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A big Mega-phone for the small store PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael J. Knell   


SASKATOON, Saskatchewan (13 August 2012) - If the folks at Guinness World Records were interested in things retail, they might have noted  something unique happened in Canada on March 22 of this year. On that Thursday morning, BrandSource Home Furnishings rolled out 62 new member stores in every Canadian province. "This is the largest number of new, full-line home furnishings stores launched at one time in Canada," its parent company, the Saskatoon-headquartered Mega Group, said at the time.

Every one of those stores - like those in the United States, where the concept has been operating for over a decade - is owned and operated by an independent retailer. The member-owned buying group unveiled the concept to its Canadian members in 2009 with the launch of the first version of its Web site. Since then, Mega has been quietly converting a sizable number of members to the program, which, in addition to the Web site, comes with a complete retail identity, marketing and promotion program.

When the 62 stores re-opened on March 22, the chain grew overnight to 147 stores, making BrandSource Canada the country's third-largest full-line furniture, mattress, appliance and consumer electronics retail chain. Only The Brick, this country's largest home goods retailer, and leasing specialist Easyhome, have more stores.

When entering any BrandSource Canada store, the consumer will see what Carole Vallières, Mega Group's design director, refers to as the "house vignette," a group of bedroom, living and dining room furniture. The house vignette seen here is located in Ameublement BrandSource JGR in Laurier Station, Quebec. BrandSource Canada is profiled in the Summer 2012 edition of the HGO Merchandiser.

Michael Vancura, Mega Group's executive vice president of retail says the launch was supported by the group's first national flyer and radio marketing campaign. He says many BrandSource members opted to host a VIP event for preferred customers the evening before the grand opening, with some turning them into official opening ceremonies, with the mayor or other local dignitary cutting the ribbon.

The real impetus for the March 22 event took place this past January, when the members of Mega's two primary banners - Countrywide Home Furnishings and Multi Meubles - voted to shut down those banners and convert to the BrandSource Home Furnishings concept.

"Banner members understood the importance of the ‘Power of One Voice'," Vancura says. "They also understood the importance of being heard and understood with a simple, clear and relevant message by our consumers across the country."

Click here to down the Summer 2012 edition of the HGO Merchandiser and read our profile of BrandSource Canada.

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Some 120 people from across the industry took part in the recent annual golf tournament hosted by Cantrex Nationwide at the Copper Creek Golf Course in Kleinberg, Ontario, just north of Toronto. As has become its usual practise the event benefits a local charity, in this case the Salvation Army. At right, Jeannine Ghaleb, CNW’s president and COO is seen presenting a cheque for $10,000 to the army’s Captain Rick Zelinsky.



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