Retail Council of Canada Launches Independent Retailer Project

    Thousands of small retailers to benefit from industry research

    TORONTO, June 2 /CNW/ - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Secretary of State
(Small Business and Tourism), will officially launch Independent Retail: A
Changing Landscape at STORE 2008 - Canada's Retail Conference. This yearlong
initiative, driven by Retail Council of Canada and Scotiabank Small Business,
will discover and recommend solutions for the challenges affecting Canada's
independent retailers in urban and rural communities.
    Chaired by Paul Simmonds, President of Robert Simmonds Clothing in
Fredericton, N.B., the task force driving this project for RCC will include
representatives from across Canada. "I'm excited to be a part of this
initiative," says Simmonds. "As an independent retailer myself, I know there
can be obstacles to success. What we need to know is what's happening in the
industry now and how to stay ahead of the game. Bringing independents together
is a great way to build support for the entire independent retailer
    Research for Independent Retail: A Changing Landscape
( will include regional Town Hall meetings designed
to bring independent retailers together, as well as a nationwide survey
sponsored by RCC and Scotiabank Small Business. RCC will then use the
information gathered to create free statistics and resources for independent
    "At Scotiabank, we understand the importance of retailers to the Canadian
economy," says Kyle McNamara, Head, Small Business, Scotiabank. "Identifying
challenges, solutions and opportunities, as well as delivering relevant advice
and services, helps business owners reach their goals."

    2008 Town Hall meeting schedule:

    August 25 - Fredericton, NB         September 25 - Winnipeg, MB
    August 26 - Halifax, NS             October 14 - Edmonton, AB
    September 24 - Toronto, ON          October 15 - Vancouver, BC

    Independent retail is one of Canada's leading industries. More than 90 per
cent of all Canadian retailers own only one store, with the same number having
sales less than $2 million and fewer than 50 employees. Independent Retail: A
Changing Landscape is a resource designed to help merchants spot future
obstacles and understand the trends that are driving the industry.

    Task force members include:

    Paul Simmonds, President            Fred Pritchard, CGA, Vice-President
    Robert Simmonds Clothing            Golda's Kitchen
    Fredericton, NB                     Mississauga, ON

    Carole Didier, President            Diane Petryna, President
    Entrée Lifestyles                   Take A Hike!
    Victoria, BC                        Thunder Bay, ON

    Ron Pradinuk, President             Betsy Thomas, President
    Journey's Travel &                  Bummis Inc.
     Leisure SuperCentre                Montreal, QC
    Winnipeg, MB

    Kevin Graff, President              Sandra Avery, Owner
    The Graff Retail Group              A Special Touch
    Oakville, ON                        St. John's, NL

    Retail Council of Canada ( is the Voice of Retail.
It is a not-for-profit association representing more than 40,000 stores of all
retail formats, including independent merchants, regional and national mass
and specialty chains, and online merchants. More than 80 per cent of RCC's
members are independent retailers.

For further information:

For further information: Sarah Ryeland, Independent Retail Project
Coordinator, (416) 922-6678 ext. 224, toll-free: (888) 373-8245,

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