Launching One-on-One: first up, Dave Freeman of The Brick
BRIGHTON, Ontario – This week, Home Goods Online launches a new program on its HGO.tv platform, One-on-One, a series of conversations with leading figures from throughout Canada’s furniture, mattress and major appliance industry. We are honoured to host our first guest, Dave Freeman, president of The Brick, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021 and is being saluted in the Autumn edition of the Merchandiser, available today.
During their 45-minute chat, Freeman and HGO publisher and editor Michael Knell talk about why The Brick has thrived for the past 50 years, which is in and of itself a remarkable accomplishment, what both he and the company learned during the global pandemic and how he sees the future of furniture, mattress and appliance retailing in Canada.
Unsurprisingly, he firmly gives all the credit for The Brick’s longevity to two specific groups – the retailer’s customers and it’s 5,000-plus team members.
“What’s fascinating about the organization is there’s lots of longstanding, long serving folks right across all parts of the organization, our fleet, our distribution centers, stores, senior management…a handful for sure that were basically there right from the start,” Freeman says to start the conversation, adding there have been a few recent retirements of people who’ve been with the company for 45 years. “What’s really interesting is the amount of people that are 15, 20, 25, 30 years in – it’s quite remarkable.”
“We’ve had this loyal group of customers that passed down literally through generations,” he continues, “we’ve retained our best customers over time and then, of course, gathered new ones. We certainly don’t take that for granted.”
The key to keeping those customers, Freeman says, is obvious. “We’ve always done a good job of listening to our customers,” he believes, “we’re really agile for a big company and we’ve really worked hard at fighting being big, making sure we can react quickly. We just look for trends, we get feedback from customers and team members and if there are gaps, we respond with a real sense of urgency.”
The two industry veterans also discuss how the industry has changed over Freeman’s 40-plus year career at The Brick and the company’s ability to adapt to changing time without losing its traditional strengths as a ‘high-impact’ promoter as well as the importance of its association with such well-known names as supermodel Cindy Crawford, Olympian Tessa Virtue and television personality Kortney Wilson to its marketing and advertising campaigns.
They also talk about future of The Brick and much more it can grow physically as its opens store number 209 in St. John’s, Newfoundland as well as what e-commerce brings the table, not to mention the current challenges when it comes to managing the supply chain.
Related Story: The Brick at 50