Bringing the Best to Your Business

Canada’s Best Store Fixtures

President Bud Morris identifies the company’s commitment to its clients as the main driving factor behind its success. “Our emphasis has always been strong customer service and always doing what we say we’re going to do, delivering what we say we’re going to deliver,” he explains. “Over the years, anytime that we had a failure that was out of our control I bought another piece of equipment so that we could mitigate that risk. Here we are, eight years later with 60 000 square feet of manufacturing space for wood, metal and acrylics, and just about 100 000 square feet of distribution space.”

The company is located in Woodbridge, Ontario, where it operates six distinct locations that all have a different role to play in the fixture supply and manufacturing process.

Canada’s Best Store Fixtures isn’t just a clever name; the company is a major supplier of fixtures for North America’s leading retail establishments. The company is able to take any business, regardless of size, that is in need of fixtures and provide a range of turnkey solutions. According to Bud, “They could come to us with very little information, and tell us that they have a space – basically a vanilla box, ‘this is the product that I want to sell.’ We’ll look at what their anticipated sales volumes are, what kind of inventory they are carrying specifically, the price of inventory and how it may be merchandised within the store, how they may want it laid out. We will prepare a competitive analysis in order to gauge prior successes or failures. We pick colours, flooring and lighting. We then actually design and render it in three dimensions on a computer, give them a fly through of their space, and then we can do all of the general contracting or lease hold improvement work through another division of Canada’s Best Store Fixtures called Canada’s Best Merchandising Services Inc., which does construction, installations, and merchandising. We execute the lease hold improvements, manufacture all of the fixtures that go into the space, set them up, then we actually put all of the products onto the shelves and clean up so that they are ready to open the doors.”

The entire process takes place in-house without any need for outsourcing or sub-contracting. There is literally nothing that Canada’s Best Store Fixtures group of companies can’t handle when it comes to outfitting a brand new business location to its new owner’s expectations. “These are exciting times in North American retail,” says Bud. “Open store renovations, complex timelines and continuous improvement has our customers looking for the ROI that the Canada’s Best team brings to the table, which in turn creates the drive for new clients looking to capitalize on the experience of our services.”

The client relationship is important in just about any business, and is absolutely critical to Canada’s Best. As Bud explains, “We’re not selling widgets, we’re not selling products off the shelf; our sales cycle is something that requires a relationship. It’s not a short cycle and that’s why any customer can talk to anyone in the company, myself included, and expect good results. It’s retail, everything is immediate and everything is overnight; that’s the way it has always been and it always will be that way.”

Canada’s Best considers itself a one-stop shop, supplying fixtures and furniture, merchandising aids and store setup to all different sectors of retail, from dollar stores all over the continent to Ralph Lauren, Lowe’s, Canadian Tire, Shoppers Drug Mart and multiple successful grocers. “Our customer base is very diverse,” Bud explains, and it is important to tailor a solution to meet each client’s particular needs. “We have not only the capability to provide it but the professional ability to provide it at the right price; we know what the right price is and we know the market very well. We know the things that we should be producing, what we should be importing, and we execute it on a regular basis. I’m not going to build something in-house just because I can make more money that way; I’ll import it if it’s the right thing to do for the customer. This is why our customers come back.”

Indeed, customers who rely on the top level service provided by Canada’s Best often find themselves going back to the company for repeat orders and long term commitments. The personal attention and service Canada’s Best provides make it more than worthwhile.

“We have never lost a client,” Bud says proudly. “All of our client relationships have grown, because we can handle everything the client wants. We continue to grow organically as well; we don’t go looking for clients, they find us because we have done a good job in the past for someone they know. We’ve gone from zero to a 60 to 70 million dollar company in eight years.”

Canada’s Best Store Fixtures is also proud to announce that it has partnered with a not-for-profit organization called Earth Rangers. Travelling all over the country, the Earth Rangers make it their duty to visit schools and educate children on the importance of keeping the planet green. To capture the attention of the children, the Earth Rangers bring members of different wildlife species along with them. The organization has built the Earth Rangers centre not far from Canada’s Best where it experiments with green energy as well as other green technologies such as greywater purification, solar energy and ground source heat pumps. The centre acts as an animal home / hospital as well as the marketing engine and corporate headquarters for the Earth Rangers.

“The partnership for me has been really good,” says Bud. “Certainly on a personal level, it makes me feel good that we’re a big part of the things that they are doing. But then on a professional level we get to take up all of the things that they are learning and employ them in our day to day business which makes us a leader in the green movement. Our clients are constantly looking for ways to save dollars and cents on energy and at the same time, how to be green citizens. It makes me feel good that we can teach them that stuff; for instance we know the ins and outs of LEDs,” an energy efficient source of lighting. We are able to design fixture programs with energy and recycling in mind – total life cycle.”

The future is definitely moving into a greener phase organically through technology; the face of the retail store is changing with the help of the internet and overnight shipping, and many bricks-and-mortar shops are now finding that they can operate effectively with a much smaller physical and energy footprint. There is a new term in the industry – ‘endless aisles’ – which refers to the ability for a customer to visit a store, experience a product first hand, touch and feel it, go online within the store, pick out an item, select a colour and any other specs, and then have the item delivered to the store or to their home the next day. This way the store itself can be modest in size – it doesn’t have to stock as much physical inventory but can still provide the same selection of products.

Not only does such a technique save electricity because there is no longer a need to heat and cool such a large building, but it actually helps to streamline day-to-day operations. There is no need to clear out inventory at clearance prices that take away from the store’s bottom line, or to ship things back to the warehouse or throw them out. This method also keeps shrinkage at bay; if there is no stock on hand, there is no shoplifter attraction. Adopting this new idea are such big retail names as Future Shop and Best Buy, who have begun building 5000 foot stores instead of their typical 60 000 square foot stores.

“We are working with a few other major retailers on similar concepts,” says Bud. “We see a lot of activity with the major home improvement brands. We have the ability and knowhow to offer alternative solutions to our clients that can help them shrink their footprint effectively with the introduction of different ways to merchandise product, smashed together with technology so as not to compromise the overall customer experience. Ultimately this saves time and money.”

Conceptually, there is no reason why every retail chain couldn’t employ such technology, saving resources and increasing efficiency on multiple levels. It is this kind of innovative thinking that Canada’s Best Store Fixtures can bring to its clients, and certainly, it is this kind of thinking that will help to usher in a more modern, green way of doing business.

August 17, 2017, 11:26 AM EDT

A Model that Addresses Infrastructure Demand

The Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) is a National Union representing over 500 000 members – over 110 000 in Canada with an International Office in Hamilton, Ontario. It has Local Unions across the country and is the most common union of construction, healthcare, waste management, and show service workers in this country. In fact, LiUNA, established in 1903, is Canada’s largest Building Trades Union.