the way and the ones to come!
At Calfast we appreciate the uniqueness of our people. To us, celebrating brings us closer together and strengthens our connections. It gives us a chance to reflect and let our hair down. No matter the style of the times, we all work hard in our own individual ways. Here’s to celebrating the unique people that have made our 40 years an amazing success!
Calgary’s Bankers Hall East Building is Completed
Calgary Fasteners & Tools is recognized for being a significant contributor in supplying the fasteners and materials that were used to build Calgary’s Bankers Hall East building. A twin building to Bankers Hall West, which after their completion, would be recognized as the tallest twin buildings in Canada.
British Columbia Gets its First Member of the Fastener Group
Coast Fasteners & Tools, a new member of the Fastener Group, opens its doors in Surrey, BC marking itself as the first Fastener Group store in British Columbia.
Drillco Cutting Tools is Founded
Drillco, one of our major cutting tool suppliers, is founded in 1990. They continue to supply us with excellent quality drill bits that are built for the high demands and requirements of our trade professionals.
BC Fasteners & Tools Opens in Kelowna
The Okanagan gets its first BC Fasteners & Tools in Kelowna, BC which is also the second addition to The Fastener Group in BC.
Milwaukee Invents the Super Sawzall™
Milwaukee makes a breakthrough with its introduction of the Super Sawzall™. This new reciprocating saw is built with state-of-the-art technology that earns them five different patents and sets a worldwide standard for fast and vibration-free reciprocating saws.
Calfast’s Red Deer Branch Becomes its Own Company
In 1983, over 50,000 people call Red Deer home now, prompting Calgary's Red Deer branch to separate from Calgary to become Red Deer Fasteners & Tools.
Alberta Welcomes Lethbridge Fasteners
Lethbridge Fasteners & Tools, the newest member of The Fastener Group, opens its doors and helps to expand the presence of The Fastener Group in Alberta.
Calfast Gets into the Stampede Spirit!
Calgary Fasteners & Tools put on its first-ever Stampede Breakfast at its North branch. This event was so successful every year that only three years later, it expanded into an enormous celebration held at the main store.
Due to its extreme success, the Stampede BBQ morphed into what is now known as Calfast’s Annual Customer Appreciation Day and includes all three Calgary stores.
We offer food, vendor product demonstrations, prizes, special event prices, and exclusive product promotions during this celebration. So many people attend these events, our staff has to wear florescent orange t-shirts to be seen!
Saskatchewan Gets its First Member of The Fastener Group
Regina Fasteners & Tools becomes the next member of The Fastener Group and the first member that abandons the red in their logo to go with green.
Calfast Builds a Bigger and Better Main Store!
With everyone at Calfast working through the holiday season, a new main store is prepared to open that has 37,000 sq. ft. of space. This new space includes a 10,000 sq. ft. showroom, 7,000 sq. ft. of office space, and a 20,000 sq. ft. warehouse.
New Year's day, the owners spend the day making sure the store is perfect for its grand opening.
Calgary Fasteners & Tools started with the concept that together we can build this great city one fastener at a time. Fasteners connect everything in the world we live in and our people connect our products to all the tradespeople that have built this great city of ours. We believe in taking the time to appreciate a hard day’s work with friends and colleagues and that together we can build anything. Calgary Fasteners & Tools is, and always will be, Built for You.
Saskatchewan Adds Another Member to The Fastener Group
Saskatoon welcomes Construction Fasteners & Tools as the newest addition to The Fastener Group and as an expansion to the collection of prairie stores.
The owner of Construction Fasteners played against Calfast's long-time beer-league hockey team, the "Calgary Chaos," long before his store, Construction Fasteners & Tools, opened in 2001!
Though our original Calgary Chaos hockey team has long since hung up their skates, the team spirit is still alive in all the staff at Calgary Fasteners & Tools. The late nights, cold beers, and the "unfavorable" ice conditions that tripped us up have also kept us going while helping to unite our company together.
Our team is proud to celebrate all the opportunities we've had to provide the fasteners, tools, and supplies to the hard-working teams of "Tin Bashers," "Fenestrators," "Plumbers," "Sparkys," and more that make Calgary Fasteners & Tools their number one supplier!
2002 Makes Way for The Fastener Group
This year marks a huge turning point for the group of fastener stores that have started to dot the country as they decide to adopt "The Fastener Group" as the formal name for all the partner stores across Canada!
Mid-Canada Fasteners & Tools also opens this year in one of the most diverse economies in Canada - Winnipeg, Manitoba. The cost of doing business in Winnipeg is one of the lowest in the country at this time and the people are amongst the friendliest in the nation.
Calfast Turns 25!
In 2004, Calgary Fasteners & Tools celebrated its 25th anniversary with a giant party that included a band, catering, and gift bags with a turn out of over 1500 guests. They did all this the day before their annual Customer Appreciation Day. Two significant events back-to-back lead to some exhausted staff, but the celebrations were worth it.
BC Gains Another New Store
BC Fasteners & Tools expands its operations within the Okanagan and opens a new store in Vernon, BC.
Makita Launches the First 18V Li-Ion Cordless Tool Collection
Makita developed and introduced the first 18-volt lithium-ion cordless tool line-up in 2005, and today it is the world's most extensive 18-volt cordless tool collection available.
Calfast Moves to a New Foothills Location!
Once again, in traditional Calgary Fasteners & Tools style, Calfast creates a store by building shelves, setting up a warehouse, and merchandising its showroom during the November long weekend. Beer and pizza sustained everyone for the 3 days it took to assemble the new Foothills store location on 72 Avenue.
The Fastener Group Breaks Ground in Ontario
2009 marks the year we made progress into Ontario with the opening of Thunder Bay Fasteners & Tools. This brings our truly Canadian company to having locations practically across the entire country.
Calfast Main Hosts the First Milwaukee Innovation Tour
Calfast hosts the first Milwaukee Innovation Tour at its main location and it is a huge success. Milwaukee showed off their tools and accessories with live demos, displays, food, prizes, and tonnes of deals and promotions for one day only. This event drew in record sales for the brand and Calfast all in a single day! It continues annually under the new name, "Cut the Cord," and sees substantial growth every year.
Calfast.com is Relaunched as an Online Retail Store
Calgary Fasteners & Tools enters the modern era with the launch of its eBusiness platform and re-launch of the newly updated online store Calfast.com
The website goes from being a static digital catalog to an interactive site where customers can buy products directly, come in and get their order, or have it shipped to them by courier or our delivery team.
Calfast.com celebrates its first sales transaction and expands the web development team to 4 members.
The Fastener Group Expands to 18 Stores!
Mid-Canada Fasteners & Tools opens the doors to its newest store in Brandon, Manitoba and becomes the 18th store to join The Fastener Group.
Calfast’s Main Store Gets Even Bigger and Better – Again!
Calgary Fasteners & Tools Main location expands to take over the entire building where Pella Windows and Doors used to reside. This expansion increases the square footage from 37,000 to 63,000 of new showroom, warehouse, and office space. The further development contains a space for events, a whole showroom dedicated to power tools, a state-of-the-art training room, a new sales counter, and offices that house the outside sales team and the in-house web development team.
This same year the web development team expands its operations, creating CAPSCR, a multi-store eCom and eBusiness solution for use by The Fastener Group, and works on developing Red Deer Fasteners and BCF2000's websites.
40 Years of Calgary Fasteners & Tools
2019 marks the year Calgary Fasteners & Tools turns 40! Although Mel Soloway and Jerry Miller have passed on, their dream lives on with Ron Hall leading the way and through each of the 141 employees amongst the 3 Calgary locations.
The Fastener Group is now comprised of 18 store locations across Canada and has over 390 staff members combined.
This year nearly 50% of the staff at Calfast celebrate being with the company for 20 years or longer. An amazing accomplishment and a testament to the values Mel and Jerry so strongly believed in - "It's all about the people."