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The Nov. 17 announcement of Nick Canter’s retirement at Lowe’s, after 36 years with the company, was brief and to the point. The executive VP merchandising will retire March 4, 2011, and his replacement will be named by Jan. 31. Canter’s long career with the North Carolina retailer was summed up in two sentences:
“Canter has served as executive VP merchandising since 2006. He began his career at Lowe’s in 1974 and has held numerous leadership roles, including more than 30 years in store operations.”
But a look into HCN’s archives shows that Canter helped usher Lowe’s from a collection of contractors’ yards in the Southeast to the nation’s second-largest chain of home improvement warehouses. He joined the company in 1974, working in a number of operations and merchandising positions for the next several years. Canter oversaw building materials, hardlines and home decor for the company before becoming VP merchandising for millwork. In 1998, he was appointed senior VP and general merchandise manager for the building materials group, responsible for millwork, rough plumbing, electricals, lumber and building materials.
Canter’s move into operations included a five-year stint as regional VP operations for Lowe’s Atlanta-based Southeast region. Canter also led the retailer’s entry into the Northeast, becoming senior VP operations for the newly created Northern division in 1999. He was at the helm when Lowe’s opened stores in New York, Philadelphia and Boston.
Canter was later promoted to senior VP operations and, in 2005, became executive VP operations, which included directing the company’s installed sales and commercial business customer initiatives.
In 2006, when Larry Stone was named company president and chief operating officer, Canter stepped into the role of executive VP merchandising.