Specialty furniture retail
Primary markets: 43 stores across Canada
Number of employees: 216
Contact: Jeremy Kopek, director of strategy
Structube’s furniture speaks mandarin
One of globalization’s major benefits for Canadian consumers has been the provision of a broad range of high-quality manufactured goods at extremely low prices. Companies, such as Structube, which operates a cross-country chain of specialty furniture retail stores, have been among the biggest drivers of that trend. “During my last year of university I had the chance to travel to Asia on a buying trip with the company’s CEO,” says Jeremy Kopek, the company’s director of strategy, one of five successors in this family business. “After that I was hooked.”
Kopek, who in the ensuing years has become a seasoned Asia hand, fluent in Mandarin, a highly demanding language, attributes the 43 store chain’s success to a variety of factors. These include a 1,200 piece line of living room, dining room, bedroom, lighting and other products, as well the company’s strong merchandizing talent, who are able to identify hot items early. Low interest rates, which have boosted durable goods demand have also helped, as has a rebounding economy. Structube’s broad footprint, which is overseen from its 200,000 square-foot Montreal headquarters and distribution center provides the company with considerable buying power, which reduces unit costs.
However Structube is far from sitting on its laurels says Kopek. During 2015 the company is slated to open new outlets in the underserved Alberta and British Columbia markets. Expansion into the United States is slated to begin the following year. There will be challenges though. The Canadian dollar, which has been losing ground relative to the US greenback, has also been losing ground relative to the Yuan, which closely tracks the US currency. This has been raising the relative price of Structube’s imports from China, a large source of supply.
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