Thursday, May 17, 2012

0 Iconic CANADIAN Companies - Part #2 (17 Snapshots)


Sobeys is the second largest food retailer in Canada, with over 1,300 supermarkets operating under a variety of banners. Headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, it operates stores in all ten provinces and accumulated sales of more than $14 billion CAD in 2009. It is part of the conglomerate Empire Company Limited.

In 1907, Sobeys was founded in Stellarton, Nova Scotia by John W. Sobey as a meat delivery business. In 1924 his son Frank H. Sobey convinced him to expand into a full grocery business, serving the industrial Pictou County region. From that point until his death, Frank was the driving force behind the business. Sobeys opened its first self-serve supermarket in 1949.

In 2011, Sobey's wholesale division signed a long-term distribution agreement with American retailer Target for the supply of select food and grocery products to its yet-to-be opened Canadian stores.


Giant Tiger Stores Limited is Canada’s third-largest chain of discount stores (after Walmart and Zellers). Following the 2006 acquisition of Zellers and its parent, the Hudson's Bay Company, by American entrepreneur Jerry Zucker, Giant Tiger became the largest Canadian-owned discount retailer. Annual sales first surpassed $1 billion in 2005.
Giant Tiger operates 203 stores, including 106 in Ontario, 51 in Quebec (as Tigre GĂ©ant and Chez Tante Marie), 13 in Manitoba, 13 in Alberta, 8 in Saskatchewan, 6 in New Brunswick, 4 in Nova Scotia and 1 in British Columbia. The company has announced plans to open an additional 9 stores in summer and fall 2011.  In Ontario, a small number of locations trade under the names GTExpress and Scott's Discount.
The chain employs over 7,000 people.
The headquarters and main distribution centre are located on Walkley Road in Ottawa.

In the mid and late 1950s, Giant Tiger founder Gordon Reid, who was then in his early twenties, was a travelling salesman for an importer in the United States. In the American Midwest Reid first saw discount stores, which were a new concept at the time. He was particularly impressed by Uncle Bill's, a chain headquartered in Columbus, Ohio., which was one of his clients. The discount store concept did not yet exist in Canada, and it therefore represented a business opportunity.
Reid reports that he was also inspired by Frank Woolworth’s continent-wide success, half a century earlier, in creating hundreds of profitable Five-and-Dime stores. Reid’s own retail experience, dating back to his first job as a teenager, had been in department stores rather than in discount, but his mother had worked behind the luncheon counter at a Woolworth’s in downtown Montreal.
Reid would state, four decades later, that he had believed, even at this early stage, that it would be possible to build a Canada-wide chain based on this model. Asked by a reporter whether he had ever imagined that Giant Tiger would eventually have the success it was then enjoying, Reid stated, “Yes. That was the original intention. The idea for the business came when I was a travelling salesman. I saw the discounters growing. My original inspiration was the F.W. Woolworth Co., obviously that was a big chain. So this was always the plan.


Tim Hortons Inc.  is a Canadian fast casual restaurant known for its coffee and doughnuts. It is also Canada's largest fast food service with over 3000 stores nationwide. It was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, by Canadian hockey player Tim Horton and Jim Charade (1934-2009), after an initial venture in hamburger restaurants. In 1967 Horton partnered with investor Ron Joyce, who assumed control over operations after Tim Horton died in a car crash in 1974, and expanded the chain into a multi-million dollar franchise. Jim Charade left the organization in 1966 and briefly returned in 1970 and 1993 through 1996.

Picture taken through my car window... sorry :(

"Timmies" at night!

"Tim Hortons Drive-thru"

Tim Hortons franchises spread rapidly and eventually overtook McDonald's as Canada's largest food service operator. The company opened twice as many Canadian outlets as McDonald's and system-wide sales also surpassed those of McDonald's Canadian operations as of 2002. The chain accounted for 22.6% of all fast food industry revenues in Canada in 2005. Tim Hortons commands 76% of the Canadian market for baked goods (based on the number of customers served) and holds 62% of the Canadian coffee market (compared to Starbucks, in the number two position, at 7%).

As of 4 July 2010, Tim Hortons had 3,627 systemwide restaurants, including 3,040 in Canada and 587 in the United States.

Canadians can't do without their "Timmies".  Even this well-known local college has a store inside its building for the students.  Some students also work there part-time!


Home Hardware is a privately held Canadian home improvement, construction materials, and furniture retailer. Co-founded in 1964 by Walter Hachborn and headquartered in St. Jacobs, Ontario, the chain is co-operatively owned by over 1000 independently owned member stores.

In 1981 the Eastern-based Home Hardware merged with Western-based Link Hardware to create a national chain.
Home Hardware has survived the expansion of The Home Depot into Canada, beginning in 1994, as well as the expansion of a domestic competitor, Rona, into the big-box arena.

Home Hardware locations tend to be smaller stores.
In 2000, the chain expanded through the purchase of the Beaver Lumber chain from Molson.

On January 11, 2003, Home Hardware received unexpected worldwide exposure, when a T-shirt worn by Avril Lavigne during a performance on Saturday Night Live featured her hometown of Napanee, Ontario and the local hardware store there. In response, the chain produced a limited-edition line of identical T-shirts for sale at locations nationwide, with proceeds going to charity.
In 2004, Canada Post issued a postage stamp to commemorate the company's 40th anniversary. Canada Post was accused by some for providing free advertising for the company, though others claim Home Hardware is an iconic Canadian company.

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