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Wicker Emporium re-opens

 4 March 2019     HGO Staff 

CHARLOTTETOWN – Four months after declaring bankruptcy, Wicker Emporium will get a second lease on life after the brand was acquired by two Montreal-based furniture manufacturers, according to reports by both the CBC and the Journal Pioneer, a newspaper serving Prince Edward Island.

Stephanie Briggs and Clive Cunliffe, the co-owners of CCBS Imports Inc., were expected to open a single outlet this past weekend – located in Wicker Emporium’s previous Babineau Avenue space here.

“There’s a brand following and that is worth a lot to us,” Briggs told the Journal Pioneer.

The original ownership said the Wicker Emporium Facebook page had more than 50,000 followers.

“It’s ready. It’s established. And a lot of people are looking for that kind of furniture,” she added.

Wicker Emporium has re-opened with a single store in Charlottotown.A specialist in solid wood furniture as well as wicker and rattan furniture from India, China, Indonesia and Vietnam. In the spring of 2018, the then family-owned and operated merchant operated some 47 stores across Atlantic Canada and Ontario.

Wicker Emporium’s new ownership also owns and operates 5tyle Furniture, an importer of solid wood furniture based in Montreal specialising in created bespoke case goods for retailers wanting to create their own designs.

The new ownership is also e-commerce focused and admits opening a brick and mortar store is new to them but note the new Wicker Emporium web site will also sell online.

Briggs also told the Journal Pioneer the Charlottetown store – which was described as one of the best performing locations in the chain – will feature unique furniture pieces from place like India and will stress honest pricing and quality product.

She was also quick to stress they didn’t purchase the bankrupt firm’s past debt, obligations or past issues with products – meaning old gift cards won’t be honoured and they won’t be able to resolve product disputes with customers of the prior regime.

“Same name. Fresh start. Different ownership. Different vision. Different goals,” Briggs said.

The new ownership plans to eventually open more brick-and-mortar retail stores beyond Charlottetown, but Briggs said they’re taking it “one day at a time” and finding out what sort of products and styles Maritime clients want.

“We’re setting up one location, understanding the Maritime needs,” she said. “Because we’re based in Montreal and Toronto, the niche markets are very different. What people are looking for there is not going to be what they’re looking for here.”

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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.

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