Canada's Independent Retailers - Significant Contributors to the National

Retailers Shine During Small Business Week

TORONTO, Oct. 19 /CNW/ - In celebration of Small Business Week, Retail Council of Canada's Independent Retailer Task Force released the results of a year-long research initiative into small business retailing in Canada. The Task Force, made up of independent retailers from coast-to-coast held town hall meetings in all regions of the country.

"The Task Force's final report makes clear the importance of independent retailing to local economies," said Task Force Chair and Fredericton retailer, Paul Simmonds. "As I travelled across the country meeting with my colleagues, I was inspired, impressed and encouraged by the dedication and professionalism of the owners and operators of small independent retail. Our industry has much to be proud of and during this small business week, I salute all those who operate and work in independent retail in Canada."

Independent retailers are the forefront of local commerce. With retail as Canada's largest employer, independent retailers provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of Canadians, and behind the storefront, independent retailers generate employment for local accountants, realtors, security professionals, marketers, technologists and others who support the sector.

"When Canadians think about small businesses, they should think retail," said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO of Retail Council of Canada. "Independent retailers are one of the largest blocks of small businesses in the nation. When independent retailers thrive, the nation thrives."

In addition to charting the economics of independent retailing, the Independent Retailer Task Force Report details the dedication independents have to their communities. Even with the challenging economic conditions of the last year, independent retailers according to the task force report, continued to sponsor sports teams, make donations to school fundraisers, donate goods to food banks, and volunteer staff time to community causes and hire new employees.

The Task Force's research shows that 91 per cent of retailers surveyed give back in some way to their communities. In a 12 month period, 84 per cent of retailers surveyed said they gave between $1,000 and $10,000 to their communities. Twelve per cent gave more than $10,000 in a year.

The close ties independent retailers have with their community stems in part from the close ties of the retail business: 71 per cent of independent retailers in Canada operate as a family business, some representing decades of work and generations of families.

"The importance of independent retailers goes beyond the contributions independents make to the economy," said Simmonds. "We are in many cases the center of activity for communities as well as the key to vibrant, active and growing neighbourhoods."

RCC launches Independent Retailer division

To recognize the influence independent retailers have on Canada's social and economic landscape, RCC will launch Independent Retailer, a division set up to advocate for independent retailers, cultivate best practices among independents, and find solutions to problems facing independents across Canada.

In addition to receiving all the benefits of full membership in RCC, members of Independent Retailer gain access to an array of services and products designed especially for small businesses.

Independent Retailer is managed by an advisory committee of merchants from across Canada. It is chaired by Paul Simmonds, President, Robert Simmonds Inc., a Fredericton based apparel store. Additional committee members include:

    -   Fred Pritchard, Vice President, Golda's Kitchen Inc., Mississauga, ON
    -   Sandra Avery, Owner/Manager, A Special Touch Inc., St. John's, NL
    -   Ron Pradinuk, President, Journeys Travel & Leisure Super Centre,
        Winnipeg, MB
    -   Diane Petryna, President, Take A Hike!, Thunder Bay, ON
    -   Betsy Thomas, Owner, Bummis, Montréal, QC

About Retail Council of Canada

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has been the Voice of Retail in Canada since 1963. We speak for an industry that touches the daily lives of Canadians in every corner of the country - by providing jobs, career opportunities, and by investing in the communities we serve. RCC is a not for-profit, industry-funded association representing more than 40,000 store fronts of all retail formats across Canada, including department, specialty, discount, and independent stores, and online merchants.

RCC is a strong advocate for retailing in Canada and works with all levels of government and other stakeholders to support employment growth and career opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry competitiveness.

RCC also provides its members with a full range of services and programs including education.

SOURCE Retail Council of Canada

For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact Mark Beazley, Director, Communications, Retail Council of Canada at (416) 922-0553, ext. 228, e-mail:

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