CAMPBELL RIVER, British Columbia – Dodd’s Furniture & Mattress has opened its third store here in this picturesque community on the east coast of Vancouver Island at the southern entrance to the Discovery Passage. The move makes the family-owned firm the island’s largest independent furniture and mattress retailer.
Founded by Gordy Dodd in 1977, the company is perhaps best known not only for its founded wacky and funny commercials but for its sense of community service, something for which he was presented with the Quebec Diamond Jubilee Medal back in 2012.
His first retail space was only 2,500 square feet with Gordy Dodd acting as a one man show, displaying, selling and delivering the goods to his customers himself.
Over the coming two decades, Dodd’s Furniture enjoyed solid growth and its flagship store in Victoria now occupies some 35,000 square feet. In 2006, the company acquired a 43,000 square foot warehouse before opening a second store in Nanaimo, the second largest community on the island, five years ago.
The company is still very focused on giving back. Love Dodd, Gordy’s son and vice president of the company, said his dad still passionate about giving back the support he was given when he started out.
“Everyone here is community influenced,” Love Dodd said. “We do a big cultural dance every year in Beacon Hill Park, and we support lots of local sports for kids. Gordy started a walk for peace that is now in its seventh year. He also goes to India twice a year, where he sets up a health camp to treat people who can’t afford basic medicine. We also started hosting Thanksgiving dinners here at home for low income people 17 years ago – and Christmas dinners seven years ago both in Victoria and Nanaimo.”
Such extensive community involvement plus a passion for customer service is what keep their customers coming back. “We see a lot of repeat customers,” Love said. “We’ve had customer loyalty since day one.”
Dodd’s has remained true to who they are both in the community and with the message they deliver to customers through their advertising, which strives to forge a personal connection with shoppers.
“Our customer service was always great because customers were dealing with Gordy himself, and people loved that,” Love Dodd said. “Then he started doing his wacky commercials, and that really brought Dodd’s to the forefront!”
Dodd’s television commercials have become famous locally and star Gordy as characters such as “The Wizard of Dodd”, “Hindiana Jones” and portraying such celebrity characters as Alex Trebek, Captain Kirk, Superman and John Wayne. And all of Dodd’s advertising was followed by the company motto; “We won’t be undersold!”
Last spring, Dodd’s joined the Dufresne Retail Solutions Group (dRSG), severing a 38-year relationship with Cantrex Nationwide.
According to group director Stephen Braniff, the group’s offer to retailers is based on the practises and procedures of Dufresne Furniture & Appliances that have evolved over its 30-year history.
“A different type of buying group, dRSG is owned, directed and managed by retailers, and is partnered with the biggest brands in the furniture industry, brands such as Palliser, Ashley, Defehr, Décor Rest, Superstyle, Best, Magnussen, Phoenix A.M.D, Tempur-Sealy, Beautyrest, Serta, Springwall, Whirlpool, Frigidaire and Electrolux,” he said adding, the group currently includes more than 135 independently owned and operated locations from coast to coast across Canada.
“Members network and share best practices to compete every day with the largest retailers in Canada,” Braniff said.
“The DRSG Team is the only buying group which completely understands the challenges faced by independent retailers against the growing numbers of big box stores,” Love Dodd said. “They have put the needs of the members as their number one priority and that’s why they are the fastest growing buying group, and on their way to the top.”
Campbell River may also prove to be a stepping stone for the company.
“We believe Campbell River and the northern communities of Vancouver Island needed a furniture business which understood the local needs of the economy,” Love Dodd said. “Given our long history here, community involvement, an understanding of the island lifestyle, coupled with our dRSG relationship and buying power, we feel we can deliver on those needs.
“We’d like to grow bigger,” he added, “and we’d like to have six stores by 2030. I see us on the path to growth, and I hope my kids (he has two daughters) get into the furniture business.”
Related Story: The Wizard of Dodd