NICOLE MILLER1The keys to building a successful fashion house are: step one – captivate the audience, and step two – always leave them wanting more. The concept itself is easy enough to understand, but the execution is an entirely different story. Many brands have gone the way of deep discounting – luring customers in with the promise of savings. The mode of thinking has become so standard in the marketplace that consumers rarely bat an eye at even modest discounts. A percentage-off sign is now expected rather than appreciated. But then there is the old-fashioned way of doing things. Unfortunately, it involves constant innovation, which can be tough on the psyche, but very rewarding when all the stitching comes together so seamlessly. 

MOURELATOS1The grocery business has changed a lot since the first Mourelatos Supermarket location opened in Montreal in 1956, but if anything has kept the company thriving for more than 50 years, it’s the fact that the company itself hasn’t changed much at all. According to CEO Efty Mourelatos, the company has kept its loyal base of customers and attracted new ones even in the face of increased big-box competition by holding true to the values that were there when his father founded the company. 

“I think that the retail landscape in Montreal is definitely changing,” Mourelatos says, adding that recent years have seen major chains such as Walmart and Target making their presence felt. “There are a lot of players that have come out here. I don’t think Montreal has ever been this competitive.” 

MGA1Many of the toys topping kids’ wish lists for Christmas or their birthdays this year will turn out to be fads, but some have the potential to become classics that could join Barbie and G.I. Joe in the ranks of the industry’s greatest brands. MGA Entertainment believes it may have one of those soon-to-be classics in the form of its Lalaloopsy dolls, thanks in large part to the company’s new emphasis on its entertainment division. Executive Vice President of Sales and Licensing Bruce Morrison says the recent debut of an animated Lalaloopsy TV series on Nickelodeon is a glimpse into the future of how the company develops its brands. 

“You’re going to see some really interesting stuff from us,” Morrison predicts. 

MARY MAXIM1Becoming the largest privately held craft and needlework mail order company in North America has taken a lot of hard work for Mary Maxim. Now the company is working just as hard to ensure that it can keep up with the ever-changing face of the retail world and the modern consumer.

The company began in Sifton, Manitoba, Canada, in 1952, manufacturing and selling spinning wheels as well as operating a woolen mill that primarily produced blankets and work socks. This led to the creation of a mail order company called Sifton Products. Over the next few years, the company moved operations to Paris, Ontario, changed its name to Mary Maxim, and established an office in Port Huron, MI.

Brunet1Brunet has been caring about patients’ health since 1855 and has always seen itself as an innovator and pioneer in the pharmaceutical industry. Today, this pharmacy banner continues to add innovative technology and designs to ensure that patients have a great experience and build a close relationship with the pharmacy team.

For Brunet, the pharmacist plays a critical role on the patient’s healthcare team, Vice President and General Manager Luc Martinovitch says. 

Vonmaur1Fashion is a fickle thing. trends come, go and come back again. New becomes passé and old transforms into retro. For fashion retailers, the game can be quite dizzying if you don’t know the rules, and over the years, it’s kicked more than a few players off the field. So to last more than 140 years in the business as a family owned and operated company going head to head with conglomerates backed by their New York Stock Exchange tickers and shareholders is impressive.

“I think our success is owed to the fact that we have never lost sight of what’s important in terms of customer service,” explains Melody Westendorf, COO of department store retailer Von Maur. “Since we’re private, it enables us to be nimble. In my position, I don’t have to worry about analysts or Wall Street punishing us for making long-term decisions. That’s a big part of why we’ve been able to grow the business – by making decisions that make sense for the future.”

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