contact HGO      +1 613.475.4704

Our Top Stories

All in the family: 60 years of evolution and growth

16 July 2018
Furniture, Manufacturing

While it’s certainly not uncommon for family-run furniture operations to stand the test of time, it’s rare to hear of one that changes hands – although not necessarily in influence and vision – only to end up back in the hands of its original owners. Stylus, Made-to-Order Sofas is one such company, and that steady stewardship has proven a significant contributor to its growth and prosperity.

Located in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, British Columbia, the company’s current second-generation leadership team is comprised of Rick Ripoli, president; Dennis Ripoli, vice president of sales and marketing; and, Derek Barichello, vice president of production.

John Power (left), chairman of the Canadian Home Furnishings Alliance events committee, is seen here presenting the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award to the senior management team of Stylus, Made-to-Order Sofas: Derrick Barichello, Dennis Ripoli and Rick Ripoli.Their families founded the company over a half-century ago (in 1959, to be precise) and after buying it back from TerraVest – the Calgary-based investment firm – in 2010 for $6.5 million, the three are doing all they can to grow the upholstery operation which thrives because of what Rick Ripoli describes as its customer-oriented business model. And they’re being recognised for their hard work, too.

The company and its leadership team are the 2018 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, which is given each year by the Canadian Home Furnishings Alliance (CHFA) – the furniture industry association based in Mississauga, Ontario – “to recognise those individuals who over their career have made exemplary and sustained contributions to the Canadian home furnishings industry and their communities.”

At a gala celebration to be held just prior to the opening of the 2018 edition of the Canadian Furniture Show (CFS), Stylus and its leadership team will join an illustrious group that includes, but isn’t limited to: Art DeFehr, chairman of Palliser Furniture; the late Orville Mead, president of Durham Furniture; the late Bruce McPherson Sr. of the Gibbard Furniture Shops; Pat Thody, formerly CEO of Simmons Canada; Jean Deveault of Canadel and Richard Magnussen of Magnussen Home, among others.

In an interview with Home Goods Online, Rick Ripoli said he was told of the award several weeks ago. He and his partners are more than pleased about it. “We’re pretty stoked about it, actually. We’ve been honoured several times for products, but never for the company.”

“We started in 1959,” he explained. “The company was founded by Sam Vernon and my father, Philip, who worked for Sam. In 1977, he purchased the company with his brother-in-law Nino Barichello and Nino’s brother Eugene.

“I joined in October 1977 and we all became equal partners,” he continued. “We had a small shop with 14 or 15 people and we started to grow. We were selling primarily in lower-mainland of Vancouver, but I got more involved in sales and started to reach out to department stores.”

At the time, the company was known as Atlantic Furniture and under Rick’s leadership made its first forays outside of British Columbia, selling to retailers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

In the late 1980s, Rick’s brother, Dennis Ripoli joined the company, which also prompted the decision to tackle the Ontario market – Canada’s single largest furniture market.

“In 1987, my brother Dennis joined the firm and we started to grow by branching out and taking our products into Ontario and attending more trade shows,” Rick Ripoli recalled. “We’ve moved a few times with our 14-man shop and we started importing products from Europe to supplement our sales, in particular leather furniture – especially in the 80s.”

Click here to read Ashley’s complete Spotlight on Stylus, Made-to-Order Sofas…

Cynthia Brick dies at 78

16 July 2018
People, Retail

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Cynthia Brick, one of this city’s best known and most beloved furniture retailers, has died at age 78 after a short illness. She passed away last Friday (13 July 2018) at the Health Sciences Centre here.

Her daughter, Marsha Brick, told the Winnipeg Free Press that her mother’s death was unexpected as she was expected to return to work at the family’s furniture store – Brick’s Fine Furniture – which her parents founded in August 1969.

Cynthia Brick is seen here in the store she founded alongside her husband, Fred, in 1969. (Photo by Mikaela MacKenzie. Courtesy of the Winnipeg Free Press.)Cynthia and Fred – who passed away in 2016 at the age of 80 – gained fame in the city they called home and throughout the Canadian furniture industry for two reasons.

In 1987, The Brick Warehouse – now a wholly-owned banner owned by Leon’s Furniture Limited but then one of the fasted growing chains in the country – opened its first store in Winnipeg and took the Bricks to court, claiming ‘proprietary’ use of the name. Five years later, the Federal Court of Canada upheld Fred and Cynthia’s right to use their family name in the name of their business.

“It was awful,” Cynthia Brick said in an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press not long after Fred’s passing, admitting they were proud to have taken on the big box and winning the day. “But we had to fight them. Fred always said the only thing we have in this world is your good name so I don’t want them to take it from us.”

The following year, Fred Brick began writing a regular weekly column for the Free Press. What began as an informational advertisement turned in a 20-year long relationship with this city’s largest daily newspaper and at least one self-published book.  The column always appeared on page 3 with Fred writing about the store, the furniture industry and everyday happenings in his life.

Cynthia took over writing the column when Fred took ill, battling Alzheimer’s disease for the last several years of his life. “I enjoyed his columns,” she said at the time. “That’s like he was. His column was really a slice of life. The column was much more than about furniture.”

Marsha Brick, who has served as store manager for the past 12 years, said she intends to continue the tradition and will pen and publish a tribute to her mother.

A single unit operation, Brick’s Fine Furniture specialises in ‘better and best’ quality goods – counting manufacturers such as Barrymore Furniture, Brentwood Classics, Durham, Hypnos Mattress, Bernhardt, Drexel Heritage, and Hancock & Moore among their vendor partners – and has become synonymous with fine furniture in Winnipeg. Indeed, today Brick’s Fine Furniture may be the only furniture retailer of its kind left in the city. However, the store is smaller now than it used to be with only Marsha and Cynthia on staff.

“My mother had five children but she really had six, the sixth being the store,” Marsha told the Free Press. “The business was a very important part of her and my dad’s lives. They started off small where she would go to people’s homes with samples and catalogues. They had to go to 13 different banks to finally get a line of credit.”

She said Cynthia was always active in the business, even in the early days when women weren’t often in prominent business roles and had great fun in the male-dominated industry by driving a hard bargain to purchase products for the store.

“She was very spunky,” Marsha said in the Free Press. “She would go to the markets and she liked to play the little old lady role. She talked people into giving her these special prices because she looked like this little grandmother and they couldn't say no to her.”

Cynthia Brick’s funeral was held at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue on Monday, 16 July. She is survived by her five children – Marsha, Ira, Robert, Lisa and Stuart – and seven grandchildren ranging in age from 3 to 27.

Related Story: Brick’s Fine Furniture set to close forever
Related Story: Fred Brick passes away

Denis Darveau retires

16 July 2018
Furniture, People

LOUISEVILLE, Québec – Denis Darveau, vice president of sales for the Bermex and Bertanie divisions of BDM+ Furniture has retired after 15 years in the post. His responsibilities will be assumed by his nephew, Phillippe Darveau.

“The time had come for his to turn over a new leaf and start a new chapter in his life by spending quality time with his family living in the western part of our country,” the family owned-and-operated furniture maker said in an announcement.

Denis DarveauTwo of BDM’s five divisions, Bermex and Bertanie specialise in dining and occasional case goods.

Describing him as “a pillar of our company, an inspiring and passionate man,” the company credited him with a number of important achievements, including the development of the Century finish, which is still in use and is among the most popular offered by the company and the creation of the Bertanie trademark. He was also a moving force behind the development of The Factory, BDM’s permanent showroom facility in High Point, North Carolina.

“Always offering good advice, his experience, dedication and knowledge will be greatly missed,” the company said. “On behalf of the whole team at BDM + Furniture, we sincerely thank you for your many years of service and wish you health and happiness.”

Registration open for Woodworking East

16 July 2018
Events, Furniture, Manufacturing

SAINT-HYACINTHE, Quebec – The registration desk for Canada Woodworking East (Bois ouvré de l’est du Canada), this country’s only bilingual trade event for the cabinet and furniture industry is now open. The manufacturing-centred show will be held at the BMO Centre here on 24 and 25 October.

The organisers – Master Productions Ltd. of St. John, New Brunswick – said visitors can look forward to a dynamic show, which will once again include a cutting-edge educational program, featuring a diverse seminar series presented by industry experts as part of its offerings. The seminars will take place on location and will be free of charge to all show visitors.

Those interested in attending are invited to register online at By pre-registering, visitors will save 50% and fast-track their entrance directly into the show.

“We are very excited about the growth and momentum of Canada Woodworking East 2018, this year’s line-up includes more exhibitors and a lot more machinery on the show floor,” show manager Mike Neeb said in a statement. “The positive response from exhibitors and visitors about our new venue in Saint-Hyacinthe has been amazing, this year’s event is shaping up to be the largest yet.”

Neeb said 2018 marks the third edition for this biennial woodworking industry event and the move to BMO Espace Saint-Hyacinthe is an exciting change. This modern venue features 60,000 square feet of dedicated exhibit space as well as lots of free parking. In addition to being centrally located and easy to access, Saint-Hyacinthe will be familiar to veterans of the woodworking industry.

“As Canada’s furniture-producing powerhouse, Quebec is the ideal location to host Canada Woodworking East,” he added, noting, the event attracts members of the secondary woodworking industry from across Quebec and Eastern Canada, including cabinet makers, furniture manufacturers, architectural woodworkers, millworkers, custom wood product manufacturers and others. “The show offers an ideal opportunity for the industry to connect with manufacturers and distributors of machinery, hardware and accessories.”

Show hours are from 9am to 5pm on 24 October and 9am to 4pm on 25 October. For more information about the event visit the web site or call (506) 658-0018.

The HGO Merchandiser
Summer 2018
Summer 2018
Spring 2018
Spring 2018
Winter 2017
Winter 2017
Fall 2017
Fall 2017

 View all editions of The HGO Merchandiser.

Phoenix AMD

In the News

Article Archive

Over 7070 articles to explore!

 View Articles

  About HGO

Home Goods and its accompanying newsletter - HGO This Week - covers the furniture, bedding, appliances, consumer electronics, accessories, lamps and lighting and floor coverings product sectors of the big ticket home goods market in Canada. HGO is also a forum for the dissemination of market research and hard-hitting articles on best practices for Canadian retailers.

  Contact Us
  Home Goods Online

Published by:
Windsor Bay Communications Inc.
P.O. Box 3023; 120 Ontario Street,
Brighton ON Canada K0K 1H0

Tel : 613.475.4704

Fax : 613.475.0829
Mail : contact us